This review contains minor spoilers.
The special 48-page Detective Comics #950 is finally here. In all fairness, #950 technically arrived ages ago, but since we’re ignoring New 52, let’s get out the confetti. In this extra-sized edition of the legendary series, James Tynion IV pens three Baterrific tales: the “League of Shadows” prologue, “Higher Powers,” and “The Big Picture.”
The main attraction here is undoubtedly the prologue that follows Cassandra Cain’s harrowing story. She’s a lethal assassin and warrior, but also a lost child who’s desperately trying to fit in the civilized world. However much she craves a normal life, she struggles to find it due to the scars of her past. Tynion delves deep into this, exploring these inner conflicts that torment her. Particularly effective is his extended metaphor of dance and fighting throughout the story. Cassandra struggles with words, but she’s an expert of her first language: body language. She’s masterful with her own body and can read everyone else’s just as well. Ultimately, we discover the girl named Orphan has found a place where she belongs: with the Bat Family.
The other two stories, while not as long as Cassandra’s, are also prologues of sorts. “Higher Power” provides some much-needed page time to fan-favorites Azrael and Batwing. With both being new additions to the Rebirth world, their story is a dialogue-driven discussion where they ponder the issues about higher powers and technology. While their conversation digs into the soul of a robot concept, the twist at the end should prove to have interesting future repercussions.
“The Big Picture,” the last story, is centered on an exchange between Batman and Red Robin from months ago. Tim confronts Bruce, telling him it’s obvious the new Bat team is being prepared for a new kind of battle, and he wants to know what it is. We don’t get to see if Bruce tells him or not, but it’s obvious Tim knows it’s big. This exchange also demonstrates for the millionth time how Tim is the smartest Robin by far. Does this mean he’ll be coming back soon? Frankly, I hope they hold him off for as long as possible, so that his reappearance will have even more significance.
All three stories feature different artists. Fortunately, the styles of Marcio Takara, Alvaro Martinez and Eddy Barrows don’t clash drastically, so the art flows gorgeously across the pages and stories. Perhaps in an ode to Detective Comics‘s generally gloomier stories, the color scheme is much darker than what we tend to find in Rebirth’s normal color palette. I’m not complaining, though, because I still believe Batman should remain a darker character than the rest.
Once again, Tynion hits it out of the park – are we even surprised anymore? This time, though, it’s even more special considering it is Detective Comics #950. Much like Action Comics, this title has been responsible for the debuts of countless iconic characters and seminal storylines. Throughout the years, names such as Bob Kane, Bill Finger, Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams have all contributed to this incredible milestone. So, let’s cherish and toast to the next 950. Cheers!
Detective Comics #950 is a fitting tribute and celebration of this legendary series.