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Detective Comics #743

Rucka (w), Martinbrough (p), Mitchell (i)
"Evolution: Whispers in the Dark"
Reviewed by JYD

RED AND GRAY ARE TWO UGLY COLORS--WHO'D'VE THOUGHT THEY WENT SO WELL TOGETHER?

Man--and I thought "Detective" #742 was cool stuff. People, what Rucka and Martinbrough are doing here--we're talking classic. Forget the radical color scheme here--even without the buzz that brought to the series this team just knows how to tell one hell of a story. Plain and simple. I suppose I should talk about colors, because red and gray is just...not my first choice for colors. But damn does it look good. Red skies, people with gray and red faces, a Batman with a red suit--who on earth can this stuff look so cool?? For the record, it IS the coloring that makes Martinbrough's pencils stand out. His simple geometrics with slashing angular lines and hardnosed degree turns are very stylistic, but, I'm sorry, those panels at the bottom of pgs. 7 (Batman punching the hell out of a mobster), 11 (the Abbot eyeing his prey), and 15 (Wayne pausing to listen to Alfred) are just not possible w/out the range of color being used. Shoot, I'd pay $3 for this every month (oh wait...I already do...)! This IS the only title I buy per month that I just gush about the art--the rest I review, my focus is all story. Wow.

But what ABOUT the story? We start with Ra's al Guhl--his first appearance since being cremated with a boat at the end of "Legacy" in 1996--sending two of his acolytes into Gotham City to work up some mischief. See, it's been 4 years since we last heard from Ra's. This is what the editors need to do for the REST of Batman's villains--he's got enough of them. Can't we distance out their appearances? Anyway, I especially enjoyed the two juxtapositions, the first (pgs. 4 & 5) blended together five straight days of Batman whooping up on gangsters, the second (17-23) displayed our enemies, Whisper and Abbot, working their magic in two very different contexts. The rest of the issue WAS magic and no matter how hard I think, I can't find anything really glaringly wrong with the storytelling. Bruce's playboy routine has been toned down from its previous outragous antics--and that's cool. I enjoy the James Bondish nature to Rucka's Bruce, and Martinbrough's pencils have given him an added Sean Connery flair. Rucka has chosen, it appears, to focus on Batman (w/ Oracle) and the GCPD, neglecting the other costumed supervillains and sidekicks. That's fine, though I hope in latter issues we ALSO get a dose of the other faces in the crowd. I hope this all doesn't turn into the clunky nature of the pre-"Cataclysm" post-"Legacy" stories (3 parters, no interaction). I feel like Rucka has a handle on what's happening in the other titles, though I kind of wish the events depicted in "Detecive" (the mob wars, Gordan's grief) would leak somewhat into the other series. But I doubt we would get much of anything to do with the police, given the crowded "Gotham Knights" series and the VERY vigourous "hour in the life of Batman" written by everyone's pal Larry Hama. But that's neither here nor there.

The Straight Dope: Damn.

The JYD's grade: "Detective Comics" #743--A