Your Mileage May Vary: Detective Comics #857
Detective Comics‘ “Elegy” storyline has come to a close, and it’s interesting to see what different readers have to say about the ending.
Johnny Flash at btalkworld.com mostly liked the issue, but had a few nitpicks:
While there was a lot of Batwoman in action this issue, there wasn’t much in the way of character development with Kate herself. Or at least it didn’t appear overtly until the end. At one point Kate’s dad seems to recognized the pale Alice, calling her “Beth”, but Alice turns away. As the issue wraps up, Alice is headed toward a classic “Joker” moment by falling from the plane to the waters of Gotham below but not before addressing Kate and making a remark about “Our Father”! In classic comic book fashion, we can be assured to see Alice again someday, but I love the cliffhanger! A perfect tease to make me want to know even more about Kate’s origin and see how Beth/Alice fits in!
The backup feature, Renee Montoya’s Question finally feels like she is getting somewhere in her investigation by conferring with her associate Toth, but then quickly finds herself in yet another skirmish where the bad guys would rather take out one of their own than let her find out the next bit of the puzzle. I’m just really not sure if I’m not getting into this because of the limited pages and the pacing. I think that when compiled in an eventual trade it will seem to go on endlessly with a lot of the same. I think I need to set up a weekend task of reading all the Question back up’s in one sitting to see if they are more cohesive when read that way.
Matthew Peterson of Major Spoilers gave the story a 4.5 out of 5:
Greg Rucka does great work here, giving both Batwoman and Question a specific point of view that includes their sexualities, but doesn’t revolve around them. Moreover, each woman has a DIFFERENT personality, making the stories separate and distinct beasts… When I first heard of the lineup for Detective post-RIP, the cynical part of my brain figured that putting the two gay supers in the same book was going to lead to a sensationalistic “Lesbian Double Feature” feel, and I’m glad that it didn’t happen here. The Batwoman story took a couple of reads before all the nuances came through, but I do have a question or two. If Alice (as she claims) has the same father as Batwoman, wouldn’t said father have RECOGNIZED her, even with white face paint? Is the reveal meant to be shocking that Batwoman has a sister, or is it meant to be shocking that the man that Batwoman THINKS is her father is NOT her father? It’s not clear, but that doesn’t necessarily undermine the point of the story. The Question’s story falls into a very strange place here, as the art (by Cully Hamner, an old favorite of mine dating back to “Green Lantern: Mosaic”) does a superb job with Montoya, making her mask work, making the action sequences nice, and even managing to show her in her sports bra without being cheesecakey or titillating. The only reason I can think that Renee’s story doesn’t feel as engaging as Kate’s is the superlative art and storytelling on the first feature. Still, this book delivers the crime-fiction, delivers the street-level vigilantes, and some excellent storytelling overall. Detective Comics #857 earns a very strong 4.5 out of 5 stars overall, and makes me happy to be reading a bat-title again.
While Stefan Yong of But Before I Kill You… had some complaints about the ending.:
Having Alice and Batwoman be sisters or something makes the Batman-Joker relationship seem slightly weirder. Not necessarily in a bad way, just an interesting way. It depends. Whenever I think of the Batman-Joker relationship I always always think of that panel in Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum where the Joker grabs Batman’s ass. So this new development might be a bit disturbing in that hey you’re my brother now hands off the ass way.
But Alice is dead, so I suppose this is going to dredge up some feelings of random superguilt because for the next arc we have an origin story, oh wonder of wonders. Is that going to cause a stir, by the way, that Alice essentially commited suicide? Does it not matter because she’s not a lesbian? Or because there isn’t a fridge involved? I don’t know what kind of thing warrants Internet backlash anymore. I guess people didn’t mind Alice falling out of the plane because she kept going around quoting that fucking children’s book all the time like she just read it for the first time and she was very bloody smug about it and kept smiling and god it was nice of her to fall out of the plane wasn’t it?
So what do you think?