Posts tagged ‘Arkham Asylum’

Detective 864 – Batman returns, and the Question and the Huntress face Vandal Savage

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Bruce Wayne is back, and Batman returns as the lead feature in Detective Comics 864 (June 2010), in a story by David Hine, Jeremy Haun and John Lucas.

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Jeremiah Arkham is now a resident in his own asylum, after being exposed as the new Black Mask.  Much of his story over the last few years has been very unusual, but also spread around over a number of books and one-shots.  This 2-parter ties up a lot of loose ends.

Although the inmates expect to be able to torment Arkham now, he still knows all there is to know about them, and their families, and now has Black Mask’s ruthlessness.  No one messes with him.

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When a man shows up a a police station, with a bomb strapped to him by Black Mask, Batman heads to the asylum to question Jeremiah.  He reveals his three secret cases, seen in an Arkham Asylum special a year or so earlier – No-Face, Mirror Man and Hamburger Mary.  The first two share names with old Batman villains, but are completely different characters.

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Jeremiah brings Batman to show the three to him, but the entire story suddenly goes completely haywire and surreal.  What is going on with Arkham?  The only hints given are his time spent with Hugo Strange, and the unusual jester wand.

The story concludes next issue.

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Rucka and Hamner begin this installment of the Question by recapping the Biblical origin of Vandal Savage, who has now been identified with Cain.

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He has no problem holding off Huntress and the Question.  And if you can handle having a burning mark on your face, is a crossbow in the eye really likely to slow you down?

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In the end, he forces the women to make a choice.  One of them must accept his burning mark as their own, or he will kill them both.

The story concludes next issue.

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Detective 835 – the Scarecrow escapes

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John Rozum steps in for a 2-part Scarecrow story, beginning in Detective 835 (Oct. 07), with Tom Mandrake art.

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Jonathan Crane is feeling under-appreciated in Arkham.  He has become so reliant on his fear gas that people are considering that he is helpless without it.  He sets out in this story to prove his detractors wrong.

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He displays a skill with hypnosis never seen before, as he convinces his guards that he has turned into a flock of ravens, which terrifies them.  His mask is closer in appearance to that from Batman Begins than it has been before.

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Batman and Robin head to Arkham, and finds not only the guards but also the doctors and inmates in a state of trauma, all caused by listening  to Crane. Poison Ivy cameos, and mention is made of Mr Freeze, and even Zsasz, breaking down.

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The Scarecrow begins a random murder spree, and increases the terror of the citizenry by leaving stuffed Scarecrows all over Gotham.

The story concludes next issue.

 

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…

 

 

Detective 831 – Harley Quinn’s secret friend

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Dini, Kramer and Faucher return, and give the spotlight to Harley Quinn in Detective 831 (June 2007).

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The story opens with a hearing at Arkham, to determine if Harley should be released.  Bruce Wayne casts the deciding vote against her, but as she is being returned to her cell, her “guard” breaks her out.

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The guard turns out to be Moose, the sister of Rhino, the original Ventriloquist’s muscle.  The new Ventriloquist, and Scarface, broke Harley Quinn out of Arkham to use her abilities in a robbery.

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Harley seems more than happy to go along with the plan, but at the first opportunity, calls Commissioner Gordon and informs him of what is going on.

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The Ventriloquist and Scarface intended to kill Harley after the theft, but she gets the jump on them.  She seems to really despise the new Ventriloquist, although it’s not clear why.  Batman shows up, and rescues Harley.

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She explains to Batman that her first night in Arkham she was feeling very alone and frightened, and Arnold Wesker put on a puppet show to cheer her up, and their bond continued.  And while Batman does not think that balances the murders Wesker committed, Quinn insists that it showed that there was a decent person deep inside, even if few people got to see it.

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It’s genuinely touching, and lays the groundwork for the conclusion, as Harley is called back before the board.  Bruce Wayne has deiced to change his vote, and Harley is released from the asylum.

Detective 778 – Two-Face says no, and Spore (says nothing)

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Brubaker, Castillo and Von Grawbadger continue the story of the Charlatan in Detective 778 (March 2003).

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Jim Gordon is now lecturing at a university.  Most of the students simply want to ask questions about Batman.  One brings up Two-Face, and then pulls out a gun.  Gordon defends himself, tearing the mask of his assailant, who runs off, leaving behind another double scarred coin.

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Batman goes to see Two-Face, in solitary in Arkham.  He asks him about the double scarred coin.  Harvey is reluctant to answer, except that he is upset about the way Jim Gordon was dragged into it.

