October 27, 2016
Detective Comics #943
“The Victim Syndicate”
“Pt. 1, I Saw the Devil”
Written by: James Tynion IV
Pencils by: Alvaro Martinez
A new story arc begins in Detective Comics #943 with “The Victim Syndicate, Pt. 1, I Saw the Devil”(Not to be confused with the 2010 disturbing Korean horror/action flick of the same name. I mean it! It has some cringe-worthy moments!) which takes place after the multiple title crossover story, Night of the Monster Men. Batman and Co are reeling after saving the city and the apparent (Remember, I said apparent.) death of one of their own, Red Robin, aka Tim Drake. The city and its people are rebuilding and picking up the pieces of their city and their lives.
The story opens at the front of Wayne Enterprises as Batwoman and Renee look upon the defaced ediface of the building with the cyptic message, “No More” written over a red colored bat symbol. Is this a clue meant for Batwoman? The red bat symbol does adorn her costume after all. Three police officers are dead. Security cam footage and a few eyewitnesses, including one Lucius Fox, allow the two women to at least ascertain, that there is no shortage of scary and dangerous individuals in Gotham City. Especially those who despise the Batman.
In this issue, each member of the Batman team seems to be isolated from the others , dealing with the aftermath of all the death and destruction and the terrible grief felt over Robin. Batman throws himself further into his work…alone. Spoiler is wracked with guilt and self-doubt. Orphan and Clayface train. Batwoman grieves but seems to be the only member able to move past it and continue on as before. Included also are appearances by Harper Row, aka Bluebird and Jean-Paul Valley, one of the three incarnations of Azrael.
With the death of Tim Drake, there is no one to complete let alone understand the tech of the Belfry, hence, Bruce Wayne’s wish to recruit one Lucas Fox, son of Lucius (Who also had the alter-ego, Batwing). He’s a technological genius whom Bruce believes could operate and maintain the Belfry and seeks him out at a party that Lucas is throwing to showcase a line of new police equipment he has developed. Before he can speak to Lucas, an explosion rocks the party and the Victim Syndicate reveals themselves, vowing revenge on Batman and anyone else who also helped him.
The Verdict: If you could only read one of the current Batman titles available, Detective should be the one. The artwork is top notch and the writing is great. “The Victim Syndicate” would be a great starting point for new fans and old ones who are looking to get back on board. These new villains look interesting and a worthy addition to Batman’s rogue’s gallery.