Posts tagged ‘Checkmate’

Detective 775 – a new life for Sasha Bordeaux, and The Hunt ends

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Greg Rucka’s run on Detective Comics comes to an end with issue 775 (Dec.02), as he joined by Rick Burchett and Jim Royal, bringing Sasha’s storyline to a close.

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Batman has been interfering with Checkmate operations in Gotham ever since hitting a brick wall in his search for Sasha.  Checkmate does not want to get into a war with Batman, he is too vital to the city to take down.  Jessica Midnight is ordered to resolve the situation, and convinces Sasha to meet with him.

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Alfred challenges Bruce on his reasons for not giving up the search.  Bruce claims that Sasha knows too much about them, and needs to find her for his own safety, but Alfred points out that she has not talked in all this time, and is not likely to.  Bruce must have a different reason.

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So they meet.  It does not start well, as Sasha finally gets to vent all the frustration she has felt for her months behind bars.

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But once the anger and suspicion have passed, the truth comes out.

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Still, it’s not a happy ending.  Sasha’s life was destroyed, and she cannot go back to it.  Bruce admits setting her up to find his weaponry, to bring her into his world.  And then to making it all about the costume and the rules, to control her and keep her at a safe distance.  They did love each other, but neither could act on it at the time, and now it’s too late.

Sasha leaves, and Greg Rucka takes her along as he moves to to develop Checkmate, first in The O.M.A.C. Project miniseries.

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The Hunt, by Moore, Hoberg and Gaudiano, also comes to an end in this issue.

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It’s set in Arkham Asylum, as the scary beast man hunts for his latest prey.  Loads of cameos by inmates in this story – the Ventriloquist, Clayface, Calendar Man, Zsasz and Croc.  The creature does not kill his enemy, instead leaving him trussed up, with a note detailing his crimes, for Montoya and Allen to find.

Is this a new vigilante on the scene, or something else?

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The final panel just adds to the mystery.  We see that the beast is a man in a costume, and part of a much larger game.

This is really all a teaser for the Batman: Family miniseries, which begins this month, and reveals the beast to be called Tracker.

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Detective 774 – Batman hunts for Sasha, and another Hunt proceeds as well

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Rucka, Lieber and McKenna continue with the saga of Sasha Bordeaux in Detective 774 (Nov. 02).

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She isn’t dead of course.  If you thought she was dead, you’ve never read a comic book.  While still unconscious, Sasha was taken by Jessica Midnight to Checkmate headquarters.

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She is offered a new life, as they “ended” her old one, as a Checkmate operative.

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Batman does not believe that Sasha is dead, and gets confirmation that some government agency took her from the prison and faked the death certificate.  He suspects Checkmate, but it takes months before he runs into David Said, and gets that confirmed.

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As the story ends, Batman breaks into Checkmate and confronts Jessica Midnight.  They refuse to tell him anything, and Batman does not even realize that he is standing right next to Sasha, who has undergone reconstructive surgery to give her a new face.

The story concludes next issue.

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That scary beast man keeps on killing people in this chapter of The Hunt, by Moore, Hoberg and Gaudiano.

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Still no answers, explanation, nor even a clear view of the main character, but it works.

The Hunt concludes next issue.

Detective 773 – Sasha dies, and The Hunt begins

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Greg Rucka, Steven Lieber and Mark McKenna are the creative team on Detective 773 (Oct. 02), which follows hard on the ending of Bruce Wayne: Fugitive.

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Bruce returns to Gotham after all charges are dropped.  Someone else has confessed.  Who?  Well, at no point in this issue does that, or anything else pertaining to the murder, get explained, so I will leave it a mystery until I get to a book that does explain it.  If I actually liked the resolution I’d probably give it.

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Despite the confession, Sasha remains in prison, even though she has been cleared.  The oddities of the US justice system.  Bruce demands that her conviction be overturned.

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For Sasha, it’s just more prison, and more beatings.  Until she collapses, and is taken to the infirmary.

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Jessica Midnight is introduced.  She works for Checkmate, and they have been monitoring Sasha for quite a while.  They knew about her time with Batman, and decide that she has proven herself capable and loyal.  Jessica is ordered to recruit her for Checkmate.

