Posts tagged ‘Barbara Gordon’

Detective 862 – Bette joins the fight, and Oracle helps out

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Rucka and Jock continue the Cutter storyline in Detective 862 (April 2010).

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The missing girl that Batman is pursuing turns out to be a different case than the one Batwoman is on.  Add to that the missing girls in the Question’s Pipeline story arc, and that’s a lot of missing women.

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Bette has a conversation with Kate about letting go of the past.  Kate is thinking of her sister, and the kidnapping, and does not clue in that Bette is referring to her career as Flamebird.

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The story climaxes as Bette and a friend are heading home, and Cutter attacks.  Batwoman intervenes, but Bette’s friend is killed, and Bette gets taken by Cutter.

The story concludes next issue.

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The Question and Huntress need someone to replace Tot as their human computer in this story, by Rucka and Hamner.  Helena takes Renee to Oracle, but introduces her as Barbara Gordon.  Renee knows her, of course, and thinks it’s crazy to trust their case to the police commissioner’s daughter, but Huntress is just amused.  Sooo many secret identities.

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Barbara gives them the name of the company that runs the Network.  The Question plans to use stealth to learn what they want, but Huntress prefers a more direct approach, and makes that happen.

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Following the trail, the woman head to Oolong Island, where they are promptly arrested.

The story continues in the next issue.

 

 

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Detective Annual 11 – Azrael causes problems, the Riddler goes for an old standard, and Oracle teams with Looker

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There are three stories in Detective Annual 11 (2009), the first, which is also the longest, being a continuation of a story from this year’s Batman Annual.

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The story, by Fabian Nicieza and Tom Mandrake, deals with another secret society, this one out to raise a demonic spirit through the seven deadly sins, and the sacrifice of children descended from earlier cult members.

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Batman and the Question work on it together from their side.  Azrael has his own agenda, and Robin has gone in disguise as one of the children, and already been kidnapped.  Renee does not take long to realize that it is Nightwing now wearing the Batman costume.

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Azrael learns that the sacrifice depends on the children being of the blood of the earlier ones, which of course means that, should Robin get sacrificed, the spell will not work.

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Damian does break free, and his identity as Robin is exposed.  The evil cultists try to lure him back.  I’m not sure that sending an aggressively naked older woman is the best way to lure a 10 year old boy, even if it’s Damian.

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But it’s Azrael to the rescue anyway, and he joins with Robin as they take down the cultists, in a manner as overtly violent as only Damian and an Azrael can be.

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Batman and the Question are rushing to the scene.  The cultists are in a penthouse, and the story gets a moment of levity as Batman sends Renee up to the roof quickly.

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Frankly, this story failed to grab me, even with Mandrake’s art.   I do like Harvey Bullock’s crude way of explaining how he knew Renee was the Question, and there are some other good moments.

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The story ends with both the villains and the heroes angry with Azrael.  I have never liked any version of that character, which probably explains why I don’t care for a long story featuring him.

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There is a very cute 2-page “L’il Gotham” story, by Derek Fridolfs and Dustin Nguyen.  Not much in the way of plot, the Riddler does a variant of the St. Ives riddle song, though calling it Poison Ives.  A staggering amount of cameos in this, for only being two pages.  Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Commissioner Gordon, Batman, Batwoman, Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl, as well as the Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Two-Face, Clayface, Mad Hatter, Joker, Scarecrow, Black Mask, Croc, Hush, Ra’s Al Ghul, and even the original Ventriloquist, Arnold Wesker, with Scarface.

Of the three stories in this issue, it’s sad that I enjoyed this 2 page piece more than the others.

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The final story in the issue, by Amanda McMurray and Kelly Jones, features a team-up between Oracle and Looker.

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There is a bad guy who thinks he is a vampire, but isn’t, and who is obsessed with Barbara Gordon, though we never find out why.  Looker is unaware that Barbara is Oracle, and is kept in the dark. Looker has become a vampire herself during her time with the Outsiders, so she is the perfect one to take down a faker.

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The ending of the story leaves more questions than answers, and was clearly intended to be followed up.  As far as I know, it never was.

 

 

Detective 800 – fallout from War Games, and a teaser for City of Crime

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Andersen Gabrych, Pete Woods and Cam Smith end their run on this book with an epilogue to War Games, in Detective 800 (Jan.05).

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Batman finds himself on the wrong side of the law once again.  Akins is still out to get him, and the police blame him for the deaths of many of the comrades during War Games.

