Posts tagged ‘Bruce Wayne’

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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Action 440 – Superman haunted by his parents, and Green Arrow finds a lost dog

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Great cover for Action 440 (Oct. 74), but the story, by Maggin, Swan and Oskner, is not really up to par, and if it weren’t for the back-up story, I probably would have skipped over this issue.

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Coram is the villain in this issue, the leader of a think-tank of criminals.  More disturbingly, he lures the two kids above, presumably into a life of crime, but who knows?  We never see them again.

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The story jumps around a little.  Some interplay with Steve Lombard, as Clark gets humiliated, and subtly takes revenge.  Bruce Wayne has a cameo, as we discover that he is a part owner of Morgan Edge’s Galaxy Communications, which owns both WGBS and the Daily Planet.

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Coram creates the illusion seen on the cover, of Superman’s parents expressing disappointment with him.  But Superman sees through it right away, and only pretends to follow their wishes to create a new Krypton.  He takes Coram and his head scientist to “populate” this new planet, effectively scaring them into a confession.

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More entertaining is this first chapter of the Green Arrow story, by Maggin and Mike Grell.  Green Arrow is on the trail of some ordinary thugs, and attracts the attention of a lost, white dog.

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Oliver brings the dog home with him, to Dinah’s delight.  But also some of the unusual tech he found with the hoods, which seems way above their playing level.

The story continues in the next issue.

Detective Annual 12 – Batman meets the Night Runner, the Questions seeks help, and the origin of the Night Runner

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There are three stories in Detective Annual 12 (2011), two of which deal with a new hero, the Night Runner, who will become part of Batman Incorporated.

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So it’s appropriate that the Night Runner opens this book, in the first story, by David Hine and Agustin Padilla.  He is heading across the Paris rooftops, though we do not yet know why, and finds himself pursued by Batman.  His attempts to get away are futile, and he understands why when he sees that he is facing two Batmen, not just one.

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The rest of this story is a flashback, taking us full-circle back to the opening.  Bruce Wayne comes to Paris to try to see his Batman, Incorporated plan, but finds no interest among the French in importing an American hero.

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But a hero is desperately needed.  An organization called the Golden Door, lead by a woman called Korrigan, has been behind a number of assassinations, of people across the political spectrum, which has caused tensions and reprisals.  Renee Montoya comes to join the cult, though it’s a safe bet she is doing this undercover for Batman.

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The next planned assassination is of a popular rap singer.  Night Runner has figured this out, and was heading there when he ran into Bruce and Dick.  They determine that he is not part of the Golden Door, and has the same goal they do, of preventing the murder.

The story continues in this years Batman Annual.

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The Question heads to Nanda Parbat, in a story, by Brad Desnoyer, Lee Ferguson and Ryan Winn, that follows up the Mark of Cain element from her earlier series.

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She consults with Richard Dragon, who takes her down to a secret city hidden below the secret, hidden city of Nanda Parbat.  There Renee encounters an ancient immortal, a creature of misery and torment, living out an endless punishment.  He tries to con Renee into taking his place, telling her she is damned.  But Renee refuses to feel any shame about her life or her choices, and the mark begins to vanish on its own.

It is made clear that the mark is not gone, it’s simply hidden.

Not a bad story, and the Mark of Cain could have been developed interestingly, but I believe this is Renee Montoya’s last appearance before Flashpoint, and the New 52 will see a completely different version of the Question.

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The final story in the issue, by Kyle Higgins and Trevor McCarthy, details the origin of the Night Runner.

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He is a young Muslim boy in Paris, living amongst constant racism and hassles.  He and his friends are targeted by everyone, from the police to total strangers.  When his best friend is killed, and then labelled a terrorist, his grief leads him to running across the rooftops.

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He gets a different perspective from up there, and decides to become a masked hero.

It’s not the greatest origin story, so far, but it does continue in this year’s Batman Annual.

 

Detective 866 – Dick Grayson solves an old case

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Denny O’Neil, Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs relate a decent one-issue tale, of a mystery that has puzzled Dick Grayson for many a year.

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Dick Grayson is Batman in this story, but Bruce Wayne has returned.  Because he has launched Batman Incorporated, he is busy around the world, so there is room for both him and Dick in the role.  After fighting some hoods, Dick comes across a medallion in the refuse on a street.  He recognizes it instantly, and Nguyen changes the art to a very child-friendly style for an extended flashback.

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The Joker has stolen the medallion from the Order of St Dumas, and fights an early (but uncostumed) Azrael.  Batman gets in the middle, and the flaming sword takes precedence.

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Robin follows the Joker, and captures him, but the medallion is nowhere in sight.  The Joker had bumped into a bum, Loomis, along the way.  Loomis was arrested, along with the Joker and Azrael, but while they escaped, he went to prison for 25 years, protesting his innocence, even though the medallion was never found.

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Dick finds the dying old man, assures him that his name will be cleared, and then finds the hoods and scares them into turning themselves and the medallion in.

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Batman rushes back with the good news, only to find the Joker had been there first.

Lots of different moods in this story, and the art carries them all well.

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 849 – the Joker praises Batman

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Dini, Nguyen and Fridolfs move Heart of Hush closer to its conclusion in Detective 849 (Dec. 08), another part of the Batman RIP storyline.

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Batman brings Johnathan Crane back to Arkham and tortures him to get Hush’s location.  The Joker is quite entertained by the show, and has high praise for Batman’s skill at tormenting the Scarecrow.

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Dr. Mid-Nite and Mr. Terrific tend to Selina, but both of them are mystified at the tech Hush used to remove Catwoman’s heart without killing her.

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In flashback, we see Tommy Elliot and Peyton Riley dating, both unhappy with their parents and their lives.

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Batman confronts Hush at the hospital, the same one his mother had died at.  He proudly shows Batman Selina’s heart.  He made a deal with Mr. Freeze, who provided the tech for the operation, and to maintain the heart.

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Batman had started the scene fighting Hush, and it was odd when he just sort of stopped, and they began conversing.  In fact, this was not weak writing, but a hint that Hush was gassing Batman, who winds up collapsing, as Hush unveils his new face – Bruce Wayne’s face.

The story concludes next issue.

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