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It was a scheme Harvey wanted nothing to do with, and refused to take part in.  The Joker, Riddler, Penguin, Scarecrow, Killer Moth and Mad Hatter were all involved.  But as he didn’t participate, he doesn’t know the whole story, and sends Batman to the Penguin.

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The Penguin has already fled.  Consulting with Oracle, Batman scours the city until she feeds him a report about the  Penguin’s car having crashed.

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Batman finds the Penguin hanging, and there is another coin in his hand.  Is he alive or dead?

The story continues in the next issue.

And now, more Spore, by Gagne and Gagne.  Hah!  Broke my rule there and listed the artist first and the writer second!

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Detective 775 – a new life for Sasha Bordeaux, and The Hunt ends

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Greg Rucka’s run on Detective Comics comes to an end with issue 775 (Dec.02), as he joined by Rick Burchett and Jim Royal, bringing Sasha’s storyline to a close.

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Batman has been interfering with Checkmate operations in Gotham ever since hitting a brick wall in his search for Sasha.  Checkmate does not want to get into a war with Batman, he is too vital to the city to take down.  Jessica Midnight is ordered to resolve the situation, and convinces Sasha to meet with him.

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Alfred challenges Bruce on his reasons for not giving up the search.  Bruce claims that Sasha knows too much about them, and needs to find her for his own safety, but Alfred points out that she has not talked in all this time, and is not likely to.  Bruce must have a different reason.

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So they meet.  It does not start well, as Sasha finally gets to vent all the frustration she has felt for her months behind bars.

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But once the anger and suspicion have passed, the truth comes out.

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Still, it’s not a happy ending.  Sasha’s life was destroyed, and she cannot go back to it.  Bruce admits setting her up to find his weaponry, to bring her into his world.  And then to making it all about the costume and the rules, to control her and keep her at a safe distance.  They did love each other, but neither could act on it at the time, and now it’s too late.

Sasha leaves, and Greg Rucka takes her along as he moves to to develop Checkmate, first in The O.M.A.C. Project miniseries.

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The Hunt, by Moore, Hoberg and Gaudiano, also comes to an end in this issue.

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It’s set in Arkham Asylum, as the scary beast man hunts for his latest prey.  Loads of cameos by inmates in this story – the Ventriloquist, Clayface, Calendar Man, Zsasz and Croc.  The creature does not kill his enemy, instead leaving him trussed up, with a note detailing his crimes, for Montoya and Allen to find.

Is this a new vigilante on the scene, or something else?

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The final panel just adds to the mystery.  We see that the beast is a man in a costume, and part of a much larger game.

This is really all a teaser for the Batman: Family miniseries, which begins this month, and reveals the beast to be called Tracker.

Detective 763 – Sasha meets the Huntress, and Josie Mac debuts

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Rucka, Martinborough and Delperdang are the creative team on Detective 763 (Dec. 01), which is part of the crossover series Joker: Last Laugh.  Believing he is dying the Joker releases massive amounts of Joker toxin, Joker-izing a host of other DC villains.  I don’t care for this crossover much, but have to admit that this issue has one of its better stories.

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Rather than dealing with a known villain, this story deals with Cucilla, an inmate at Arkham who gets changed by the gas.  She seems to have a thing for swords, and other pointy objects.

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Being Jokerized, she is far from rational, but there is enough in her rantings to know that her father is of some importance.

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With Batman super busy, Sasha goes out on her own to deal with the craziness on the streets, and runs into the Huntress.  The two women do not hit it off, not at all.  So much so that Cucilla gets away, because they are to into squabbling with each other.

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The Huntress intends to kill Cucilla, while Sasha insists on a non-lethal solution.  The Huntress scoffs, and tells Sasha that Batman will just use her and throw her away.

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But the Huntress does use netting to safely catch Cucilla.  And it’s a good thing, as she was not really an Arkham inmate, but an undercover DEO operative, being transferred so she could attend the funeral of her father, a duellist.

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Josie Mac debuts in this issue.  Created by Judd Winick and Cliff Chiang, she is a Gotham cop, but not one of the ones who gets to hang out with Batman.

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After she leads a bust that winds up revealing the mayor’s wife in bed with another man, she gets demoted.

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We discover that she has the ability to psychically find lost objects -but not lost people.  As a young girl, she learned it was better to conceal this ability.

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She begins her new post, in Missing Persons, and her first case deals with the kidnapped son of a gangster.

I don’t really care for this series, although it was popular enough to return.  This first serial goes on for 10 installments, but I will only return to it towards the end.

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