Celebrating A Milestone: The Dark Knight Turns 80 with Detective Comics 1000
Updated: Jan 24, 2020
DETTECTIVE COMICS #1000
Writers: Scott Snyder, Kevin Smith, Paul Dini, Warren Ellis, Denny O’Neil, Christopher Priest, Brian Michael Bendis, Geoff Johns, James Tynion IV, Tom King, and Peter J. Tomasi
Artists: Greg Capullo, FCO Plascencia, Jonathan Glapion, Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Alex Sinclair, Dustin Nguyen, Derek Fridolfs, John Kalisz, Becky Cloonan, Jordie Bellaire, Steve Epting, Elizabeth Breitweiser, Neal Adams, Dave Stewart, Alex Maleev, Kelley Jones, Michelle Madsen, Alvaro Martinez-Bueno, Raul Fernandez, Brad Anderson, Tony S. Daniel, Joelle Jones, Tomeu Morey, Doug Mahnke, Jamie Mendoza and David Baron
Publisher: DC Comics
When Batman was introuduced in DETECTIVE COMICS #27 (1939), by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, I don't think anyone could have imagined the success this character would achieve. Over the next 80 years countless characters and stories have graced the pages of DETECTIVE COMICS. Such as in the introductions of Robin, Batgirl, Two-Face, The Riddler, Penguin and the list goes on.
This week saw the World's Greatest Detective reach an unbelievable anniversary with DETECTIVE COMICS #1000, which only one other superhero has done, Superman. When we celebrated Superman's 80th birthday last year, with ACTION COMICS #1000, we knew it would only be a short year for Batman's 80th celebration. While Action was outstanding, what DC has done with this monstrous issue, is by far one of the best collection of creators to ever be put into one book. Over the years, some of the best talent in the industry has worked on Batman, and this issue was no different. It has it all, from action packed stories to intimate and emotion fueled stories as well. This is truly a book worthy of this once in a lifetime occasion.
The massive book opens with, "Batman's Longest Case", from Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. Which, as you would expect from these guys, was absolutely amazing. It showcases the determination and detective skills, that truly makes Batman "The World's Greatest Detective". Over the course of 10 years Bruce searches for clue after clue, before at long last, discovering a secret group of detectives have been testing him this entire time. The final panel of this story left me wanting more and I can only hope that Snyder picks up on this in the future. At the stories end, you realize that this is not just a book of filler stories but a book intended to set up future tales while also celebrating the rich history.
From there, we go into one of my favorite stories, “Manufacture For Use”, by Kevin Smith and Jim Lee. We see how much Batman is able to turn tragedy into something positive. It was a stroke of brilliance on Smith's part and Lee illustrated the story beautifully. I can only imagine what those two could do on a limited Batman series together. On “Batman’s Greatest Case,” Tom King and Tony Daniel show how the Bat Family has continually pulled Bruce out of the darkness. The banter between the various characters was by far the most entertaining aspect of the story and King nailed each character perfectly.
Another highlight in the book had to be “The Precedent” from James Tynion IV and Alvaro Martinez-Bueno. The story retells the induction of Dick Grayson as Robin. The back and forth between Alfred and Bruce on whether or not they should bring a young man into their world was genius. Tynion let us all peer into history and witness a pivotal moment in Batman's history and nailed it. The story by Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen, “The Legend of Knute Brody,” was a humorous story of a failed henchmen told through the eyes of the villains that employed him, with an funnier ending.
Some other highlights of the book were Denny O’Neil and Steve Epting’s “Return to Crime Alley", which was a story told through the eyes of Leslie Thompkins. It showed how she perceived Batman as he metes out justice. Warren Ellis and Becky Cloonan delivered a calculated Dark Knight in "The Batman’s Design” as he went after an enhanced group of criminals. This was one of the best stories in the book and makes me yearn at the though of these two working together on a Dark Knight book in the future. Ellis' Batman is something we definitely need on the stands. Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev's “I Know,” was a story that showed an aging Penguin admitting to Batman that he knew his secret identity the whole time. But also proves that nobody really knows more than Batman. This story only proves once again why Bendis and Maleev will more than liekely be put on a Batman title in the future. They were made for this character.
While Geoff Johns and Kelley Jones’ flash-forwarding “The Last Crime in Gotham” story was entertaining, it just didn't do much for me. Same goes for the Christopher Pries and Neal Adams story, "Heretic". While I enjoyed them, they just didn't quite hit the mark like the other stories did. The final story by Peter Tomasi and Doug Mahnke's tale, "Medieval" that sets up the future "Arkham Knight" story while felt like it bashes the work that Batman does, beautifully sets up this new character as an opposing force for our character.
Overall, this book was an amazing collection of creators and stories, worth every penny of the cover price. Full of emotion, action, and intrigue. DC really put together an amazing book to celebrate on of the best characters in all of literature. They not only were able to capture the essence of the darkness of the character but the light as well. Happy Birthday Batman! Here's to another 80 years.