“Detective Comics” #967 has struck an emotionally high note with the series latest arc: ‘A Lonely Place of Living.’ Readers have been more than curious about the location of Drake since he was kidnapped early on in Rebirth. While the answer to just where the character has been all this time has been explored, more questions sprung up in that very same issue of the book. While this arc has been strong overall, the last installment of the series was too compressed for my taste and only gave the slightest progression of the storyline. In the book’s latest chapter, I hope the creative team can overcome the compressed plotting and really bring home this powerful story over the next couple of months.
Written by James Tynion IV
Penciled by Alvaro Martinez
Inked by Raul Fernandez and Tomeu Morey
Colored by Jean Francois Beaulieu
Lettered by Sal Cipriano
“A LONELY PLACE OF LIVING” part three! It’s a race to save the future of Tim and his team as Red Robin tries to escape his prison outside of time and find his way back to Earth.
Somehow “Detective Comics” has been able to construct a mirror into the first few arcs of the series in structure alone. This book has been full of impossible cliffhangers referencing DC continuity which raise to a boil at the worst possible moment. ‘A Lonely Place of Living’ was already dark, mysterious, and filled with classic elements of DC, but the latest issue hits a particularly strong note as Tim Drake confronts a version of himself he could have never imagined in his wildest dreams. With Drake dying so early on in the book, this series was always going to have to struggle to make his return to the DC Universe as glorious as his false death. Somehow writer James Tynion has done something extraordinarily complicated in tying his triumphant return to an excellent story line making it feel incredibly earned all along the way here.
In addition to simply being a solid storyline, this latest installment of “Detective Comics” balances a couple fascinating plot threads readers haven’t checked in with for a while. Tynion hits on the relationship between Bruce Wayne and Alfred as well as Kate and Bette Kane while hinting at the future of Spoiler and the rest of the team’s reaction to Drake’s big return–there are a lot of plot threads taking place in the background of the story. There are a couple of characters that have slid into the background during this story with Clayface, Batwing, Azreal, and Orphan all feel like they can be filling out the bench on this comic–Tynion needs to establish a stronger agency for them in future arcs. When the conflict gears up in the second half of the book, the amount of Batman family characters that appear to take on the antagonist of the title is a moment which feels appropriate and earned.
Alvaro Martinez’s pencils continue to excel. His framing on most pages capture the most interesting parts of characters and generally make each page beautiful. A scene where Bruce Wayne is in plain clothes pulsates with an obscene amount of energy. A common thread between most artists of “Detective Comics” is the intense use of shadow cloaking each figure in the series. A moment with the Kanes brings out a visually dynamic pose, making it seem like the different characters in the title are having a real conversation. This title isn’t all doom and gloom, as Tim’s return gets a few beautiful smiles from the otherwise grim and tragedy-written rife Bat-Family. Martinez excels at all these moments and brings out the huge action sequences as well when the title comes to an end.
The comic is remarkable in how the quiet issue starts and how fast the story progresses over the course of just a few pages. When Tynion starts to explore the motives of the evil character in the issue and tie him back to the plot, the story starts accelerating at a rapid pace. The installment also hides a great reveal and feels like Tynion hasn’t placed all his cards on the table as the big confrontation with Batwoman still looms in the background. The antagonist also hasn’t shown off some of his motivations yet either. Lots of books can struggle to keep each issue structure correctly and formatted properly–Tynion sets up the story with a whisper-quiet moment of characterization and draws the narrative towards a conclusion with a roaring action-based finish set to intrigue newcomers and delight existing DC fans.Continued below
With such a strong dedication to the past and a firm eye on the future “Detective Comics” #967 excels. Tynion continues to explore new ideas and plot twists that wonderfully remixes past DC comics lore. Martinez’s art keeps the high bar of artwork in this series intact with dynamically posed characters and lively body language and interactions. ‘A Lonely Place of Living’ marks a high point for “Detective Comics” other comics can only dream of.
Final Verdict: 8.5 – “Detective Comics” #967 continues to evoke an emotional high for the series other comics can only dream of.