Review: Detective Comics #861

For those that hadn’t heard the news: Detective Comics #860, the final, fabulous issue of Batwoman’s origins, was also the final issue of collaboration between Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III.  In fact, Batwoman herself only has a few short months remaining, with David Hine launching a two-part arc continuing his story about the rebuilding of Arkham Asylum with #864.  And while Rucka and Williams III have stated that they are interested in and are fighting for a Batwoman ongoing, for now, it seems like the character’s brief, critically acclaimed time in the spotlight may be coming to a close as DC attempts to wrap up its surprisingly bold moves on their flagship titles.  This issue, launching an arc titled “Cutter”, sees Williams replaced by the talented Jock and Batman largely taking over from Batwoman, though Rucka remains as writer, and Hamner stays on art duties for Renee Montoya’s back-up feature.

Jock occasionally tries a little too hard to mimic Williams’ style, and while he achieves a surprising amount of success, he just doesn’t have Williams’ eye for memorable, creative scene and structure.  He does seem, however, to have inherited Williams’ rather stiff action segments.  Still, he proves a surprisingly apt replacement for Williams.  While he doesn’t help raise the quality of one of Rucka’s more mundane scripts up, the pair nonetheless work well together, and suggest that Detective Comics is in good hands for now.

The back-up continues to run along the same, lengthy story as we continue to deal with the fall-out of Renee’s recent attacks on the mob.  With Tot and the Huntress at her back, the Question deals with the assassin who trailed them, leading to some questionable decision-making (and characterization).  Rucka and Hamner both display confidence, here, though the need to set-up the next part of the conflict and the cramped environment play to neither creator’s strengths.  Like the main feature, the work is quality, just not up to the level to book has led us to expect.

Grade: B-

– Cal Cleary


Detective Comics #859

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