Detective Comics 590

My Favorite Issue in the Grant-Breyfogle Run

As a start, let me invite you to look at the cover. This cover alone is worth the price of the whole book. Look at the way Batman is drawn - standing still yet dynamic. Look at Big Ben in the distance, it's in silhouette but the clock details still give it three dimensionality. The bats coming out are just perfect together with the painstaking detail of the tree branches. The colors are a close match and  are subdued - with only the moon and the logo serving as contrast. The mood is somber and chill. The artist is Norm Breyfogle, he also does the rest of the issue.

I originally wanted to approach this issue of Detective Comics a showcase of Breyfogle art but John Wagner's and Alan Grant's script is so good I'll highlight points in both writing and art.

The issue starts with a terrorist attack on some Vietnam War veterans in Gotham. This sordid scene is discovered by Batman.

batman discovers dead veterans enlarge

As expected, he is furious.

Look at the stylized way Batman is drawn. This is trademark Breyfogle and I'm loving it.

The Gotham police inform Bats that the one responsible has diplomatic immunity and therefore, cannot be prosecuted and has already boarded a flight to London.

Batman gets even more furious.

Batman swings off into the night and the next day Bruce Wayne decides to go on a vacation - to London. He he he.

Breyfogle's London is gorgeous, as is heralded by Big Ben on the cover. Here's a sampling:

parliament enlarge

london landmarks enlarge

While Batman is in his hotel some kids celebrating Guy Fawke's Night are shown outside. Breyfogle's layout and paneling is well worth showing as well as what I would take to be the traditional rhyme for this occasion.

kids celebrating guy fawkes night as bruce wayne looks on enlarge

Now it is the writing's turn to take the spotlight. During his battle with the terrorist we get a a bit of a sermon from the guy responsible for killing those veterans in Gotham.

a terrorist explains himself enlarge

The wonderful thing about this issue is that Batman himself gives an answer to this piece of terrorist reasoning not so much by his words but by his actions when he makes his way into the terrorist hideout.

batman knocks out some goons and leaves enlarge

Do you see it? The terrorist holds an entire group to blame for the actions of a few individuals - considering innocent men somehow guilty of acts they have nothing to do with. Batman stands as the polar opposite as can be seen in the narration by the Caped Crusader in the panel above.

I think that's an artful and subtle piece of writing from Wagner and Grant, a good complement to Breyfogle's art.

Before Batman leaves London, he throws his costume in the bonfire so as to make it easier for him to go through Customs. I love Breyfogle's rendition of the burning costume and those kids in the background not quite believing what they are seeing in the flames.

batman cowl in a bonfire

Posted by  Pete Albano - January 31, 2011

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detective comics 590

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Detective Comics issues


579 : Crime Doctor

582 : Millenium crossover

583-584 : The Ventriloquist

585-586 : Ratcatcher

587-589 : Corrosive Man

590 : Batman In London

591 : Batarang vs. Boomerang

592-593 : On the trail of a torture killer

594 : Ecsta-wha?

617 : Joker

871 : The Collectors

874 : James Gordon

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