Detective Comics #997

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi / Artist: Doug Mahnke / DC Comics

Question for the audience: raise your hand if you immediately recognized Thaddeus Brown at the end of Detective Comics #996. Because I had completely forgotten the original Mister Miracle who went on to teach Batman and inspire Scott Free, the only Mister Miracle I was consciously aware of. That said, such a deep cut is perhaps proof that Tomasi is exploring all of the mythological roots of the Bat as he continues to get dragged through a very bad, no good, terrible week.

Weird prerequisite knowledge aside, Detective Comics #997 is a clinic in how Batman thinks in a high stress scenario. If this sounds familiar, it’s probably because you too read Batman #62 a couple weeks ago in what is likely a case of creative convergence. However, whereas King’s Batman was unaware of how exactly he got into that particular circumstances, Tomasi’s Batman is astutely aware of the pressing circumstances of being chained up in a flooding room with sharks. This is hyper focused Batman calling out every single play by play like it’s something he’s rehearsed. This is Batman living up to analytical skills and resourcefulness that comes with being the World’s Second Greatest Detective (something I will note that Tomasi himself wrote).

Mahnke’s artwork is on point as always. The set pieces continue to be bombastic and Mahnke’s captures Batman’s sheer determinism perfectly. It is bloody and brutal, but never feels excessive in its violence. It captures the street fighter’s spirit, the mentality that behind all of the gadget, Batman is still just a person with two fists and a lot of grit.

The Mythologies arc hones into the grand scale of Batman. This is a study of his symbology, how his various origin stories shaped him and how he shaped Gotham City and the world at large. It’s fitting as we countdown to the milestone, if not a little disorienting by the sheer scope that is modern Batman.

8.5 “Miseries and Miracles” out of 10

Reading Batman? Find BNP’s coverage of the Dark Knight here.

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  • Mikkel Snyder is a technical writer by day and pop culture curator and critic all other times.

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