Batman: Detective Comics, Vol.4: Deus Ex Machina by James Tynion IV continues the theme in this series of telling tales that don’t directly involve the Batman. In the prior tales they were the story of Batwoman and Red Robin and more recently Orphan. In Deus Ex Machina Tynion brings forth two very under used and under appreciated characters in the Batman and DC Universe at large/
Azrael and Zantana.
The death of Tim Drake has devastated the Batman team. With the Spoiler angry and petulant the team is left with little recourse to face the upcoming threats. But one comes from a place they are not ready for. The avenging angel is back only this time it is not, Jean Paul Valley. Azrael is called back into action to face another with his same power. But can he do it alone and is the Bat team in any shape to deal with this in the face of Drake’s death.
Batman must call on an old friend and one time romantic interest to help the team. Zantana. But what will Zantana’s magic and Azrael’s mysticism unlock. What secret will they reveal?
There has always been something of a sibling rivalry between Detective Comics and the Batman comics and now, with two different writers at the helm, the books seem to be going in a completely different direction from one another. The competition for readers may have ramped up but the stories are vastly different. With the new team created by Batman in Detective Comics, the supporting cast has actually taken a far greater role and that has come with mixed reviews.
I however find it refreshing. I enjoyed the Orphan aka Batgirl aka Cassamdra Cain and I also loved the Batwoman aka Kate Kane storyline. But with the Catwoman and Batman storyline in the Batman comics, the Detective Comics line may be being overlooked and that is too bad. With Batman taking a backseat, we are seeing these characters take a stage, with good writing and really good stories, and being worthy of being headliners.
Jean Paul Valley has been dealt a rather harsh hand in the Batman universe after he took the mantle and responsibility of being the Batman when Bane broke Bruce Wayne’s back. He was quickly cast into the role of a bad guy. An overly violent vigilante in the Batman costume that Tim the wienie ass Drake had issues with. Of course we all thought the Cowl should have gone to Dick Grayson but for the moment Jean Paul was cast into the role and it was an unfair trial. But if we were honest about it, the team of Jean Paul as Batman and Damian as Robin would have kicked some serious ass in Gotham.
Then there is Zatanna . Is she really a hero in the DC Universe to be taken seriously or is she a poor man’s version of Marvel’s Dr. Strange. For my part I never gave her much thought. To my knowledge DC certainly didn’t invest much in the character for me to look into her. But in this storyline we see a character that is very much like Talia Ah Ghul without the blood lust. Just how powerful is she? And if she is capable of what this tale offers, DC you are seriously missing the boat here.
Then there is the Spoiler and for my view, at this point, the best thing she did was die.
Detective Comics is a very good read but if you were going to kill Tim Drake, who at this point is the fifth most likable Robin, seriously do the the math; keep him dead longer that two storylines.