Posts tagged ‘Cataclysm’

Detective 721 – Robin catches key words

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Dixon, Nolan and Janson handle chapter 15 of Cataclysm, in Detective 721(May 1998).  It’s another of those issues in which the story jumps around all over the place, trying to keep up with all the plots, but Dixon has shown himself particularly adept at these kind of tales.

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The story opens as Batman and Nightwing watch a mass grave of burning bodies in the middle of the street.  A shocking and powerful start to a story.  Quakemaster is inset on the page, the villain who may or may not be behind the destruction.

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Robin and Alfred study the tapes of Quakemaster’s broadcast, claiming responsibility and threatening another quake if he is not paid off.  Robin’s comments about the Quakemaster’s choice of words made me pause and think, and I am proud to say I finished this page with very firm suspicions about who the Quakemaster really was.

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Batman and Nightwing, trying desperately to maintain some sense of order in Gotham, come across the Huntress.  In her eyes, this is martial law time, but Batman disagrees.

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The Quakemaster makes another broadcast, and this time, with Robin’s words in my mind, I confirmed my suspicions.  Read the page closely.

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The Quakemaster’s demands are not even practical, Gotham is close to broke.  But people take it seriously, believing that Mayor Grange has access to the millions, and despite Jim Gordon’s presence, City Hall gets attacked by thieves.

The story continues in the next issue of Robin.

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Detective 720 – swimming out of the Batcave

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Dixon, Nolan and Janson are the creative team on Detective 720 (April 1998), chapter 5 of Cataclysm.  Gotham has been hit by a massive earthquake, leaving Batman trapped in the cave when Wayne Manor collapses.  As with Contagion, this storyline does an excellent job of giving interesting arcs to many of the supporting players, and telling a large, sprawling story while keeping it grounded in smaller, personal events.

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The art is top-notch, and the ruined Gotham looks just terrifying.

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Helena Bertinelli had the misfortune to be down in the subway when the earthquake hit.  She dons her Huntress outfit, hoping to make people follow her to safety.

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Instead, she comes across a wanted felon in the subway car, who believes that she is only there for him, and the situation deteriorates rapidly.

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She does manage to get most of the people out of the subway car, but when the shooter gets partly buried by another collapse, she leaves him to die in the rubble.

Alfred, also trapped in the cave, is more surprised than he ought to be when Harold bulldozes his way in.

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Batman has spent this issue swimming through flooded tunnels and caves, trying to find a way out.  It a taught scene, with limited air, but he does make it out.

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But his first view of Gotham does not make for a happy ending.

The story continues in the next issue of Robin.

Detective 719 – bad news for Gotham

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Detective 719 (March 1998) is billed as a prologue to Cataclysm, but only the last couple of pages deal with that storyline.  For the rest of the issue, Chuck Dixon scripts a story that hearkens all the way back to the 1940s classic, The Three Racketeers.  Jim Aparo and Flint Henry share the pencilling, in a most effective way, with Mark Buckingham on inks.

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The story deals with some hoods being shipped over to Blackgate prison, telling each other of their encounters with Batman.  Aparo does the art on the realism part of the story.

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Flint Henry takes the art when it comes to showing how Batman was perceived by the crooks.

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The story thus neatly contrasts the actual events, with the version told by the criminal.

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As the issue reaches it’s end, the story shifts to introduce Jolene Relazzo, a seismologist who gets some frightening information.  She desperately tries to contact her employer – but no one is home at the Batcave.

 

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