Batman: Detective Comics #1053 – Mariko Tamaki, Matthew Rosenberg, Writers; Max Raynor, Fernando Blanco, Artists; Luis Guerrero, Jordie Bellaire, Colorists
Ray – 9/10
Ray: Shadows of the Bat continues to be one of the best mini-events at DC in a while, uniting the entire Bat-family—sans Batman—in a mystery surrounding the new Arkham Tower. We now know that Psycho Pirate is Dr. Wear’s secret weapon, putting the various Arkham inmates—and anyone else in the tower—in a perpetual stupor. Last issue’s brutal riot has been put down, but the scars remain and Dr. Wear is becoming increasingly desperate. One of the interesting things about Wear as the main villain is that he’s actually rather pathetic. This is not a criticism—it’s interesting to see a villain who does not have any master plan but is simply scrambling to survive and to please his various masters of him as he tries to scam the city.
With Penguin tightening the screws on Wear and the Party Crashers getting increasingly tense, Wear tries to declare war on the Bats interrupting his drug drops. This gives characters like the Batgirls an opportunity to shine, while Batwoman gets deeper into the conspiracies and enlists Deb Donovan. With Huntress increasingly compromised and Batwoman potentially exposed, Nightwing takes over as the mole inside the tower—disguising himself as a hunky custodian and getting into Huntress’ room from her to make a disturbing discovery. But when he finally uncovers the main villain, he finds himself being pulled into the same web. This issue continues to tighten the web around just about anyone as we enter the second half.
I actually think “House of Wayne” was the best segment this issue, though, as our unfortunate antihero finds himself back in Arkham after an unfortunate encounter with Penguin. He’s biding his time there until Bane arrives, breaking all the inmates out in the famous events of Knightfall. But this isn’t liberation for the boy—just another test as Bane has a disturbing method of training for him that includes an encounter with the psychotic Zsasz. As the boy escapes and heads towards an old frenzy, I get the impression this story is only getting darker from here.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.