By Alex Batts — The Arkham Knight story arc in Detective Comics wrapped up a few weeks back, excellently introducing the character to the mainstream comics continuity. With the closing of one arc starts the beginning of another. Detective Comics #1006 is part one of a new arca called “There Will Be Blood,” and it sees Jim Corrigan and macabre The Spectre character in Gotham City for a grizzly murder mystery in which the Vengeance of God seeks out the help of the World’s Greatest Detective.
This first issue opens with Detective Corrigan and his partner Tony Martinez eating at a local diner. They get a call of a shooting a few blocks away, and soon the duo arrives at the scene of an execution-style murder with seemingly no evidence. While going over initial crime scene impressions, the pair are attacked by a group of individuals clad in costumes resembling The Spectre himself, shouting, “The Host must die! Long live the host!”. The unknown assailants end up shooting Corrigan’s partner, and during the scuffle they bring forth the wrath of The Spectre, the actual Spectre. As can be expected with the vengeance of God, The Spectre shows no remorse and no mercy, quickly annihilating a handful of the mysterious attackers.
Tomasi immediately establishes The Spectre as a force to be reckoned with and showcases his lack of benevolence towards humans. Not only is The Spectre introduced effectively here, but Tomasi continues to create engaging mysteries from the onset of each arc since taking over the title during the run up to Detective Comics #1000. During The Spectre’s rampage, some of the unknown individuals are able to drug Corrigan and abduct him, leading The Spectre to seek out the help of Batman. While Corrigan and his partner are being ambushed, Batman is dealing with a group of random criminals on top of a nearby bank. After taking down the thugs, Batman receives an alert from Alfred that there’s been a shooting nearby.
The following pages are my favorite sequence in the issue and are a testament to the talent of the art team. Kyle Hotz and David Baron masterfully illustrate two pages of Batman and The Spectre moving towards each other through Gotham. Batman is leaping from rooftop to rooftop in the rain, while The Spectre is 300 feet tall, allowing us to only see snippets of him among the buildings, with the massive sound effects of “THOOM THOOM THOOM” on his panels conveying the impact of his footsteps. The silent pages are such strong visual storytelling and the size and motion are executed perfectly in the landscape panels.
While I’m on the subject of the art team, they do an absolutely stellar job throughout the issue. Hotz’s Batman is the perfect mixture of ripped and lean, with a unique looking cowl, and The Spectre is as intimidating as ever. The inks create deep blacks and looming shadows, while Baron’s colors pop in all the right places. The blue in Batman’s costume and the green of The Spectre’s costume and his surrounding smoke are particularly striking in every panel they appear in. The action is swift, brutal, and visceral, with every punch, kick, elbow, and gunshot almost leaping off the page.
Picking back up with the main narrative, we see The Spectre confront Batman, and their interactions are a definite highlight of the issue. Tomasi nails Batman's sarcasm when first conversing with The Spectre and his rage upon finding the maimed bodies that The Spectre left on top of the original crime scene. The Spectre’s powers are on display as Batman inquires as to how Gotham didn’t notice him when he was gigantic, to which The Spectre replies, “Because I didn’t want them to.” We then see this ability for discretion used again when he masks Batman and his presence in the middle of the crime scene. It’s only after The Spectre leaves that Batman is revealed to the police around him, which hilariously adds to the mythos of Batman appearing out of thin air.
The Spectre needs Batman’s help to find Jim Corrigan, and though Batman is reluctant to help The Spectre due to his methods, there’s no way Batman won’t attempt to solve this crime and abduction. The Spectre’s dialogue has a sense of finality and power to it that can only be delivered by someone with as much power as he wields. The issue concludes with a look at the mysterious cult chanting over Corrigan's body lying at an altar which certainly doesn't bode well for the host of the Spirit of Vengeance.
Overall: Detective Comics #1006 is a strong start to another compelling mystery in Tomasi’s run. The Spectre’s appearance is grand, ominous, and foreboding, while the art team’s style perfectly captures the dark and gritty murder mystery presented in the issue. 9.5/10
Detective Comics #1006
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Kyle Hotz
Colorist: David Baron
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Publisher: DC Comics
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Alex Batts is from Texas. A lifelong comic book enthusiast and movie lover, if he’s not talking about comics, he’s probably not talking. You can find him on Twitter by following @BatmanFiles