Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 4) Deus Ex Machina (Rebirth) by James Tynion IV


“The Holy Sword of Dumas no longer needs to be wielded by an imperfect man. It can be the weapon all on its own. Faith given body in shining metal. It does not doubt. It does not waver.”

— James Tynion IV, Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 4) Deus Ex Machina

    After a slightly messy and tumultuous story arc, James Tynion IV comes back strong with Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 4) Deus Ex MachinaCollecting issues #957 to #961, this volume kicks things off with a quick reminder of Spoiler’s solo adventure and then dives into a solid and well-executed story around Jean-Paul Valley, also know as Azrael, as well as Zatanna. While there has yet to be an update on the subject, issue #962 is actually the finale to the Intelligence story arc, but seems to have been excluded so far in the collected edition’s blurb. I doubt this is an intentional and cleverly thought-out marketing ploy by DC Comics since you’d be left with no closure and a huge cliffhanger if you end things at issue #961; the logical way to go will be to include issue #962, the final part of Intelligence into this trade paperback. In this volume, James Tynion IV explores the lore behind Azrael and his infamous sword and armour as science bursts through the front gates of religion. Reinventing Azrael by adding a technological explanation to the sword and suit of Azrael in order to explain his radical beliefs and his enhanced combat, James Tynion IV brings forth an original story that blends science and religion in a very riveting compound. The story is also enhanced with a touch of magic and nice past and present narrative as Zatanna is finally introduced into this universe.


    I can’t explain how glad I am that this story arc finally does justice to James Tynion IV’s potential. With the aid of Batwing, a good friend to Jean-Paul Valley, but also a mastermind whenever it comes down to technology and science, the story was able to illustrate an intriguing advancement in artificial intelligence. The introduction of a brand new villain who quickly shatters the peace that embodied Jean-Paul Valley helped also pushes the story’s intrigue to new heights, while simultaneously exploring new territory regarding Azrael’s character and a bunch of throwback Easter eggs to his origin story. However, this volume doesn’t solely focus on Azrael and the new threat that has risen from the dark. Batman also gets a sub-plot with one of DC’s most interesting characters: Zatanna. Without ever being jarring, this story line intertwines with the whole volume beautifully and further explores the complex relationship between both Batman and Zatanna. In fact, I believe my favourite part of this story arc lies in its mystical aroma.

    Although there’s artificial intelligence, strange creatures, magic, religion and science, they are all blended together in perfect harmony. I loved how the story strives in a world that doesn’t usually rhyme with Gotham City and yet still manages to perspire as a Batman/Detective Comics story arc. The little plot twists and surprises thrown into this adventure, whether to prepare for something that is soon to happen within this series or to relate it to something that is much bigger in the DC universe, were done with great precision and timing as well. In fact, speaking of surprises, this volume, apart from the first issue that focuses on Spoiler (Stephanie Brown) which enlightens us on her new goal as a solo vigilante, every other issue part of the Intelligence story arc is drawn, penciled and colored by the same artists. Alvero Martinez (pencils), Raul Fernandez (inks) and Brad Anderson (colours) do an excellent job in maintaining a consistent and excellent artwork and giving this volume an identity that it can proudly broach about. I’ll always prefer having the same creative team behind a story arc than a bunch of different artists whose artworks never really blend together and would more often than not vary in quality, from mediocre to excellent. It is such a pleasure to be able to enjoy good artwork with this fantastic writing.


    Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 4) Deus Ex Machina is definitely the best volume so far in this series. It was about time that James Tynion IV was finally able to release a story arc that truly highlights his talents and excellent artwork that did justice to every single character and brought life to the mystical and technological beings of this world. While the first issues, The Wrath of Spoiler, was completely random standing beside the main story arc, Intelligence, it was a nice little reminder of the existence of that ex-member of the Bat family and how things have heavily changed for her, especially her perception of Batman and what he’s done to Gotham. I also liked that that particular issue showcased a villain that was initially introduced in volume 4 of the New 52 Detective Comics run. I’m pretty sure the coincidence was intentional, and it definitely a fun one, to say the least. Intelligence then takes matters into its own hands and delivers a magnificent and creative story featuring characters who have yet to be truly explored in DC Comics: Zatanna and Azrael. It was only a question of time before we’d finally get something well worth our while. Action-packed, cleverly written and beautifully drawn, Intelligence is a story arc that does everything you’d want in this Rebirth series.


Did you read Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 4): Deus Ex Machina yet? What did you think about it?
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23 thoughts on “Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 4) Deus Ex Machina (Rebirth) by James Tynion IV

  1. Zatanna is often underused.

    Also, this arc made me not only understand Azrael a lot more, but it made me care about his situation. Considering I knew next to nothing before that, and it also glimpsed into Batman’s past while introducing a formidable new villain, that’s saying a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t agree more. Both character’s had yet to see their true form. Based on what I’ve read that featured those character’s, I barely got a glimpse into what they were really about. This volume however does so much more in so little pages. I’m definitely happy about this volume. It really stands out compared to the past 3 volumes we’ve had, in my opinion.


