DETECTIVE COMICS #986 Review: Bryan Hill Captures Batman’s Voice

Monkeys Fighting Robots

Batman’s hidden plans, Black Lightning strikes, and Karma’s mind manipulation continue to kick Bruce’s butt in DETECTIVE COMICS #986 as Bryan Hill dives deeper into Karma’s abilities and reveals even more secrets that Batman’s keeping.

WRITTEN BY: Bryan Hill
ART BY: Philippe Briones
COLORS: Adriano Lucas
LETTERS: Sal Cipriano




To see what happened last issue, click on the writer’s name below.



Batman and Orphan head in to stop Karma before he blows up all the kids he kidnapped. While Orphan tries to disarm the bomb and save the kids, Batman takes on Karma and fails miserably due to his mind reading abilities. Realizing she has no freakin’ idea how to disarm the explosive, Black Lightning jumps in and holds off the explosion just long enough for Batman, Orphan, and the kids to all escape safe and sound. Hill ends the issue with Bruce giving Barbara an earful for disobeying Jefferson, and the new Bat team looking “outside” for some more help with Katana.

Signaling a Change

Hill opens the issue by showing readers the 2018 version of the Bat Signal, and it is spectacular. Now, the Bat Signal can show up on phones, tablets, TV’s, electronic billboards, and on the side of buildings as soon as Alfred hacks their signal. Knowing that the Bat Signal was not only designed to grab Batman’s attention but also a symbol of hope, this idea by Hill is pure genius. It’s shocked how long it took for someone to think of this idea.

Things Learned

1. Hill gives readers a straight and to the point Batman just like the last issue.

2. Batman really messed up Fleet Delmar A.K.A. Karma. Bruce destroyed his face and eyes with bats and used Scarecrow gas that messed with his mind. Why would Batman do that? I hope Hill gives readers the answer to that question soon.

3. I didn’t know lightning could keep in an explosive blast. I guess that tool is in Black Lightning’s arsenal now!

4. Hill explains that Karma is not a better fighter or better trained than Batman but Fleet just knows everything he’s going to do. This was again a great explanation as to why Batman is getting his butt kicked, but I wish Bats would finally pull it together. Can someone tell me the last fight he’s won without a head-butt or magic metal?

The Art

Philippe Briones’ art was pretty solid throughout the issue. He’s very consistent in his style from one issue to the next and readers should know what to expect. The art is clear, and the layout of the panels and lettering by Sal Cipriano make the issue easy to follow from one page to the next. Briones’ character faces have a subtle cartoon style while still keeping the tone realistic. That is a difficult task for any artist. I thoroughly enjoyed the art by Briones, as well as this creative team, and hope they continue on this journey with Hill.

Should you buy this issue?

Heck yeah! Hill gives readers reasoning and understanding throughout the issue. For example, why is Batman getting his butt kicked again? Well, Hill tells readers through Karma’s dialogue with Batman. In addition, Hill gives readers the understanding and drive of the villain by reiterating the horror Batman put him through. Furthermore, Hill explains the background, the situation, and the direction in this issue, as well as each issue he’s down so far. It’s refreshing to actually get answers in a comic.

Should you add this to your pull list?

Absolutely! As long as Hill is writing this book, I’m reading it. He continues to give us a hard-nosed detective who thinks, strategizes, and plans for missions. Hill gives readers a Batman that thinks before he leaps and doesn’t win at the end with magic metals or wishes. His Batman isn’t emotional and doesn’t have clever nicknames for people he may or may not still be in a relationship with. Hill is writing a street-level crimefighter whose smart, calculated, and hopefully will stop getting his butt kicked at some point. I hope Hill continues on DETECTIVE COMICS for a nice long run.


What did you guys think of DETECTIVE COMICS #986? Comment below or hit me up on Twitter @dispatchdcu. If you would like to read more of my reviews, click HERE!