Detective Comics #861
Written by Greg Rucka
Art by Jock
Co-feature Art by Cully Hamner
Cover by JH Williams III
Price: $3.99; Release date: January 27, 2010
JH Williams III became one of my favorite artists last year when he was brought on board Detective Comics (along with writer Greg Rucka), bringing with him his impressive layouts and a highly photo realistic style.
With Detective Comics #861 Jock takes over for Williams on art detail, bringing a very different dynamic to the art. The two have radically different styles, with Jock having a much more angular style. He doesn’t have the way with the intricate layouts that Williams does, but he adds grit to the issue that Williams doesn’t have. Jock’s has an economy of line, and the coloring adds a very expressionistic angle to the art. If you’re used to his art, and enjoy it as I do, the change will not be as much of a bitter pill to swallow, but if you’re looking for a style similar to Williams III, you may not enjoy the change as much.
A new storyline starts in this issue as Batman and Batwoman are tracking down the same case in two different eras and I’m assuming we will see how they are connected at some point, but as when Williams was drawing it, the star here is Jock’s art. He has a great way of projecting the mood of the scenes.
The story wasn’t exactly clear; I had to be told by other sources that this was Bruce Wayne in the past, but my goodness this was a joy to look at. I wish the story had been a bit more explicit about when each part was taking place. Apparently the big clue was that Batman’s symbol on his chest had a yellow oval, which he hasn’t had for a while, but I don’t follow Batman enough to recognize that. It’s a big element of the story, and I think a lot of readers are going to miss this subtle clue. I don’t want to sound like I know better than Greg Rucka, but it’s just something that I would have liked to see spelled out a little more clearly.
Story aside, I still really enjoyed this issue, and I find myself following regular Batman stories for maybe the first time ever. And if nothing else, I wish I could see Jock do a full run on a straight Batman story. As long as DC keeps this level of art on this book I’ll keep reading it.
Rating: 4 out of 5