With “Convergence” on the horizon and “Endgame” currently running its course in the pages of “Batman,” writer Brian Buccellato grabs artists Roge Antonio and Ronan Cliquet to detail the event’s wide-ranging affects in the streets of Gotham. Unfortunately, “Detective Comics: Endgame” #1 feels less like a tie-in and more like an inventory story to lock down shelf space.
This comic floats in space a bit, trying to be part of the larger narrative, but ultimately spinning in its own orbit. That is compounded by a story that grabs a heretofore untold thread, layers over well-intended sentiment and runs rampant with convenience. The thread focuses on a kid named Lonnie who is trying to reconnect with his mom while all of Gotham goes crazy in the wake of the Joker’s chemical attack. The sentiment taps into a visiting a character co-created by Norm Breyfogle: Anarky.
The story puts masks where they’re needed, drops Lonnie in with a group of similar teens who just so happen to want to help him and a trail of breadcrumbs that leads the teens to follow Lonnie as he happens across the extended Bat-family in battle. There’s also a rare typo from letterer Dave Sharpe (“What the neck?!”) and broken story flow where the artists change guard. There are so many story leaps, as a matter of fact, that it felt like pages or panels were missing at several points in the narrative. Buccellato clearly means well and makes an effort to introduce new characters, but this issue just tries to be too much.
Roge Antonio draws the first half of the issue. His style is a shadowy, sketchier version of the work that Rafael Albuquerque does, but it fits the story and brings just enough of a visual essence of Breyfogle to move this story along and make it feel like a tribute. He doesn’t overdo the backgrounds by any stretch, but that really doesn’t matter in a story that struggles to find its footing.
Ronan Cliquet picks up the tale as Lonnie leaps between buildings but gives readers the end result. Lonnie is shown solidly on the roof but, when Antonio left him, he had just leapt. From there, Cliquet’s art lacks pizzazz whenever one of the Bat-family is not on panel. When they are around, however, the art still has moments where it struggles to completely come together. Spoiler is too tall when she’s introduced. Lonnie runs right next to a crazed mob to scare them, and the tranquilizer guns that conveniently appear lack ingenuity beyond simply being a syringe-based version of a rubberband gun.
Introducing Lonnie and his compatriots, Dax, Dre and Riko (even though we aren’t given clarification between Dre and Riko), Buccellato is certainly planting seeds for future tales but doing so in a most haphazard manner. However, where the stories grow from and the shape they take will certainly be an interesting sight to see.
The overall execution of “Detective Comics: Endgame” #1 is rushed and distractingly uneven, making this a story that will struggle to be remembered as part of “Endgame.”