Comic Vine Review


Detective Comics #27 - The Case of the Chemical Syndicate; Old School; Better Days; Rain; The Sacrifice; Gothtopia, Part 1 of 3: The Perfect Crime; Twenty-Seven Review


It's a huge anniversary issue. It's like a Batman party here and a bunch of creators and joined in the celebration.

The Good

It makes sense that DC Comics would honor the milestone issue of DETECTIVE COMICS #27. As pretty much everyone knows, in the first volume, that was the issue that marked the first appearance of Batman back in 1939. With this being volume 2, we get to celebrate that first moment.

The first thing you'll notice is this is not an ordinary sized comic. It has a $7.99 price tag but it's so big, it required binding to keep it together instead of a couple staples. There is a lot of content here to make up for the price. The features run 15, 10, 10, 4, 5, 27 and 12 pages with pin ups in between. The stories are written by Brad Meltzer, Gregg Hurwitz, Peter Tomasi, Francesco Francavilla (also doing the art), Mike Barr, John Layman and Scott Snyder. The art (respectively with writers) is by Bryan Hitch, Neal Adams, Ian Bertram, Francesco Francavilla, Guillem March, Jason Fabok and Sean Murphy.

The range of the stories vary. Most importantly, Layman's story is the beginning of his final arc on the series, Gothtopia. It makes sense that it is the longest one (at a fitting 27 pages). It's a fascinating look at Batman and you'll definitely get hooked into the story. Fabok's art goes along with it perfectly.

Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy's story also offers a pretty insane look at the possible future of Batman. Trust me, it's not like any that we've seen before. We absolutely need to see more Batman from these two.

Peter Tomasi offers another potential future story which ranks up there with the two stories mentioned. Not only do we see Batman but others in the Bat-Family as well.

The Bad

Were all these stories necessary? Some of the others were just okay. We could have done without most of these. The "retelling" of Batman's origin doesn't make any sense with Zero Year. I didn't see the point in starting the issue off with a completely out of continuity story dealing with what we just saw a couple months ago in BATMAN. Layman's Gothtopia story should have been at the beginning as it's what matters most, being part one of a three part arc. Some of the other stories felt a little cliche. They were a little fun and interesting. But I've heard a lot of people skipping this because of the price.

A big frustration was the lack of the Paul Dini/Dustin Nguyen story. To this very moment, it's still listed on the solicit on DC's website. It's a shame when things like this change and we are not informed in advanced. How long ago was the issue actually printed?

The Verdict

It's DETECTIVE COMICS #27. You almost owe it to yourself to pick it up if you're a Batman fan. A milestone/celebration like this doesn't happen often. Unfortunately while there were some really great stories with fantastic art, some of the others felt unnecessary. Asking fans to pay eight dollars when we just had an over-sized issue with #19 is a bit much. Still, you'll want to check out what the different creators came up with. Some of the stories really shined and you won't want to miss them.

39 Comments Refresh
Posted by dbatdog


Edited by longbowhunter

I don't know who Ian Bertram is but I wanna see a lot more from him.

I agree the Gothtopia story was oddly placed. Second to last? Why?

Also why not save that awesome NYCC Capullo variant for Batman #24 for this? It would have been much more fitting.

Posted by akbogert

I think I'd have been a lot more upset if I'd been paying attention and known I was missing out on a previously-solicited Dini/Nguyen story. That said, I wasn't paying attention, and haven't been following Zero Year (or most of Gotham in general) so this was a pleasant anniversary experience as a standalone collection, for me.

Also, Gothtopia looks like it might actually be a cool event, and "27" felt like The Wake meets Gotham, which was awesome.

I was surprised to see the 4-star rating but it makes a lot more sense having read the review.

Posted by G-Man

@akbogert: Yeah, it's just my opinion. I understand others loved it. Great. Just parts bothered me.

Posted by batmannflash

eh, this was okay.

Happy to see "The Wake" team of Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy on Batman though.

Posted by iceslick

@g_man: I don't know if you saw my tweet. But I was pretty pissed about Dini/Nguyen story being left out too. It's the main reason I was looking forward into reading it. I still got the issue and will read it soon. But DC should have at least kept us updated on what happened to it.

Edited by akbogert

@g_man: Well I found the... can we call it the Joker origin story?... thing a fairly confusing choice even without reading Zero Year, and as that sort of sets the tone for the rest of the issue I am guessing that I'd have had a similar opinion had I been more up on my recent Batbooks.

