Damian is missing in action, leading Batman and Alfred to open Detective Comics #1003 with a citywide search operation. Meanwhile the Arkham Knight, holed up in her base beneath Arkham Asylum, reveals her identity to her captive. Only…Damian can’t seem to recognize her. This begs two questions: what is the Knight’s vendetta against Batman, and what is “The Eclipse” she keeps mentioning?
The writing in this issue strikes a relative balance between action and exposition. After a brief standoff between her and Damian, the Arkham Knight promises him that Batman’s paths will cross hers again soon. This leaves the bulk of Detective Comics #1003 to the mission of cracking the Knight’s identity.
Although we know little about Arkham Knight, we actually learn a good amount about the character by what we see. The Knight has a code and keeps to it. This is her way of trying to establishing moral superiority in the conflict with Bruce. We also see the depths of the legion’s devotion to their leader. They willingly subject themselves to brutal punishment for defiance. All the while, they make cryptic references to a fanatical obsession with bringing “The Eclipse” to cleanse Gotham of Batman.
It’s clear that The Arkham Knight has the asylum under complete control, even recruiting inmates into her plan. She’s equal parts revolutionary, and doomsday cult leader.
Unfortunately, Detective Comics #1003 falls a bit flat in terms of story dynamics. While still compelling, the book’s emotional peak arrives around a quarter of the way through. Thus, the tension is not quite as high here as in previous issues, leaving this chapter feeling like a bit of an anticlimax.
Of course, Tomasi still manages to provide a hook on the last page, ratcheting the tension back up and ensuring you come back for the next issue.
Brad Walker’s artwork remains strong overall in Detective Comics #1003. His style is on point, and he hits the beats of the story nicely. I appreciate that he never rests on one image for too long. That said, there’s not as much striking imagery to sink our teeth into compared to other issues in this run. While imagery changes fast, there aren’t as many stand-out moments.
The comic doesn’t seem to flow as easily as other recent issues, either. Most of Walker’s illustrations are tightly-cropped and visually-similar. However, he repeatedly breaks the continuum of movement from one panel to the next. As a result, it can sometimes be difficult to follow along visually.
Fairbairn provides color duties for Detective Comics #1003. Like with our last issue, the palette he employs is an interesting choice, though it works well alongside Walker’s artwork.
While it doesn’t provide as much excitement as the last two issues, Detective Comics #1003 is still a very solid chapter in Tomasi’s ongoing story. It advances the narrative, keeps the reader’s interest, and makes you want to learn what will happen next.