Posts tagged ‘Andy Clarke’

Detective 832 – the end of the Terrible Trio

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Royal McGraw returns to script a tale that brings back the Terrible trio, with Andy Clarke on the art, in Detective 832 (July 2007).

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The Terrible Trio were one of the more embarrassing groups of villains to have fought Batman back in the 60s.  They had had an excellent revival in the Dr.Mid-Nite miniseries in the 80s, but had not appeared since.  This story opens as Batman and Commissioner Gordon examine the remains of a body fed to the fishes.  Only because the teeth were pulled first are the even able to identify it, as the Shark from the villain team.

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The screens in the Batcave are used very effectively, showing us the Terrible Trio in and out of the masks, a tidy introduction.  Batman and the police try to find the Fox and the Vulture, figuring they are either the killers, or the next victims.

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Batman does find the Fox, who tells him of the mysterious Fourth Man, who is hunting them down.  But Batman is not able to prevent the Fox from being eaten alive by wild dogs.

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Nor does the Vulture fare much better, as birds are sent to attack and eat him.  But Batman does make it in time to confront the Fourth Man.

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It turns out to be the Shark, having gone crazy.  And though he had never been shown to have anything super-human about him before, in this story he is able to regrow teeth,as a shark does, so the teeth left by the first corpse were a decoy.

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He still gets captured, and sent to Arkham.  The Great White Shark, introduced in the Arkham Asylum: Living Hell miniseries, makes his first appearance in Detective.  Arkham is too small a pond for two sharks…

 

 

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Detective 830 – Robin blowtorches himself

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Moore and Clarke conclude their two-part story about the attack on Wayne Tower in Detective 830 (Late May 2007).

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Robin has to use a blowtorch to remove the explosive goo from his uniform.  Those costumes must be extremely sturdy, if a blowtorch will not damage them.

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Bruce has no luck keeping the peace delegates from fighting amongst themselves, and with Tim in trouble and Vox on the loose, drops a smoke bomb and uses it to get away and change to Batman.

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Both halves of this story use exterior shots of the Tower really well, helping to build the suspense in the situation.

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Batman finally confronts Vox.  The two men fight, but it’s not strength that defeats the bomber.

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Rather, it’s Batman arguments about making innocents suffer while trying to right wrongs, and Vox realizing that he has become just as bad as those he wants to destroy.  He frees himself from Batman, and falls to his death.

Probably because it never really delves into the politics, this remains a good, solid suspense story.

Detective 829 – Wayne Tower under attack

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Stuart Moore and Andy Clarke fill in for a two-part story, beginning in Detective 829 (Early May 2007).

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Bruce Wayne is hosting an international anti-terrorism conference, which not everyone is happy about.  Chiefly, the guy who sets off bombs within the Tower.

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There he is.  Vox.  His agenda has to do with a fictional middle eastern country.  He broadcasts to the police, but Batman realizes the signal is coming from inside the building.  Batman is trapped as Bruce, with the delegates, and Lucius Fox.

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Tim Drake managed to get to one of the secret “closets” and change into Robin, but Bruce is stuck with his cell phone, talking to Gordon.  It all makes for a decent thriller.

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Tim winds up face to face with Vox.

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And as the story reaches its cliffhanger, Robin is coated in explosive goo, as Vox heads away to a safe distance before detonating it.

The story concludes in the next issue.

Detective 820 – a tragic return, and Jason Bard vs the Tally Man

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The seventh chapter of Face to Face, by Robinson, Kirk and Clarke, is the final installment to run in Detective Comics, in issue 820 (Aug. 06).

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Batman and Robin are in the midst of battle with the Scarecrow. He has created a gas that makes the heroes believe they are battling with their own terrors.  Batman faces his own father, in his bat-costume, which Robin first deals with an alternate reality version of himself, and then Superboy-Prime.  Both manage to shake off the gas’ effects, and take down the Scarecrow.

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There is a great scene between them, as Batman points out that both he and Robin have been through so much horror in their lives, that nothing the Scarecrow can throw at them is worse than what they have already triumphed over.

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We also learn that Jamie Harper is descended from Jim Harper, who was the Guardian in the 1940s.  Batman explains that the reason he has been brusque with Jamie is that too many relatives of heroes don costumes without being prepared, often with tragic consequences.  Jamie insists that the only legacy of Jim Harper’s she intends to follow on is his legacy as a good cop.

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Examination of the gun used for the murders shows that it has been tampered with, which is enough to clear Harvey Dent.  Gordon, Batman, Robin, and even Alfred are happy about this – but their joy is quashed when they see the news that Harvey has made himself into Two-Face again.

The story concludes in the next issue of Batman.

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Jason Bard’s series comes to an end in this issue, although it seems it was not intended to.

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The story in this issue is almost entirely a fight scene between Jason and the Tally Man.  But it’s well told, with the art reflecting Jason’s messed up vision, a result of Tally Man’s gunshot.  Jason also uses his cane in this story, looping it around Tally Man’s leg to bring him down.  Aside from that scene, we barely see it in their brief run.

