The Archives: Dini’s Detective Part 1

So I just caught up on Dini’s run and I thought I’d put my feelings up on here. It’s amazing that both Batman books have been so great lately. For the record, Morrison’s run is better. Way better! But Dini’s run is definitely more accessible and crowd pleasing. So I’m going to give you four parts of Dini magic. I’ll try to get one out every Sunday in December. Just think of it as my holiday gift to all of you. Man I love giving gifts that don’t cost anything. Oh and before we begin, I want to mention a few things that I would probably have to mention every issue. I don’t want to repeat myself! First, I love done-in-ones! Most of Dini’s run was written this way and so I have to give Dini big props for that. Even if you don’t like the story, it will end in just one issue. That’s cool, right? Second, I really dig those Simone Bianchi covers. I’m glad he got a “monthly” gig on Astonishing, but I will miss those Detective covers. Oh and lastly, I’m not reviewing these in trades. I thought about it, but almost all the trades contain those terrible fill-ins as well. So I’ll review Dini’s run by issue. Ok, are we done here? Let’s get reviewing!

Detective Comics #821 (*****)

Dini’s run opens with a bang! This first issue was possibly the best of his done-in-ones. Of course that may be because the pages were graced by J.H. Williams III. This book looks fantastic. Williams is a brilliant storyteller and I love his fight scenes because you can see the hits. It’s a fascinating technique that was later used by David Aja in Immortal Iron Fist. In hindsight, this issue was more of a tie-in to Morrison’s run than the “RIP” story, Heart of Hush. There’s a large amount of red and black and this story even revolves around the rich. Those are both strong themes in Morrison’s run. This is an entertaining yarn with great art and even a new villain. A good start.

 

Detective Comics #822 (***1/2)

Yes! This issue features Roxy Rocket! Anyone remember her from the cartoon? No? Redhead who got off on danger, nothing? Ok, well this issue is mostly about the reformed Riddler. This is a great fit for the character. To heck with Riddler the villain, he isn’t menacing! But as a goofy detective that makes Batman look way better, it works. This was a lot of fun. The mystery was ok and the ending felt rushed but that’s alright. If that’s the price for a done-in-one story I’ll pay it.

Detective Comics #823 (***1/2)

Man I dig that Benitez art! Who is Joe Benitez? He draws a really beautiful female form and his Batman and Robin are super exaggerated. It’s very cartoony and fun! This story feels like a bit of a repeat of the old cartoon. Wasn’t there an episode where Ivy was afraid of plants at the end? And the creepiness kind of reminds me of that episode with the plant babies. Again, entertainment is the name of the game in Dini’s run. This was a hell of a creepy good time!

Detective Comics #824 (****)

Ah the Penguin issue, the class, the opulence, the Paris Hilton reference? Um, ok! I guess this continues another theme of Dini’s run where the villains aren’t very villainous. I think it’s one of the elements that keep the stories fresh even if they aren’t very original. We also get some Lois Lane action. Am I the only one who likes to see Bruce and Lois together? We have some more first appearances in Dini’s run including Zatanna and the mysterious Loxias (Big plans for him I bet. Hindsight rules). Throw in an interesting thug like Mr. ZZZ and we have a winner!

 

Detective Comics #826 (*****)

To hell with Batman! Bring on Robin! So what does Christmas make you think of? The Joker of course! Dini gives us the clown prince of crime much like the cartoon. He’s funny AND creepy. What’s up with Joker and the Marx Brothers? I believe Joker mentioned them in Batman: Cacophony too. It’s interesting right? Oh and if you don’t know who the Marx Brothers are then shame on you! Go rent Duck Soup or something! Anyway, this was a fantastic Joker issue and Robin is pretty cool too. It’s nice to see those two together without the Bat.

Final Thoughts: So far Dini’s run is a lot of fun! Will that continue? Stay tuned!

3 thoughts on “The Archives: Dini’s Detective Part 1

  1. I just picked up Batman: Detective (the trade collecting these issues) on your recommendation – they’re great fun. It doesn’t have the story-telling highs of Morrison’s, where everything is interconnected, but it also doesn’t have the lows. I thought it’d be mediocre, but all the issues were fun, creative done-in-ones, an art that has become increasingly lost.

    And I definitely agree – The Beautiful People & Slayride were the highpoints of the opening issues.

  2. I’m glad I could help. Yeah, done-in-ones are fantastic. They’re an immediate bonus in my book. Even if you don’t like a particular premise, don’t worry. It’ll be gone next issue.

    Dini’s run isn’t necessary reading, but if you’re looking for uncomplicated, well-written, and fun Batman tales, it’s pretty good stuff.

    Oh, I finished the first Scalped trade. I really liked it. I already picked up the second and third trade and I’m almost finished with the second. I’m not sure if it’s quite the “Native-American version of the Sopranos” as it’s been built up as, but it is a thoroughly enjoyable read. It feels unique and uncompromised. It doesn’t shy away from racism or nudity and it’s appropriately brutal. I only wish the art was a little clearer. There’s a difference between gritty and blurry. Still, I would recommend you give the second trade a try.

  3. I’m actually just finishing up the second (yay Christmas money), and lo!, but it was indeed much better. I won’t be able to pick up the third for a couple months, but I’m definitely interested in it.

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