Detective 787 (Dec. 03) has two great stories and a wonderful cover as well.
Brian K Vaughn, Rick Burchett and John Lowe are the creative team on the lead story. Harvey Bullock is back on the force, and is in charge of the investigation prompted by a mysterious clue sent to the force – why is a raven like a writing desk? The police suspect the Riddler or Cluemaster, but Batman recognizes it as the answerless riddle from Alice in Wonderland, spoken by the Mad Hatter.
And indeed, Jervis Tetch is the villain in this issue, having broken out of Arkham, he has brought his psychiatrist with him, against his will, and also kidnapped Kirk Langstrom. Under his control, the Hatter has Langstrom create a serum that he injects his psychiatrist with.
It turns the man into the Jabberwock, looking much like the Tenniel illustration from Through the Looking Glass.
Batman first frees Kirk Langstrom, who is relieved to discover that he did not become Man-Bat during his time with the Hatter, and then battles the Jabberwock, as the Hatter recites lines from the poem Jabberwocky.
Batman wins by injecting the beast with the antidote Langstrom creates. To his surprise, the psychiatrist is actually understanding of the situation, and sees that the Hatter did this in a twisted attempt to help the doctor better understand his patients. Batman is left with high admiration for the man.
Spears and G take the Dog Catcher to a darker place with this chapter.
With no response from the Joker, and time running out for the dog, the Catcher attempts to encourage people to adopt him, but without any luck.
As the work day ends, he reluctantly puts the dog to sleep. He does not notice he co-worker die horrifically from drinking the coffee left sitting out.
But he can’t possible miss the Joker’s big entrance.
The story concludes next issue.