Subway Shorts – Detective Comics 975

Batman turns to his most trusted allies to decide what to do with a team member who has crossed the line in a special “anniversary issue” of Detective Comics.

Detective Comics 975
Written by James Tynion IV
Pencils by Alvaro Martinez
Inks by Raul Fernandez
Colors by Brad Anderson

Batwoman killed Clayface last issue in order to save Orphan and Batman didn’t really take kindly to the actions of his cousin. Neither did Orphan, who was the member of the team closest to Clayface. In order to decide what to do with Batwoman, Batman calls in the closest members of the Bat-family for some advice, giving us guest appearances in the book from Robin, Red Hood, Nightwing and Batgirl.

This issue isn’t about a team of heroes fighting to save a city or each other. Instead, we get a family gathering to decide how to handle a problem with one of their own. I’ve really been enjoying the story Tynion has been building here, as Batwoman’s loyalties have been stretched between Batman – who entrusted her with a team to train – and her father – whose made it his mission to take the Bat down. But while Kate Kane is Bruce Wayne’s cousin, it’s clear she’s not as close to him as others who joined his crusade before she did.

Given how rare it’s happened since the start of the Rebirth era, a gathering of the main Bat-family should be a special event. But this issue just felt flat to me. Most of our special guest stars – namely Nightwing, Red Hood and Robin – felt like they were only placed in the Batcave because they had to be, giving the most basic “true to themselves” answers to Batman’s question of whether they should forgive Batwoman. Their inclusion here really felt pointless, and it’s a shame, because bringing them in to a different Bat-book should make it a big deal.

Thankfully, Batgirl does more than just give a quick response. For years now, the revamped Barbara Gordon has been a standout in the DC Universe, and she continues a string of star-making appearances here. She’s the only one who forces Bruce to hear what needs to be said and takes him to task for how he’s handling the situation. Batgirl has already been one of my favorites in this new era, and a lot of the reasons why are showcased here, giving the only woman in the room the most reasoned argument.

Unfortunately, all the talking in the Batcave really means nothing, as Batwoman decides to join up with her father, who is offering her a paramilitary group of her own to lead, free of Batman and his rules. That should shake up the dynamic of the book as we go forward toward the end of Tynion’s run. Hopefully, we can move past the rare miss of an issue here and get back to the character interactions that have made more sense.