Mr. Freeze finally reveals the plan he’s been working on in the background over the last several issues in Detective Comics #1012, out this week from DC Comics.
Women bearing a particular physical profile are going missing in Gotham. We know who’s behind it. The question: how long will it take Bruce to find out?
In his run on Detective Comics thus far, writer Peter J. Tomasi’s focused largely on smaller, self-contained narratives. In contrast to Tom King’s sweeping Batman run, most of Tomasi’s stories are standalones, or maybe two-parters. With Detective Comics #1012, though, the writer expands into what feels like a larger narrative.
As alluded to, Tomasi’s spent the last several issues laying the groundwork for this story as part of the Year of the Villain event. Taking place before the events of Batman #77, the writer delivers the true opening chapter to follow the prologues. The writing still hews to much of the same sharp, driving storytelling we’ve seen from Tomasi thus far on the title. But, given that it’s just the beginning of the story, much of the issue still feels like setup.
The writing is largely expository. We get the details of Freeze’s plan, involving kidnapping women with similar profiles to that of his beloved wife. Nearly half of the book focuses on Freeze explaining his plan through expository dialogue. Batman, in turn, picks up on the thread after noting a strange 911 call from a victim. While he opens the book with a somewhat melodramatic soliloquy, Bruce doesn’t really impact the plot itself until the two-thirds mark.
Detective Comics #1012 isn’t the most exciting chapter of Tomasi’s run. It’s engaging enough, though, to keep the reader’s attention, promising an interesting story is to come.
Doug Mahnke provides art for Detective Comics #1012. From a stylistic point of view, it’s a strong showing; the artist’s sketchy linework is appealing and eye-catching as always. It’s less consistent in terms of layout, though.
Mahnke packs many of the pages with panels. And, in many cases, the layout of the page doesn’t feel particularly calculated or purposeful. As a result, panels have a tendency to overlap and overshadow one another. This effect is further accentuated by the visual busyness of many of the illustrations. The eye is not always drawn to any particular part of the panels (or of the page, for that matter).
Overall, the art in Detective Comics #1012 feels like something of a mixed bag. It’s stylistically interesting and appealing, but the unfocused layout can make one’s eyes a little tired.
In contrast, the colors, courtesy of artist David Baron, are on-point through the issue. They’re skillfully deployed, and in some cases, truly leap off the page. A brief conversation between Batman and Bullock near the book’s end, for instance, has a great noir tone to it courtesy of Baron’s colors, which lends the scene much more gravitas.
Detective Comics #1012 is a respectable work. Not a high point in the run, but it feels like we’re building to something bigger.