Story: James Tynion IV
Pencils: Alvaro Martinez
Inks: Raul Fernandez
Colors: Brad Anderson
Intelligence Part 1
A new story arc is here in Batman Detective Comics and I’m left wondering if things will look up slightly. At the beginning of Rebirth, this was one of my favorite titles. It slowly lost it’s wonder after Night of the Monster Men and has find that awesome feeling since. I feel like this book suffers from a classic case of “too many cooks in the kitchen”, which is something that all too many of the Rebirth titles have suffered from. And I’m not complaining about Rebirth here, the good far outweighs the bad. But Batman Detective Comics has left me wanting more more months now. So did they pick it back up in Intelligence Part 1? Or is it more of the same old thing? Read on to find out!
***Non-Spoilers and Rating at the bottom***
Luke Fox, Areal, and Batwoman are chillin’ out at a basketball game taking some much needed time off after the events of the last story arc. Their time is cut short by an old furry friend of Azreals showing up in the middle of the court pleading for Azreal’s help. Luke shuts off all the lights in the stadium and the three Bat Family team members make off with Azreal’s friend Nomoz.
Ice Ice, Baby
Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne is hanging out at the Iceberg Lounge gambling and trying to meet up with an unnamed woman. Back at the Watchtower Spoiler and Clayface are having a jolly ole time doing stage acting. Luke, Batwoman, and Azrael get back to Watchtower to get Nomoz some much needed medical attention. Kate demands some answers from Azrael on what’s going on, and he takes this time to explain a few things to her (and us). Azreal was not born, he was engineered in a lab by a group called The Order. The Order tried to break Azrael’s ego, and Nomoz was the one to do it. The Order has just killed off the entire Old Guard and Dumas. This is all kind of lost on me, I just haven’t read any of the older stuff involving Azreal and they don’t really explain it too well for new readers in this issue.
The New Azrael
Ascalon is the new Azrael and he’s after The Holy Sword (again, this is all from my perspective. I could have misinterpreted this, it wasn’t explained all that well). Meanwhile, back at the Iceberg Lounge, Bruce is hanging out at a gambling table. His contact lenses with microcomputers are able to identify everyone in the room except one hooded, religious looking man. Bruce sits next to this guy, and the guy explains that he’s almost out of time and is just trying to enjoy the small amount of life he has left. That’s when new Azreal smashes in and attempts to kill this hooded religious looking guy. But the assassination is foiled by none other than …
Another YES moment in this weeks books for me! Zatana is the one that Bruce came here to meet, and she’s there to save his butt at the right time. I feel like there are a few books this week that kind of lacked in story, but had a big “wow” moment to try and impress me. And that’s great, don’t get me wrong. I love “wow” moments. It makes me super happy to see Zatana show back up in Rebirth. But that in no way makes this a less confusing read. I’m really excited to see Zatana show up, but I feel like this is the wrong book to bring her into. We already have too many cooks in the kitchen, and now we’re bringing in another semi-big-hitter into the mix. I just want the books that only have a couple characters to get these moments instead of trying to cram over 10 people into a Batman Detective Comics book.
Sum it up!
While the reveal at the end of this book was very cool, it was not enough to make up for the confusing storytelling. People who know Azreal’s back story will probably enjoy this a little more. But I feel like it was not explained well enough for me to understand in this issue. Overall, it was a pretty confusing read with one “wow” moment at the end to try and save the day.
Ben DuPey | NCR