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By: Comics In The Basement’s Ed & Miguel
It was in March of 1937 when National Allied Publications first published Detective Comics #1. It originally began as an anthology comic catering to the growing detective genre fandom and after two years, later a legacy began. Detective Comics #27 printed date of May 1939 debuted BATMAN!! Through this issue, the world was exposed to the brilliance and mystery of the superhero that protects Gotham City. After 80 years and now 1000 issues, “The Caped Crusader” still calls the Detective Comics home. This monumental occasion has brought some of the most influential writers and artists of DC Comics to tell their tales of the “Dark Knight”. Now, please sit back, relax, and enjoy The Comics in the Basement review of DETECTIVE COMICS 1000!!
Batman’s Longest Case – By Scott Snyder Snyder & Greg Capullo
From the moment Batman initially put on his cape, he has endlessly investigated cases. Each clue that he encounters transcends him deeper into the mystery, and yet, one by one, it gets him closer to the truth. The clues being left are incredibly difficult to notice, and even more so to realize what they really are. The skill of the person does not escape him, but he presses on and it brings him back to Gotham. Batman finds a number of his allies with many others he does not know., particularly Slam Bradley. For the comic buffs, you will recognize the name as he was one of the first characters ever created for the Detective Comics series. (Scott Snyder never forgets the roots of a story.) So Slam with Detective Chimp, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, The Question, and Martian Man are a part of THE GUILD. This group comes together to decipher the universe’s unsolved cases. In a room full of the world’s greatest detectives, Scott reminds us at Batman’s core that he was always The Detective, always learning, always following the clues. Batman never ceased to help the innocent and prosecute the guilty with his great skills. Being a detective is one of the many things Batman has been in the past 80 years. And he’s not about to slow down now. – Eddy
Manufacture For Use – By Kevin Smith & Jim Lee
Bruce Wayne’s life changed the moment Joe Chill pulled the trigger of his gun. The cold steel delivered the unfortunate demise to his parents that night stopping their hearts forever, and in doing so broke the heart of the young man. In this scenario, do you blame Joe Chill or the instrument? Batman blames them both! Kevin Smith and Jim Lee tell us a tale of the pain Batman had endured. Panel by panel we see Batman battling for the wellbeing of others and each time he is struck in the chest by his foes. His body armor is especially strong in his chest area because it must protect his heart. We learn that for years Bruce has searched for the accursed gun that aided in the horrific task of murdering his parents. When he eventually finds it, we assumed he planned to keep it on display along with his other trophies that decorate his cave or he may have just kept it as constant reminder to his past. No, this is not what he had planned for the gun. Bruce planned to make sure it felt his pain and proceeded to melt down the gun shaping it into a perfect piece to protect his heart. His foes aim for his heart often and now that same object that caused him so much pain in his youth, will now protect him for as long as needed.
Kevin Smith created such a beautiful story for Batman. As strong and unyielding that Batman is, he is still human, still vulnerable and needs to be protected. No longer will that instrument be used to destroy; now every blow that metal takes, it will continue to bring new life to Bruce Wayne. *Tear*
Wow, Kevin Smith, you really hit the heart strings here. This is my favorite story of Detective Comics. It is poetic and meaningful, especially considering how much Batman means to you as well. This was an amazing tribute. Thank you! – Eddy
Legend of Knute Brody – By Paul Dini & Dustin Nguyen
