Detective Comics #5
Writer: Tony Salvador Daniel
Artists: Tony Salvador Daniel, Sandu Florea, Tomeu Morey, and Szymon Kudranski
Cover Artists: Tony Salvador Daniel, Ryan Winn, and Tomeu Morey
First off, let me start by pointing out the out of the blue back-up feature, that I’m pretty sure no one was expecting. The main feature brought the story around back to the first issue, back to the Joker. After breaking out of prison, after the facial disfiguring, Joker’s been eerily out of the picture. What this issue does, is it brings him back to the forefront. The main feature doesn’t technically have much going on, but that’s what makes it smart. Here’s why. From what I’ve gathered, while there are arcs in the series, it also feels as if there is an underlying, ongoing story. With this issue being shortened, due to the back-up, it makes perfect sense for it to be the bridge between the first arc and the second, but what it also does is bring that underlying story to the front of the reader’s mind. So while you’re reading about the creepy Dollmaker, or you’re anticipating whatever new shenanigans the Penguin has in store, Joker is still clawing away at the back of your brain. Now, would a couple additional pages have helped this main feature? Sure, but at the end of the day it successfully did what it was meant to. Tony Daniel’s art continues to be a highlight in this series. His line work feels a bit more bold, more purposeful, but at the same time he can whip out this elegant cityscape. I haven’t been impressed with Tomeu Morey’s colors in the past issues because of his tendency to make Batman seem so pale as well as his use of vibrant colors, specifically violet, in almost unnatural situations. However, I thought his colors in this issue were definitely an improvement, specifically his use of warmer tones.
The back-up feature was great. First off, the art by Szymon Kudranski was spectacular. From his gritty depiction of Gotham, to his remarkable facial renditions, the back-up feature was an artistic treat. The story was interesting, introducing a couple of new characters while incorporating some fan favorites into the mix. The story felt jarringly disjointed from the main story, though I imagine if we had been forewarned of the back-up story’s existence, it would not have been much of an issue. 3.5/5
Stories in comics tend to be great when there’s a balance between the action and the character development. There are a couple of things you can throw in, but for the most part a good mixture of the two with a strong plot does wonders. Unfortunately for this series, it’s been almost all action and not enough character development. Five issues in and we know next to nothing about who Oliver Queen is, other than the fact that he pretty much hates doing work. I don’t necessarily want to see a full blown origin story, because the back and forth between “then” and “now” would be tedious, but it would be nice to know how much of the old Green Arrow has remained, what his relationships outside the costume and the board room are, basically who he is when he’s not Green Arrow. This issue starts off with an origin for a new villain that’s actually quite interesting. Midas is pretty much the anti-Swamp Thing, except he’s a tad bit crazy. As far as action goes, this book has got it down; here’s hoping they begin to flesh out the characters a bit more. 3/5
If for any reason you had any doubts about this series, this issue will change that. No, Alec doesn’t transform into the “Swamp Thing,” and quite frankly this reader doesn’t really need that happening any time soon, but as long as he can transform at will it’ll be fine. Here’s what does happen: Alec and Abby do some sharing; Abby’s half-brother, William, decides to show off some of his new powers; wild pig monsters; oh, and then there’s that little thing about Alec using his powers. This is comic book writing at its finest. Scott Snyder is writing a fantastic series here, with perfect pacing, buckets of excitement, and for good measures he’s thrown in a healthy dose of horror and gore. Yanick Paquette returns to his artistic duties and immediately reaffirms my belief that he was born to illustrate this book. His layouts are tremendous, the amount of detail present in his work is amazing, it is just beautiful work. I previously mentioned how Tomeu Morey’s colors didn’t integrate well in Detective Comics at times, but in this book Nathan Fairbairn’s colors perfectly synthesize with Paquette’s illustrations. Their art feeds off each other just as much as they feed off of Snyder’s story, giving birth to this brilliant horror. 5/5
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