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Review: Detective Comics #865

Who is the man behind the Black Mask?

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The question of who the Black Mask is is answered in depth in this issue, do we care? 

The Good

The dialogue flowed well and the narrative was easy to read and well organized. 

The Bad

We all have comics that we grow up reading and sometimes those that were our favorites as kids can be the ones that we are most critical of. I know I can be overly critical of Batman comics sometimes, no matter how often I try to remain neutral. So having said that, you've been warned. There was a lot that seemed off from the beginning of the issue. If you haven't been reading the comic, we now know that Black Mask is actually Dr. Arkham. This issue of Detective Comics delves into the story of Dr. Arkham and explains exactly what it is that makes the good, erm, bad doctor, tick. Is he a inherently villainous, or a mere pawn in a game? For being a "detective comic" there was very little "detective work." There is one specific scene that comes to mind for me that highlights this where a bomb goes off. Rather than proceeding to investigate the death and the bomb, Batman never addresses the situation again. That's not very in character for Batman. 
My second complaint has more to do with the direction of the character development and the blossoming relationship between Arkham and Alyce Sinner. Does anyone else feel like this relationship mimicks that of Harley Quinn and the Joker? Harley and Alyce are both doctors at the Asylum and Arkham is as equally deranged as the Joker. The relationship unfolding in this comic is something we have seen before, only much less interesting. Speaking of the Joker, why give him a prominent role in the story and never address it again? And where in the timeline did these events (prior to Arkham becoming Black Mask) occur if the Joker had been working with the Black Glove prior to Battle for the Cowl? I really was not a fan of the art in this comic. A huge step down from the incredible work of J.H. Williams II. 

The Verdict - 2/5

I really was not a fan of this issue. I think the plot could be much better and I feel like a lot of Batman's reactions to certain events were out of character for him. I feel like I have read this before. I almost wish I was still reading Rucka's Detective run, at least until Bruce returns. There is no need for yet ANOTHER Batman comic featuring Dick Grayson.