With the one-shot “zero issue” out of the way, writer John Layman steps in to take the place of the exciting Tony S. Daniel. So how’d he do on his first outing? Let’s find out…
While Batman is out on the streets of Gotham cracking skulls, Bruce Wayne is in the community donating to various businesses. Namely, he’s donating to places that deal with busted teeth, broken bones, and the like to help offset his nightly outings as the Caped Crusader. While Batman is out on his rounds yet again, he is completely unaware that there is a crew of devil-masked assassins in Gotham scouting out their next target… Bruce Wayne!
In a flashback to the office one Oswald Cobblepot (better known to some as The Penguin), we learn why these assassins are after Wayne. It appears as if the Penguin is upset about the Wayne family upstaging the Cobblepots by donating money to a local children’s charity.
Now it’s up to Batman to save… well… himself from the assassins in time to change back to Bruce and make the charity event. But can he do it? Meanwhile, the Penguin shows up to the event early and comes up with an even more insidious plan to discredit the Waynes.
Whew! What a turn around on this title! Tony Daniel as writer did more world-building and introduction of characters and, in the end, failed to deliver any really memorable stories. This issue turned that around with the addition of John Layman (‘Chew’) to the series. Layman does a great job delivering a story that is at once action-packed and narratively satisfying. He even goes so far to feature a backup story about the Penguin’s right hand man, Ogilvy, that is possibly even better than the main feature.
I sincerely hope that Layman sticks around because, in a single, issue he turned this title into exactly what the name promises… a detective story featuring the Batman.
DETECTIVE COMICS #13
Written by John Layman
Art and Cover by Jason Fabok
Backup Art by Szymon Kudranski