Detective Comics #1000 – Review

The landmark 1000th issue of Detective Comics was released today. All month long DC has been celebrating the 80 years of Batman leading up to this milestone issue. There are a whopping 11 creative teams on this book, each telling their own short stories celebrating Batman and his history, and more than 25 creators involved in total. Each vignette focuses on a different element of Batman, oftentimes mixing a few, and nails the character of Batman. Each story does a fantastic job celebrating the legacy of Batman while embracing what future stories may hold. Overall it’s a truly fantastic issue well worth it’s $10 price tag. With that said I want to give a short paragraph highlighting each particular story and fret not, there will be no spoilers. And here… we… go…

Longest Case

“Batman’s Longest Case”

Writer: Scott Snyder
Pencils: Greg Capullo
Inks: Jonathon Glapion
Colors: FCO Plascencia
Letters: Tom Napolitano

This tale features Batman following a case that started near the beginning of his career. It takes him across the globe and finally back to Gotham and a mysterious guild full of some of the DC Universe’s greatest detectives. The main gist of this story was known beforehand, with some art even being shown off weeks earlier, but seeing it in its entirety was such a treat. Full bias admitted, Snyder and Capullo are arguably my favorite team to ever work on Batman, so seeing them together again and in such a stellar fashion was nothing short of awesome. Plus this story introduces something that could definitely have a lasting impact on the DCU as a whole.

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“Manufacture for Use”

Writer: Kevin Smith
Pencils: Jim Lee
Inks: Scott Williams
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Todd Klein

Here we cut between different sequences of Batman battling his greatest foes and his search for the gun that killed his parents. This one really surprised me. I love Smith and Lee but I wasn’t prepared for how much I’d love this story. Not only is it some of Lee’s best work in recent memory it encapsulates so many epic Batman battles while telling a tale with a lot of heart. I was tearing up by the end and couldn’t help but smile and think, “Yep, that’s Batman.”

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“The Legend of Knute Brody”

Writer: Paul Dini
Pencils: Dustin Nguyen
Inks: Derek Fridolfs
Colors: John Kalisz
Letters: Steve Wands

This story has major Batman: The Animated Series vibes, which makes sense given one of the showrunners is penning the script, and it presents a fun and varied Batman story. Similarly to the “Almost Got ‘Im” episode of BTAS we see the villains speaking documentary style about the notoriously worst henchmen in Gotham history, and how he constantly screwed up their best plans. The art here is also very reminiscent of the animated series. Full of fun and exciting moments and some great character spotlights this story is just a joy to read.

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“The Batman’s Design”

Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Becky Cloonan
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Simon Bowland

One of my most anticipated stories for this issue certainly didn’t disappoint. Batman pursues a pack of technologically enhanced mercenaries into a warehouse where they think they’ve trapped him. It turns into essentially a predator mode sequence from the Arkham video game series, and it’s exactly as badass as it sounds. Outstanding art, perfect colors, and concise writing that again has a strong sense of heart at its core make this my second favorite story here.

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“Return to Crime Alley”

Writer: Denny O’Neil
Artist: Steve Epting
Colors: Elizabeth Breitweiser
Letters: Andworld Design

A sequel to O’Neil’s classic There Is No Hope in Crime Alley”, from Detective Comics #457, in which Doctor Leslie Thompkins takes Batman to task for his addiction to violence, which she argues perpetuates the horror that birthed him. This story features a simple mugging in Crime Alley while Leslie scolds Bruce for not pursuing a more healthy lifestyle and means of avenging his parents’ murder. It explores a great point about the self-inflicted pain Bruce constantly endures just by being Batman. The art here takes on an almost surreal quality and is just beautiful to see.

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“Heretic”

Writer: Christopher Priest
Artist: Neal Adams
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Willie Schubert

This story features Batman helping a young man escape from R’as Al Ghul’s League of Assassins only for him to turn up dead in Gotham years later. This sends Batman on the quest for answers. I really love the idea of this story and we see Priests’ signature scene structure, giving each location and scene a narrative title, is present here. It’s also amazing to see Adams drawing the Caped Crusader on interiors and it’s only fitting that he’d have a spot in this landmark issue.

