The past has always been prologue for Batman and it becomes so again when a killer from his early years reappears in Europe. Spoilers for Detective Comics Annual no. 2 follow.
Batman is out on patrol as normal, catching the typical odd villains that permeate the Gotham underbelly, this time a guy with the power to erase anything from existent with his hands or head. Just a normal day in Gotham. As he heads back to the manor, Alfred gets food and international news ready for Bruce as he showers.
Once Bruce begins to read the news though, a familiar enemy from his past appears, The Reaper. He finds a book titled his “Black Casebook” and recounts The Reaper’s story to Alfred. The Reaper’s murderous exploits in Europe cause Bruce to rethink his plans to go to Europe, not as Batman, but as Bruce Wayne, which he ends doing in the end.
Bruce and Alfred arrive in Europe only to play the part of Bruce Wayne for as little as they need to keep the façade up. Not long after though, Alfred and Batman set their plan in motion to find The Reaper, which works flawlessly. The Reaper flees before Batman can catch, but Batman tracks him to a lair regardless.
Image by DC Comics/Art by Travis Moore
After fighting The Reaper, Batman learns that the true culprit behind The Reaper’s reappearance is The Reaper’s son, Julian Caspian. He sets out an android version of The Reaper suit to kill Batman and the man playing the part, but Batman is able to save both of them from an explosion, where he realizes that another thing from his past is coming for him.
Peter J. Tomasi’s run on Detective Comics so far has been almost entirely about Batman’s past coming back to haunt him. “The past is prologue,” as stated multiple times in this issue. This isn’t necessarily the best issue of Tomasi’s run so far, but it presents an interesting villain moving forward post-Arkham Knight.
There’s a very international feel to this issue that feels reminiscent of Batman Incorporated, of which there’s even a reference to here, and it’s possible that this issue is setting up a resurgence of the organization as well as a version for The Reaper. This issue really feels more like beginning of a story than a stand-alone one.
Detective Comics Annual no. 2 isn’t the best issue of Tomasi’s run so far, but it pushes forward the theme of the run in a possibly interesting way.