So, these two issues from Paul Dini’s Detective Comics run got put up in the recent expansion of the comic books section (Thanks for that, by the way!). I read them last night, and WOW.
I’ve read a lot of issues and a lot of stories on this app since I got it, especially given that I hadn’t actually read all that many comics before. I’ve got to say: each of these issues individually is a better story than just about anything else I’ve read. And I’ve been reading good stuff.
#826 is probably the stronger of the two, but #821 is really good as well. The series is called Detective Comics, and it’s always nice when Batman can actually play world’s greatest detective for a while and solve some mysteries. Plus, it’s a nice study of how he uses the Batman and Bruce Wayne personas.
In particular, in #826, the tension, pacing, and characterization are all absolutely spot-on. Like, in particular I’ve always felt that the Joker is at his most intimidating when he’s legitimately funny. You see him mowing down pedestrians in a minivan with Robin (Tim at this point) tied up with Christmas lights in the passenger seat, and that’s awful, but it’s also a hilarious image. Then you realize that laughing at it is exactly what he wants you to do and you feel all the sicker for it. Plus, you’ve got Tim handling the situation like an absolute champ, and I won’t ruin the ending for anybody who hasn’t read it, but it’s great.
In particular, both issues end by bringing up something seemingly irrelevant that you’d overlook on the first reading and having it be the key to the whole plot. Also note that these are standalone issues; Paul Dini doesn’t need a six-issue story arc to tell a great story (which seems to be the norm with just about every book anymore). Instead, he’s able to get right into the action, set up some tension, and then pay it off at the end while still fitting in some great character moments.
Basically, I want to thank DCU for putting these up, encourage everybody to go read them, and mention that I’ll probably try to hunt down the rest of Dini’s Detective Comics at some point.