Need some muscle? In need of a lookout? How ‘bout just a guy who will clean up some waste? Well… you’re in luck! Now enter the Legend of Knute Brody! Knute is an ordinary lackey in the underworld community, but he has one thing over the rest; his reputation. Almost every villain who ever had the disdain of hiring Knute, has lived to regret it as much as not killing him themselves. Each memory showing Knute, ruining one scheme after another and each one dealing with some semblance of pain to him after the blundering of the heist. Whether it being a simple lookout, or helping with a clean up, Knute found a way to ruin it. Things just end up worse when Knute is involved and reason is, Knute is none other then members of the Bat Family! Some forget that Bruce Wayne was trained by the world’s foremost masters of disguise and in many instances, Bruce implemented this skill to help him in current and future cases. The most memorable disguise would be Matches Malone, but by this point, Knute has already been cemented in history books. For as light and joyful as this tale was, the most notable is that the family shared Knutes alias together. Each family member were a part of the story and experienced it since the first appearance of Knute. It was a bond only they could share. – Eddy
The Batman’s Design – By Warren Ellis & Becky Cloonan
Night after night, Batman encounters his rogues and other men and women who have chosen the wrong path, each time as different from the last. This tale shows why Batman became known as the best strategist of his time. He does not waste any moment; he studies, plans, and initiates each task with precision and ease. Batman knew exactly how to handle the group he was chasing that night. They were heavily armed and dangerous, but nonetheless, he was prepared. He baited them in a high-speed chase and lured them into a warehouse where they thought the upper hand was theirs. It was all going according to plan 🙂 Mere moments into the fight, the booby traps scattered perfectly throughout the warehouse began to set off one by one. The prowess of Batman is incredible! To have such foresight in every move he makes, makes him one of the most, if not, the most exquisitely detailed and intelligent hero of all time. Each criminal he encounters is taken down and he knows just how to do it. The DC universe has always praised the Dark Knight of his incredible strategic mind and it is more powerful than any punch he could ever throw. – Eddy
Return to Crime Alley – By Denny O’neil & Steve Epting
Crime Alley. This was where Bruce Wayne died and Batman was born. The murder of his parents changed the person he was meant to be on that night, and Leslie Thompkins arrived with the hope to save the child that had lost so much.
It was the anniversary of the Wayne’s death and like every year, Batman returned to pay his respects with Leslie at his side. Tension filled the air between Batman and Leslie as she can’t help but worry about Bruce’s path. He chose an appearance that strikes fear into anyone who deserves his wrath, and she fears this is consuming him. Leslie is afraid that he is becoming exactly what he hates most. Not many people without superpowers would ever have the gall to look Batman in the eye and tell him anything that he doesn’t want to hear, and that for me is truly one of the high points in this story. Leslie is strong, wise, and nurturing and it is as much her tale as it is Bruce’s. In the midst of their conversation, a few young men chose the wrong pair of people and the wrong time to try to act tough. Batman is in no mood for their antics and begins to show his ferociousness to the men one by one until Leslie told him to stop. Fear can be an incredible tool against the criminal world, but that’s not the fear this story is trying to get readers aware of. Batman/Bruce Wayne has always dealt with crossing the line. When has he gone too far? When does the fear he instills into the underbelly of Gotham become fear from the people he cares for? – Eddy
Heretic – By Christopher Priest & Neal Adams
Long ago, Bruce Wayne trained in Tibet under the tutelage of The League of Shadows. There, he became a master of deception, a shadow only seen when he wanted to be seen. Eventually, Bruce goes on to leave the league and become the incredible Batman. Years later, Bruce is summoned by Commissioner Gordon to a crime scene where a young man, Tan Lujun, is discovered dead. Tan Lujun’s only connection to Bruce was a Wayne Foundation card that was left as a message or a warning for the billionaire. Batman uncovers clues leading to Ra’s Al Ghul and all the way back to his days in Tibet with the League. Readers see Bruce being robbed by a group of young men, among them Tan Lujun. Tan was helping unhappy recruits of The League flee to America to start a new life. The league, unfortunately, would not stand for it and they took proper measures. Batman seeing what had transpired, issued a warning of his own; he would carry on the work that Tan started and continue to help members wishing to leave the shameful league. Christopher Priest did a great job of showing us the detective as well as the heart of the man behind the cowl; a man who will always protect the innocent against any adversary.
