Review Detective Comics #17 “Organized Insanity”



A poison has infected Gotham City but it is not one that attacks the body, this contagion is of the mind. With The Joker still at large the city stirs with fear and the crazy is bubbling to the surface. Hundreds of Joker inspired thugs holds Gotham hostage. One name stands above the rest The Merrymaker. He and his hooligans progress through the city racking up the body count as they go. As night falls the Dark Knight goes on the hunt and the world’s greatest detective solves the mystery, who is The Merrymaker.

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John Layman brings a close to his pseudo “Death of the Family” crossover in remarkable fashion. This issue may have lacked some of the intensity the other issues had but Layman’s writing is strong. Batman’s internal monologues are fantastic and are very reminiscent of Frank Millers “All-Star Batman and Robin”. Layman really understands the inner workings of the detective side of Batman’s mind. While not comparing to the brilliance of Loeb’s “Long Halloween”, Layman scripted a good but somewhat obvious mystery for Batman to solve. Layman’s signature of his run on Detective Comics has been his jabs at humor. There were several times while reading this issue that I chuckled to myself. One moment in particular is a panel where Batman throws a near Spider-Man like one-liner, telling an attacker searching for his therapist “the Doctor is out and so are you”. Granted it is a little on the campy side, it still breaks up the dreary dialogue that is normally associated with anything Batman.


As always Jason Gabok’s artwork in this issue is incredible. Every panel comes alive and transports the reader in to the gritty underbelly of Gotham City. I have said time and again that great comic book art takes time and effort. Gabok’s skill in presenting the subtle details in panels in unparalleled, from depicting the rage of a junkies attacks to a missing tile on the wall of a psych ward, he has become a master of visual storytelling. His artistic determination truly makes every pencil line look easy and effortless.

Detective Comics issue 17 is a wonderful work of art and literature. The downside to the issue is that the conclusion of this exceptional story arc is lacking a climax befitting previous issues. The unfurling of the mystery “who is The Merrymaker” was a bit too obvious and disappointing. Overall this was a great issue that was well constructed in all aspects. I give Detective Comic #17 a 8 out of 10. Read this issue and spread the crazy.


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