COMICS REVIEW: The origin of the Arkham Knight in "Detective #1004"

Written by Peter J. Tomasi, Art and Cover by Brad Walker (Pencils) and Andrew Hennessy (Inks), Colors by Nathan Fairbairn

This issue opens with Batman and Robin investigating the breakout at Arkham Asylum, apparently led by the Arkham Knight, Astrid, the daughter of Arkham doctors. Her father tells the tale of the bizarre circumstances of her birth and disturbing upbringing inside Arkham. Peter J. Tomasi spends many pages on her origin story, explaining her hatred of Batman, and trying to make us sympathize with her. I didn’t quite buy it all; it was a bit of a leap, but I suspended my disbelief and read on.

This Arkham Knight-centric issue starts with her hogging the cover!

Clad in armor (Where and how did she get it? It couldn’t have been easy or cheap to acquire), Astrid views herself as a knight on a crusade, right out of her childhood storybooks, leading the escapees to fulfill her deranged fantasy. To say Astrid isn’t playing with a full deck would be an understatement. Unfortunately, Arkham is now exactly where she belongs, but this time, on the other side of the bulletproof glass.

As the cover suggests, this story is very Arkham Knight-centric…a rare issue where we do not see any scenes of Batman in action…instead showing him entirely at Arkham in detective mode. I know the title of the book is DETECTIVE Comics, but I would have preferred less exposition and origin story, and a bit more of BATMAN being more than just a detective.

I have been a fan of Brad Walker since his early work on Action and Aquaman, and it’s a joy to finally see his dark, imposing Batman. Walker’s line style is bolder and more decisive than ever, perfectly complemented by the Jerry Ordway-like inking from Andrew Hennessy. Appropriately so for the Dark Knight, the duo uses lots of heavy blacks and simple, thick dagger-shaped tapers for shading. In contrast, flashback scenes are treated in a minimal linework style with no heavy blacks.

"Detective #1004" interior art by Walker and Hennessy.

Detective Comics #1004 was an enjoyable read, but I'm not sure I am a fan of this new villain, but time will tell. Hopefully Brad Walker has a long run; I really enjoyed his artistic take on Batman.


• the Arkham Knight’s “distorted” artistic homage to the cover of Detective #31

• a tragic death

• Walker’s different approach with Batman’s cowl lenses

• a new drinking game: every time disgruntled Damian goes “tt”, everyone has to chug

• the always visually cool Dr. Phosphorus

The next issue of Detective Comics releases June 12, 2019

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