What will become of our heroes in the Intelligence Finale: Judgement Day? Will Azrael overcome his inner demons? Will Ascalon rise up and purge Gotham of sinners? Find out in this week’s Detective Comics #962. Spoilers ahead.
What is this all about?
‘INTELLIGENCE’ finale! Ascalon, the deadly artificial intelligence created by the Order of St. Dumas, is ready to replace Azrael and purify Gotham City? and all that stands in the way of the world’s most flawless computer brain is the mind of Batman himself!
Over the course of these past few issues, Tynion would begin with mysterious flashbacks of Bruce and Zee at a younger age. This issue takes us immediately into the mind of a comatose Azrael and his inner battle to stabilize his own consciousness and maintain control of it. Azrael has a bit of technology implanted in himself that is connected to Ascalon. He doesn’t wake up until after Luke Fox gets him into a bat-suit that I think is very reminiscent of the Knightfall Batman.
Azrael immediately gets back out to the fight. Tynion isn’t joking around with this series as he takes it to dark places. The fight between Ascalon and Azrael gets serious when Ascalon slashes Nomoz’s throat and he bleeds out. I must say I felt bad for the little guy. But it’s at this point that Azrael goes all Super Sayin and drops Ascalon like a bad habit.
You remember the gnosis sphere? Well, of course, it’s going to have some significance to the story and here it is. Batman and Zatanna show up and Zatanna gives the gnosis sphere to Ascalon. It immediately shows his answers, to which we don’t see, but it appears to instantly neutralize Ascalon and he comes to reasonable senses. He also drops the bomb I’ve been waiting for to Batman: “He is alive. Timothy Drake is alive.” And poof, he’s gone. Where did he go? I have no idea.
I think we could’ve all gathered Tim was still around by now, obviously with Oz somewhere outside of time, but this grounds it. I’m so happy, Tim is going to have such a huge part in the stories to come and I can’t wait because he is my favorite DC character. I truly believe he will be a key player in Metal. I’m calling it, right here right now.
As for Azrael and his slick Knightfall armor, this appears to be the only time we will see that. Which is perfectly ok with me. I have this theory, that things like this tend to be cooler when they are short lived rather than overusing it and beating it into the ground. We got a glimpse of it and we were like “omg that’s so cool” then it went away and now we are like “that was awesome.” Such a great touch to the story, and a nice tip of the hat to older fans.
Tynion IV killed it in this storyline. The dialogue and character interactions felt real and palpable. The story was smooth, no holes, and was very well thought out. There was never a moment of boredom or that feeling of “what the heck is going on?” Very, very well done. The artwork in this issue was amazing. Azrael’s inner-demon-bat-battle felt powerful, and I especially liked when he woke up from his coma in the knightfall-esq armor and we got to see through his eyes. Very Darth Vader from Episode III. The fight scenes were detailed to boot, and the panels with the gnosis sphere were super bright magical. I loved every bit of this story as well as the touch at the end with Ra’s al Ghul that tells us this isn’t over. I highly recommend picking this issue up.
Reviewed by Justin Swenson
Detective Comics #962
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by: Alvaro Martinez, Raul Fernandez, Brad Anderson
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: August 9, 2017