It surprises many to learn that I was not a born and bred comic geek. Despite my first memory of reading something involving a Garfield collection and my avidly watching Superfriends and collecting the Super Powers figures as a kid, my mother never allowed me to have any comic books as a kid. Presumably she meant to protect me from the effects of reading “low literature.” It was not until college and my earning my own money that I got into comic reading/collecting and, quite ironically, developed a unique collection of skills that served me well during the graphic novel and manga booms of the mid-2000s when libraries suddenly needed librarians who knew comics and anime. But I digress.
I mention this because Detective Comics #1006 reminded me of some of the very first Batman comics I read when I was first getting into the hobby nearly two decades ago. The late 90s were something of an odd time in retrospect and there were an large number of Batman stories that centered around the Dark Knight Detective dealing with supernatural menaces. It seemed a bit strange even then to read stories where Batman insisted there was no such thing as ghosts or magic and that he didn’t believe in an afterlife when he was teaming up with a literal angel in the pages of JLA or fighting alongside the Jared Stevens version of Doctor Fate, AKA Fate. (Anyone else remember him?)
That same spirit (if you’ll pardon the pun) lies at the heart of this new Detective Comics storyline, in which Batman is recruited by The Spectre to help him with solving a mystery. Jim Corrigan, the Gotham City detective who acts as a host for the spirit of God’s Vengeance, has gone missing and The Spectre is no longer able to sense him. Though the details of how this is possible have yet to be explained, we see Corrigan ambushed and his partner murdered by a group of cultists whom wear the distinctive green-hooded cloak of The Spectre, while chanting “The Host Must Die! Long Live The Host!“
Peter Tomasi does a fantastic job of grabbing a hold of the reader and never letting go as the story progresses. The mystery presented by this issue is a compelling one, which is fortunate as I can see those readers unfamiliar with The Spectre becoming confused by the opening scenes. Still, Tomasi has a great grasp of both The Spectre and Batman and you have to love that Batman has the courage to tell the literal Wrath of God that there will not be any killing tonight if he wants Batman’s help.
The artwork by Kyle Hotz evokes a similar spirit, which is reminiscent of the Dark Age era of Batman. While not as exaggerated as Kelley Jones’ take on Batman, there is an angular nature to Hotz’s style that catches the eye and demands attention. Paradoxically, the color art by David Baron renders Batman with his classic Neal Adams coloration, creating a finished look that is definitively Batman yet oddly timeless.
Even if you don’t share my nostalgic fondness for the Dark Age stories that pit Batman against supernatural foes, there is much to admire about Detective Comics #1006. This issue is well worth checking out if you enjoy a good mystery or are looking for a different kind of Batman comic.
Detective Comics #1006 releases on June 26, 2019!
Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.