Comic Book Review – Detective Comics #997

Detective Comics 997

Writer – Peter J Tomasi

Artist – Doug Mahnke

Waiting for a Miracle

Batman and Thaddeus Brown wake up in a room, their hands shackled, and their bodies bound by leather straps. Batman’s utility belt has been taken from him. They argue about Batman showing up and not listening to Thaddeus’ warning to leave as the room begins to fill with water and sharks swim around them.  Batman begins to assess how they can escape the room as sharks are headed toward Thaddeus, who is bleeding from the confrontation with the creature that attacked him last issue. As a shark is about to go in for the kill, Batman launches the point in his cowl, which hits the shark.  A panel opens releasing piranhas into the room. Batman, using the points on his gloves, cuts the belly of a passing shark, killing it and drawing the piranhas to the feed on the animal. Batman uses a piece of the shark’s carcass and drops it near the leather strap tied to his feet. The piranha chews through the strap and Batman swims over to Thaddeus.  Thaddeus chews through the strap binding Batman’s arms. Freed, Batman grabs hold of Thaddeus and the men escape the room and head to the surface of the desert.

The men encounter the Bat Creature, wearing a Batman costume, demonic red eyes and matching skin. Batman regains his belt as he and the creature fight. The creature conjures up evil doppelgangers of Bruce’s parents, Joe Chill, Alfred, Robin, and other Bat family members.  Batman destroys these doppelgangers as the creature grabs hold of Batman and they begin to fight in the air. Batman lands a blow to the creature and they fall out of the sky. As they fall, the creature lands in the hole on the ground, his final fate as food for the piranhas.  During the fight, Batman was able to deduce the creature was made in a lab.  Thaddeus offers his assistance to Batman. Batman tells Thaddeus that he appreciates the offer, but this is a solo mission.

Ninety miles north of Gotham, Hugo Strange is seen working in his lab. An explosion rocks the lab and is destroyed, hurtling Hugo to the outside of his lair.  The final page revealing the perpetrator as an angry Batman, ready to unleash his rage on the villain.

Batman fighting sharks this issue is a homage to Batman #425 “Joker’s Five-Way Revenge” and of course, the classic scene in Batman (the 1966 movie). As I have said in a previous review, an angry Batman is a sloppy Batman. He is starting to get pushed to the brink of madness and exhaustion. The last time he was run ragged was the lead up to Batman #497, the infamous issue where Bane broke Batman’s back. Hugo Strange is going to be in a world of hurt next issue. Can Hugo offer any insights to the mastermind at the core of the destruction of the legendary Batman?

Up NextBatman’s tried everything on Earth to stop the menace hunting his friends and family…now it’s time to turn to things not of this Earth! In the past, whenever Batman’s encountered the supernatural, he’s turned to Jason Blood for guidance—and to Etrigan, the demonic entity living inside him! But securing their help is never simple, and what Blood has to show him will shake Batman to his core!

On Sale Feb 13, 2019