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Shadow of a Tear

Writer: James Tynion IV

Artist: Marco Takara

Colors: Dean White

Letters: Marilyn Patrizio

Detective Comics has been an absolute treat since it returned to its original numbering and was handed to James Tynion IV. It has easily become my favorite Batman family title since the DC Rebirth and Detective Comics #950 only continued the quality story telling I have come to expect with the title. There aren’t a lot of comics out there that have reached 950 issues and with the current publishing trend of new volume after new volume we may never see another milestone like this. DC has decided to celebrate with an oversized issue with three stories included, all of which were outstanding.

The main story was Shadow of a Tear and focused on Cassandra Cain, the Orphan, as she adjusts to her place in Gotham and on Batman’s team. Tynion writes a heartbreaking story as we see the world from Cassandra’s point of view shaded by the trauma she has had to endure. Being born to one of the world’s greatest assassins and then being used as a deadly tool has severely scared her psyche. The issue in itself is very simple but sullen. At the heart of the story is Cassandra wants to be a normal girl but she will never get that chance due to her past and her need to redeem herself for actions from her past. We follow her from the Gotham Ballet, where she is entranced with the movements of the prima ballerina but she is more at home beating bad guys to a bloody pulp. Yet she struggles there as well since she has a tendency to take it to far and a fear she will take it to finality. As Cassandra is our POV character with this issue we see how she relates to the people in her life, how she can’t help but read their body language and knows that they are all uneasy with her even when they want to help. As this issue is the prologue to the League of Shadows storyline I’m sure many of the issues addressed here will be brought up again, especially with the reveal of a past enemy who has taken an interest in Cassandra and will no doubt cause trouble for our Bat Squad.

Marco Takara ‘s pencils were a perfect choice for this issue. They were dark and moody, which lent themselves perfectly to the story being told. I personally enjoyed the spread pages and had a tear in my eye when Cassandra was attempting to emulate the Prima Ballerina in the privacy of her own room. It was a perfect combination of art and story.

Higher Powers

Writer: James Tynion IV

Pencils: Alvaro Martinez

Inks: Raul Fernandez

Colors: Brad Anderson

Letters: Marilyn Patrizio

Our second story focuses on the two newest members of the Bat Squad, Azrael and Batwing, as they adjust to their new roles in the team. This short story focuses on their training in the Mud Room as Azrael both impresses Batwing with his skill set as well as frustrates, as he cannot figure out how Azrael operates. We then get some more insight into the new version of Azrael’s skills as they are not only from a lifetime of training but also a higher conciseness uploaded into the armor to aid Azrael in his fighting. It’s not a long story but entertaining and left me wanting to see more of these two in action. I like the updated Azrael and see the need for Batwing as the tech genius to replace the ‘deceased’ Red Robin but as I don’t know much else I’m curious to find out what he’s made of.

Martinez’s art was solid but the coloring was almost too dark as some of the Belfry scenes were hard to follow. But the tech designs were spot on & I am digging the updated Azrael armor, as it is both classic but with a modern twist.

The BIG Picture

Writer: James Tynion IV

Pencils: Eddy Barrows

Inks: Eber Ferreira

Colors: Adriano Lucas

Letters: Marilyn Patrizio

Our final story is a flashback story to the beginning of the Bat Squad as Red Robin confronts Batman on why he is changing his tactics and assembling not only the Bat Squad but also his on Justice League, which I would have preferred to be called Batman and the Outsiders, but DC has other ideas. The story was only a few pages and it was nice to see Barrows back on this story since he was with Tynion at the launch of Detective Comics Rebirth and this story fits right into the end of that first issue. I know we’ll see more of this and with the conflict with the Watchmen on the horizon I’m hoping Detective Comics will play a role in that War.

Verdict: If you love Batman and the team concept of Detective Comics then Buy! James Tynion IV has never been better and knocks this issue out of the ballpark. Jump on now if you haven’t been reading or sit back and enjoy if you have as this is going to be a fun ride.

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