Posts tagged ‘Alfred’

Action 606 – Hal has no friends, Rafael listens to Mockingbird, Deadman in hell, Superman worshipped, newspapers are evil, and Blackhawk in a cockfight

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Superman gets the cover of Action 606, so that means I will update what is going on in his 2-page series this issue.

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Owsley is joined by Tod Smith on the art as he searches for someone to share his troubles with.

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Hal goes to visit John Stewart, in prison for the murder of Carol Ferris. Hal can do nothing to clear him, and John is still pissed about Katma Tui’s death.

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Hal forces his way past Alfred and goes to see Bruce Wayne, but Batman, having recently lost Jason Todd, is not in a sociable mood.

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Hal doesn’t even manage to see Clark Kent in person, as he is swamped with work.

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Finally he turns to Green Arrow, who one would have expected Hal would have turned to first. But even Oliver Queen gives Hal the brush off.

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Pasko and Spiegle show the Secret Six what happens when they try to learn anything about Mockingbird, or even more about their mission than they are meant to know, as Mockingbird turns off their devices again.

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Meanwhile, Rafael has opened his father’s safe, and found a wristwatch.  It broadcasts Mockingbird’s messages, and Rafael learns that a new team was formed, and old team told they were going to train their successors.

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Baron, Jurgens and DeZuniga have a lot of fun in this chapter, as Deadman arrives in hell in a jar, pulled there by a creature who claims to be the devil.

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I think that the man Deadman spots, who is stated as being still alive, is meant to be Nixon, but it’s not a great rendering.  On the other hand, the hell supermarket is really fun.

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Deadman runs into D.B. Cooper, the infamous and never captured hijacker from the 70s.  He leads Deadman to a mountain, the only way out of hell.

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So what’s been going on in all the Stern, Swan and Beatty Superman chapters that I have skipped?  Not a lot, frankly.  Superman has come to the aid of a man in danger, and rescues him.  The man worships Superman, thinking he is a god.  Lots more to come with these, but I’ll probably just update the story every time Superman makes the cover.

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Collins, Beatty and Nyberg put one of Wild Dog’s best friends in danger, as he writes an article for his paper against Lyman and his moral crusaders.

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The fact that the newspaper wrote against him is proof of their evil, immoral way, and Lyman sends his goon squad out to blow up the paper, but Wild Dog shows up.

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Grell, Burchett and Marcos stage a fight for the alpha male status in Blackhawk, between Massie, the Red Dragon’s former lover, and Blackhawk.  Janos wins, and gets taken to the Dragon’s bedchamber as a reward.

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We also discover that Cynthia Hastings is not who she claims to be, and that she and Massie have a past.

 

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Detective 868 – The Guardian Bats vs the Jokerz

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A new type of gang war breaks out in Detective 868 (Oct. 10),by Hine, McDaniel and Owens.

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As the Jokerz gang continues to grow and run wild, those opposed to the madness start dressing up as Batman to fight them.  Well intentioned, but it hardly brings peace.

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The fake Joker toxin is being used voluntarily by the Jokerz, and Batman tries it himself, to see how strong it’s effects are.  He almost attacks Alfred, but retains enough self-control not to.

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The Batman impostor also makes the scene, cutting down any Jokerz violently and without mercy.

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When Batman tries to restore order, he simply blends in with the chaos, and the normal effect his costume has is completely lost.

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The issue ends as we learn who the Joker impostor is who started this all.  Winslow Heath had been hit with Joker toxin years earlier, but had been doing drugs just before that and the combination saved his life, but left him paralyzed for years, and permanently disfigured.

The story continues in the next issue.

Detective 853 – the concluding half of “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?”

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Detective 853 (April 2009) has the second half of Neil Gaiman’s “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?”, with art by Andy Kubert.  The story is a thematic sister to Alan Moore’s “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?”, and exists sort of on its own, as a two-part story outside normal continuity, but also fits neatly into what is currently occurring with Batman.  The first half was published in the previous issue of Batman.

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As with the first half, the story is set at Batman’s funeral, with friends and enemies in attendance.  While the first issue gave a lot of time to a couple of stories, this issue give a number of characters a brief opportunity to tell their versions of how Batman died.

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As well as Betty Kane, shown in the original Bat-Girl outfit for the first time since 1978, eulogies are given by the Mad Hatter, the Joker, Dick Grayson, when he was still Robin, Clayface, Harvey Bullock and Ra’s Al Ghul.

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Superman’s speech ends this section, as Batman starts to become aware of what is happening.

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He suspects that he is having a near-death experience, and the voice that has been with him throughout this,now identified as his mother, tells him that this is true.

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The story becomes a meditation on what Batman is, what he stands for.  Batman cannot ever simply retire and live happily ever after.  He is about never giving up, so Batman can only die in action.

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He asks if he is going to heaven or hell, but the woman replies neither. He does not get those options.  He gets to be Batman, that’s enough.  As the story reaches it end, it takes on the Goodnight Moon narrative, as batman bids good-bye to the cave and the car.  Robin, Alfred, Commissioner Gordon and his villains – Joker, Catwoman, Riddler, Two-Face, Penguin, Ra’s Al Ghul and Poison Ivy shown.  The art mixes past and present versions, creating an eternal Batman.

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And it ends as Martha Wayne gives birth to Bruce.  His death takes him back to his birth, and the cycle begins again.

It serves as a reflection on a character that can never be killed off, in a medium that is so easy to re-read.  Endings launch beginnings, and everything comes around eventually.

Detective 851 – Dick Grayson refuses

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Denny O’Neil and Guillem March begin a two-part story in Detective 851 (Feb. 09).  It’s part of Last Rites, a storyline detailing the immediate aftermath of Batman’s apparent death. Dick Grayson is at the centre of the tale.

