Comic Vine Review


Detective Comics #31 - Icarus, Part Two Review


Batman searches for answers about the Icarus drug and ends up meeting Sumo.

The Good

DETECTIVE COMICS is a detective book again! It's not something people should be excited about, but too many times, this series (new 52 and pre-flashpoint) tends to fall into the world of "just another Batbook." Luckily, Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato are really taking the time to craft a mystery that Batman has to solve, and most of the issue, he doesn't even need to be in the Batman suit to work his crime solving magic. It's nice to see Batman using his brains more than his fists to get information, especially in cases where he has to go undercover.

What makes this work so well as a detective book is that the reader is right there with Batman. We don't have any other information that Batman doesn't have and we learn what he learns. The character doesn't keep secrets from the reader, so it makes the mystery that much more enjoyable and frankly, it works so dang well, especially when his alter-ego, Bruce Wayne, has to deal with Harvey Bullock trying to pin him with a murder he didn't commit.

This issue, the reader is introduced to Sumo, who is a pretty big scumbag. When the solicits came out, I was extremely skeptical of this character because the idea of Batman fighting a sumo wrestler seemed dumb. It really works here because Sumo is a "business man" more than some gimmick. He's not a good guy by any means and aside from being a successful crime boss, he can actually put up a good fight.

Francis Manapul does some phenomenal art on this issue. The book has a great sense of flow and cohesiveness to it all. Impactful scenes tend to have a different perspective, many times the reader sees the scene at a weird angle to give the scene a bit more depth and really hit the action home.

The Bad

The only complaint about the issue comes from a single page, during the Batman/Sumo fight. The page contains 14 panels, with two rows of four small panels at the top. It's hard to see what's going on within the panels and not just because they're small. It's hard to fit a good amount of detail and the orange lighting, which works in the rest of the panels, makes everything a bit tougher to read.

The Verdict

DETECTIVE COMICS #31 is smart, fun, and very open to new readership, even though it's two issues into this story. Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul are truly crafting their own version of Batman in an exciting way which doesn't alienate its readers. The art is beautiful here and the colors are brilliant. It gives readers a great feel for the world of Gotham. Jump on this book if you've been missing the "detective" part of DETECTIVE COMICS. I highly recommend this issue.

23 Comments Refresh
Posted by Nahuel

I wanna read this now!

Your review just hyped me.

Edited by sledgemeyers

I'm so glad this book is back on track. DC is Detective Comics and it needs to have a strong foothold in it's main book to be taken seriously, in my opinion. Plus, some of the best Batman stories dig really deep into the mystery of the situation at hand.

Posted by SupBatz

I like the sound of that. Also glad to hear that this is a good jumping-on point. I've been missing good detective Batman stories.

Posted by EnigmaLantern

Wow, sounds like Manapul and Buccellato are hitting all the right spots with this book.

I'll see how the next issue or two go but if Icarus turns out to be a good story arc as the first two parts have been, I may get all of it at the end.

Posted by LiveForever

#30 didn't grab me like I expected, given the creative team, but I might have to give this issue a shot.

Honestly, it's kind of a shame that this AND Batman Eternal are going on at the same time, and both are doing detective stories, while we've hardly seen that at all (except some small chunks of Snyder & Capullo's run) until now. These are the kind of stories I love for Batman.

Posted by detective38

This has so far been my favorite detective arc in the new 52

Posted by Jayc1324

Last issue was great b mostly just a setup, this one is showing that this book can reach its full potential and really work. Really excited for this series to continue

Posted by MuyJingo

YES, Finally. This is Batman!

Snyder's main writing on Batman has been nothing but a disappointment to me. A few good moments here and there, and oddly enough Batman Eternal is fantastic so far. But Court of Owls, Zero Year and DotF? Terrible.

Batman and Robin was great, but lacked the focus on detective work and wasn't as gritty.

This is good news for batfans.

