This issue of Detective Comics sees The Dark Knight renewing his years past partnership with his former friend, Harvey Dent (Two-Face), as they seek to foil the plans of Kobra.
The issue opens with the Kobra cult preparing to assault the Gotham City Museum of Natural History in a bid to sow chaos and attack a party of Gotham City’s elites. As they crash through the skylight and into the impressive interior of the museum, they find that the museum is dark and deserted. Batman and his team, alerted and prepared for Kobra’s plans across the city, have taken steps to evacuate notables in various locations and are prepared to battle the cult. Batman and Two-Face, waiting in the rafters of the museum, talk over their tactics and ground rules for engagement before leaping into action against the bewildered cultists in the room below. Harvey chafes at the no killing rule but relents; his desire to defeat Kobra and protect Gotham overriding his baser instincts. As they, Batman and Two-Face, fight the cultists Batman reflects on the diversification of the Kobra cultists after the death of their leader. Black Adders, Lanceheads and Nagas; Batman goes through each type as he systematically defeats his foes with the aid of Harvey Dent. As the two consolidate their victory they attempt to interrogate a conscious member of the Kult, Batman checks in with Alfred as he inquires about the status of the other groups battling that night. Those groups; Katana and Black Lightning, Orphan and Batgirl, The Fireflies, and The Signal and Batwoman have all been successful in their separate battles. Commissioner Gordon and Detective Bullock take that opportunity to appear and Batman, unable to get answers from his cultist prisoner, attempts to hack their technology to get more insight into Kobra’s ultimate goal. Eventually, Batman does crack Kobra’s encryption and uncovers their ultimate goal setting up the next issue of tective Comics.
This issue started strong but I’m afraid the ending disappointed and left me rather jaded. For most of the issue, the interaction between Harvey and Batman was perfect. I was constantly wondering if Harvey would lose his inner battle and end up killing one of the cultists. Likewise, I wondered if he would attack Batman as the cover teased. Batman’s insight into Kobra and their splintering after the death of their leader was also interesting and very well written as The World’s Greatest Detective methodically ticks off the attributes of his opponents. Furthermore, the brief glimpses we get of the other teams fighting across Gotham were also entertaining and left me wanting more. However, the ultimate plan revealed at the end of the issue seems tired and lazy. Without giving away the specific plan; it seems derivative and practically identical to countless other plots I’ve seen in comics, and specifically Batman comics, over the years. It was a disappointing way to end a very good issue of Detective Comics. The artwork was very well drawn and the color and inking both contributed to an action packed and suspenseful book. The museum scenes in particular are incredibly well done and are a joy to take in. Overall I would rate this as a solid if not spectacular book only because of the let down at the end of the issue.
Writing 3.75 of 5 Stars
Art – 4.5 of 5 Stars
Writer – James Robinson
Art – Carmine Di Giandomenico
Color – Ivan Plascencia
Letters – Rob Leigh