Former Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon is the new Batman of DC Comics, and his tenure as a mech-suited Dark Knight begins this week with two releases: Batman #41 and Detective Comics #41. Writer Brian Buccelatto comments on the unlikelihood of this new status quo in the opening pages of this week’s Detective Comics #41—potentially as a response of backlash from fans regarding Gordon’s new role (and short Mohawk haircut)—and Gordon is just as surprised as anyone that he’s Gotham’s new police-sanctioned vigilante.

As crazy as it is, this new idea for Batman is admirable because it does something very different with the character, opening new storytelling avenues for creators. Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato’s Detective Comics has focused on Gordon’s coworker and friend Harvey Bullock, and the changes to Gordon’s character are sure to affect their dynamic. The return of fan-favorite character Renee Montoya will also complicate things, and based on the sneak peek released last month, Bullock has a lot of problems with his new partner.

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Manapul is stepping down from art duties (but still co-plotting), and while Fernando Blanco’s art doesn’t quite have the dynamic energy or inventive layouts of Manapul’s, he has a grittier style that is appropriate for Buccellato’s scripting. It’s reminiscent of Michael Lark’s work, and taking inspiration from the Gotham Central artist for a book that is heavy on the GCPD is a wise decision. It will be interesting to see if Blanco starts incorporating Manapul’s imaginative design work down the line, because the ambitious visuals are a big part of the appeal of Manapul and Buccellato’s run.

Cover by Francis Manapul
Joker variant by Pat Gleason, Mick Gray, and John Kalisz

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