Detective Comics No. 999 review: All is revealed to Batman


All is revealed as Batman discovers who has been sending the horrors after him, killing or maiming those who helped him become Batman. Spoilers for Detective Comics no. 999 follow.

This issue of Detective Comics at first feels a bit anti-climactic for everything that has been building during the entirety of the arc. It feels like everything has been thrown to the wayside and it was all for naught. By the end of the issue though, it becomes obvious that this isn’t true in the slightest and the arc has been about one thing from the beginning, getting into Batman’s psyche.

The reveal that this entire arc has been in fact a simulation that Batman has put himself through is at first incredibly disappointing. There were a lot of revelations and twists that were incredibly dark and would change Batman’s life irrevocably. But then, because of the writing, it dawns that none of that stuff mattered in the first place. That only thing that mattered is what Batman is willing to do be Batman and that is, kill Bruce Wayne.

Image by DC Comics/Art by Doug Mahnke

There has been argument after argument about whether Batman is the mask or whether Bruce is the mask. Every interpretation is different. Every creative team’s depiction is varied. This creative team though decided to put their foot down and declare that Batman is in fact the true identity and Bruce Wayne is in fact the mask. This is done in such a way that really hits home how tortured Batman truly is with it being his birthday and his gift to himself being to put himself into a simulation to prove who exactly he needs to be. It’s a twisted, morbid realization that also has a spark of hope that proves that this arc wasn’t wasted as it feels at first in this issue.

To tell a story like this though, it really helps to have such an amazing artist like Doug Mahnke working on the issue. His art throughout the entirety of the arc has been incredible, but here, there’s an added emotional level that he adds to the art. His Batman throughout this arc felt very rage-fueled and brutal, which is very much how it feels at the beginning of the issue, but by the end of his time in the simulation, Mahnke’s felt has a tinge of sadness that is palpable.

By the end though, that spark of hope that is there in the writing, is also there in the art. Mahnke uses a lot wide-shots to create this epic feeling of Batman coming to grips with who he is, again, while Alfred and Damian encourage him in his crusade. It’s a mix of hope and sadness that is key in the character of Batman that the art simply nails.

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Despite an immediate reaction of disappointment, Detective Comics no. 999 ends up reaffirming the character of Batman in a fantastic way.