Love, Loss and Adventure
Detective Comics Annual #3 is a touching story of loss, love and adventure as Bruce Wayne navigates life without Alfred at his side. In “Who Dares Wins” an intriguing stranger shows up at Wayne Manor, and Bruce has an opportunity to learn more about the man who raised him. Then, in “The Week”, readers get an inside look at the early days as Alfred cares for a young Bruce Wayne as he struggles to deal with the often harsh realities of being a vigilante.
Keeping The Torch Burning
It really seems as though some of the best Alfred Pennyworth stories have come after his death. No one is complaining, though, because it’s a very clever way to keep him going in the current story arcs.
Tomasi masterfully spins a narrative that is only possible because Alfred is gone, but his being gone is not the focus of the story. He adds little tidbits like Damian’s note to his father about the empty refrigerator while artist Sumit Kumar reveals what an untidy Batcave looks like – and it’s something that’s only possible because Alfred is gone.
Secret Agent Man
It’s no secret that Alfred’s past is a veritable goldmine of possibility. His days as a secret agent make him the perfect person to raise Bruce Wayne and helped shape him into the man he becomes, but there is so much about him that even Bruce doesn’t know about.
Marigold Sinclair’s appearance surprises Bruce – partly because he has no idea who she is, and partly because she was able to effortlessly navigate his security system – and after their great adventure she returns to share memories with him and that’s really the crux of this beautiful story.
Perhaps as time goes on Marigold can continue to make appearances in Tomasi’s universe because it would add an interesting dimension and influence in Bruce’s life. She’s strong and capable, just like Alfred, and her no-nonsense personality is something that Bruce could use right about now.
We can’t talk about Detective Comics Annual #3 without talking about the art from Sumit Kumar and Eduardo Risso. Both do a phenomenal job capturing Bruce Wayne and Batman, but it’s their work with Alfred that really ignites this story.
Both artists give Alfred a classic look that harkens back to the swinging 60s. He’s suave and debonair and oh-so-cool in Kumar’s rendition, and he doesn’t lose that later on when he’s caring for his young charge under Risso, either.
It’s also a very poignant juxtaposition to have Kumar’s Bruce – sans Alfred – vis a vis Risso’s Alfred caring for Bruce before Bruce is fully capable of caring for himself. Risso really demonstrates how involved Alfred was in those early years, while Kumar’s chaotic Batcave and empty fridge serve as a metaphor for Bruce’s life in the post-Alfred era.