Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 1) – Faces of Death by Tony S. Daniel


“His modus operandi changes with the wind…and it’s been windy in Gotham City.”

— Tony S. Daniel, Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 1) – Faces of Death

      The New 52 event hit DC Comics like a whirlwind and brought us brand new series and brand new creative teams working on our favorite superheroes like never before. As some series stand out compared to others, comic fans still find themselves in front of dozens of new worlds to jump into and new ways to entertain themselves with never before seen characters, artwork and stories. If anything, this major comic book event helps new readers plunge into the DC universe with more ease. Who doesn’t like order and cleanliness anyways?

       Among the new series out there, Batman fans get to celebrate (or not) with a reboot of Batman : Detective Comics. Kicking it off with a #1 issue, the first volume titled Batman : Detective Comics (Volume 1) – Faces of Death is written and penciled by the famous Tony S. Daniel with the help of Sandu Florea (inker), Ryan Winn (inker) and Szymon Kudranski (artist). Although the Detective Comics have been one of the longest running and highly praised series pre-52, the New 52 series sadly doesn’t match up with its companion series Batman by Scott Snyder and Gregg Capullo.

What can you do when you go up against a God like Scott Snyder, right?

You just can’t beat him.

       That however doesn’t mean that you should turn a blind eye on this series. Volume 1 contains issues #1 to #7 and starts off with the Dark Knight chasing down the Gotham Ripper, a gruesome murderer that has been committing horrible crimes throughout Gotham. Trying to figure out the identity of this mysterious figure, Batman and Commissioner Gordon find themselves up against villains that never seize to drag chaos around them. As his investigation has him stumbling around Gotham, Bruce Wayne’s relationship with a journalist adds additional weight on his shoulders and has him in compromising situations that might later trouble the Caped Crusader.


“He’s not the only one who can disappear on a dime.”

— Tony S. Daniel, Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 1) – Faces of Death

     Even with the crazy linear adventure that leads Batman to go from one villain to another, this was still a fun run. The first couple of issues were really decent. The story line evolved naturally and kept the intrigue going. The writing was fine and having the Dark Knight’s narration throughout the story wasn’t so bad. It was quite reinvigorating to see what went through his mind throughout the fights, but I definitely would’ve preferred having more dialogue outside of his mind. It’s only halfway into the volume, when a certain buyer comes into play and dramatically changes the whim of a villain by the presentation of a grand sum that things started to go all over the place.

     A nasty mess, I tell ya. Once that story line was introduced, it was as if we were introduced to a slippery slope and we just couldn’t stop ourselves from skidding down to disappointment…

      At this point, the story completely turns away from the intrigue it built and hovers over to an adventure that’s just utterly random. Brand new characters are introduced and whole new objectives are put into play. If it wasn’t for the artwork, this part would’ve probably brought this series down pretty badly. In fact, the artists for this series have done a marvelous job and set out a great tone throughout the whole volume. Every character looked amazing, frightening, chilling and stunning.


“This is Gotham City. Not Moscow. There’s an order here. A pecking one. And you are worms that get pecked from dirt.”

— Tony S. Daniel, Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 1) – Faces of Death

      Tony S. Daniel sadly doesn’t pull any tricks out of his sleeves for the remainder of the volume. Complimented by his brilliant art, the writing doesn’t bring anything new to the story. It essentially points out the obvious and keeps the story simple without ever going into depth. Bathing in the mess it jumped into, it doesn’t help that there’s a bunch of secondary villains that are thrown into the mix. From their minimal panel time to their minimized threat level, these characters were a shame to look at. To top it off, there’s a little story regarding Hugo Strange that is simply dropped on our heads out of the blue. It actually doesn’t even regard him directly and completely destroys any flow the reader could’ve gained through the story.

Imagine that. No regard for story-telling. Bye, bye, momentum.

    Sometimes I wonder if there’s this higher order that controls the creative team behind Batman : Detective Comics. I mean, how can you bifurcate so bad from a potential story you’ve built with the first couple volumes only to run into a disaster? There must have been someone out there that told them:

Hey guys, stop right there. We can’t have you steal potential fans from the main Batman series. Just make it pretty enough to distract readers. And make sure to keep that story average.


