I’m a big Batman fan, but of the various DC Rebirth titles, I found Detective Comics the most disappointing. Despite it being a Batman book, Batman himself seemed to take a backseat to his cousin Batwoman as she was the partner to his superhero boot camp. That’s fine, but if writer James Tynion IV wanted to do a Batwoman book, he should have just done that as I was disappointed with his take on Batman.
But he did seem to be building to something, so I opted to try a second one, subtitled The Victim Syndicate. Would I like it better?
Now, to be fair, Tynion does seem to be going somewhere with this book, and the concept of the Victim Syndicate is a good one. A group of regular citizens were all hurt by Batman’s enemies and are seeking revenge…on Batman. One of them was actually a victim of Batman’s former enemy-turned-ally Clayface, and the mysterious one known only as the First Victim seems to be really gunning for a defection from Batman’s ally Spoiler, hurting over the previous volume’s (perceived) loss of boyfriend Red Robin. What does the Victim Syndicate want? They want Batman to unmask publicly and quit. They blame him for their injuries.
OK, here’s the thing: none of these people were hurt by Batman. You could argue they were hurt by Batman’s enemies looking to get at Batman, but that seems to ring false to me. Meanwhile, the team adds Batwing as a replacement for techhead Red Robin and Azrael is standing on the sidelines, but Orphan still hasn’t done much, and the last two issues act as a “Batwoman Begins,” again leading me to wonder why Batman is even in the book, and ultimately here’s why: Batman doesn’t seem to learn anything and just seems ignorant. I don’t mind Batman being puzzled over a case. He is a detective after all, but this Batman never seems to learn anything. He’s a flat character. Maybe Tynion feels Batman doesn’t need to learn, and his interest is more focused on the recruits, Again, that’s fine. But then Batman shouldn’t be in the book with his name above the title. Having a Batman-related team book without Batman would be fine, and Clayface is a fairly fascinating character here. Contrast that with Orphan who is mostly a blank slate. And then there’s Spoiler who just comes across as dumb when all is said and done. In a normal world, having Batman unmask and retire would be fine, but this is the DC Universe where costumed criminals pop up all the time. It sorta needs costumed vigilantes.
As such, six out of ten flying cars. Tynion is going somewhere potentially interesting, but the story isn’t grabbing me enough to care that much.