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Review – Detective Comics #1018 (DC Comics)

Detective Comics #1018 (DC Comics) variant cover (detail) by Igor Kordey
Overall
8.2/10
8.2/10
  • Writing - 8/10
    8/10
  • Art - 8.3/10
    8.3/10
  • Overall - 8.2/10
    8.2/10
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Detective Comics #1018

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Scott Godlewski
Colorist: David Baron
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Publisher: DC Comics
Maturity Rating: Teen +
Release Date: January 1, 2020

Different Christmas traditions span over many nations and many cultures, pulled from one another. Some are new and some are old and forgotten. Somebody in Gotham City has brought back some old pagan traditions and it is up to Batman to solve the horrific murders!

 

A Very Gotham Christmas in Detective Comics #1018

Batman does not take holidays and he is right back to work on Christmas, in the start of a new story arc in Detective Comics #1018. Christmas is a time of celebration and happiness for most. There are many different customs and traditions all across the world that are celebrated at this time. Many have found their ways into our homes. But some traditions have been long forgotten, and someone or something has brought back one that was left in the past for a reason. A series of brutal murders have occurred in Gotham City. The usual suspects have been crossed out and it has left the Gotham City PD and Batman himself perplexed. Will this new Holiday Killer stop Christmas in Gotham in its tracks? Or can the Batman save the holiday?

Writing

Detective Comics #1018 (DC Comics) main cover by Rafael Sandoval and Jordi Tarragona
Detective Comics #1018 (DC Comics) main cover by Rafael Sandoval and Jordi Tarragona

Well, I haven’t ever reviewed an issue of Detective Comics for the site and we haven’t had a review for the series since issue #1000. So, I saw the cover had a Christmas theme (which I am a sucker for) and figured, why not? It is well-documented that I am not a huge Batman fan, but like anything in the right hands, it is all good.

First, I was really hoping this was a one-shot Christmas story, but it is the start of a new story arc. Which is okay; a little weird once it gets past Christmas, though. But also a great jumping-on point for new readers like me. You don’t have to really worry about the whole “City of Bane” stuff. But you get a little bit of that if you have been following along, as well.

Tomasi does a great job from the start to get into the story. I like the mystery and intrigue he builds through the first few pages in Detective Comics #1018. He builds a solid foundation for the story to unfold upon. He really holds true to the “Detective” in Detective Comics and Batman doing a lot of “groundwork” in this issue. It is fun to see.

The tone of the book is a little strange. It feels very lighthearted and fun at times, almost like an early Golden Age Batman throwback, and then it feels almost modern with a horror slant to it. It is a bit of a strange mixture tone-wise but, mixed in with the Christmas theme and villain, it works surprisingly well.

Art

I was happy to see Scott Godlewski on art in Detective Comics #1018. He has a solid cartooning style that I love. Godlewski’s style and Rob Leigh‘s colors have a lot to do with that weird tone the issue has. Godlewski’s more animated type character styling gives a bit of a more almost “comic strip” type feel. But then you get some scenes of some brutal ritualistic murders that snap you out of that fun feeling. That, coupled with Rob Leigh’s brighter coloring work, gives the issue that unique tone.

I really love the “energy” Godlewski’s art portrays on the pages. There is a delightful sense of movement on the pages. It sizzles with this sense of excitement from panel to panel. There is a great scene of Batman hopping into the Batmobile that is just fantastically well done, from a visual standpoint.

I dig the Batman costume color and design for Detective Comics #1018. It still has the newer dark gray “tights” with a big black bat symbol in the center. But then we have a nice lighter blue coloring for the gloves, boots, cowl, and cape, along with the bright yellow utility belt, and it is a fantastic look. Again, it kind of blends the tone of a lighthearted older version and modern gritty story with the art.

Conclusion

It is Christmas in Gotham, and it is about as good as a Christmas in Gotham City gets: brutal murders, a new villain mucking about, and Batman trying to save the day. For a new reader, Detective Comics #1018 is a great jumping-on point. I have been loosely following the “City of Bane” story. If you know nothing about that you can still pick this up and enjoy. Though I was hoping for a one-shot Christmas story, the start of the new story arc did scratch my Christmas itch. 


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About the author

Brent Jackson

Brent is happily married and an avid comic book consumer who loves nothing more than the smell of comics in the morning and diving through a long box of back issues. By day he is a nutritionist and has also been training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over 10 years. He is probably not the coolest person you have ever met. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @brentjackson30

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