  2. Wish I had some insightful comment, but honestly, all I can think is that I feel like comics are now a continuous “Elseworlds” storyline. I think a real comics fan has to have a core of steel that allows them to deal with all the changes. I can’t deal with that but I am glad for reviewers like you so that I have “some” idea of what is going on 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand where you’re coming from. In fact, it’s how I feel about “legit” Elseworld stories, like Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns, where Batman’s origin story was completed changed and so many characters have different personalities/roles in Gotham. It just didn’t feel right to me. The only reason I can deal with these stories is because their part of the “canon” storyline. Both Detective Comics and Batman are two series that I’ll probably never be irked about the same way as Elseworlds stories.

      Definitely glad to hear that these reviews are informative for you. I do enjoy spreading the word about the existence of comics and that they are worth checking out if interested. I know a lot of people don’t care about these stories or won’t even bother reading about them, but being able to share my thoughts on what I read will always come first. Anyone willing to read is just a huge plus. And anyone willing to discuss, whether they read it or not, is just an even bigger plus. 😀 Thanks for reading, sir. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Always glad to read your reviews and thoughts on stuff.

        I always enjoyed Elseworlds because it was an imaginative look at alternates. But with these reboots every 5-10 years, suddenly all those “alternates” are becoming reality.

        That, and I’m a sucker for one story to start and end with one graphic novel…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review for this volume Lashaan, I think I remember reading your earlier review for one of the other volume’s and you saying you were a little disappointed in it so I’m glad to see this one managed to pull things back and that it ended up being the best volume so far for you. 😀
    I’m assuming, based on what you said, there’s going to be another volume that includes 962? It sounds like you’ve read that issue already so if you have I hope you enjoyed it.
    Again great review, 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Beth! Yep, I’ve been having issues with pretty much all the previous volumes of both this series and Tom King’s Batman series. I’m glad this one stands out among the rest, it was really well-executed. 😀

      Issue #962 is actually the final part of the Intelligence story arc. It should be included in this volume, but every website I look at (amazon, goodreads,etc.) seem to exclude it from this volume. I think it’s just a mistake that they’re bound to fix when we get closer to the release date of the collected edition (after all.. I read these in single issues and not as a trade paperback, as we can see based on the pictures hahah). Funny thing is, the blurb for volume 5 excludes #962 as well. So yeh, hopefully I’m right, otherwise I’ll just correct it in this blurb.

      Thank you again for reading! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right, and wow in that case it’s both great you carried on with this series and great you enjoyed this one as well. 🙂
        Oh that is strange, and yep I did see all your issues in the pictures, they were great pictures by the way. Well I guess issue 962 has to be in one of them, probably just a mistake in one of the blurbs.
        That’s all right! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s surprising, isn’t it? I’m always happy when it’s done successfully. 😀 But when it’s a mess… Gosh.. You can expect loads of regrets on my purchase hahaha Thanks for reading, Meggy!!! 😛


  4. I love when a fusion story just works! So many don’t that they can give the “genre” a bad name… Consistency may have something to do with that? I’m not sure how comics work but with manga it helps that he same mangaka stay in charge of the story the entire arc… Great review Lashaam and I’m happy this was better than the others in the series! Sometimes I read just for a volume like this!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Dani! Yep, it’s the “bad” name thing that ultimately sucks about this whole thing, but when you come across a good blend, it’s soooo satisfying! Over the years the way comics work (writing and drawing them) has changed greatly. There was a time when it was the same writer and artists for a decent number of issues, and then it would change and shift into the hands of someone else, but nowadays, the artists can change from one issue to another and kill the flow. These creative teams never really stay stable, but when they do, it really makes things SO much better. Hopefully they learn this quickly! 😀 Thanks for reading, Dani. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. They would honestly have to do a TV show for them to explore all these villains that so many people have never heard about. Hollywood can’t afford to make some unknown villain shine on the big screen, in fear of failing to attract enough peepz for $$$ and in fear of nothing having an interesting enough story to tell. Wish they’d try it out though, but I also wish they explored more heroes other than Batman too. Then again, we’ll feel overwhelmed even more about superhero movies, if not already hahah

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Glad you enjoyed this story arc as much as I did mate, it was definitely a step up from the previous story line. I was a big fan of the art and glad that Martinez was able to pencil all of it which made a massive difference – as you say, coupled with good writing it’s a treat!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly, man. It was such a relief to finally see a story arc that delivers on all fronts. I’m a bit skeptical about where the story will now go by visiting Anarky though. Then again, Tynion IV knows how to give life to those lesser-known characters, so here’s hoping he’ll surprise us with Spoiler, Anarky and Robin.

      Liked by 1 person

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