Review: The Tragedy of Astrid Arkham in DETECTIVE COMICS #1004

FIRST IMPRESSION

DETECTIVE COMICS #1004 is a masterclass in how to do exposition well. The storytelling is strong, adding pathos to the story. Of course, it's all backed up by excellent artwork, colors, and lettering. Highly recommended.
Writing
Dialogue
Pencils/Inks
Coloring
Lettering
- Advertisement -

The plot thickens in Detective Comics #1004, as we learn Astrid Arkham’s origins, and the root of her hatred for Batman.

As the daughter of Arkham Asylum’s head doctor Jeremiah Arkham, Astrid grew up within the walls of the facility. Seeing the asylum’s inmates as a surrogate family, she learns to hate Batman after learning about a tragedy within her own past. This hatred sets her on her mission to cleanse Gotham of Batman, and bring about the mysterious “Eclipse” she references.

The Writing

Much of Detective Comics #1004 is occupied by exposition, with Dr. Arkham relaying Astrid’s entire backstory. Dedicating this much time to exposition is a hard trick to pull off well. Tomasi manages to do it, though, delivering another excellent chapter in the story.

We see a young Astrid interact with The Joker, Clayface, and other members of the Batman’s rogue’s gallery. It’s a bit uncanny, to a degree. We see genuine affection for the girl from characters we’re not accustomed to seeing in such an intimate light. Her interactions with these characters in Detective Comics #1004 give motivation to her actions as an adult.

- Advertisement -

Given the circumstances, she develops a startlingly-reasonable interpretation of the dynamics between Batman and his enemies, only viewed from a completely different perspective. In her view, Batman is not a hero or a protector. Rather, he’s the shadowy monster who comes to spread fear and pain among her adopted family.

Detective Comics #1004

Astrid’s backstory does induce a little bit of chronological confusion. She’s presumed to be around twenty years old at the time of Detective Comics #1004. However, characters present from her first moments like Batman, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy don’t seem to have aged at all in that span of time. Of course, there are ways around that matter, as fan speculation meticulously points out.

That point notwithstanding, the writing is strong, establishing pathos and motivation for Astrid’s crusade. It advances the narrative well, and leaves us on the precipice of a climactic showdown.

The Artwork

Bradley Walker’s artwork in Detective Comics #1004 is once again on-point. The sequences illustrating Astrid’s past flow seamlessly across the page without defined panels, giving the work a dreamlike impression that reflects a sequence of interwoven memories. Scrolls of Astrid’s childhood drawings serve as a device to lay out the story, which is a very neat effect.

The way in which Walker draws the flashbacks contrast well with the present-day sequences. He closely-crops many of these images in tight, evenly-spaced, rectangular panels. The end result is a work that feels cohesive, without being dull.

Nathan Fairbarn’s eye for color really shines in the flashback sequences. He bathes the figures in a lot of single hues against the beige backdrop of the scroll, adding to the dreamlike, flashback vibe.

Final Thoughts

Tomasi and company don’t disappoint on Detective Comics #1004. An excellent chapter in an equally attention-grabbing run.


Save 50% on graphic novels, statues & more!
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.

SPONSORS

If you want your BUSINESS to be part of something bigger than itself, you might be a good fit to partner with Monkeys Fighting Robots.

Review: The Tragedy of Astrid Arkham in DETECTIVE COMICS #1004 4

CONTACT US

Review: The Tragedy of Astrid Arkham in DETECTIVE COMICS #1004 5

Are you a creator looking for a review of your book?
Use the form below to end us a message.

Are you a fan of the website and have a comment, question, or concern? Drop us a line, and we will gladly answer all your questions.

JOIN THE TEAM

Monkeys Fighting Robots is looking for passionate writers to drive the site’s coverage of the comic book industry. Authors will be responsible for a particular niche, providing reviews, opinion and news coverage, while building a reader community using his or her multimedia storytelling skills. The best candidates have solid writing skills, WordPress knowledge, and are engaged on social media. Do you love comic books and have a strong opinion, then we would like to speak with you.

Review: The Tragedy of Astrid Arkham in DETECTIVE COMICS #1004 6

MEET THE TEAM

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!