Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato have made the leap to Gotham City, making this a pe..."/> Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato have made the leap to Gotham City, making this a pe..."/>

Detective Comics #30 Review: Icarus Takes Flight


Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato have made the leap to Gotham City, making this a perfect jumping-on point. Like the duo’s run (sorry!) on The Flash, this particular issue starts things off slowly and mostly serves to set supporting characters in place, introduce a few new faces and explore Bruce Wayne’s fatherhood issues. It was solid enough to keep me around for next month, and Manapul’s art is, as usual, worth the price of admission even with a darker world to bring to life.

The Icarus referred to in the story’s title is a dangerous street drug that we saw in the issue of The Flash that tied into the “Zero Year” story Scott Snyder was telling in Batman. It’s back in Gotham, being pushed by an old villain given new life called the Squid. His younger brother is part of the action, using young Russian children as runners until they are saved by Batman in our first look at him in action. A motorcycle gang called the Kings of the Sun is also involved, one of whom manages to stab Bruce in the shoulder.

Next we meet Elena Aguila and her daughter Annie “The Eagle” Aguila, a teenaged motocross rider of some talent. Elena convinces Bruce to help her with a plan for Gotham’s East End and Waterfront districts, one she thinks will be socially beneficial even though it will cost Wayne’s company a ton of money in missed commercial opportunities. However forces are already mobilizing to convince Bruce of the error of his ways, including a congressman who is on the take. Corruption in Gotham City, you know? Also, the Squid really has a squid, feeding a henchman to it to prove a point to his younger brother.

Alfred finds Bruce working on Damian’s motorcycle, keeping a promise to his late son to install something into it that “is going to take some time.” The two men have a talk about fatherhood, but someone is streaking toward Wayne Manor looking like she’s on fire. The intruder alarm sounds, and Bruce orders Alfred to lock down the house while he intercepts the unwelcome guest. Why he does so without putting on the rest of his costume (he’s shirtless but in his Batman costume from the waist down) is a question only the creators can answer.

As it turns out, the runner is Elena, who collapses in a fiery heap on Bruce’s doorstep. The guess is that she’s been force-fed Icarus — by someone working for the congressman, perhaps — and that the drug makes people fly high but too close to the sun, as it were. We’ll find out next month, one would think.

On the art side, Manapul and Buccellato retain the same distinctive, cartoony style that they used on The Flash and have simply adopted it for Batman and his world. They found a way to work in some speed lines in the motorcycle fight scene, and there are plenty of dynamic shots of characters breaking free of their panels mixed with some pretty standard layout choices on other pages. There’s something a bit strange about the coloring, as if even the scenes that are supposed to be in the dark of night are a little brighter than you’d think they should be. But maybe that’s to be expected in this first visit to Gotham.

The creative team promised the stories they tell would be more grounded while the Batman Eternal goes big, and that certainly seems to be the case in their debut. It could make for a nice alternative to both the weekly series and Snyder’s penchant for big, sweeping epics in Batman, so I’m on board for now.