Batman: Detective Comics, Volume 1: Rise of the Batmen is a refreshing surprise in the post Snyder era of Batman stories. Overall I have had mixed feelings about the DC Rebirth and like many, loved the Scott Snyder Batman tales that with time, may prove to be the best ever done. Yes that is very high praise and meant to be so. So rebooting a line that needs no reboot, that for me is risky business. But with this first storyline for Detective Comics, DC may just have knocked this one out of the park.
A mysterious army begins to infiltrate Gotham and Batman decides that what is needed to protect his city is not just a sidekick, but instead a team. He approaches Batwoman as team leader and recruits Red Robin, Spoiler, Cassandra Cain and Clayface to form a team. But before they can prepare themselves, they find themselves under attack from an army that is taking down its enemies with military precision.
When the unthinkable, Batman is taken hostage, the team must step up and quickly if they have any hope of saving the Caped Crusader. But what they soon find is that they are battling against an army that is as well trained and equipped as they are. Friends become adversaries and for one, the ultimate sacrifice may be called for.
James Tynion, creative genius or madman if you prefer, behind the Batman/TMNT crossover, takes the helm in this one and delivers a well told and fleshed out tale of family dysfunction and the need for acceptance in the dark streets of Gotham. Each member of the team brings their own abilities and genius, but also their baggage. Batwoman, Red Robin, Spoiler, Cassandra and Clayface have never been truly accepted in the Batman Universe and never established as part of the Batman family. They are, no pun on Batwoman, the red headed step children in comparison to Dick and Damien and Batgirl. Even behind Jason Todd. Tynion brings his crew together and with Batwoman at the helm, because Batman actually appears very little in this book, the team gels and is actually very good.
As a fan of Batwoman and Cassandra Cain it good to see them move into the limelight a little more than we get to see in the Batman books. They are strong characters who, if they did not exist in the shadow of the Caped Crusader, would probably have been more popular. This is a gritty book, as Batman books should be.
It will be fun to see where this series goes and how deeply Tynion is willing to explore the individual characters.
A good read.