The artwork is crisp and clean and nothing short of what we’ve come to expect from the great Neal Adams. This issue is was phenomenal. – Miguel
I Know – By Brian Bendis & Alex Mallev
This story takes place in the far future. We see an almost decrepit Oswald Cobblepot, otherwise known as Penguin speaking to a wheelchair bound and old Bruce Wayne. Penguin seems full of bravado and moxie, so proud of himself, and yet, he’s been carrying a secret for years. He knows the true Identity of The Batman. We go back a few years to a meeting between Batman’s rogues gallery; Joker, Mr. Freeze, Scarecrow, Deathstroke, Bane, Catwoman, Riddler, Two-face and Penguin, who are all “Victims” of the Batman were present. All with one common goal….. in discovering “Who is Batman”. All the questions get asked, Who is this guy? Does he go to school? How much money would it take to finance all the gadgets? That is when it hits Cobblepot… BRUCE WAYNE!! Now was his chance; his chance to finally enshrine his name forever in history as the man who killed The Batman. Unfortunately, Penguin had a thought…. what if he misses? What if he kills Bruce Wayne and not Batman? This, dear friends, is where Brian Michael Bendis SHINES!!! The moral quandaries of the street level thugs; I will do what works out best for me.Penguin comes up with scenarios where he succeeds only in killing Wayne…. what would Batman do without a tie to humanity? His answer… go off the edge of insanity! I LOVE that thought! The idea that the villains are still alive thanks to the alter ego of Batman is pure genius! It makes perfect sense that without Bruce Wayne, without the burden of a dual identity to distract Batman, he would focus to the point of madness. In the end, Bruce Wayne proves his moniker, “World’s Greatest Detective” by letting Penguin know that he knew Penguin knew the secret identity all along. Bruce tased him from his wheelchair and as Penguin is being carried away, Bruce whispers to himself “good visit”.
Brian Michael Bendis is the King of gritty street level stories and this just adds to his fame. Alex Maleev excels at a darker toned Batman and I couldn’t think of a more perfect duo to bring this story to life. – Miguel
The Last Crime In Gotham – By Geoff Johns & Kelley Jones
The thought of crime ending is something that Batman has always strived for, although that concept has always scared him. Afterall, who is Bruce Wayne without Batman? In this story, Batman has been inactive for a while; Arkham Asylum is closed down and the criminals have either died of old age or have been rehabilitated. One night, the Bat-signal goes off and the Bat family is quick to answer the call: Batman, Catwoman, Robin (much older Damian Wayne), Echo (Seems like a version of Earth 2 Helena Wayne) and a new Ace the Bat-Hound. Twelve people wearing holiday sweaters have been murdered while attending what appears to be a birthday party. The family goes through their initial assessment of the crime scene naming possible suspects, each one, however, is ruled out until we find a note that gives us our answer. The killer is also one of the victims, The April Fool otherwise known as Joker Jr. and he leaves our hero with a final thought “Without Family, What are we?” . We close this story with Bruce Wayne sitting in front of a Birthday cake blowing out the candle with only Alfred by his side; it seems as though this experience was his birthday wish. What a powerful yet tragically haunting story. We finally get a glimpse into the psyche of the Dark Knight and what we see is a broken man longing for the companionship he fears will never come. This is what Bruce Wayne’s ideal future looks like and for him, it is something worth hoping for.
Geoff Johns hit us with this powerful piece of literature forcing us to look at ourselves and what is truly important to us. My only complaint with this story is the artwork, because as much as I love Kelley Jones’ artwork, I feel like it poorly conveys the important notes within the story. Aside from that, the message of hope cannot be denied and I look forward to more Batman from Geoff Johns!! – Miguel
The Precedent – By James Tynion IV & Alvaro Martinez-Bueno
There has always been a question in morality when the topic of Batman’s partner Robin is concerned. They are just kids, they shouldn’t be out there, they can get hurt or worse be killed! Every Justice League member has questioned his judgment on the matter for years, but Bruce did not accept his new partner easily. He himself knew the risks in this life, but the secret was out and Dick Grayson was as good a talent as anyone could have expected. His physical prowess for his age was incredible and he was intelligent, although, that alone does not prepare you for this life. Alfred was with Bruce at this crossroad, and as always he helped him through the decision. As I said, Bruce was hesitant but Alfred reassured him that his training of the young man would help him more than just making him capable of fighting criminals. He needed guidance; he needed to transcend what happened to Bruce. Dick Grayson also lost his parents from a murder as well. The difference is Dick now has someone that already experienced this trauma. He can guide him to become something better and still live a life worth having. Dick doesnt need to become the tortured soul Batman is and in turn, even becoming a form of good that Bruce could look to for guidance as well as future generations. He can become a Legacy to look forward to. The decision to bring Dick Grayson into the life of Batman and become Robin was not easy, but it was for much more than people assume; it was to create a brighter future. – Eddy
