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March 29, 2014 / Jett

Batman – Detective Comics Vol. 1: Faces of Death

The next stop on my Batman adventure is Batman – Detective Comics Vol. 1: The Face of Death. As an outsider looking into the comic book scene, I never understood why the same character needed different comic lines. Well, after reading the first issues of both mainline Batman and Detective Comics Batman, I decided to continue with both, as they told very different stories with a different narrative approach. It also didn’t hurt that the events of Detective Comics issue #1 directly tie into other comics that I’ve already read. Looking to flesh out that story, I dive into another Batman adventure.

In this initial set of issues, a new threat has been doing horrible things to the faces of Gotham. Most notably, as least one of Batman’s most notorious villains gets some “cosmetic surgery” at the hands of this menace. Who is the freak that’s doing this? The Dark Knight aims to get to the bottom of this, however deep the rabbit hole goes.

It’s not hard to see where the “Detective” part of Detective Comics comes from. Everything takes on a more noir style with Batman providing narration throughout. Unlike mainline Batman, which tries very hard to balance the action with the intellectual aspects of the story, I felt like Detective Comics is a lot more straightforward. Way more classic villains make appearances here a lot more fighting takes place. Things start off great when Batman’s primary adversary is the new villain, though I think the book as a whole takes a turn for the overly familiar when Batman’s attention is diverted elsewhere. Also, it’s a bit of a bummer that the most compelling seed that this arc plants is largely left alone. Having read other comics in the DC Universe and having seen more recent issues on the shelf, I know this is going to come back in a big way later.

Detective Comics Vol. 1: Faces of Death does a good job of differentiating itself from mainline Batman and it’s actually pretty good. However, this felt a bit more scatterbrained and one-note in tone than I’d like it to be. I’ve already bought volumes 2 and 3, so I’m looking forward to seeing if things tighten up there.

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