Detective Annual #1 Review: The Abyss sinks to new depths

Tony S. Daniel’s writing really does baffle me: in some comics it’s considered, excellently paced and feels right. This isn’t one of them. Some of the dialogue is simply embarrassing. Someone has just asked me via Twitter [@mistermorriss] if the comic had been re-texted by a 12-year-old. Not a good sign.

Not saying that Tony S. Daniel is a 12-year-old, I wouldn’t be so bold, the man clearly has talent whether it’s writing or penciling, but some of this stuff isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. It reads like he’s had far too much on his plate recently and simply phoned this one in. The story itself also feels completely forced.


The story is unsettlingly uninspired. Black Mask was never really a villain I could get into, and the whole ‘magic mask’ aspect of the Batman mythos is a far cry from the realistic template that Loeb, Miller and now Nolan have imprinted on the Universe. If he was just some nutcase who wore a skull mask and liked to hurt people I could take him more seriously.

Jervis Tetch’s appearance does nothing to evolve the character, but let’s be honest, Hatter is on the periphery of the rogue’s gallery and I can’t think of one arc revolving around him that has had any impact.

"Yeah, Batman, you're amazing!!

The artwork unfortunately doesn’t make up for the static writing, either. Pere Pérez Batman is too rounded and lacks detail. When the actions hots up he doesn’t really get the movement across make you roll with punches.

In the future I would ask DC to ask if when Snyder gets bored of writing Bats, if this will be the de-facto ‘bar.’ I sincerely hope that this was a one-off and that Daniel’s future Detective Comic run bears no resemblance to this trite and perfunctory effort.

Posted by JSH92

Nice review. I too was kinda disappointed with this Annual; however, I am a fan of the Black Mask, so more of my disappointment comes from problems I saw with him. I really wasn't that crazy about the whole psychic powers of the mask thing. As a matter of fact I didn't really like it. It was nice to see actual characters making up his False Face Society rather than nameless nobodies though, and hopefully they'll all get to appear again alongside him if he ever shows up again.

One thing I do give Daniels credit for is using obscure/new Batman villains that don't get used very much (Dollmaker, Mr. Toxic, Black Mask, etc.). I'm really starting to get kind of sick of seeing Scarecrow and Penguin so much. Even Mad Hatter will be making another appearance as seen in the solicits for Batman: The Dark Knight #16. Really, Hurwitz, can't you use some villains that haven't already shown up so recently? It's not like Batman's lacking in the villain department...

Posted by Mistermorriss

I agree completely. Daniel usually writes some excellent stuff: I think Dollmaker was his best to date. However, I really think this one is rushed and the dialogue extremely wooden.

Thanks for your comment.