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“I Know”

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art & Colors: Alex Maleev
Letters: Josh Reed

Set in the distant future we see an elderly Penguin confronting an equally old Bruce Wayne, claiming that he knew many years ago who the Batman really was. This story was actually released weeks, maybe even a whole month, before today but I wanted to wait until now to fully read it. The way Bendis structures the story is fantastic and clearly leans into Maleev’s strengths. The art here steals the show, but Oswald’s investigation, the reasoning for Penguin never revealing Bruce’s secret, and Bruce’s response are perfect.

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“The Last Crime in Gotham”

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Kelley Jones
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Rob Leigh

The future family of Batman and Catwoman face off against the future family of Joker and Harley Quinn. My favorite part of this story is seeing the future family of Bruce and Selina and how they interact and tackle a crime scene. The chemistry is brilliant and it’s so satisfying seeing Bruce and Selina with a functioning family. The other element I really loved here was the callbacks to past Batman stories. Jones’ art is so unique and fits the “not of this time” element of this tale perfectly while delivering great pages throughout.

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“The Precedent”

Writer: James Tynion IV
Pencils: Alvaro Martinez
Inks: Raul Fernandez
Colors: Brad Anderson
Letters: Sal Cipriano

This vignette is set the night Bruce Wayne decides to bring Dick Grayson into his dark world of crimefighting and ends with the famous candlelight oath. Bruce’s struggle with bringing a child into this life and Alfred being the ever-present voice of reason results in a heartwarming story. This is a celebration of Dick Grayson’s life and the impact Batman’s sidekicks have had. The art team spectacularly renders the dynamic duo and some of Robin’s most famous moments. Tynion and co. deliver a true to heart Batman and Robin story.

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“Batman’s Greatest Case”

Writer: Tom King
Artists: Tony S. Daniel & Joëlle Jones
Colors: Tomeu Morey
Letters: Clayton Cowles

Presented using parallel story threads, Bruce Wayne visits his parents’ grave while Batman assembles his entire coalition of allies for a reason unbeknownst to them. King is one of my favorite writers so I admit to some bias when reading this, but I think it objectively delivers a great story too. There’s a strong sense of family and what it means to Bruce at the core here, and seeing the entire Bat-family as drawn by Daniel is incredible. The reason for their assembly, which I won’t spoil, is one of my favorite things in this entire 96-page giant. Joëlle phenomenally brings the silent scene of Bruce visiting his parents grave to life and King writing the Bat-family banter had me laughing out loud on multiple occasions.

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Before getting into the final story which sets up what’s to come in Detective Comics #1001 and beyond I want to mention two surprise splash pages from Mikel Janin and one from Amanda Conner & Paul Mounts. I had no idea either of these would be here but they are absolutely stunning and see themselves before and after Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson’s insane double-page spread. Fabok and Anderson’s spread is another work of art, managing to fit Batman’s most iconic friends and foes in one immaculately drawn, inked, and colored image.

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“Medieval”

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Pencils: Doug Mahnke
Inks: Jaime Mendoza & Doug Mahnke
Colors: David Baron
Letters: Rob Leigh

This is the one I’ve been waiting for. Introducing the Arkham Knight into the main continuity for the first time we see splash page after splash page of Batman encountering his many villains through the eyes of the Arkham Knight. The narrative spin the Knight puts on Batman’s actions is such an intriguing perspective and does wonders to immediately establish the Knight’s personality and motives. Each page is flawlessly brought to life by the art team and feature some of Batman’s most iconic clashes with all his most famous foes. The Arthurian and medieval angle Tomasi and co. are going with the Arkham Knight helps distinguish him from his video game counterpart and is honestly a genius layer to add to the character. It sets the tone and plot in motion for what the future of Detective Comics holds and let me tell you, the future is looking pretty damn bright.

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Overall as a die-hard Batman fan, I couldn’t be more pleased with Detective Comics #1000. Each story rings so true to Batman and every creator on the title brought their A game and then some. A complete celebration of the Caped Crusaders history featuring him battling his most prominent villains and surrounded by his most beloved allies. The one thing I wish there was more of is focus on the surrounding Bat-family, but with this being a celebration of the character of Batman I can’t complain that the story is mainly focused on him throughout. The only way to fix this would be to make it longer. With that said I’m about as happy as I could be with what we got and I highly recommend this book to everyone.

SCORE: 10/10

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