Detective Comics #27 SPECIAL EDITION
DC Comics (August, 2014–Batman 75 Day)
Much like the original Detective Comics this is sort of an anthology. However, it’s all Batman stories as this edition was released for the celebration of Batman’s 75th anniversary. It was in the SWAG bag I picked up visiting Brass City Comic Convention, as you saw in last night’s video. I’ll be looking at each story individually except for one. The book opens with the very first Bat-Man tale, “The Case Of The Chemical Syndicate”, with the only addition being a writing credit to Bill Finger and an art credit to Bob Kane. I’ve already reviewed this when I looked at a full reprint of Detective Comics #27 from back in the day. So we’ll jump right to the other stories in this comic.
The Case Of The Criminal Syndicate
(WRITER: Brad Meltzer ARTIST: Bryan Hitch COLORIST: David Baron LETTERER: Chris Eliopoulous)
Meltzer tries to modernize the original story but not every change makes sense. This time Gordon is at a police gala thrown by Bruce, which is meant to plant a bug on his keys, just as someone comes to tell him about the murder. Bruce isn’t asked to come along this time (good), but thanks to the planted mic still heads for the second victim. This time both parties are in the house so nobody’s being thrown off of the room. The next change is both positive and negative. Yes, actually going to the chemical plant is better than setting up a lab complete with giant acid tank and lowering gas chamber in your living room, but no butler misdirection here.
The murderer tells the third party that they need to hide at the plant. The biggest change, however, is the bad guy’s motivation. In the original story it was because he wanted to own the plant without paying to buy the others out. Meltzer decided instead that they were voting the murder out, making this a revenge story, which is a change I don’t think the story needed. There’s enough of that already in murder dramas nowadays. The original motive would be something different. Then there’s the end. Gordon and the other cop show up just as Bat-Man (they still go with that spelling in honor of the original) corners the murderer, who pretends to give up. When he goes for a gun Bat-Man does a flying kick instead of punching him and he still goes into the acid. The living victim tells the cops not to shoot at Bat-Man because he saved him (and them, really), then the story ends with a hand coming out of acid tank, green instead of white so I don’t know if this supposed to be another origin for The Joker or some new villain Meltzer was hoping to use. I like the idea of updating the original story but some of the changes just don’t work for me. Then there’s this second set of internal monologue later shown to be the first entry in his journal. It’s really weak, just “I do it because (insert reason here)” and it’s distracting to the story. At the back of the book Meltzer and Chip Kidd do the same thing to a portion of Kane’s original artwork with some filter on it to make it look dated. It was unnecessary in both versions. Now finally another story.
(WRITER: Scott Snyder ARTIST: Sean Murphy COLORIST: Matt Hollingsworth LETTERER: Steve Wands)
First thought after reading it? Well, that happened. I’m not sure why it happened, but it happened. Bruce is sitting in his study telling a bust of his father that he will become a bat. Then he wakes up in the Batcave to learn he’s the latest clone of Batman, and they only live 27 years (hence the title) before a new one is created and learns from the old one to create his own version of Batman. There’s a bit more to it but it’s like Synder said “Meltzer’s journal bit wasn’t useless enough so I’ll make a full story that is completely useless to show I love Batman more” or something. It’s like that Rocketeer Adventures story about a future society that based itself on the Rocketeer done wrong.
Overall, the only reason to find this comic is the reprint of the original Bat-Man story. The remake was a good idea with some big misses and the last story was so worthless I’m sorry this was my first exposure to Snyder writing Batman after all the praise I hear about his work from regular readers. Better yet, find a reprint of the original Detective Comics #27. It’s a more interesting read all the way through.