Home > Comics, Reviews > Comic Review: Batman: Detective Comics #16

Comic Review: Batman: Detective Comics #16

Batman: Detective Comics #16 DC Comics New 52 Death of the Family drawn by Jason Fabok

Detective Comics #16 is all about turning good kids bad, as psychos and disillusioned teenagers all around Gotham City band together to form Joker-inspired gangs for Batman to beat down one at a time.

Unfortunately, the story has some big picture parallels: Death of the Family has completely derailed John Layman’s Penguin/Poison Ivy yarn, turning this good story bad in one ill-conceived issue.

The Joker was shoehorned into the gaps of the last issue to justify the crossover cover, but here, his influence is everywhere, even if he never makes an actual appearance.

Joker’s devotees are coming out of the woodwork, leaving Batman to play gangbanger whack-a-mole. He puts down the Joy Buzzers, the League of Smiles, the Funny Bonez and many more; all of them are dumb kids with facepaint and costumes, and none are a match for the Batman.

The Penguin’s uppity henchman Ogilvy – now going by the name Emperor Penguin – gets only a cameo appearance in the main story before being relegated to the back-up story. It’s a missed opportunity on Layman’s part after making a big deal of his unveiling in Detective Comics #15.

Emperor Penguin stops in long enough to use some Joker gas, then bolts.

Layman’s writing hits the rocks with Detective Comics #16, particularly in his awkwardly-phrased Batman monologues.

Jason Fabok’s pencils remain strong through this issue, and after last month’s flamethrower Batsuit, Fabok gets another opportunity to draw a cool Bat-gadget by showing Batman in a jet pack.

For all this comic’s flaws, it’s tough to hate on a jet pack.

Andy Clarke is equally competent in the back-up story, where Emperor Penguin cements his power among his fellow crime bosses.

Death of the Family has pulled this story pretty far afield.

Given that the pre-crossover story has been relegated to the back-up issue, Layman has a long way to go to get this title back on track.

5 out of 10

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