Comic Vine Review


Detective Comics #879 - Skeleton Key


After months of wondering what's up with James Gordon Jr, we now know if we'll see a 'happily ever after.' If that wasn't enough, Joker shows up to cause all sorts of shenanigans. Scott Snyder and Francesco Francavilla give us quite a ride in this issue.

It's not often a character can be brought out of comic book limbo and have such a huge impact on existing characters. Also, how often do you get an amazing Batman book without any sign of Batman inside?

The Good

I'm not a fan of long lost characters suddenly appearing in current books. I've often wonder what these characters are up to when not appearing or being mentioned in any comic book. With James Jr., I always knew of his existence. Honestly, I thought he was dead all these years. When Scott Snyder re-introduced the character, I was willing to accept it. He wasn't a major character or a super-powered one so it was possible he was off doing his own thing. As we've seen more and more of James Jr., we discovered that he may have a darker path. This is where you get pure storytelling.

It was in Detective #874 where a simple conversation between Commissioner Gordon and James Jr was filled with suspense and the seeds were planted as to whether or not there was more to James Jr. than there appeared. Then #875 gave us a look from his childhood. Seeing the struggle that Commissioner Gordon has been going through for years has given the stories a truly heavy feel. You can see what Gordon is going through as he struggles to find out the truth. Who needs Batman in a comic when the supporting characters are so well written?

I love that we've been treated to art by Jock and Francesco Francavilla's art in Detective. Francesco's take on James Jr. really amps up the speculation over what his intentions are. Is there really something dark in him or is he simply misunderstood. Also, if you didn't know, Joker is in this issue. Damn, if he doesn't look absolutely creepy, creepy in a way we haven't seen often.

The Bad

I don't want this 'series' to end. Snyder + Francavilla + Jock has been amazing.

The Verdict

There's no Batman here, Dick or Bruce, but who needs them? Scott Snyder and Francesco Francavilla team up to bring us the next installment on 'is James Gordon Jr evil or not' and it is quite a ride. The story that has been building up for the past few issues continues as we see a side of Commissioner Gordon that we don't often see. This is such a heavy struggle for him and you can really feel the weight of the possible repercussions lying on his shoulders. There is such a vibe of suspense and the pacing of the story along with panel layouts, art and color truly deliver a stunning tale. All this and more insanity with the Joker, who has never looked creepier, thanks to Francavilla.

Here's the preview pages from The Source.

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