Writer: Tony S. Daniel
Art: Tony S. Daniel, Szymon Kudranski, Sandu Florea, Tomeu Morey
Publisher: DC Comics
One of the big reasons Batman has been one of the best bat-books since the launch of the New 52 is because it’s where Batman has faced the dire new threat of the Court of Owls. However, with the “Night of the Owls” crossover spilling into the rest of the bat-books, the question is whether or not this event can help elevate some of the other titles that have remained mired in mediocrity. At least in the case of Detective Comics #9, it certainly seems so.
The Court of Owls has a list of influential people in Gotham they want to take down. Dr. Arkham, head practitioner and the man who runs Arkham Island, is on that list. That means that the Talons are coming to Arkham. That means crazy things are going to happen. That means Batman will be in the midst of it. And that means a more enjoyable issue of Detective Comics. Not only do we get some insights into the mind of the guy currently running Arkham (I don’t think he’s quite all there), we also get to see Batman face down Black Mask in what turns out to be a rather amusing scene (love Batman’s line: “Your powers prey on the weak-minded. Do I look weak to you?”). All of it adds up to a fun side-story which helps illustrate just how chaotic the Night of Owls is. Batman has his work cut-out for him, which is why this event is spilling over into so many titles, I guess.
Dr. Arkham’s goal is to help fix the inmates of Arkham (although he seems to need some fixing of his own). Of course, how successful he and his techniques are at doing that is debatable, considering Arkham inmates routinely escape and rarely show any sign of truly being “fixed”. That’s just the way people are; true change will never come through human effort. Oh, we might modify our behavior and deceive ourselves into thinking that true, lasting change has occurred. But how long is it until we fall back into old habits, old mistakes, old sins? The only way to get “fixed”, to be truly changed, is through Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 proclaims “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” You see, with Jesus the change isn’t just in what we do, it’s a change of our very nature; which is something I just don’t see changing with the inmates of Arkham, regardless of the good doctor’s efforts.
Detective Comics #9 is a fun stop in the chaos of the “Night of Owls”. Plus, any time spent inside the walls of Arkham is always bound to be interesting. Combining the two makes for one of the better issues of Detective Comics in recent months. It’s not great, mind you. It doesn’t have the substance of the main storyline over in Batman, but it is fun. Even the Two-Face secondary feature has some interesting developments in it. Can this series gain some momentum off of the Owls event? We’ll see.
Score: 5 of 7
A BIG thanks to Astro-Zombies for providing the material for this review. Learn more about them at astrozombies.com.