Posted by Lanzslyde

This is great!

Posted by LyraFay

Wait this was volume 2, what was volume 1 then?

Posted by PeppeyHare

@lyrafay: Detective comics from before the New 52..?

Posted by kilomac29

Totally agree with the review on this one. Really liked a few of the stories, didn't like a few others. Layman's story seemed interesting but I won't be following along in Catwoman or Birds of Prey. Also really enjoyed Francesco Francavilla and Neal Adams' art.

As an aside, that Frank Miller cover was peeping-tom level creepy.

Posted by manwithoutshame

I really liked Gothtopia. It's like Batman in the Twilight Zone.

Posted by Sun_Pusher

I’ll be reading it, but not untill it comes out in hardcover compilation. I sadly only get two books monthly (Batman and Nightwing) the rest of the comic I read I buy thing the volume format, which has both good(six or seven comics at once) and bad (waiting for months!) parts to it

Posted by Wardishy

Man that's a shame about the Dini/Nguyen story, that was a big reason to pull this book for me.

Dini said on Twitter (about 30 minutes ago) that he had to pull out due to other commitments. That's fair enough I guess, but DC should have informed us when they knew about it.

Posted by Kelevra216

@lyrafay: This whole Detective Comics run after Flashpoint (i.e. The New 52) is volume 2 in the macro scale, which is them made up of micro-volumes (e.g. Detective Comics Vol. 1: Faces of Death).

The run before Flashpoint/Pre-New 52, starting from Detective Comics #27 all the way to, I think, The Black Mirror, is Volume 1 of the Detective Comics title.

Posted by RedHurricane24

Honestly, I wasn't aware that there was supposed to be a Paul Dini/Dustin Nguyen story. I would've loved it if it was in this issue. But I've a nagging feeling that it would've raised the price by a dollar more, at least.

As for the Meltzer/Hitch take of the first Tec story, is not meant to be a Joker origin story, or to fit in with Zero Year. It's a bother, yes, but it's not a huge nuisance.

Posted by Wilbertus

I was a little disappointed with the lack of a Paul Dini/Dustin Nguyen story too.

As for the Meltzer story, as far as I know this was supposed to be a re-telling of Batman's very first story back in Detective Comics 27. Therefore, I completely understand why they put it in there and even why they started off the issue with it. I personally thought it was great.

Posted by Kelevra216

"Were all these stories necessary?"

Hey, @g_man. I think you were missing the point for the stories being a celebration of Batman 75th year. However, I agree to a certain extent to the "retelling," if you're referring to Snyder's story in the end.

I also agree with the placement/order of the stories. Layman/Fabok's Gothtopia should either have been at the beginning or at the end of the book, so it's easier to read if you've going to reread the arc (either you can easily find this part of Gothtopia in the beginning and ignore the 75th birthday stories or this issue will roll off better with Gothtopia fresh in your mind at the end).

The Gothtopia part being the second last story to the current relevant arc, of this title, is just weird.

Posted by fallbrigade

I enjoyed this quite a bit. Some stories I agree were just kinda meh and unnecessary, but others were definitely great. I absolutely loved Scott Snyder's future take on Batman and I really hope we get to see more of it someday. Gothtopia seems like it's going to be an interesting arc too. Also really enjoyed the little bit that Francesco Francavilla contributed.

I wish they had done more with the 'pin-up' art. Maybe made them a foldout kinda thing like they did with Superman Unchained. Just feel like the one page for each one wasn't enough. Also completely forgot about the Dini/Nguyen story. I was excited when I read they were doing a story, but by the time this came out I forgot about it. Now that I've remembered, kinda peeved it didn't happen. No doubt it would have been one of my favs.

Posted by detective38

A lot of these stories sucked, I was a little disappointed. Gothtopia seems pretty interesting though

Edited by kennybaese

I guess I missed that there was supposed to be a Dini/Nguyen story in the issue. It's definitely a bummer that it isn't there. I didn't dislike any of the stories, but the Hurwitz story was held back by Adams' art. The concept of the story was cool, but the art didn't evolve enough throughout the story to support it. The Meltzer story was fine if redundant with Zero Year going on, but the repetitive "I do it because..." in the journal entry narration became pretty grating pretty quick.

Posted by space4rentt

Who was the little boy with the glasses supposed to be? I think that whole story flew over my head. Looked like James jr?