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A new character is introduced as well, Millicent Mayne, the Face of Gotham.

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She had once been a very successful model, and was given that monicker by the press.  Two-Face took exception, and scarred her permanently, which is why she now veils her face.

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Alfred tries to coax Dick into wearing the Batman costume, or at least diving the car, but he refuses.  He sticks to his Nightwing gear, and his motorcycle, unwilling to accept that things have changed.

The story concludes in the following issue of Batman.

Detective 850 – Batman ends

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Heart of Hush comes to an end in Detective 850 (Jan. 09), as does Batman RIP, and the runs of Paul Dini, Dustin Nguyen, Derek Fridolfs, and even Batman.

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Having left Batman at the hospital, Hush heads to Wayne Manor, pretending to be Bruce Wayne.  It doesn’t work, though Alfred cannot take credit for observation and deduction.  Bruce phoned him and told him Tommy had a new face, and that he was on the way there.  I kind of wish Alfred had figured it out on his own, picked up on some detail that proved it was not Bruce.

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But Hush bests the butler, and makes it down into the Batcave.  They have a lot of fun with this scene, showing old Batmobiles, including the one from the tv show, and the Whirly-Bats, not seen since the 60s.

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As Hush waits for the heroes to show up and fight him, he has another flashback.  This shows the murder of his mother, and Peyton Riley’s aid in covering it up.  Although Peyton believed that, with his mother dead, they would be free to marry, in reality Tommy flew off to Europe, threatening to kill her if she ever revealed the truth.  Poor Peyton, things were crappy long even before her arranged marriage.

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Batman does finally get to the cave, as do Nightwing and Robin.  And Hush gets chased by the giant dinosaur.  It’s always a great story when the dinosaur gets used.

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Even better is the way Batman defeats Hush, using the Whirly-Bat.  It catches his bandages, and carries him away.  It crashes and explodes near the underground river, and Batman knows Tommy will have survived somehow.

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Dr. Mid-Nite and Mr Terrific perform the surgery on Catwoman, and successfully replace her heart.

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Selina gets a scene with Zatanna.  Near-death, or dream, or magic, it’s never clear.  Nor should it be.

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Bruce comes to see Selina in recovery, and openly admits his love for her, and how much she means to him.

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But Batman and Catwoman are only together for a couple of panels, and then the story jumps ahead, to after Batman’s apparent death.  Catwoman is living on a beach, and sends a tape out to Hush.  We learn that she has used all her influence, and her friends, to loot Tommy Elliot’s finances, ruin his hideouts, and make him poison to be associated with.  Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn and Slam Bradley are shown helping with this.

The story does have a sequel, a couple months down the road, as Catwoman confronts Hush, but that is detailed in the pages of Batman.

And even though it would be a couple of years before Bruce Wayne returned to these pages, and Batman was once again the star of the book, Detective Comics remained firmly in the Batman family of books.

Detective 839 – The Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul ends

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Paul Dini works with both art teams, Kramer and Faucher, and Benjamin and Crawford, on the big finale to the Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul, in Detective 839 (Feb. 08).

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It’s an awful lot of fighting, as many finales are, as everyone converges in Nanda Parbat.  Batman, Robin, Nightwing, and even Alfred are on one side, with Ra’s Al Ghul, Merlyn, and the League of Assassins on the other, and Talia and Damian in the balance.

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Talia is appalled to see Damian in a Robin outfit, when she has been training him to become Batman’s successor, not his sidekick.  But Damian wants to prove himself to his father.

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Ra’s Al Ghul is restored to what he considers healthy, after consuming his son, the White Ghost.  From the outset of this storyline, Ra’s knew he needed the body of someone of his own bloodline to revive, and White Ghost has been hanging around, begging to be of use.  Sad that it took seven issue to accomplish what was obviously going to be the resolution.

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With Ra’s back in action, Talia knocks out Damian and takes him away, to safety, and back into her control.

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Batman and crew are only faring moderately well against Ra’s, Merlyn and the Assassins.

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But the residents of Nanda Parbat have had enough.  Ra’s has befouled their peaceful hidden city, and they cause the earth to split, to drive all of them away.  Also puts an end to the fight, which Ra’s wants to continue, but Batman is smart enough to pull his troops out.

The story does continue, with an epilogue in the next issue.

 

Detective 838 – Batman’s Choice

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The Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul, a tedious and obvious story arc pushing its way through the Batman books over two months, has its third chapter in Detective 838 (Jan. 08).  Paul Dini is joined by Ryan Benjamin and Saleem Crawford on the art.

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I don’t much care for this storyline (you guessed that already, right?), and this chapter is very much a middle one, which does not help matters any.  Robin and Damian are brought to Al Ghul.  Damian is unconscious throughout this issue,which is unfortunate, as this is his first appearance in Detective Comics.  Tim Drake is alert, and Ra’s tries bargaining with him, before just giving up and having him knocked out as well.

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Ubu threatens Alfred, to get Nightwing off the trail, but Alfred shows himself equal to the task of self-defense.

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Batman and Talia work together to rescue Damian, as she leads Batman to her father’s lair, and he finds a way in. Talia has given Batman the Suit of Sorrows, which seems to be nothing more than armor in this story, but will have greater significance later.

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Batman attacks Ra’s, but his current body, so old that the Lazarus Pit will no longer revive it, is also so decrepit that he feels no pain.

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The issue ends as Ra’s has his men bring out Tim and Damian, and commands Batman to choose which one will die, and which will live.

The story continues in the next issue of Batman.

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