By Tom King & Tony S Daniel, Joelle Jones – Batman’s Greatest Case
It’s the anniversary of the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne and Batman has called the members of the Batfamily to a remote rooftop in Gotham city. As the family gathers, they all start to wonder why Batman has called them all there. Did someone die? Is Red Hood getting kicked out of the family? Where’s Batman? This story does a great job of building off the established relationships between the members of the Batfamily. Damien, Jason, Tim and Dick banter back and forth, Duke being the newest recruit is a bit isolated, but stands on his own as a character. Batgirl and Batwoman go back and forth on their namesake; what makes Batgirl a girl and Batwoman a woman? What is their difference? Orphan and Huntress bond over their lack of social skills. Catwoman and Alfred stand in silence showing their mutual respect for each other as they both hold a special place in Batman’s heart. These, however, are only a means of small talk while they wait the arrival of Batman. When Batman arrives on the rooftop, the reason for the meeting is finally revealed. Batman has called them all there to take a family picture. On it’s own this seems really out of character, but when you put it into context and see why Batman took that picture, it all makes perfect sense. Bruce Wayne is shown in the cemetery, standing in front of the graves of his parents, the picture of his family in his hand. Bruce wanted to show his parents that although they aren’t with him, he is okay because he has a family at his side. The young boy who lost his parents, felt scared and broken is no longer alone. He is surrounded by people who love and care about him and whom he loves and cares for. It’s a tragically beautiful moment full of heart and emotion as he stands in the rain holding the picture of his family for his parents to see.
Tom King, along with Tony Daniels and Joelle Jones have masterfully told this story and honestly, it’s hard to not get choked up with emotion as we seen Batman grow and become more emotionally vulnerable throughout the years. The tone of this story was family and it couldn’t have been expressed any better…… Say Cheese.
By Peter J Tomasi & Doug Mahnke – Medieval
Batman’s methods of crime fighting have always been a divisive topic; Does he inspire and encourage the scourge of Gotham or are his methods what keep the city safe? We see this story being told from a perspective where Batman is portrayed as the unstable catalyst using violence and fear as a means to an end where he and he alone, hold total control. The “Villains” Joker, Clayface, Poison Ivy, and Penguin are shown as metaphorical children, broken and begging for help the only way they know how, through crime and violence. We are shown Batman taking down various members of his rogues gallery, but his methods are questioned by our unknown narrator. Even Victor Fries aka Mr. Freeze who is only trying to save his beloved Nora, is not safe from the Batman who is so desperate for legacy that he has built a family to carry on his mission. In the end, our narrator is revealed to be none other than the Arkham Knight, first introduced in the Rocksteady masterpiece Arkham Knight. Peter Tomasi and Doug Mahnke have given us an amazing glimpse of what Trials Batman can expect going forward and the Arkham Knights motivation is jarring and delusional to say the least. Detective Comics is in GREAT hands going forward. The biggest question we have right now, aside from who is the Arkham Knight, is…… “What’s Next?!”
It has been a momentous occasion this month. 80 YEARS! JUST WOW! A character that has transcended not just pop culture but the lives of so many people. Batman has become a symbol, for hardcore and casual fans alike. He’s an ideal for the human spirit. Be the best that you can be and when it’s not quite enough BE BATMAN lol. Batman has been my favorite character for as long as i can remember and Miguel will say the same. Never thought i would see the day that this great feat has been met. So whether we speak of the character that began as The Detective, a master of Disguise and Strategy, or creature who strikes Fear into the hearts of criminals. His Legacy has evolved with his the Bond of his Family. Batman has become the Protector of the innocent and a symbol of Hope. Regardless what you call him and why you have followed his story throughout the years, Batman is now a household name that has brought people together.
We hope you enjoyed you all enjoyed our review of Detective Comics 1000 go out and get it if you haven’t already! And in true Bat-fashion we leave you with…..
I am vengeance! I am the night! I am Batman!
-Kevin Conroy (Voice)
Thank you to Bob Kane and Bill Finger!!!
Co/host of The Nerdy Basement and Comics in the Basement
Co/host of The Nerdy Basement and Comics in the Basement
SOURCE: DETECTIVE COMICS 1000