Posts tagged ‘Cam Smith’

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.

 

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Detective 799 – Batman’s plans go very wrong, and Poison Ivy’s plans work out

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Gabrych, Woods and Smith open the third act of War Games in Detective 799 (Dec. 04).

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Batman now has a desperate Commissioner Akins on his side. All the gangs have gathered in the big arena, with Tarantula looking after the kids in the crowd.  Batgirl, Robin and Nightwing are all stationed outside, with the police armed only with rubber bullets, at Batman’s insistence.

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Orpheus takes the stage, and is meant to give a speech that will unite the gangs under him, and thus, under Batman.  But that does not happen.  Because it’s not Orpheus under the helmet, it’s Black Mask (though Batman does not learn that in this issue).

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Onyx does find the corpse of the real Orpheus, but too late to warn anyone.

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Batman swings down into the arena, attempting to take control of the situation.  But even that goes very wrong.  Firefly hits him with a jet of flame on his way down, and a burning Batman in the midst of dozens of criminals does not inspire terror.

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Aside from Firefly, The Electrocutioner, Scarecrow and Tweedledum and Tweedledee appear in this issue.  Some of the gang members come pouring out the arena, and get into a shooting match with the police.  But they have real bullets and the police do not.

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By the end of the issue, it is total chaos.  Commissioner Akins has had enough, and issues a shoot to kill order on Batman and his entire crew.

The story continues in Legends of the Dark Knight.

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The Riddler’s story also comes to a close this issue, by McCarthy, Castillo and Ramos.

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Ivy quickly catches up with the Riddler.  Not much use trying to hide from her in her own jungle.  Although the Riddler is waiting for Ivy to kill him, her intent is more subtle, and she continues to degrade and humiliate him.

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In the end, she simply turns her back and contemptuously walks away.  Her goal was to destroy the Riddler, not kill Edward Nigma.  And she has succeeded.

Detective 798 – Tim Drake makes a decision, and the Riddler does as well

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War Games has the first chapter of its second act in Detective 798 (Nov. 04), by Gabrych, Woods and Smith.

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The gang war has turned personal, as the teenaged daughter of one of the mobsters was murdered, and Batman is getting frantic. It doesn’t help that he was captured on television for the first time.  Oracle suggests bringing in Stephanie, as they need more operatives, but Batman, though he regrets how he treated her, does not think Spoiler would be safe.  Neither realizes yet that she is already sooo involved.

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The Body Doubles, villains from the old Resurrection Man series, who proved far more popular than the hero, make an appearance in this, shooting Renee Montoya.

Batman meets with Commissioner Akins, asking him to turn the police force over to him, so that Batman can have the men needed to end the gang war, but Akins turns him down cold.

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Tim Drake spends a lot of time agonizing in this issue.  He vowed to never become Robin again, after his father’s death.

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But he knows he is needed, and too many lives are at stake.  Tim returns to the Manor, and a grateful Alfred, and once again becomes Robin.

The story continues in Legends of the Dark Knight.

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The Riddler is at the mercy of Poison Ivy in the second chapter of his three-part story,by McCarthy, Castillo and Ramos.

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Ivy really belittles him.  Not only does he not have any powers, he does not have the stature of the Penguin,or even the Joker.  He whines and pleads and begs.

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Marched to the top of a high canopy of trees, and certain that Ivy intends to kill him, the Riddler shows some courage after all.  He tosses Ivy a riddle, and jumps into her jungle.

The story concludes in the next issue.

Detective 794 – Batman meets the Tarantula, and The Tailor ends

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The ground is getting laid for the upcoming War Games, as Gabrych, Woods and Smith bring the Tarantula and Orpheus into Detective 794 (July 2004).

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L’Shea is also sticking around for a while.  The Miracle Mom attends the funeral of her daughter, although no one but Batman (and Leslie) realize that.

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Catalina Flores gets introduced,before her alternate identity does.  The Tarantula had been around for a couple of years already, in Nightwing’s comic, driving him up a wall with her murderous vigilantism.

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Orpheus also makes his first appearance in these pages.  Introduced back in 2001, Orpheus has become Batman’s undercover operative, a supposed gang leader taking control of The Hill, in order to prevent any other gangs from doing so.

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The Tarantula also finds that the business that has brought her to Gotham involves the Hill.

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And Tarantula gets to encounter one of Batman’s more disgusting enemies, Kafka.  Introduced a few years earlier in Gotham Knights, Kafka is a semi-sentient collection of cockroaches, who take on human form.  Just, yuck.

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Batman is none too keen on having the Tarantula in his city, knowing about her already from Nightwing.  But she has no intentions of doing what Batman wants.

