When ‘Detective Comics’ #4 wrapped, I made the comment that I wanted the series to get back to the Joker story that it started with. This issue does that… to an extent. After his battle with the Dollmaker, Batman is trying to keep peace in an increasingly restless Gotham City. With the flesh from Joker’s face hanging in the Gotham City Police Department, many people believe that Batman has killed the Joker. This causes a lot of anti-Batman and even pro-Joker sentiment. There are protesters in Old Grant Park, all wearing clown masks and carrying signs like “Equal rights for the disturbed” and “We are the Joker”.

After chasing a murderer in a clown mask into the crowd of protesters, Batman is actually attacked by Gotham’s citizens! However, after Batman wrestles free of the mob, he finds a clue that leads him towards another classic villain… The Penguin!

Meanwhile, news reporter Charlotte Rivers, investigating a story on Gotham’s newly opened Iceberg Casino, runs afoul (or is that a-fowl… get it?) of the club’s villainous owner. Will Batman arrive in time to stop whatever the Penguin has in store for Charlotte? Or will the Penguin put her on ice?

Tony Daniels continues to handle both art and pencils for ‘Detective Comics’ and, thus far, it seems like Daniels is doing a lot of world-building rather than giving a succinct story. ‘Detective Comics’ #1 started with the Joker, turned into a Dollmaker story for several issues, and now turns to the Penguin. Daniel’s Batman makes for a wonderful and interesting read, but could be a turn-off for readers looking for traditional comic book story arcs or, worse, new readers looking to see some classic bat-action. On both of those counts, I’d recommend checking out Scott Snyder’s current arc over in the main ‘Batman’ title.

This issue also features a back-up story, also written by Daniel, that features Catwoman as she crashes a meeting between Russian mobsters and Eli Strange. If that last name sounds familiar, it’s because Eli is the son of another long-time Batman villain who also makes a first New 52 appearance this issue.

Verdict: Buy

Written by TONY S. DANIEL