Posted by Pperspectiveandreality

The worlds greatest detective actually does detective work in this book now......I'm sold. Take notes Snyder

Posted by Fallschirmjager

god damnit i miss this art on Flash.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

Calling it now, that motorcross chick is going to be the new robin.

Edited by patrat18

This cover is fantastic.

Posted by Wardishy

@muyjingo: Batman is really such a multi-faceted character. He has so many different aspects. Nobody can touch on all of them all at once.

Of course you're entitled to your own opinions. I would argue that Scott Snyder is hardly terrible though.

On the other hand, writers focusing on different aspects of the Bat means that there is something for everyone to enjoy. And I am glad you are enjoying this book.

For the record Batman as a detective is one of my favourite things about him too. I don't want to come off like an ass.

Posted by NewComicGuy

I haven't read as many runs as some but Snyder has done some fantastic work on Batman IMO. I'm sure there has been better, but he is more than holding his own.

Posted by Wolverine08

I'm hyped. This is looking to be the best Batman book on the market.

Posted by MuyJingo

@wardishy: I don't think you come off as an ass, quiet the opposite :)

I know I am in the minority disliking snyder, but I really think DotF was a huge letdown and had terrible writing, primarily to me aside from plot because of characters acting out of character. Court of Owls made Burce look foolish in my eye, even knowing it';s a young bruce wayne. I felt that he overwrote previous continuity to make his mark, but we got something worse. I could elaborate more but it's the same stuff I and others have been complaining about.

To me Snyder is like Goyer....with someone to keep him in check, such as James Tynion IV, he becomes an excellent writer. Left alone....bad ideas make it in.

Posted by noj

Haha its funny to me that your only negative of the issue was my favorite thing about it! LOVED this comic! The art was just phenomenal and I'm really interested to see where this is going. Its now officially going on my pull list!

Between this, Batman Eternal, and Futures End I'm more into comics than I have been in the past year!

Posted by nappystr8

I really didn't care for the first issue too much, but this one really got me hooked. I really loved the page with all the panels, it was a nice break from the traditional pages and had a nice Frank Miller homage feel.

Posted by Wardishy

@muyjingo: Well I'll willingly admit that I was let down by DotF. While I liked a lot of it I found Joker's dialogue really weird. My test for Joker is to read it with Mark Hamill's voice. If it doesn't sound quite right then it doesn't work well for me. :) And I kind of felt that there was a significant lack of consequences to the ending, especially since the 'break-up' of the family was immediately superceded by Grant Morrison killing off Robin.

And yeah Bruce did come off as very closed-minded and self-absorbed in Court of Owls. I don't know fully how out of character that is since I'm a pretty new reader. It was enough that I felt it was kind of weird but not enough that it marred my enjoyment. And I will wholeheartedly say that my favourite Snyder stories are The Black Mirror and Gates of Gotham, the latter of which he co-wrote, so you may have a point there. :)

Posted by Breadspread

This was amazing. Love what Manapul and Buccellato are doing.... But I can't help but think they missed an opportunity for an emotional beat with Bullock on page 8. Two cops are talking about how it "must be nice working alone." Bullock's partner lost his life helping to clean the streets of Icarus and now it's back. It would have had a lot more emotional weight if we seen Bullock's reaction to what the cops said.

Posted by Brione

This is definitely shaping up to be the best Detective arc of the New 52.

I kind of wish they didn't mention that this is happening after Gordon is locked up. I guess that's why Bullock is on the case instead of Gordon. To me this story would fit better if it took place before Eternal cause of everything that Batman is dealing with in Eternal. But overall I'm loving this story.

Edited by KnightofSteel

Just an excellent arc so far. We got the "detective" back in Detective Comics! And of course the art is breathtaking.

Posted by kilowog52

Huh! I just assumed Sumo was one of those new Bat villains created by Morrison for Dick and Damian like Professor Pyg. Because I know there's several of them but Pyg is the only one I know of. I thought I saw Sumo in FE: Arkham war. That's my reasoning.