If there’s one complaint about “Detective Comics” #24, it’s that it ends exactly in the manner as expected. That’s not actually a real problem, unless you were hoping for a massive surprise in a story that’s spent all of its chapters deliberately leading up until this moment. While John Layman and Jason Fabok don’t pull the rug out from under you in the concluding chapter to their story re-introducing the Wrath to DC Comics, they end up telling a satisfying and enjoyable wrap-up.
The concept behind the Wrath has always been fairly simple ever since his original debut quite a few years ago: he’s the anti-Batman. Layman brings readers to that logical conclusion as he finally presents the character’s exact origin moment in this issue. It’s not a surprise that it’s a reversal of Batman’s, but it’s tackled quickly and effortlessly, and still ultimately contributes to the overall conclusion of the story. It helps that there’s a lot of action in “Detective Comics” #24; with all of the other revelations put on the table earlier, hitting this point is supplemented with a fun couple of battles and chases, including a dynamic attack on the Batplane over the skyline of Gotham.
It doesn’t hurt matters that Fabok’s art is as crisp and clean as ever. He draws a great Batman, but more importantly he draws a great profile out of a costume. Caldwell’s half-shadowed face atop an orange jumpsuit looks menacing without needing any sort of flash or pizzazz, and his Jim Gordon is instantly recognizable and iconic, while still coming across realistic. I also appreciate that Fabok doesn’t skimp on backgrounds or small details, either; if anything, it helps add to the realistic nature of his art, grounding these explosive and high-flying events in a setting that feels natural and instantly understandable. When the final battle between Batman and the Wrath finally shows up, the mechanical suits give a nice visual punch to the comic and ultimately seal the deal.
“Detective Comics” #24 might not surprise in terms of plotting, but it doesn’t need to. Layman and Fabok have promised a satisfying conclusion to the story of the Wrath, and that’s exactly what’s presented. If they are indeed departing “Detective Comics” soon (as the rumor mill claims), hopefully we’ll see them work together on another book quickly. If not, I’d certainly welcome their presence for as long as they choose to stick around. It’s been a fun year with the pair of them.