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So when Alfred goes to the prison to see Sasha again, he is told that she is dead.

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An unusual three-part back-up story begins in this issue, The Hunt, by John Francis Moore, Rick Hoberg and Stefano Gaudiano.

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Crispus Allen and Renee Montoya appear in this first chapter, but are not the central characters.  This storyline follows a mysterious figure, who looks more beast than man, and who attacks various felons in the city.

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Hero or villain, human or otherwise, nothing is for sure in this chapter, which effectively makes it scary.

Detective 771 – Batman does not like Checkmate, and Two-Face does not like Josie Mac

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It’s Bruce Wayne: Fugitive, Part 12 in Detective 771 (Aug. 02), and Batman continues to be interested in anything other than his own case, according to Rucka, Lieber and McKenna.

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Crispus Allen and Renee Montoya stake out the courthouse as Sasha Bordeaux’s trial begins, in case Bruce should happen to show up.  He doesn’t, of course, but Alfred does, out of respect for the woman, even though they had never met.  Alfred’s behaviour just does not match that of a man who would help a cold blooded killer flee justice, and Allen is having serious doubts about Bruce Wayne’s guilt.

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Through David Said, Batman gets to communicate with Checkmate, and learns that they know who is behind the poisoned heroin, but will neither do anything about it, nor tell him who the man is.

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Maggie Sawyer calls Allen on the table, after Alfred complains of his harassment.  Maggie insists Allen must find something, anything, to charge Alfred with if he wants to keep the heat on him.

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And David Said and Batman identify the poisoner.  Said informs Batman that the man is NSA.

The story continues in the next issue.

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Josie Mac and Batman take on Two-Face in the penultimate chapter of her first storyline, by Winick and Chiang.

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Two-Face winds up between them, and tosses the child off a catwalk.  Batman dives to rescue the boy, and Two-Face takes advantage of the distraction to grab Josie Mac, and put a gun to her head.

The story concludes next issue.

Detective 770 – Checkmate in Gotham, and Batman meets Josie Mac

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Rucka, Lieber and McKenna continue the poisoned heroin story in Detective 770.  The story itself is not bad, though very much a middle chapter, but I get bothered by the Batman: Fugitive numbering, which does not lend itself to the reading order it establishes, and even the fact that this is the third and final chapter of the”Purity” storyline, yet the story itself continues into the next issue!

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Complaining aside, Batman does a good job of talking Tzu down, if only to turn him over to the police.  Batman also establishes a decent working relationship with David Said.

But all the other elements of the story – Allen and Montoya tailing Alfred, the poisoned heroin, Chcekmate’s shady dealings – continue on to the next issue.

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Picking up on the Josie Mac story, now on it’s eighth chapter, by Judd Winick and Cliff Chiang.  Josie is still on the case of the mobster’s kidnapped child.  Her father was murdered, to try to get her to drop the case, but it just made her more determined.

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Perhaps because of the dead father thing, Batman pays a visit to Josie Mac, and is far more friendly than usual.  They compare information, and Josie shares a psychic vision she had of the child thinking the kidnapper’s face was just like his.

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Half the boy’s face is covered by a birthmark. The kidnapper is Two-Face.

The story continues next issue.

 

 

Detective 769 – Batman turns an ally into an enemy

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Rucka, Lieber and Mark McKenna work on Detective 769 (June 2002), chapter 4 of Bruce Wayne: Fugitive, the overall name for the stories published during the period when Batman couldn’t be bothered to clear his own name.

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Tzu’s mind has become quite warped, and he thinks Batman is a godlike figure.  And though he hopes they will join forces against the heroin dealers, Batman does not want to get involved with him.  Tzu gets angry, and now believes Batman to be on the side of the dealers.

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Crispus Allen and Renee Montoya question Alfred, as he tidies the long-neglected kitchen.  His certainty that Bruce is innocent, even though he vanished, puzzles the detectives.  By the end, they no longer think Alfred helped Bruce escape, but understand even less than before.

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Checkmate agent David Said joins the mix.  Someone is poisoning the heroin, and it’s not the Triad, Tzu or Checkmate, but everyone wants answers.

The story continues in the next issue, even though Bruce Wayne: Fugitive continues in a completely different book.

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