Overview

Detective Comics #817

Review

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Detective Comics #817

Credits

  • Words: James Robinson
  • Art: Leonard Kirk
  • Inks: Andy Clarke
  • Colors: John Kalisz
  • Story Title: Face the Face
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.50
  • Release Date: Mar 1, 2006

If this is really one year later why does it feel so much like six years ago?

James Gordon is back in charge of the GCPD. Harvey Bullock is one of his top officers. And now, after a year of being away, Batman and Robin have returned as well, at a time when their absence is very noticeable. But these aren’t the only old faces that have returned, because masquerading as Gotham’s newest vigilantes is one of the oldest villains. One could not really believe that Harvey Dent would have been totally cured of Two-Face, and while he is out saving the city from all debase villains, the other part of his personality is sneaking back to the forefront. Meanwhile, another of Batman’s old foes has returned as Poison Ivy has taken a group of CEOs hostage.

This book doesn’t just mark the return of many of the timeless Batman characters; it also marks a return for one of comicdom’s more famous writers, James Robinson. Having been off in Hollywood writing movies, Robinson’s return here significantly adds to the whole "return to norm" theme of the book. And just like with the characters themselves, it really feels like Robinson has never left. His dialogue here is tight without a wasted word anywhere. The characterization rings true for everyone in the book, so that someone who has not read a Bat-book in years can pick this one up and completely understand everything. Best of all, with the return of such great characters, Robinson delivers some of the best "old school" Batman moments we’ve seen in quite some time, especially the return of one of Gotham’s most famous symbols, which elicited the same response in me that it did in Gotham’s citizens.

The art team of Leonard Kirk and Andy Clarke follows through with Robinson’s script, doing complete justice to everything there. Again, with the returning characters, it behooves the artists to ensure that they look exactly like everyone remembers. And sure enough, Jim Gordon looks just like Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock looks just like the Bruce Timm version of the character. The storytelling is on point and the pacing builds up a nice momentum leading up to Batman and Robin’s obvious return. There is a very cool page of Gordon walking up a set of stairs and the first time our heroes show up is a piece of work that deserves its own poster.

The only problem with this book is that it represents such a jarring turn of events to return to the norm like it does. The return of Bullock and Gordon is such a shock (although a very welcome one) that I almost wish I got to see it happen before seeing the results.

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