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With her Clock Tower base destroyed, Barbara decides to leave Gotham, and set up as Oracle somewhere else – corresponding to events in Birds of Prey.  And with Barbara gone, Jim Gordon also feels it is time to move on.

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Orpheus turns out to be a more successful martyr than hero, and Onyx leads his old followers, and new devotees.

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There is a kidnapping in this story, and some action.  Batman tracks down the kidnapper, the Mad Hatter, who is using a mind-controlled Croc as his muscle.

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But the real goal is not the kidnapping, but luring Batman, so that Black Mask can gloat, and show off the degree of control he now has, thanks to Batman.

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About his only friend left is Catwoman, who learned his identity during Hush, and can still can break through his dispassionate shell.

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The second story in the issue is a teaser, or a prologue, for City of Crime, which will run in this book over the next year.

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David Lapham is the writer and artist.  The story, if there is one, is not very clear, but certainly sets an evocatively threatening mood.

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The art is great, but the lack of focus or direction left me concerned.

 

Detective 779 – Mark Merlin reveals the identity of the Charlatan, and Superman vs Spore

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The Charlatan’s story continues to unfold in Detective 779 (April 2003), by Brubaker, Castillo and Von Grawbadger.

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The Riddler heads to Arkham, and has a frantic conversation with Johnathan Crane about the Charlatan.  The Scarecrow does not seem afraid at all – but then, that’s who he is, right?

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And, in a complete cut away from the story, Lucius Fox leaves the hospital.  He has been in a coma.  You didn’t know that?  Maybe because Lucius has not appeared in Detective Comics for over a year, and his period in hospital was never even referred to.  But at least you now, too late to send flowers.

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Batman learns that the Penguin consulted Mark Merlin before his attack, and goes to see him.  Mark Merlin had been a detective with a supernatural bent in the pages of House of Secrets in the early 60s.  His final appearance saw him lose his body to the extra-dimensional Prince Ra-Man, as explained in a DC Comics Presents in the 80s.  This marks Mark’s first appearance as himself since that.

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Mark tells Batman that the Penguin wanted protection from a ghost, of Paul Sloan, a famous actor, who disappeared eight years earlier.

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Bruce Wayne arranges to attend the theatre with Jim Gordon and Barbara, and Barbara casually gets Sloan’s wife to talk about her husband, and his dangerous way of getting too much into his roles, and his strange behaviour, shortly before vanishing.

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And during the performance, Bruce spots something Phantom of the opera-like, changes clothes, and winds up confronting the scarred Charlatan.  Sloan manages to get away, but Batman knows who he is now.

Paul Sloan is clearly a re-working of Paul Sloane, the actor who got scarred while playing Two-Face, and wound up committing crimes in that persona.  Sloane had most recently appeared in this book, shortly after Crisis (shortly after this blog took over form the previous one).

Gagne and Gagne pit Superman against Spore.  Say no more!

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Detective 758 – the dangers of too much coffee, and Oracle has dinner

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Martinborough and Mitchell rejoin Rucka as a two-part adventure begins, bringing back an old villain with a new twist, in Detective 758 (July 2001).

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Sasha Bordeaux spends the night tailing Batman, trying to figure out how she can possibly function as his bodyguard.  Batman stops a couple of masked hold-up men, who turn out to be Gotham police.  They claim to remember nothing about the thefts, or even being caught by Batman.

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Sasha can barely get up, and yet Bruce is wide awake, to her consternation.  The day does not improve as she is forced to be his caddy as he golfs with another multi-millionaire, subtly encouraging him to build in Gotham.

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The police are puzzled, and cannot figure out if the officers who pulled the crime are just lying, or if something more is going on.  Crispus Allen and Renee Montoya discuss the case in while getting coffee from the nearby vendor, the ever-friendly Fez, who reminds them to bring back a cup for Bullock.

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As evening falls, Bruce tells Sasha to go to bed for the evening, in a way that makes clear he was aware of the previous night’s activities.  He knows she knows, and she knows it.

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And Fez disrobes, revealing himself to be the Mad Hatter.  He places a phone call to Renee and Allen, which activates them as his pawns.

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Akins, the new Commissioner since Gordon’s retirement, uses the Bat-Signal for the first time.  He has discovered a pattern of thefts by police, and is not sure if this is widespread corruption, or someone manipulating things.  Sasha goes home, but passes Renee and Crispus as they don masks, and follows them.

The story continues next issue.

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Oracle has dinner with Renee Montoya, as they discuss Commissioner Akins in this one-shot tale, by Ed Brubaker and Steven Lieber.

