After the Justice League tie-in concluded on issue 1016, Detective Comics returned last week with author Peter J. Tomasi for issue 1018. This time, it’s Christmas in Gotham and Bruce must deal with both the death of Alfred in Tom King’s run and mysterious murders involving pagan gods.
While an interesting concept, the story focuses more on Bruce and the mystery of the crime than the villain. Tomasi starts off strong with the capture of a villain and an old Viking slaughtering people in Gotham.
Afterwards, we get a short few pages with Bruce playing catch with his dogs, before crying on his knees, due to the loss of Alfred. Then we go onto focusing on the deaths of people on a Christmas tree, and a pagan deity symbol in the snow, before we get the reveal of the Viking attacking Bruce Wayne.
This lack of a strong initial development of the villain, leads me to believe that the overall content will be a short arc, before another big story to impact Batman, and a potential return of Mrs. Freeze. This change would be more impactful than the delivery of this arc.
What Tomasi does accomplish by giving us a Viking villain is the fact that Mrs. Freeze mentioned it being a long winter. This could allude to Gotham getting more snow and becoming colder, due to something she may have done. If this is the case, she’ll make a return after this arc, or we’ll get another cold villain beforehand. If we do get another cold based villain, I’d love to see Killer Frost or Penguin in an upcoming arc. Either villain would be good for a Batman fight. Maybe even a Killer Frost and Mrs. Freeze team-up.
Overall, this issue delivered some strong panels and a lackluster introduction of a villain. As an issue, this was not as strong as the Mrs. Freeze arc, but I look forward to seeing what this arc sets up for future series.