It’s finally here. Detective Comics 1000. After Action Comics became the first American comic book to reach 1000 issues last year, it’s now the Batman’s turn to take his place alongside Superman. But what was actually inside the comic? A collection of short stories celebrating the Dark Knight fills the pages and, shockingly for a Batman comic, the majority of them leave you feeling good after reading them instead of wondering how the Dark Knight will survive. In truth, I don’t remember ever smiling this much for a Batman comic. While there are too many stories to cover in-depth, I’ll pick out a couple of my favorites to go over. Trust me, you’re going to want this book.
The first story I’ll cover is “Manufacture for Use” by Kevin Smith. In the story, we see Bruce’s criminal disguise, Matches Malone, enter a place called the Gotham Gift Shop. There, they sell recovered and stolen equipment used by all of Gotham’s villains. As Bruce moves through the shop, we see flashes of his fights with all of his notable enemies. Each of these fights has one thing in common: Batman being shot, stabbed or blasted in the chest. As the man in the shop tries to sell him numerous items, Bruce spots the object of his desire: the gun that killed his parents. He immediately buys it and returns to the Batcave. Once there, Alfred asks why Bruce would bring that gun back into his life. Bruce responds, “I grew up broken and sad after this hunk of metal took everything from me…But after tonight…it’s never going to hurt anyone again…I’m going to burn the metal that killed my parents. And forge it into something useful. So the metal that broke my heart as a child? That same metal will protect my heart as a man. And that is justice.” Bruce takes the gun that killed his parents, melts it down and forges it into the armor plate under the chest of his Batsuit.
My next favorite is called “The Batman’s Design” by Warren Ellis. In it, we see a group of heavily armed men being chased by Batman. He leads them to a warehouse they think they can use to their advantage. Unfortunately for them, this is exactly where Batman wants them. He has rigged the entire warehouse with non-lethal explosives and smoke bombs, and in a display of Batman’s showmanship, he eliminates every single one of them until only one remains. As the last man threatens to detonate a dirty bomb that could spread radiation across Gotham, Batman emerges and walks through the flames. The man then hands over the detonator. This one gave me serious flashbacks to the Arkham series of games with how theatrical Batman eliminates each thug. Absolutely brilliant.
The next story is “The Precedent” by James Tynion IV. The story begins with Bruce and Alfred discussing whether or not it’s a good idea to let Dick Grayson become a full-time crimefighter as Robin. While Bruce has serious reservations about letting Dick be a vigilante, Alfred reminds Bruce that Dick wouldn’t be the first child he’s taken care of that put on a mask. Alfred tells him that by letting him become Robin, he can give Dick the opportunity to find something Bruce never had: closure. That closure, as Alfred says, is the key to making life easier for Dick, and in turn, it will make things easier for everyone. He tells Bruce that Dick will be able to look at everything from a different perspective, and he may even be able to get Bruce to enjoy himself once in a while. Alfred goes as far as to say that, given time, as good as Bruce is, Dick will be even better. Then Bruce asks Alfred about the others. When Alfred responds with confusion, Bruce tells him, “We can’t fool ourselves into thinking his will be the only time we’ll see that look in a young person’s eyes, and know we have to do something. Why take him in, and turn away the rest?” Before Alfred can respond, Dick drops down from a chandelier and says, “Then we help them find the better path. Together…Let’s show them how to do it right.” The story ends with Dick taking his vow and fully becoming the first Boy Wonder, Robin.
And finally, my absolute favorite story in this issue. “Batman’s Greatest Case” by Tom King starts off in a cemetery. We see Bruce slowly moving through the gravestones, making his way to his parents. While he is walking, we get dialogue from Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne. The two are bantering back and forth about everyone being smarter than Grayson, as they try to figure out why Batman has called them to a rooftop. We then see a rooftop where the entire Bat Family has gathered: Nightwing, Red Hood, Red Robin, Robin, Spoiler, Batgirl, Orphan, Signal, Huntress, Batwoman, Catwoman, Alfred and even Ace the Bathound. They all begin to talk and try to figure out why they’re there. Some think they’re there because someone died. Others think that they’ve been called together to kick Red Hood out of the family. They all agree that they must be there because someone died, so they all start preparing to call “the funeral guy”. They begin to joke, and someone mentions that Batman would want them to be serious, to which Nightwing says, “I was Batman.” All of a sudden, Ace begins barking, causing everyone to look up and see Batman standing over all of them. He walks up to a smoke stack and stabs a Batarang into the brick, causing everyone to realize what was going on. They all gather together, as a family, and the Batarang snaps a picture of all of them together. In the graveyard, Bruce reaches his parents, pulls out a copy of the Bat Family picture and lays it on their gravestones.
However, just when you think everything is done, you realize it isn’t. We’re given dialogue on the last few pages. The person speaking has a clear hatred for Batman. They reveal that all of Batman’s work is, in reality, selfish. All Batman wants is to hold everyone else down and build himself up. For that reason, the Dark Knight needs to fall. The Batman needs to have justice inflicted upon him. And the person to do this is going to make their move very soon. This person is the Arkham Knight.
I absolutely loved everything about this comic. Every single story had something special to offer Batman, and even though I only covered four of the stories, they were all amazing. However, I can’t emphasize enough how much I absolutely love the Bat Family story at the end. I’ve always wanted a series based on the Bat Family and how they interact and work together, so reading that last story was amazing. And now we throw the Arkham Knight (who isn’t going to be Jason this time) into the mix, adding an element of mystery to the series moving forward. It’s a great time to be a Batman fan.