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Montoya relates a story Akins told her, of his early days, and a neighbourhood vigilante, the Watchdog, who gained the trust of the community, to the detriment of the police.  A series of child kidnappings went unreported until the fourth case, simply because everyone relied on the Watchdog.

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And the Watchdog wound up dying, killing the kidnappers, but the child was not there, nor was anyone left alive who could tell them where she was.

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Which all circles back to why Akins does not want the police, or the community, to rely on Batman.

It’s a good tale, but there is one problem to it.  It’s Akins use the Bat-Signal which prompts this discussion, and we see it in the distance.  But it’s this same use that happens in the first story, and Renee is with Crispus Allen, under the Mad Hatter’s control, not having dinner with Barbara Gordon!

I credit this as an Oracle story, simply because she is the narrator.  But really, it stars Commissioner Akins.

 

 

Detective 755 – Bruce Wayne parties it up, and the Jacobian takes a trip

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Greg Rucka, Shawn Martinborough and Steve Mitchell are back as Commissioner Gordon retires after recovering from being shot, in Detective 754 (April 2001).

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The story is largely narrated by Sasha Bordeaux, as she observes the odd behaviour of Bruce Wayne.  The notion that Wayne is a combination of Cary Grant and Jim Carrey is brilliant.

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In fact, much of this story plays out as light comedy – the terribly awkward silence after Bruce introduces Sasha around at the party, and no one has anything to say.  Nice to see Shotgun Smith there, and Barbara’s presence is a given.

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Sasha notices that, despite Bruce’s behaviour, he is not drinking alcohol, nor has she ever seen him do so.

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Things get a bit more serious when arm armed man bursts in to kill Gordon.  Well, not on this page, which makes it clear he has no chance.

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But amidst the chaos and comedy, Sasha notices something. And Bruce notices something.  And Sasha notices that the lazy playboy, with a hard as rock body, has noticed what she has noticed.  And once again he disappears on her.

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Following him into the men’s room, she delivers a stern lecture to the one occupied cubicle, only to find that Bruce was not inside it – Two-Face was.

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Two-Face takes the podium, as Batman pulls Sasha to safety.  But instead of some deranged attack, it’s Harvey Dent who speaks, giving a testimonial to Jim Gordon as if the years, and the acid scarring, were erased.

An excellent story.  A lot of fun, some good surprises, and Bruce has no idea how close Sasha is to figuring things out.

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Gorfinkel and Panosian bring the Jacobian story towards its conclusion in this chapter.

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The Mahmetchik are bringing the Jacobian and Leelee to their secret temple, on board a flying slave ship thing.

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As they arrive, they face Kobi.  I have a hunch that Kobi is the same boy who was the general a few issues ago. And in this series, hunches are what you go on.

Detective 754 – The Interrogation Room, and Leelee finds her husband

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Detective 754 (March 2001) is the sixth chapter in Officer Down, a storyline running through the Batman books this month, in which Commissioner Gordon gets shot, and the regular creative teams get shunted around.

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Nunzio Defilipis scripts, with Michael Collins on pencils, and Jesse Delperdang and Steven Bird on inks, as Crispus Allen and Renee Montoya try to extract a confession from the man they are certain is guilty of shooting Gordon.  He was a policeman in Chicago years ago, and Gordon fired him for corruption.

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The evidence they have is not enough for a conviction, but even with Renee doing all she can as bad cop, the guy never loses his cool.

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Barbara Gordon is sitting vigil with her father, while Batman watches from an adjacent roof.  Harvey Bullock comes by, with a picture of the man, but Gordon did not see his shooter, and cannot identify him.

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Allen nearly gets the confession they want, after threatening the man with Batman, who he fears will kill him.  He actually admits the crime, but modifies his sentence to wheedle out of it.

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They release him, and Batman corners him. But when he finds out that Batman does not intend to kill him, his composure returns, and goes free.

The story continues in the next issue of Gotham Knights.

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Gorfinkel, Johnson and Panosian leave the Jacobian under the sea, as Nereus heads above the waves to attack a city.  Nereus remembers the Jacobian, but it’s not mutual.  The Jacobian recalls none of his abilities, yet retains some, as he and Leelee are able to breathe and talk underwater.

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Leelee is finally able to convince the Jacobian that he is her husband. It’s been pretty obvious for a while now, but he’s suffered numerous memory wipes, and wouldn’t have believed her had she said it at the start.

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The Jacobian makes a deal with the Mahmetchik to restore enough of his powers that he can stop Nereus, which they do.

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