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The Outsiders officially are “a thing,” Batman and Karma have their showdown, and the real villain makes an appearance all in this week’s DETECTIVE COMICS #987 as Bryan Hill brings his first arc to a close and opens the door for some exciting stories to come.

WRITTEN BY: Bryan Hill
PENCILS BY: Miguel Mendoca
INKS: Diana Egea
COLORS: Adriano Lucas
LETTERS: Sal Cipriano

WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

Spoiler 13

DETECTIVE COMICS SPOILERS TOO!

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

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Summary

Karma and his henchmen break into Wayne Tech and take a hostage to get Batman’s attention. The new group of Outsiders takes down Karma’s cronies while the Dark Knight overloads his brain with nightmarish memories to oversaturate Karma’s helmet. This gave Batman the upper hand needed to stop Fleet Delmar for good and create a new lifelong villain for the Caped Crusader. However, the issue ends with readers seeing the possible mastermind behind Karma and the events unraveling in Markovia. Bryan Hill’s story is starting to heat up now!

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Hill Explains Karma’s Powers

Hill opens the issue by giving readers the entire explanation as to how Karma’s helmet works, possible origins, and it’s enhanced abilities. Now, Hill has dropped some nuggets along the way showing fans what Karma’s abilities “could” be but now readers are certain. The helmet connects to Fleet Delmar’s synapse, and if he’s removed from it, Delmar will become a vegetable. Not only can Karma’s helmet read minds, but it’s alien, increases strength, speed, agility, and magnifies all of the user’s senses and sight.

First Key To My Heart

Hill hits two huge home runs in this issue. The first home run was continuity. Many fans who read more than just one DC Comic, like myself, enjoy an interconnected universe. Seeing Katana bring up events in JUSTICE LEAGUE: NO JUSTICE, was a stroke of genius.  Katana references Amanda Waller and Brainiac, which also connect books like JUSTICE LEAGUE and SUICIDE SQUAD as well.  Plus, this makes Hill’s DETECTIVE COMICS feel important to the universe while answering questions within his own story. More writers need to drop subtle tidbits from other comics along the way. It really amplifies the story and puts the comic on a whole other level of importance in the DCU.

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Second Key To My Heart

Hill finds a way to show a more humanistic Batman without all the fluffy nonsense and confusingly deep storylines and plot twists readers may find in other comics.  Bruce Wayne takes the time to know his workers, truly cares for them, and Hill shows this touching side of Bruce that has been missing since Rebirth if not longer. Instead of a cat and mouse game about a proposal that amounts to an engagement, which later amounts to nothing, Hill shows Bruce’s love for the human spirit through his compassion for Fred Morgan. Who? You’ll see.

While Miguel Mendoca and Diana Egea draw a hunched over Batman who looks genuinely concerned for this man, Hill shows The Caped Crusader spitting out details about a man that no CEO or company President would even care to know, particularly one who spends his nights fighting crime. Batman legitimately looks pissed that Karma would attack this security guard who works nights to support his wife’s diabetes.  Bruce knows that this nobody, whose employed at Wayne Tech, needs to work nights so he can take his wife to her dialysis treatment during the day. Heck, Bruce was still thinking of Fred even in the mist of his final battle with Karma. Batman asked Duke to look after Fred and get him home to his wife who was probably worried.

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Things That I Wasn’t A Fan Of

1) Black Lightning calls out Batman and tells him that he’s “stronger than Batman!” Big words Jefferson. I understand that Black Lightning has abilities, but this phrase is a stretch.

2) I wasn’t a fan of Batman overflowing his mind with memories to beat Karma. I don’t understand how showing Fleet Delmar all of Bruce’s thoughts and nightmares would be enough to paralyze Karma long enough to win. How does Batman let someone into their mind and control what that person sees? It just felt like an easy fix to end the battle and stop the villain. The ”overload” seemed out of character for Hill’s writing so far.

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Questions

1. The cover mentions Brainiac, Katana references a file from Brainiac, yet we don’t see him or hear of him in the issue. However, Hill references alien tech in the mask Karma used and Martina, the possible mastermind in Markovia, had an eye that glowed red which shot a laser out frying her business partner. Is Martina Brainiac?

2.  Also, Martina references someone named Roderick. Is this a throwback to Roderick the Vampire from the original Outsider’s run? If so, Hill is pulling at fans heartstrings with that shout out and choice of direction in the book. If I’m not mistaken, I think Roderick did work out of Markovia, but I’m not a huge Outsiders fan. I don’t like to read solicits because I don’t want to be spoiled but is Hill setting up an Outsiders book for HIM to pilot?

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The Art

Mendoca and Egea illustrated great fight scenes and panel layouts throughout the issue, especially when the “Outsiders” were fighting Karma’s goons. Also, Mendoca and Egea added so much detail during the issue in places readers would least expect.  For example, the elevator doors showed the reflections of our heroes looking back at them and the Wayne Tech windows had a glare that reflected the individuals through the glass.

This helped show fans how much intricate detail, dedication, and time this creative team put into the issue, including Adriano Lucas’ colors and Sal Cipriano’s lettering. Together, Lucas and Cipriano naturally send the readers eyes dancing across the pages stopping at the essential parts unknowingly with a cadence and tempo that pleasantly guides fans through the narrative. Excellent job to everyone involved in the issue.

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Should you buy this issue and/or add this to your pull list?

Without a doubt, add this series to your pull list. Additionally, buy this issue to see what Hill and company have been doing throughout this story arc. Why? Well, it only took Hill one issue to show a Dark Knight that is more human-centered, levelheaded, sympathetic, and gracious without needing a 25 issue romance. Batman can still be gritty and dark while also caring for the human spirit. In the course of one arc, Hill has progressed Batman farther than his predecessors have throughout Rebirth in any Batman comic. The character appears strong again both physically and mentally. Batman looks like a leader who thinks, calculates, plans, prepares, and organizes before jumping into the problem. Bruce may be depressed still but doesn’t seem moppy or sad.  Bruce Wayne feels like Batman again, and it’s refreshing. Thank you, Hill!


What did you guys think of DETECTIVE COMICS #987? Comment below or hit me up on Twitter @dispatchdcu. If you would like to read more of my reviews, click HERE!

REVIEW OVERVIEW
WRITING/ PLOT
PENCILS/ INKS
COLORS
LETTERS
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I love comics, movies, tv, and basically all things pop culture related. Walt Disney World is my happy place and the best music ever created came from the 80’s. I’m a diehard Philadelphia Eagles fan that can get you a 5 on your AP Calc exam. I hate being hot. I hate being cold and I run at least 5 miles a day just to stay in shape. Message me the next time you want to meet up for disc golf and did I mention I read A LOT of comics. My amazing wife and family will always come first and always remember to never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line.