Detective Comics #1061: Seven Up

Detective Comics #1061 represents a conclusion not only to the current arc “The Seven,” but also to author Mariko Tamaki and artist Ivan Reis’s time as a creative team on the original Batman comic. Nadia Shammas has joined the duo as co-writer for the duration of the Riddler-centric arc and will also depart after this issue. The trio ties together the mystery laid out over the first two installations of “The Seven” in a sprint of an issue.

To begin, an unlikely source is revealed to have exposed the secrets of the Donovan family to the Riddler. That secret, as well as the origin of the villain’s “citizen criminals” are revealed via flashback in the ensuing pages.

Back in the present, Caroline Donovan has just killed a man (as seen last issue) to maintain the secret of the Riddler’s control over the ostensibly average Gothamites who have been committing felonies on his behalf. Before Batman can find that out for himself, the judge is spirited away.

Expositional text of the Dark Knight’s thought process reveals him to have put the pieces of the Riddler’s scheme together and justifies his reputation as World’s Greatest Detective. Before Batman can apprehend his foe of him, though, he is met with a deadly dilemma typical of the schemer.

Just when it seems the Caped Crusader will save the day, the Riddler’s machinations return him to the question that began this arc: when is a murderer not a murderer, and a hero not a hero?

This issue ironically suffers from overstuffing after the gargantuan “Shadows of the Bat” arc, which overstretched itself over twelve installations. “The Seven” as an arc has largely been a microcosm of Tamaki and company’s time on Detective Comics: chock-full of promising moments hampered by pacing issues, yet stunning visuals from Ivan Reis. On the whole, though, it is capable but forgettable.

In the book’s backup story, Gotham Girl continues where she left off last issue, enraged and on the hunt for Dr. Meridian. When her suspicions of her turn out to be misguided, Gotham Girl fights with one of Batman’s closest allies of her. After the hero-on-hero punch-up concludes, the young hero gets some much-needed encouragement on her mental health journey from ella. Meanwhile, her delusions of her are revealed to have been guided by a sinister force. The “Gotham Girl, Interrupted” backup story gave the Tom King creation some solid characterization from Sina Grace as part of an unexpectedly sturdy and character-driven plotline.

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