Detective Comics 1000 is an anniversary collection that feels somewhat painted by numbers, offering short stories of varying quality that are easily forgotten.
Another DC comic reaches its 1000th issue milestone and is celebrated with a square-bound deluxe edition.
Detective Comics, starring Batman, is the latest comic book to make the milestone, and just like its sister publication Action Comics, DC decided to repeat the process with an anthology issue by top talent, showcasing the range of the most iconic hero of all.
As well as the multiple stories, we got multiple covers. And there’s a lot of them. As well as the exclusive variants, and incentive variants, there are also decades variants meaning collectors with OCD will be remortgaging their house to afford to buy them all.
Cynical? Perhaps, but with the comic book industry in a terrible decline, it’s no surprise that these decisions to make as much as possible are made so readily.
On the plus side, some of the covers are very nice: I got the 1940’s Bruce Timm version, and it looks great, but it’s the only one I got.
Anyway, the stories include contributions from the usual gang. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo open things with Batman’s Longest Case, Kevin Smith and Jim Lee have a nice submission next before Warren Ellis makes everything as dark as you expect him to. Then Denny O’Neil retreads an older story with Return to Crime Alley, Christopher Priest writes Heretic with art by Neal Adams, a highlight in the issue for me, and of course, Bendis sticks his nose in, but I dozed off there, before Geoff Johns and Kelly Jones pick things up again.
Towards the end of the book, there are some portfolio pieces, and we finish with the appearance of Arkham Knight, now integrated with the DCU. Speculators take note.
As a commemorative issue, Detective Comics 1000 just about does the job. It’s very similar to Action Comics 1000, hitting all the usual beats that you would expect from such an issue, but it’s such a tried and tested formula that I can’t help feeling that this was a slightly underwhelming event, with stories and themes we have seen so many times before.
What would be wrong with giving us an 80-page extravaganza that wasn’t really just a bunch of essays about the character? Anyone else remember Spider-Man Annual 1 with the first appearance of The Sinister Six? How about Giant-Size X-Men 1 or King Size Avengers 7? Incredible stories by industry giants that stand the test of time by giving us epic stories of the characters we love, instead of a collection of short stories of varying quality that are easily forgotten?
When you finish actually reading Detective Comics 1000, you are left with a slightly empty feeling. It looks great and feels great, but the actual content is tired and makes you think the whole thing has been more of an exercise than a labor of love, and trust me, when you have been reading these books for as long as I have, you get to know when the creators are truly in love with their art, or just painting by numbers, and unfortunately this all feels like the latter.
Louie Fecou reviews films, tv shows and comics for Ready Steady Cut, HC Movie Reviews and We Have A Hulk. He currently runs his own business in between watching films.