Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Detective Comics Annual #2
Layman, Williamson, Eaton & Mendoza
Detective’s second annual is a self-contained story that allows Layman to show more of his creativity as he launches another villain. This issue is a lot of fun to read as Layman uses a little bit of deception in telling his story. The comic also contains two smaller, but related stories as backup stripes to round out a very nice read.
The new villain is someone referred to as Jane Doe. Basically she likes to assume other people’s identities. This sounds very similar to the villain Clayface except she literally mimics the individual’s personality while wearing a clever disguise. It’s tough to sell this in a comic book but it works well here.
Batman must first solve the mystery of the murders then he can move on to figuring out Jane Doe’s assumed identity and then he’s got to stop her. It’s a comprehensive read and it’s nice to see something get resolved in the same issue that it begins. It’s also nice to see Layman creating yet another villain for his cache for future use. He seems to be very good at that.
The aspect of the book that doesn’t work well is the love story that is sort of jammed into this issue. It involves Bullock, a character that doesn’t strike me as being very charming. Especially when he is getting a girl that appears to be out of his reach we seem to have a mischaracterization in my opinion. I found this aspect of the book to be too far off the mark for my tastes.
The artwork is good. This story commands a lot of deceptiveness and subtle and the artwork is up to the challenge. However, when I think of Batman books I want big splash pages, loud entrances and menacing looks and we get all of that too. Overall, the art on all three stories is very much in-line with what I consider to be essential Batman visuals. I enjoyed the flow of this comic a lot.
Annuals are a tough sell. They cost more than regular issues for not a lot of content. They are typically throwaway type books that don’t tie in to the regular stories in the series. And the comics typically aren’t by the main creative team. However, this annual is an entertaining and one-and-done comic book and there is something to be said for that. I like the mystery in the comic and I liked the new villain in the comic, even if it is not terribly inventive, Layman writes the character with a new freshness to it. This is worth checking out if you are curious about Layman’s Batman work.
3 out of 5 Geek Goggles