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Detective Comics #851 [Review]

Batman: Last Rites – Last Days of Gotham part 1 of 2

Writer: Denny O’Neil
Art: Guillem March
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Assistant Editor: Janelle Siegel
Editor: Mike Marts
Covers: Guillem March & Tony Daniel
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue seems to introduce a new character–at the least, I am unfamiliar with this character, not having read this title much in a lotta years. This character has elements dating back to the Gotham Earthquake (Batman: Cataclysm), and also has Two Face back in action, even as a doppleganger apparently is running around using his name. As the last guy to really deal with Two Face and with Bruce missing, Nightwing answers the call of duty and goes into action.

There’s something to the art in this issue that makes me think it’s got some manga influence, as the visual style puts me in mind both of that and some sort of adaptation of some cartoon I can’t think of. The art’s far from bad, though it being a bit stylized turns me off to it somewhat. Characters that I believe are intended to be recognizeable are, while other characters seem to look as they should based on what I get from the story’s context.

The story itself is something I really wanted to like, given this brief return by Denny O’Neil. Unfortunately, this issue just didn’t work for me, and I found myself having to force myself to read each page instead of skimming over to get to more interesting stuff. This feels like a fill-in; whether it is or not I don’t pretend to know; though the fact that it’s to be continued in an upcoming issue of Batman is rather telling. If you’re a longtime fan of O’Neil and steeped in Bat-lore from around the Cataclysm stuff and are a fan of Two Face, you’ll probably enjoy this. I came in as someone fresh off Batman: RIP interested in seeing the impact the absence of Batman himself has on everyone, and just was not engaged by the story.

All in all, a fairly disappointing issue for me, though I hope I’ve contextualized that above. The cover is what I must credit with drawing me in, combined with realizing O’Neil was penning the story–this cover image would make a great poster, I think.

Story: 7/10
Art: 6/10
Whole: 6.5/10

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