Posted by Al_capOWN

Not sure if I'll like gothtopia, I'm scared it will be like a dream world or a what if situation....?? Love detectives though.

Edited by iceslick

@g_man: I just read the issue and I totally agree with you, I would give this issue a 3 at most. All the stories except Gothopia were pretty bad and boring. I didn't like this issue at all and looks like I wasted the $8. At least there's some great art and I really do like the Gothopia storyline. Now I have to read Batwing again because I got a little confused by reading it first. So, for anyone who saved the $8 to spend on something else, be happy, because it definitely wasn't worth that much in my opinion.

Edited by arkay74

Love the issue so much I even bought it twice.

Edited by KnightofSteel

I didn't think Meltzer's story was very good, and Hitch's art didn't seem up to par. The rest of the short stories were entertaining but these really belonged in say the Batman Black & White series... as black & white. I was however pleasantly surprised by the Gothtopia story, very different, a welcome concept and the art by Fabok was spectacular as usual.

Posted by mcgregorp

I loved every single story

Posted by Dm225

I didn't like how this was almost like a trade paperback format since I'm ocd and now I can't store it with the rest of Detective Comics run, because it won't fit in my bags, and instead it sits on my bookshelf with my other trades. I know it's something minor and silly but why not release this as a one of trade or something and give me the Gothiopa story seperately as issue number twenty seven.

Posted by miilkshake

Those who are reading The Wake are in for a real treat at the end of this issue.

Is it a coincidence that Part 2 of The Wake is set 200 years after Part 1 and "Twenty-Seven" is set 200 years after the original Batman? Hm...

Posted by MartianManhunterIsBetterThanCyborg

I liked it. But I was wishing for the Dini story.

Posted by Zeeguy91

@kelevra216 said:

@lyrafay: This whole Detective Comics run after Flashpoint (i.e. The New 52) is volume 2 in the macro scale, which is them made up of micro-volumes (e.g. Detective Comics Vol. 1: Faces of Death).

The run before Flashpoint/Pre-New 52, starting from Detective Comics #27 all the way to, I think, The Black Mirror, is Volume 1 of the Detective Comics title.

You mean from Detective Comics #1. There was a Detective Comics before Batman, people, believe it or not.

Posted by Zeeguy91

I'm really excited for this. I haven't been reading comics for like the past month. As soon as I get the last of my law school applications in, I am going to just plop down on the couch and catch up on what I've missed.

Posted by Kelevra216

@zeeguy91: Oh, yes! Forgive me. Slipped my mind because I was reading and referring directly from the wikipedia entry (

Anyway, it gets more "confusing" to define it after researching it into a little more because "Batman Vol. 1 (1940 - 2011)" and "Detective Comics Vol. 1 (1937 - 2011)" are separate. Could consider both under the collective "Batman Vol. 1." (well, I do for simplicity).

I think the wikipedia article was only referring to/had collections that featured Batman, therefore the (micro) volume 1 of Detective Comics Vol. 1 began with #27.

Posted by snarkybits

@kelevra216: Batman and Detective Comics were different comics...

Posted by Kelevra216
Edited by andreww154

I have to agree the first story seemed odd in light of the recent Year Zero issues - and Brian Hitch's art seemed quite flat. Gothtopia was pretty interesting but the stand out story was Snyder and Murphy's future tale. Murphy's bat cave visuals were stunning. I really love Greg Capullo's work on the main Batman title - but Murphy on an ongoing Batman book would be awesome.

Edited by CrazyScarecrow

I might have to buy this. The story sounds pretty interesting. I love how in the New 52 Detective is now at its 27th issue. I have been waiting for that since the beginning on the New 52. I really hope like each issue they cross that was like a major first appearance they focus on that hero or villain. Like for Detective Comics #38 they do a Dick Grayson centered issue since in the original Detective Comics that was the first time we have seen of Dick Grayson and the Robin identity or for Detective Comics #58 they have the story focused around the Penguin since it was the Penguin's first appearance.

Posted by Dud317

@g_man: It's my understanding that the first part is a retelling of the original story from volume one. It does have a redundant feel after reading Zero Year, so try and see it as an homage story.

Also, wasn't Frank Miller solicited as having a two page spread? I know he did the Catwoman cover, so that must've been what they meant. I would've also liked all the variant cover art to have been included, similar to graphic novels.

Edited by Jake Fury

i liked this. disappointed Layman and Fabok only get 3 issues for Gothtopia though. Seems like it deserves at least 5-6 issues.