Review: Detective Comics #855


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.

Grade: A

– Cal Cleary


Detective Comics #854

14 thoughts on “Review: Detective Comics #855

  1. Just in case you missed it: Rucka for 16 issues. Williams for 12.

    I’ve heard from Rucka and Williams that they’re actually talking to each other non-stop. A bit of a rare thing in these Internet times.

    It’s hard to say that Rucka’s writing keeps up with William’s art. They’re seamless. I guess their collaboration has paid off.

    Just a really well-put-together action comic. Rivaling the best Secret Six issues in chaotic action, but lacking in character likability.

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  3. That’s definitely awesome news. Rucka and Williams work together better than any team this side of Morrison/Quitely, and the news that he’ll be here for another 10 issues is absolutely awesome.

  4. Oh, I didn’t say they were better than Morrison/Quitely – All-Star Superman and We3 together might just be unbeatable, at least in our generation – but I can’t think of another team that’s as strong off the top of my head.

  5. I’ll give you Brubaker/Phillips.

    Loeb/Sale has lost some stock, but I’ll give you them.

    Millar/Hitch, though? Really?

  6. I don’t think Loeb/Sale have lost stock. Just because it’s been awhile since they’ve collaborated doesn’t mean they’ve gotten worse.

    Millar & Hitch work really well together. Millar is the cinematic writer and Hitch is the cinematic artist.

    Whether you’re a fan of their output or not, I think it’s safe to say they’re a pretty damn good team.

  7. I think part of it is, I think Hitch is just not a very good artist. His figures are static and lifeless, they frequently look waaaay too like celebrities, and I’ve never seen anything from him that displays a keen sensibility when it comes to layout or design. How can he be a cinematic artist when his fight scenes all feel lifeless?

    I don’t LIKE Millar, but I recognize that the man is quite good at telling certain kinds of stories. But I don’t even think Hitch is very good.

    On Loeb/Sale… you might be right, but even their recent collaborations haven’t stood out, really, have they? I haven’t met many people who loved Daredevil: Yellow or Hulk: Gray, and Captain America: White just kind of faded away – that was less than a year ago, and it’s already been completely forgotten.

    Still, you definitely got me with Brubaker/Phillips.

    Also, you have to keep in mind – I know that Rucka and Williams aren’t a ‘pair’ in the traditional sense. I’d love it if they were, but I’ve seen no evidence of it. What I mean is, the two communicate better than most other writer/artist combinations, and the blend of the writing and the art is so seamless at times that it’s hard to believe they aren’t a team.

    The reason I brought up creative teams is because, generally speaking, those are the only times you find collaborations of this level.

    Also, you left out Simone/Scott on your list of awesome teams!

  8. Well, I left out Simone/Scott because I tried to reserve this status for people who’ve collaborated more than once, since putting Rucka & Williams in this pool of awesome is what upset me in the first place.

    Birds of Prey slipped my mind at the time, but I still think it’s silly to say they’re Morrison/Quitely-esque.

    Oh, and I totally got you on Ennis/Dillon too.

    Um, you know Captain America: White never came out, right? That’s why it’s been “forgotten.” And I adored Daredevil: Yellow.

    Also, you want to see collaboration between art and writing?

    Read David Mazzucchelli’s Asterios Polyp!

  9. I can’t speak to Ennis/Dillon – not familiar enough.

    And I get your point. Though I can’t agree with all your choices (and you left off Simone/Scott and Azzarello/Risso, both of whom I’d put above Millar/Hitch), I was being hyperbolic. I wouldn’t put any of the above teams at Morrison/Quitely-esque, but they’re mostly good-to-great.

    Part of the reason I’m so impressed here is because they DON’T work together regularly, but the collaboration appears so seamless. Thus the hyperbole.

  10. And I explained that.

    They’ve actually been talking to each other a lot. So, it’s a very tight collaboration, and it’s paid off.

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