A Final Detection: Sneak Preview of "Detective #15"

In a single sentence, Detective regular writer John Layman redeems the idea of creative collaboration, and the idea of the New 52…


"It's weird because when I came on", John Layman observes, "I didn't know about 'Death of the Family' and I had this Penguin oriented story and then the Snyder stuff got presented me…", my heart doesn't sink, but at least part of me is seasoned enough to know that it should. Newly-minted Detective lead writer John Layman (lead writer as of Detective #13) is talking about the new multi-title Batman crossover, "Death of the Family" that sees the Joker return to Gotham, only to tear apart the Bat-Family.

Spearheaded by Batman writer Scott Snyder, "Death of the Family" has blistered through the fear and the loathing of seeing the Joker return, showing in excruciating the psychological frailty the Joker has always been able to find in his adversaries. Having begun in Batman and already crossed over into Catwoman and Batgirl, "Death of the Family" will still arc its way through Detective, Nightwing and Batman & Robin among others before completing it's full arc. And if Snyder's earlier major crossover, "Court of Owls", is anything to go by, the Joker's decimation of the Bat-Family will not leave the continuity unchanged.

John Layman's run thus far on Detective has been rock solid. The opening issue showed the Penguin doing as much social damage to Bruce Wayne as he usually does physical damage to Batman. Layman's mastery of Batman's psychology is clearly evident as early as the first page--where Batman cracks a joke, only to betray his logical, rational mindset that makes him such a keen detective.

I should be jaded enough to watch my heart sink as Layman begins his answer. I should be more open to the idea that Layman (well, he would be sensitive about it) but would nonetheless reference creative conflict between his own vision and Snyder's. But… But, Layman turns my subjunctive expectations on their head. He instead completely allays my fears of having to hear about creative infighting. Instead the jaded cynicism just melts away and I'm a fan again--just like when I read his opening issue of Detective, just like when I read that first page.

"It's weird because when I came on", John Layman observes, "I didn't know about 'Death of the Family' and I had this Penguin-oriented story and then the Snyder stuff got presented me, and it actually really worked with what I needed to do. Penguin has to be at a certain place for my story to work. And it was just sort of synchronicity that I could hand him over to Scott".

It's a single answer late in the interview. And as I hear Layman's words, a wave hits. It's a single answer that redeems the idea of creative collaboration, redeems the Bat franchise, and even seems to redeem the idea of the New 52.

Please enjoy a sneak preview of Detective #15, released this Wednesday.


So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.