Detective Comics No. 998 review: To save a demon


Those looking to kill those who made Batman who is are looking to kill Jason Blood, so Batman must brace to save one demon from another in Detective Comics.

This is another really solid entry for Detective Comics. The formula is becoming a bit stale after sharing the same formula for the past couple of issues, but the enjoyment level that this story brings is still there. The thing is though, it’s just nice to see Batman being a detective. This really hadn’t been seen in a series called Detective Comics for quite some time. Year, “Deface the Face” tried to do something in the vein of being a mystery, but it didn’t work at all, so it’s good to have an arc that actually feels like a good mystery.

Again, another issue of Detective Comics feels incredibly fast paced. Most of this issue takes place as a long fight scene with a demon, which automatically ups the pace of an issue. It’s honestly rare to read an issue of a comic that is primarily a fight scene where this isn’t the case. That said, it’s a great fight scene. Tomasi brings back the Hellbat armor that he introduced during his run on Batman & Robin and while it may not make complete sense to use in context of the story, rule of cool applies with it, making it the right choice to go with.

Image by DC Comics/Art by Doug Mahnke

The only real problems with the writing of the issue is the aforementioned use of formula and the pacing. These two go hand in hand though because Tomasi has used had this exact same problem with previous issues. He sets something up at the beginning of the previous issue and almost immediately abandons it at the beginning of the next. In this issue, it’s Professor Strange, who sadly was not used to the capacity that he could’ve been, especially after being introduced in the previous issue wearing a Batsuit. Hopefully that’s not the case with the way this issue ends.

Another issue though, another chance to revel in Doug Mahnke’s gorgeous artwork. As mentioned above, the rule of cool applies to most things in this issue because, let’s be honest, it hinges on Batman fighting a demon. Realism need not apply. Mahnke ignores that though and combines his own semi-realistic, while making Batman pretty awesome into a style that shouldn’t work yet does.

Mahnke’s gritty style works with pretty much every book he draws for, especially for the more grounded series. His art has been outstanding in part because of the grounded reality, combined with some ridiculousness, of Gotham City, so the fact that he seemingly effortlessly is able to bring not one, but two demons into the issue with feeling out of place is fantastic.

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Detective Comics continues on its road to issue number 1000 with another interesting addition in the current mystery. With one issue left, there’s still a lot of room for surprises.