Yep. That must be it.


“Some people don’t need their faces kicked in. They just need to feel their insides move.”

— Tony S. Daniel, Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 1) – Faces of Death

      Batman : Detective Comics (Volume 1) – Faces of Death is a fun, but not brilliant debut. If anything, this is worth trying out for the love of Batman. It has potential and contains interesting angles that future volumes can easily draw upon. The artwork is undeniably beautiful and deserves to be salivated upon. Don’t get your drool all over it though. The writing will ensure of that. One thing to note is how every New 52 series run their own course, but there are Batman events that will affect all the series (like the events with the Owls; don’t worry if you don’t know what I’m talking about). Although Tony S. Daniel hasn’t managed to deliver an astounding first volume, it would be unfair to give up on this series. Through his artwork, you’ll still be impressed by the characters. You’ll be frightened by their sheer violence or stunned by their beauty. It’s worth a go.

Did you read Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 1) New 52? What did you think about it?

How about you read this trade paperback for yourself!

You can pre-order a copy of the book @Amazon / Indigo by clicking on these hyperlinks !

Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comment section below, as well as like and follow us so we can get you guys more reviews to enjoy!


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12 thoughts on “Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 1) – Faces of Death by Tony S. Daniel

  1. My thoughts pretty much mirror yours, after the first chapter (issue 1) things go a little down hill. Unfortunately Tony Daniel is a much better artist than he is a writer and writing/drawing the title meant the art here, although great, I felt it was not actually his best. Check out Superman/Wonder Woman Volume 1 (“Power Couple”) and you’ll see the difference.

    Volume 2 is about the same but the series is worth sticking with because another writer tackles volume 3 with art by Jason Fabok…it’s sublime!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve seen Superman/Wonder Woman’s series around, but I’ve never really been suggested to try it out. You mentioning it just made me want to check it out as soon as I get the chance xD.

      I’ve already read volume 2 of the Detective Comics series and totally agree. It still doesn’t climb out of the pit it dug in to. I plan on reading the 3rd volume this month though, can’t wait to find out where the stories goes this time.

      Always a pleasure to see you around on my reviews. Thanks man for stopping by.

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No worries my friend and trust me I think you’ll enjoy Superman/Wonder Woman and further volumes of Detective Comics. the art for volume 3 is some of the best comics art in recent years, Jason Fabok is definitely right up the podium with Jim Lee 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I was looking everywhere for a review like not in the comics forum but actually in a book blog with content and quality. You gave it all and now I can order the trade paperback in peace. Bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I only made it three issues in, and then quit this series altogether. Scott Snyder’s “Batman” is so much better. Save for the somewhat mediocre “Death of the Family” arc, it’s been fantastic from start to finish, to the point where even “Detective Comics” tied into “Batman” a couple of times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve read the first 4 volumes of Snyder’s run, and I have to agree that it’s divine. No other series can match it. I can’t wait to read the remaining volumes before DC launches Rebirth.

      I hear the Detective Comics get better later down the series. I hope it does get better though. Thanks for stopping by on my review and sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate it! 😀

      – Lashaan


  4. Yoo your gifs haha on point. A detailed and focused review. You put your heart onto it. Thats good. Did you continue reading it ? It gets better in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahh thanks man. I really appreciate it. I’ve continued up to the second volume in issues. I find that it still didn’t find its own identity yet. I’ve heard that volume 3 gets a lot better since there’s another team or writers/artists on it. Definitely looking forward to reading it soon!

      – Lashaan


    1. If anything, the first two issues are pretty decent. However, the rest isn’t great. The artwork might compensate for the failures in story-telling though. I was quite astonished by Tony S. Daniel’s art and it’s something that he’s quite good at too! I hope you’ll be able to enjoy some of the issues!

      I’ve read volume 3 of the New 52 Detective Comics where they changed the writer and artists. I can tell you now that it’s definitely a step up from volume 1 and 2. I hear the series gets somewhat better as you progress to the volumes. Of all the reboot series since New 52, I’d definitely recommend the Batman New 52 series by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. I doubt you’ll be disappointed by that reboot series! 😀

      – Lashaan


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