Things have changed in the world of Gotham City. Bruce Wayne is MIA after a battle with the Joker and Commissioner Gordon is leading a new Batman task force initiative and leading the way as Batman himself. So where does that leave DETECTIVE COMICS?
Well, luckily, the focus of this book has been spread about since Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul took over and we got to see a lot of Harvey Bullock. So, when the transition of this issue is more on Bullock rather than anyone else, it feels smooth and natural. Also, Manapul and Buccellato's take on Bullock is perfect. He's a noir private detective. He's hard drinking and doesn't mind throwing a punch. He's not your typical protagonist, but he's secretly lovable.
What really makes this issue the best is that Renee Montoya is back in town and teaming up with Bullock. What about continuity and the fact her picture was on the wall in BATWOMAN, almost like she was being remembered? Who cares! Montoya is awesome and she really fits into this book well. Bullock and Montoya, together, could easily carry this book through all this Bruce Wayne missing stuff. Buccellato and Manapul really have a great grasp on Renee. She's completely bad ass great at her job, and can hold her own in a fight. Actually, she's pretty dang handy in a fight, much more so than Bullock.
The art is a bit of a mixed bag, but there are some really cool looking moments to mention. Fernando Blanco delivers a pretty great two-page spread near the beginning of the book that has a great perspective to it. Blanco delivers action sequences in a cool way, giving the reader new looks and angles with every panel, as long as Gordon-Batman is involved.
If this book is heading the way the final panel sets it up, then I am easily on board for the rest of the arc. Without spoiling anything, the direction is very cool. If we get to see even more of Montoya, which has a likelihood of 99%, then this is the start to something pretty great.
There was a little bit of disappointment with the fact we're not seeing Francis Manapul on art, since he breathed a lot of life into the book. In this new arc, we have Fernando Blanco doing the art, with Brian Buccellato on colors. There's a lot of things Blanco does well but the art comes off as a bit bland. He does well in action sequences but character's faces, during scenes of dialogue are either hit or miss. Sometimes, it looks great and other times, it looks rough. There's a bit of inconsistency here with the art.
DETECTIVE COMICS has it's own identity and feel that really separates it from Snyder and Capullo's BATMAN. The book transitions even more to be about Harvey Bullock, which works well if you've been reading the book for the past couple of arcs. Even more importantly, we get the return of Renee Montoya! The only problem with the issue is that the art is a little inconsistent and doesn't hit the mark when it comes to the emotional impact of some scenes. However, this book is off to a great start since the CONVERGENCE break, so I highly recommend this issue.