Posts tagged ‘Batmobile’

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 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 725 – Batman and Nightwing patrol the ruins

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Chuck Dixon, William Rosado and Tom Palmer are the team on Detective 725 (Sept. 98).  It’s an Aftershock story, dealing primarily with the relationship between Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson.

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Batman and Nightwing patrol what might once have been the streets of Gotham.  His new Batmobile sprays a smelly dye on rioters, marking them for the police.  Dick talks about the good old days, though Bruce doubts that it could ever have been called good.

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Dick also discusses his plans to become a police officer in Bludhaven, doing openly what he has been doing in secret for so long.

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Bruce commends Dick, on how Robin and Nightwing are simply extensions of who Dick Grayson is, while Batman has always been an identity for Bruce Wayne to hide in.

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Nothing big or super-dramatic.  Just a good story about the two men.

Detective 707 – The Cluemaster fights to save Batman

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Dixon, Nolan and Roach conclude the three-part Riddler/Cluemaster story in Detective 707 (March 1997).

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Batman does not put everything else on hold for this.  When he comes across some thieves, he goes off to fight them, and gets grazed by a bullet.  Cluemaster tries to hide, but the Riddler orders him to save Batman, or he will set off the bomb.  So Cluemaster actually stands up to the hoods.  It doesn’t work, and he starts to get pummeled, but Robin shows up in time.

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The signal to the Riddler is blocked as they go through a tunnel, and Batman takes advantage of this to switch Cluemaster to the trunk of the Redbird. Robin has a voice modulator that makes him sound like Batman.

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Robin is also the one to figure out that the sequence of numbers and letters, in a set of nine, refers to baseball.  The biblical clue was not meant to be read as “In the beginning,” but as “in the big inning.”  Batman reveals a complete lack of knowledge of baseball.  His childhood was consumed by other things.

With the baseball part clear, Oracle does a search, and finds out that the stats that have been the answers to the riddles all refer to a game from 1919, the bat from which is being auctioned off – and is the Riddler’s goal.  Heck of a riddle, I give Dixon credit.

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But things take a turn for the worse when Cluemaster lets it slip that he is with Robin, not Batman, pushing up the Riddler’s schemes.

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Query and Echo do little, but are around in this, and the previous issue, and get taken down by Batman, before he catches the Riddler and destroys the device that would set off the bomb.

A great story for both villains, clarifying the difference between them, and making Cluemaster once again look like the lowest of the low.

 

Detective 0 – Batman gears up

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The “0” issues that ran in the DC books throughout October 1994 were used to tell the origins of the series stars, with any alterations they wanted to make, in the wake of the new reality created at the end of Zero Hour.  Because there were so many Bat-books at this time, each chose to focus on a different side of the Batman tale.  In Detective 0, Dixon, Nolan and Hanna look at his early days in the costume.

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Alfred is there from the start, of course, but now Lucius Fox is as well.  In fact, this scene mirrors the way Lucius would be introduced in Batman Begins, in conjunction with Bruce seeking out Wayne technology for his car and weaponry.

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I should mention that there is a framing device of Batman hunting down and beating up criminals in present day Gotham, but that’s really just an excuse for action scenes.  More interesting, to me, was the use of the classic Batmobile, keeping that in the new continuity.

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The story briefly acknowledges other supporting cast towards the end – Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Bullock.  Dick Grayson’s days as Robin, and Jason Todd’s brief career.  We see the Joker, Riddler, Two-Face, Scarecrow, and Ra’s and Talia Al Ghul.

Not great, not awful.  About on par with most of the “0” issues.

Detective 623 – Bathound becomes the Batmobile

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Ostrander, Sprang, Henry, McKone and Marzan Jr continue their story of the comic book Batman in Detective 623 (Nov. 90).

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The second issue of the comic within the comic pits the demonic Batman against the Joker, who actually isn’t that different from the real one.  A young boy wishes for the ability to help Batman, and is transformed into Robin.

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There is a Bathound in the tale, which is capable of turning into a Batmobile, and this second issue seems much lighter than the first.

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At least, until the Joker gets his hands on Robin, and “steals his innocence.”  In the “reality” part of the story Batman starts hunting for the killer claiming to be him, and the comic’s writer is questioned, and blamed, for the murders.

I do feel a little bad about mostly taking captures of Henry’s work instead of that by McKone and Marzan Jr, but it is, by design, so much more dynamic than the “reality” parts of the story.

The story concludes next issue.

 

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