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And he sure doesn’t seem to have much leg trouble anymore.

The story ends with a “to be continued” blurb, but Jason’s series ends here.  He does continue to appear in the Batman books over the next year or two.

 

Detective 819 – more dead villains, and Jason Bard looks for answers

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Robinson, Kirk, Clarke and Faucher deliver chapter 5 of Face to Face in Detective 819 (July 2006).

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Orca, one of Batman’s more recent enemies, has gone missing, and the police and Batman believe her to be a possible victim of whoever is killing the villains.  They go into the sewers to hunt for her.  But the sewers are Croc’s territory, and Batman has to handle him first.

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Batman does find Orca as well.  Dead, with two bullets to the head.

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As all evidence continues to point to Harvey, even he begins to doubt himself.  More dangerously, he begins to talk to himself.  Or more specifically, to his other face, as he can now see Two-Face in the mirror.

The story continues in the next issue of Batman.

 

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Jason Bard’s story once again builds directly out of the events in the Batman story from this issue, and once again has the same creative team.

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Jason goes to question Orca’s husband.  The story gives an unusual glimpse into the everyday life of a Batman villain, and her significant other.  It’s all so downplayed and normal, which makes the man’s comments about how Firebig makes a good cup of coffee all the funnier.

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More significantly, Jason learns that Orca and the other dead villains had been approached by Harvey Dent, to work undercover as his spies.

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But that’s all the Jason can learn, before the widower joins his wife in death, thanks to the new Tally Man, in his debut.

Detective 818 – the death of Scarface, and Jason Bard begins

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Robinson, Kirk and Clarke continue with Face the Face, part 3, joined by Wayne Faucher, in Detective 818 (June 2006).

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Magpie, a minor villain, is the latest one found dead, again with two bullets to the head.

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All the evidence is pointing towards Harvey Dent being the killer, but Batman simply does not want to believe that.  He also realizes he needs a daytime operative to function when he is not able to.

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The Mad Hatter pops up, but no one tries to kill him before Batman can take him down.

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On the other hand, the Ventriloquist does not fare as well, as Arnold Wesker gets gunned down.  Scarface attempts to write a clue in Wesker’s blood.

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But Scarface gets shot as well.

The story continues – partly in the next issue of Batman, and partly in the second story in this issue.

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Jason Bard’s series returns to the pages of Detective, and even retains it’s old title: The Crime File of Jason Bard.  Robinson, Kirk, Clarke and Faucher are the creative team on this story as well.

Jason Bard had not appeared very much in the last decade. His most recent appearances had been in the pages of Birds of Prey.  In this story, we see that he is back as a private eye in Gotham, working on a case of a murdered husband while sleeping with the widow.

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Batman comes by to enlist him as his personal investigator, making him an offer he cannot refuse.  Worth noting are the other two detectives that Batman credits as capable – Ralph Dibny, and Roy Raymond.  Ralph was currently appearing in 52, thus the vague comment about him being unavailable (in fact, he was dead by this time).  Batman dismissing Roy Raymond as wasting his skills on daytime television speaks volumes about Batman.

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Jason accepts, and casually asks Batman to take the not-so-grieving widow with him to the police station, as she killed her husband.  Hiring Jason was just part of her cover-up plan.  He had figured it out, but she was still worth the sex before turning her in.

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Oh, Jason.

The story continues in the next issue.

Detective 817 – One Year Later

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After the conclusion of Infinite Crisis, the entire DC line jumped ahead one year, with the skipped year’s events detailed in the weekly miniseries 52.  James Robinson scripts an 8-part storyline, Face the Face, covering Batman’s return to Gotham after a year’s absence, running through both this book and Batman, starting in Detective 817 (May 2006).  Leonard Kirk does the pencils, and Andy Clarke on inks.

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Harvey Dent, his sanity restored along with his face, back during Hush, has been appointed by Batman to tend to Gotham while he was gone.  The storyline opens as Harvey takes down the KGBeast.  It’s an intense and brutal fight, ending with the KGBeast falling from the rooftop.  But when the police find the Russian murderer, he has been killed, shot twice through the head.

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And Harvey seems a bit less than pleased when Batman shows up, to take his city back.  Although Batman has nothing but admiration and gratitude for Harvey’s efforts.

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Jim Gordon is back in the Commissioner’s job again.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.  This issue also introduces a new police officer, Jamie Harper.

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Poison Ivy does not make an actual appearance in this story, but her actions are certainly dramatic.  Enough to prompt Gordon to turn on the Bat-Signal.

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So this first chapter concludes as Gordon introduces Batman and Robin to Officer Harper.

Many of Batman’s villains appear in this storyline, but most have small roles.  It’s part of James Robinson’s style of writing, and I have to admit I do enjoy it, even though some get short-changed, like Ivy, who is taken down between this issue and the Batman story that follows it.

 

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