By Alex Batts — Detective Comics #1007 sees the end of a two-part tale featuring the Vengeance of God, the long-tenured DC character, The Spectre. The creative team of Peter Tomasi, Kyle Hotz, David Baron, and Rob Leigh set the stage for this story last month in Detective Comics #1006, with another great mystery for Batman to solve. The inclusion of The Spectre adds an unorthodox element, and the interplay between him and Batman has been a blast to read.
This issue picks up where the last one left off, with Jim Corrigan being held captive by a group known as “The Cult of the Divine Hand”, which wants to harness the power of The Spectre and wield it themselves. As Corrigan lays helpless—shouting that they’ll be punished by The Spectre—Batman is busy in the Batcave, working the case.
This early sequence is one of my favorites in the issue. Bruce is talking to the Batcomputer, using a holo-gen to visualize and interact with the crime scene via holographics. It’s not the biggest detail, but things like this really pull all of the detective work together. Basically, it’s nice to see Bruce really digging into those detective roots. The way technology is used to aid him is also interesting to see.
It’s in this sequence, we get our next interaction between Bruce and The Spectre, when The Spectre appears in the Batcave. "Appears" is putting it lightly...he possesses the giant T-Rex Batman keeps there. Yes, you read that right, and the amazing splash page from Hotz with Baron's superb colors alone makes this issue worth its cover price. What follows is a stunning two-page spread in which The Spectre explains his relationship with Jim Corrigan and their origin. It's a nice refresher to anyone already familiar with the tale as well as a great explainer for those who don’t, all of it done in a quick, efficient, and captivating way thanks to the brilliant visual work of Hotz and Baron.
Batman and The Spectre again clash on ideologies regarding violence, and for a moment The Spectre is unwilling to budge in his steadfastness related to use of lethal force, but eventually he concedes to Batman's wishes. That's right, Batman made the Vengeance of God agree to his terms before going into battle. It’s exactly as epic as it sounds. After their mutual agreement, Bruce makes a breakthrough in the case and the pair have a lead.
The next sequence sees Batman and The Spectre attempting to get information from thugs about the whereabouts of their prime suspect. Hotz art style again lends itself really well to the grungy cell the thugs are found in as well as the overbearing presence that The Spectre commands. His Batman is unique looking, especially in regards to his cowl which actually reminds me of his first appearance look. The scene even sees Batman cracking a joke, but it feels completely natural. Tomasi has such a strong voice with Batman that dialogue just flows, and I don’t think twice about what Bruce is saying. Everything just fits.
The art team did a phenomenal job throughout this story, but the final act of this issue sees them really elevate their work. The Spectre and Batman are able to locate the cult, at an abandoned church, and confront them in the church halls. The ensuing battle is rendered with beautiful brutality over two stunning double-page spreads. Seeing The Spectre and Batman back-to-back taking down foes as the church goes up in flames is nothing short of epic. Hotz’s linework and inks provide an incredible foundation, and Baron’s colors pop off the page. You can feel the heat as the church roars into a bellowing blaze, and you can see the contempt in Batman’s eyes as he stares down the murderers.
While the issue and story come to a quick end, it’s not necessarily abrupt. The tale ran its natural course and provided an entertaining and engaging mystery across two issues. The real highlights of this arc are without a doubt the back and forth between The Spectre and Batman, as well as the art teams’ stellar renditions of both characters.
Overall: This issue provides a cathartic conclusion to the murder mystery that brought The Spectre to Batman for help. Both characters shine as Tomasi continues to prove his ability to write top-notch Batman detective stories. 9.0/10
Detective Comics #1007
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