Detective Comics #995
Written by: Peter J Tomasi
Art by: Doug Mahnke
Inks by: Jaime Mendoza
Colors by: David Baron
Letters by: Rob Leigh
After two attacks on Bruce’s family, Batman goes into the lion’s den for answers.
Bruce races to the Batcave with Leslie Thompkins in his arms. Infected with Joker venom, Leslie is fading fast and Alfred is racing to prepare the anti-venom.
Once the reach the cave, everything they try fails. Every variation does nothing and Leslie desperately wants to tell Bruce how proud she is of him. After her tragic death, Bruce refuses to accept it and keeps trying to bring her back. When he finally stops, he asks to be alone and a grieving Alfred finds himself answering the door only to be stabbed by a rapier and left for dead.
The fact that there is a coordinated attack on Bruce’s parental surrogates immediately after he finds the bodies of two people altered to look like his parents is an amazing twist in this issue and adds emotional resonance to the story and the characters.
Bruce puts the mansion on lockdown as he treats Alfred’s injuries. The would be assassin’s connection to Bruce’s past and the night of his parent’s death is an interesting touch.
The events of the evening culminate is Batman making a visit to Arkham and telling the assembled inmates that he is there for answers as the lights ominously go out.
Tomasi is pushing Bruce to his emotional limits in this storyline. There are so many ties to the character’s past in this story that the reveal of the villain behind all of this should be interesting to see. This story is building to something big and it continues to be engaging enough to keep me coming back for more.
The gritty, beautiful art of Doug Mahnke is another factor that makes this storyline engaging. There is masterful dramatic detail in the panels and the pace of the story is complemented by the art.