[Review] DETECTIVE COMICS #998 is Fun, but Distracts from Larger Narrative

FIRST IMPRESSION

DETECTIVE COMICS #998 features some revelations, but two-thirds of the book is taken up by a story that, ultimately, doesn't factor in to the broader narrative much. It's fun, well-drawn and well-written overall, but doesn't feel as vital as previous chapters.
Writing
Dialogue
Pencils/Inks
Coloring
- Advertisement -

Picking up from the last page of the previous issue, Detective Comics #998 provides a twist in the story of the mysterious attacks against Bruce’s past mentors.

Batman confronts Hugo Strange, accusing the mad scientist of masterminding the attacks. That lead proves to be a dead end, though, as Batman is summoned to aid Jason Blood. Donning the Hellbat suit, Bruce rushes to rescue another member of his inner circle.

The Writing

One of Tomasi’s strengths as a storyteller is misdirection. He sets up a breadcrumb trail, leading you down a narrative path before flipping the situation on its head. This is a talent he showcases well in Detective Comics #998.

The monster attacks fit Strange’s M.O., but he’s not the culprit; the creations are too sophisticated for his abilities. Later in the issue, a situation involving another of Bruce’s close confidants proves to be a trap. None of the twists are completely without setup, though, so they never come off as unearned or like he cheats the reader.

- Advertisement -

It feels like Tomasi may try to condense too much into this one book, though. As a result, Batman’s interactions with both Strange and Blood feel somewhat stilted. The main issue: while the writing in Detective Comics #998 is high-quality overall, Batman’s attempt to rescue Etrigan is ultimately tangential to the story. Their interaction serves only to redirect Bruce to the payoff at the issue’s end. Thus, while it fits thematically, most of the book reads like a diversion from the broader narrative.

He seems to try and inject some profundity into the work with the explanation of the creature attacking Blood. By the book’s end, though, it doesn’t really pay off, leaving that as more confusing than enlightening.

The Artwork

Doug Mahnke’s pencils, with assistance on inks courtesy of Jaime Mendoza and Mark Irwin, are impressive as always here. He captures the mood well; the fight to rescue Etrigan is filled with hellfire and power in tightly-packed illustrations that open up to explosive splashes. The slower sequences pull back for wider views, relying on dynamic angles to keep the tension up. Each panel is vibrant, and radiates with energy.

Mahnke divides each page differently in Detective Comics #998, though there are arrays of panels that make recurring, regular appearances. This gives the book a nice flow through the chaotic action sequences.

Colorist David Baron captures the right tones for Mahnke’s line work. We get fire-lit shadows for Strange’s lab setting, compared to the bright, unnatural tones for the fight against Etrigan’s attacker.

Final Thoughts

Detective Comics #998 is a well-written, engaging story. It’s a shame that the central conflict of the book’s plot distracts from the ongoing narrative, though.

TRENDING THIS WEEK

30+ Page Preview Of IDW’s SONS OF CHAOS From Chris Jaymes And Alejandro Aragon

The oversized, panoramic graphic novel Sons Of Chaos written by Chris Jaymes with art by Alejandro Aragon hits your local comic book shop on...

2019 Will Eisner Award Winners – The Complete List

The 2019 Will Eisner Awards were held last night at San Diego Comic-Con, and we have your complete list of winners below!

A New Beginning in WONDER WOMAN COME BACK TO ME #1

Wonder Woman Come Back to Me #1 is a reprinting of a classic tale of Diana once again diving into danger to save those she loves.

Review: The City of Bane Begins in BATMAN #75

At long last, we reach the third act of a story that’s three years in the making with Batman #75. Kicking off the City...

Review: STAR WARS: AGE OF RESISTANCE: CAPTAIN PHASMA #1- A Galaxy Far Less Interesting

It’s hard not to feel sympathy for the character Captain Phasma. Not that she was dealt a particularly difficult lot in life, but the...

Review: THE IMMORTAL HULK #21 Explores The History Of General Fortean

James Fortean, much like his mentor General Thunderbolt Ross, would like nothing more than to destroy both Bruce Banner and the Hulk. So much...

AfterShock Exclusive Preview: A WALK THROUGH HELL #12 – All Hell Breaks Loose

A Walk Through Hell #12 hits your local comic book shop on July 24, but thanks to AfterShock Comics, Monkeys Fighting Robots has a...

Advance Review: MIDNIGHT SKY #1 Creates An Intriguing Mystery And A Frightening World

Scout Comics' Midnight Sky #1, by James Pruett, Scott Van Domelen and Ilaria Fella is the start of brand new science fiction series that...
Avatar
David DeCorte
David DeCorte covers comic book, entertainment, pop culture, and business news for multiple outlets. He is also a sci-fi writer, and is currently working on his first full-length book. Originally from San Diego, he now lives in Tampa.
COMIC REVIEW DIGEST, sign up today! At Monkeys Fighting Robots, we strive to talk about ALL aspects of a comic book, instead of just giving you a recap of the story.
  • Did you notice how epic the colors were?
  • That was a wicked panel layout by the artist!
  • What was the letterer thinking?
  • How did this comic book make you feel?
  • Most importantly, should you buy it?

Every Wednesday you will receive an email with our latest reviews and analyses, as well as our original comic strips and exclusive editorial content.
Thanks for signing up!