New 52 Review – “Detective Comics #1”

Action was the longest running U.S. comic, starring Superman from the first issue on. Detective was the second longest running, and has been starring Batman since issue #27 from 1939. Detective actually started first, but Action got ahead in the numbering after it ran weekly for over 40 weeks in the 1990s. This relaunch is all about Batman and the Joker.

General Information

Title: Detective Comics #1

Author: Tony S. Daniel

Illustrator(s): Tony S. Daniel (pencils), Ryan Winn (inks) and Tomeu Morey (colours)

Cover Date: November 2011

Cover Price: $2.99

Buy the digital edition.


Batman has been acting as protector of Gotham City for years, whether the people know it or not. His most difficult adversary is the Joker, who seems to change modus operandi on a whim. He’s definitely got something new cooking this time around.

High Point

This is definitely a new plan for the Joker. It still feels natural, though, as though it’s the next natural (but certainly not logical) step for the established character, as opposed to some relaunches that are extreme enough to feel like completely different characters.

Low Point

We don’t even get the real Alfred? Would that be so hard? It’s clearly establishing something for later, but really…

The Scores

This is the iconic version of Batman, but it’s an original take on the Joker. I give it 5 out of 6.

The artwork is good. Daniel functions well as writer/artist, with layouts that fit the script nicely that also use visual metaphor to good effect. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story is off to a good start. I’m ready and willing to follow this mystery through its paces. I give it 5 out of 6.

The characterization of Batman, the Joker, Alfred and James Gordon all come through nicely. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response was good, particularly since I’ve been dealing with Bat-burnout recently. (I spent a lot of time on planes last week, and read “Batman #598-709,” as well as numerous issues of Detective and Nightwing while on the plane.) I give it 5 out of 6, due in part to a very strong ending.

The flow was smooth, progressing between scenes quite nicely. As with many other titles, this kicks off with a story that elapses quite quickly. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a solid Bat-story. There’s a reason so many of the recent Bat-family creators were kept around for the relaunch. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Detective Comics #1 receives 35 out of 42.

The New 52

Here are handy links for the reviews of all 52 new #1 issues:

  1. Action Comics
  2. All-Star Western
  3. Animal Man
  4. Aquaman
  5. Batgirl
  6. Batman
  7. Batman and Robin
  8. Batman: The Dark Knight
  9. Batwing
  10. Batwoman
  11. Birds of Prey
  12. Blackhawks
  13. Blue Beetle
  14. Captain Atom
  15. Catwoman
  16. DC Universe Presents
  17. Deathstroke
  18. Demon Knights
  19. Detective Comics
  20. The Flash
  21. Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
  22. The Fury of Firestorm
  23. Green Arrow
  24. Green Lantern
  25. Green Lantern Corps
  26. Green Lantern: New Guardians
  27. Grifter
  28. Hawk and Dove
  29. I, Vampire
  30. Justice League
  31. Justice League Dark
  32. Justice League International
  33. Legion Lost
  34. Legion of Super-Heroes
  35. Men of War
  36. Mister Terrific
  37. Nightwing
  38. O.M.A.C.
  39. Red Hood and the Outlaws
  40. Red Lanterns
  41. Resurrection Man
  42. The Savage Hawkman
  43. Static Shock
  44. Stormwatch
  45. Suicide Squad
  46. Superboy
  47. Supergirl
  48. Superman
  49. Swamp Thing
  50. Teen Titans
  51. Voodoo
  52. Wonder Woman

4 replies on “New 52 Review – “Detective Comics #1””

  1. Gold Age Batman: he fights… the Joker!
    Silver Age batman: he fights… the Joker!
    The Dark Knight: he fights… the Joker!
    The New 52 Batman: he fights… the Joker!

    • True. However, the “Batman vs. The Joker” conflict is very much in the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” file. Batman, at his core, is a control freak who experienced tragedy. Instead of donning the brightly coloured garb of contemporary heroes, he went dark, and devoted his life to creating order in his corner of the world. Contrast with the Joker, the brightly coloured embodiment of chaos. Two great characters that are wonderful foils. When you hit the last page of this issue, though, there will be no question that things have changed in the New 52.

      • Don’t suppose you’d tell us w/ spoiler tags. Some of us didn’t reserve copies, and Action and Detective flew off the shelves.

        Most people wanted to read it, but I suspect one or two are under the impression these ones will eventually match the prices of Action #1 and Detective #27. ;)

        • Okay, spoiler tags for those who didn’t get paper copies (digital doesn’t sell out, but the web interface isn’t great at this point, although I love reading on my iPad): Batman finds the Joker attacking a man. Batman has no idea why the Joker is naked, but Joker leaves behind a means to be captured and returned to Arkham. Once there, a man identified only as “Dollmaker” whose face is never seen appears in the cell. The Joker prearranged the meeting, looking for “the best,” and wasn’t happy that this man had sent his son earlier, which is why he attacked him. The Dollmaker then cuts off the Joker’s face in what appears to be a planned exchange. The final page is the Joker’s face tacked up against a wall, after what the Joker describes as a “fangasmic” experience. End spoiler.

Comments are closed.