The story continues in the next issue.

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AJ Lieberman, Jean-Jacques Dziakowski and Daniel Green conclude The Tailor in this issue.

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It’s a big, burning finale, as the Tailor takes down the former members of his team, even finding the one who betrayed them and set him up.

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The ending confuses me.  Presumably the Tailor finally got the money from the heist, although the dequence of events on this page is not clear.  The finale had been a let down to me before that, though, as we never got to see that much of the character functioning as designer/armorer.  All in all, I prefer Gambi.

 

Detective 793 – tunneling out, and getting ready

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Gabrych, Woods and Smith continue their story of family troubles and mob manipulations in Detective 793 (June 2004).

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Below the rubble of the building, Batman finds Leslie, L’Shea and the still-dying girl, now with the baby delivered.

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There is no clear way out, but a small passage that Batman has opened.  L’Shea crawls out with the baby, her grand-child.  It’s really not clear if she will take the baby to the hospital, or just dump it and run.  Batman and Leslie stay with the mother until she dies.

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Batman hunts down Mr. Freeze, unplugging him and quickly removing him from the picture.

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The story ends as Bruce and Leslie take a walk through the rarely-seen gardens surrounding Wayne Manor.  L’Shea did get the child t safety – and to the media, where she spun a story of delivering the child herself and earned the monicker Miracle Mom.  Bruce and Leslie are neither impressed nor surprised, but have also found more understanding between themselves.

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Liberman, Dziakowski and Green get things set up for the finale of The Tailor, coming in the next issue.

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Each page of this story shows the Tailor getting prepped for the coming fight, and along the bottom, his three former team-mates approaching Gotham, as the mileage signs mark the distance.

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The story concludes next issue.

Detective 792 – a real diva, and The Tailor learns the plan

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As if a shot, pregnant teenage girl was not enough, Gabrych, Woods and Smith take Detective 792 (May 2004) into even darker territory.

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Leslie and the girl have been kidnapped by a gangster and his pop star wife, L’Shea.  As the story slowly comes out, we discover that L’Shea, who claims to be the girl’s sister, is really her mother.  She had the child at a young age, but didn’t want her to ruin her career. The kidnapping is just further insurance.

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To complicate things, the gangster is involved in a power struggle over a region of Gotham known as The Hill, with Mr. Freeze also interested int the territory.

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The story also has a flashback.  There was a period, in Bruce’s youth, when Leslie moved to Africa, running a clinic there.  Alfred and Bruce came to visit, and armed men tried to rob the hospital.  Bruce tried to fight them off, but failed.  It was Alfred who saved the day. The story also touches on the romance between Alfred and Leslie, which never came to fruition.

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Batman also demonstrates that safety is no deterrent to fashion, with his snazzy new Bat-helmet for motorcycling.

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The story culminates as Mr. Freeze’s men demonstrate why they will never be major villains on their own, using his weaponry so badly that they collapse an entire building on themselves, as well as L’Shea, Leslie and the wounded girl.

The story continues next issue.

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The Tailor heads to prison, in this chapter by Lieberman, Dzialowski and Green.

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Three more of his former gang members have been released, leaving only one behind bars.  Once again, he attempts to argue that he was not the snitch.  But it’s far too late for that, the other three are already on their way to Gotham, and neither the Tailor nor his daughter are safe.

The story continues in the next issue.

 

 

Detective 791 – Leslie asks for help, and the Tailor remembers

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Gabrych, Woods and Smith are the creative team on Detective 791, in which Batman must hunt for the relatives of a dying girl.

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A 16-year old pregnant girl is brought into Leslie Thompkins clinic after being shot in the stomach.  Leslie fears the girl will not survive the night, and contacts Oracle, to contact Batman.

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The relationship between Bruce and Leslie, once so strong, has developed tensions over the past few years, as her disapproval of his violent ways has increased.  To be fair, Batman is far more violent than he was when her character was introduced in the mid-70s.  But she knows what he is capable of, and needs her Jane Doe identified, and relatives found, before the woman dies and her baby is left orphaned.

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Batman delves into an underworld of deprivation and poverty for children, among the seedy denizens of the underworld.  He does get a name and address for the girl’s sister, but when he returns to the clinic, Leslie and the girl have vanished.

The story continues next issue.

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Much of this installment of The Tailor, by Lieberman, Dziakowski and Green, is a flashback to the heyday of a villain team called Mayhem, which the Tailor was a part of.

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We see a robbery of theirs go terribly wrong, someone gave information to the cops.  The Tailor was, and still is, blamed for being the snitch, and the other gang members intend to exact vengeance.

The story continues next issue.

 

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