jonesdeini's Detective Comics #879 - Skeleton Key review

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Family Business

Jim heads down to the clinic to follow up his hunch on James Jr. and what he discovers confirms his worse fears.  
The Good 
This is without a doubt one of the best covers to ever grace Snyder's Detective. Last week I (very much rightfully so) applauded JOCK's depiction of James Jr., but nobody does James like Francesco Francavilla. Just look at that paradoxically cool, dispassionate gaze that's oh so unnervingly intense. Next to a properly written Joker, I believe that James Jr. is the most foreboding and soul chilling Batman character there is. That's quite an accomplishment on both Snyder and Francavilla's part considering how relatively "new" he is.    
As always, Francavilla's use of color really accents Snyder's superb writing and gives life to the story. The way he uses color to reflect the emotional states of the characters gives this story a whole other layer. For example, the bright, intense oranges, reds, and yellows used for Gordon and James contrasts perfectly with the soft, cool greens, blues, and violets during his panels with Babs.  
My favorite thing about Snyder's Detective without a doubt is the dialog and character interaction. Scott Snyder has such a firm grasp on all of these characters that one would assume that he's not only been writing them for years but that he created them. One of the best things about this issue was watching Gordon interact with Babs. I'm glad that Snyder chose to keep it all in the family this issue because the disparate relationships he shares with each of his children really gives an extra layer of dramatic depth to his narrative.  
Gordon asks Babs to aid him into researching exactly what James is up to and what they discover has huge ramifications for not only their family but the future of Gotham.  
Scott Snyder's known for his "Holy frak!" last pages and he does not disappoint here. As Gordon goes to confront James he stumbles upon something not so hidden. You can visibly see his heartbreaking when he says "No, Harvey...nothing's okay." 
There's a Joker Subplot running alongside the main narrative which excellently accents and parallels the events of the Gordon/James Jr. dynamic.     
The Bad 
Snyder uses the Joker's subplot quite well, but his writing of the Joker did nothing for me. And the whole Joker/Hannibal visual comparison has been done to death. Hopefully he'll be able to make his mark on the character like so many other great writers have been able to do in their careers in the next two issues.  
The Verdict 
Buy This Comic!!! 
This is Batman's comic, but Scott Snyder's proven that Jim Gordon's more than compelling enough to be a leading man in his own right. Hopefully when Snyder takes over Batman in September he'll continue to build on Gordon and to explore James Jr. because not doing so would be a travesty. This backup feature has taken on a life of it's own and I'd dare say it deserves it's own tpb treatment. 

Other reviews for Detective Comics #879 - Skeleton Key

    Can't get a 5 when the art is a 2.5! 0

    Alright, alright, let me halt the hype train that is word of mouth about Detective comics. Scott Snyder has been doing excellent, excellent work writing this, researching it and coming up with wonderful twists on villain motivations. In "Hungry City", he researched banks and the reader really feels the difference when they are talked up to for a change! His Tiger Shark has an interesting way of speaking to Batman through his henchmen and is part of a sort of lineage of ancient pirates and sea pe...

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    Stuff Nightmares Are Made Of. 0

    Hands down, this has to be one of the best issues of Detective Comics that doesn't even involve Batman.  And why should it?  This is between blood.   One of Scott Snyder's main strengths lies in his ability to build tension and give the appropriate pay off.  Snyder's run on Detective Comics has been incredible.  His arcs have gotten more and more personal for the characters and they've been reaching darker territory.  Black Mirror explored the challenges of being tested in Gotham and possiblity ...

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