James Tynion IV has done remarkable work crafting compelling drama around the Bat-family with his Detective Comics run, taking cues from the Chris Claremont school of superhero storytelling to build a dense narrative featuring a big cast of characters, each with their own subplots. Tynion’s run ends with May’s issue #981, and all of these threads are coming together for a spectacular final arc that delivers lots of intense conflict, both physically and emotionally. “Batmen Eternal” brings symmetry to this run as Batman and his team face off against the villainous organization from Tynion’s first story on the title, The Colony, which is now led by Batman’s former ally: Kate “Batwoman” Kane. She’s brought Batwing and Azrael along with her, and this divided Bat-family has significantly raised the personal stakes for the series as the lines between friend and foe are blurred.
The addition of artist Javier Fernandez and colorist John Kalisz has given Detective Comics a major visual upgrade for Tynion’s final issues, and this exclusive preview of this week’s Detective Comics #978 showcases the art team’s dramatic flair, emotional depth, and attention to detail. The first page sets a somber tone that gets wiped away by an explosion of chaotic action in the following two-page spread, and Fernandez’s layout uses a cascade of small panels to pack the page with visual information. The diagonal arrangement of the panels accentuates the dynamic motion within each image, and Kalisz contrasts warm red and yellow against a blue background to give the smaller panels even more impact. This is a phenomenal art team, and Fernandez and Kalisz energize Tynion’s story as it races to the finish line.