04 Geek on ComicsAlong with Action Comics, there is probably no more important title at DC Comics that Detective Comics. We can only imagine the the tremendous pressure the the writers and artists that work on this title are under. After all, Batman is one of the only comic book characters that have surpassed being a fiction identity to become an icon and Detective Comics is his flagship book. Last month’s huge celebration of 900 consecutive issues failed to deliver the bang this title deserves. So what do we get from issue 901? SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT!

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Over the past few issues, the title has developed a storyline in which The Penguin has had his entire life taken from him by his right-hand man. His money, his house, his business, his henchmen – of of them are gone and Gotham is now under the reign of Emperor Penguin. Naturally, Batman is obliged to topple this empire quicker than the Visigoths toppled Rome. The problem is that Emperor Penguin has injected himself with a mixture of the Man-Bat Serum and Bane’s Venom, making him quite the formidable opponent. In fact, Cobblepot ends up having to save the Dark Knight as he hangs from a tree, slowly strangling to death. It ends with Emperor Penguin in Blackgate, but we doubt this is the last we’ve seen of him.

Despite the rich back story of this issue, writer John Layman delivers this issue in a way that you can pick it up right here without needing to go back and read any unread issues. And having Penguin step in to save the day was a twist of genius we did not see coming. The art by Jason Fabok is some of the best we’ve seen in Detective Comics since Jim Lee. The expressions of pain, determination, and complete smugness are perfectly delivered and every panel seems alive. Jeromy Cox delivers some amazing color work as well in a landscape of big name books that have really seemed to fail on the color. But every bit of color fits the story and builds moods to match the content of this story. In short, Detective Comics #20, “King for a Day”, is everything a Batman book should be. If you haven’t bought it already, be sure you do. 