It is a strength of Detective Comics that Greg Rucka’s writing manages to match the excellent art of J.H. Williams III every step of the way. The pair continue to flesh out Kate Kane, the myserious Batwoman, in small chunks amidst a rousing action story as she faces off against the Religion of Crime and their new leader, Alice. The story isn’t particularly complex, but it combines action and exposition better than any number of recent comics I’ve read.
It should come as no surprise that the art is fantastic: Williams remains one of the top talents working today. It isn’t just his art that works – alone, his figures can occasionally be too static, unable to come alive on the page the way a lot of the best comic art does. He combines solid artwork with excellent panelling and a gift few other artists share for crafting arresting images that work well . Working together with colorist Dave Stewart, Williams has hit the jack-pot on this book.
Meanwhile, despite following up in Williams’ wake, Hamner continues to bring a stark simplicity to Rucka’s Renee Montoya back-ups. The art is more traditional, and less memorable, in every way, but it plays to Hamner’s strengths and definitely shows some progress from his days on Blue Beetle. The action is well-handled and smooth, and his varied designs for Renee work perfectly.
Two issues in, and Detective Comics looks like it just might be DC’s strongest relaunch in quite some time. Though the focus will undoubtedly be drawn away in the coming months as “Blackest Night” chugs on, this is definitely a title everyone should try out. Clever, gorgeous and action-packed, Detective Comics #855 is a remarkably strong title. Not flawless, but Rucka and company have definitely breathed new life into one of DC’s flagship books.
– Cal Cleary