This issue brings an end to the run on this series by writer Scott Snyder (‘American Vampire’). Snyder’s dark gritty style has brought Batman back down to those horrifying tales that give you the creeps and keep you up at night – this issue is one of the worst of all!
[Warning: There is no way to do this issue justice without some spoilers so I highly recommend that you go read it before reading the rest of this review. It’s that good and you definitely don’t want to know what’s going to happen! So go read it. I’ll wait. You back? Good. Carry on.]
The story picks up where #880 left off with Commissioner Gordon’s son, James Jr. having just kidnapped Barbara Gordon from her Oracle office. Batman and Gordon are both racing to save Barbara from whatever the psychopathic James Jr. has in store for her and boy does he have something planned! In one of the creepiest scenes this side of some of Morrison’s ‘Arkham Asylum’ or Moore’s ‘The Killing Joke’, James Jr. tortures Barbara while revealing his plan and that he’s crazier than anyone ever thought. This guy is up there with the Joker on the creepy psycho scale and the end to his tale is one that will surely burrow itself into a dark corner of your mind and stay for an extended visit.
The artwork by Jock is appropriately dirty and grimy and fits Snyder’s story like a bloody glove. In a brilliant art decision, the story is told almost totally in hues that flip between somber blues and violent crimson colors as it alternates between the frantic heroes and the villain’s torture chamber.
The past few months of ‘Detective Comics’ have been filled with disturbing brilliance. So naturally I was overjoyed that Scott Snyder will be continuing his work with Batman when he, along with artist Greg Capullo (Haunt) take the reigns of the flagship ‘Batman’ title when DC Comics relaunches the series this September with their New 52 initiative. Here’s to putting the ‘dark’ back into the Dark Knight.
DETECTIVE COMICS #881
Written by SCOTT SNYDER
Art by JOCK and FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA
Cover by JOCK