Posts tagged ‘Cluemaster’

Detective 810 – Why the Joker is pissed, and Croc ends


War Crimes, by Gabrych, Woods, and Bergantino, continues in Detective 810 (Late Oct. 05).


Batman finally figures out that Aaron Black is Arthur Brown.  Now, to be fair, the Cluemaster had supposedly died in the debut issue of the Suicide Squad revival a year or so earlier.  So Batman didn’t know he was alive.  But really, Aaron Black?  And so concerned about Spoiler?


Black Mask has been impersonating Batman, framing him for a series of murders, and he attacks Stephanie’s mother on live tv.


Batman shows up in time to save the woman, but after the feed is cut, so people will not know he was not the attacker.


Black Mask gets away, simply by putting others in danger.  But he runs afoul of the Joker.  As far as the Joker is concerned, killing Robins is his shtick, and Black Mask had no right to hone in.

The story concludes in the next issue of Batman.


Croc’s story comes to a bitter ending, by Gabrych, Castillo and Rick Purcell.


The doctor tries a number of potential cures on Croc, and one even changes him back to a form he was comfortable in, but the Hush virus is too strong and mutates him again.


Regretfully, but hungrily, he eats the doctor.  His more bestial state appears permanent.

Detective 809 – War Crimes begins, and Croc needs help


Andersen Gabrych and Pete Woods return, with Javier Bergantino on inks, for War Crimes, a four part sequel to War Games, beginning in Detective 809 (Early Oct. 05), and continuing though the following issue, and the two issues of Batman the same month.


The question of blame for the events in War Games is central to this storyline.  Batman takes down the head of the Vosovs, but even she blames Batman for the revived warring.


Bruce Wayne is sent the tape of a tv show, in which a heavily scarred survivor, Aaron Black, is interviewed, and talks about the torture and death of Stephanie Brown at the hands of Black Mask.  He reveals her identity as Spoiler, and as Robin as well.

Batman goes to see Leslie Thompkins, only  to find that she has left Gotham completely.  And Stephanie’s medical records have been stolen as well.


Batman runs into Aaron Black, and has the guts to stand up to him and defend his position, but gets a bit more scared when the Joker shows up.

The story continues in the next issue of Batman.


Gabrych also scripts the Croc story, with Castillo and Ramos on the art.


As dangerous and threatening as he is, Croc still maintains enough sanity to not eat the doctor, who he is relying on to cure him from the virus Hush injected him with.


The last page of the story makes one wonder about the doctor’s motives, but that’s just for the cliff-hanger.  She stays true to her oath.

The story concludes in the next issue.


Detective 707 – The Cluemaster fights to save Batman


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 706 – the Cluemaster switches teams


Dixon, Nolan and Roach continue the Riddler/Cleumaster saga in Detective 706 (Feb. 97).


Batman and Robin do not trust Cluemaster at all, but need him to get the Riddler’s clues.  So they stick him in the trunk of the Batmobile.


And Arthur Brown shows why it is never wise for anyone to trust him.  When Batman cannot hear him, he tries to make a deal with the Riddler; but when the signal gets blocked later, and the Riddler cannot hear him, he tries to make a deal with Batman.


This issue sends the heroes racing around the city, and solving clues that just create more confusion.  Oracle is helping out, but all the answers are letters or numbers, not words.  Their code breaking skills are put to the test.

The story concludes next issue.

Detective 705 – the Riddler, Cluemaster, Query and Echo


Chuck Dixon, Graham Nolan and David Roach launch a highly entertaining, three-part story that has the Riddler and Cluemaster together for the first time, beginning in Detective 705 (Jan. 97).


The story also brings back Query and Echo, the Riddler’s sidekicks from his Year One origin in last year’s annual.


Nigma is in the hospital, and we see how his broken arm int he previous issue was intended to get him to where he wants to be.


As Query and Echo rampage through the city, they also break Arthur Brown out of prison.  At first, he is not recognized by the police, who believe the girls have a hostage.  Sergeant William Pettit makes his first appearance in Detective.  A trigger-happy cop, he was introduced the previous year in the Man-Bat miniseries.


Query and Echo bring the Cluemaster to the roof of a building, which the police have surrounded.  Their plan seems to make no sense, and things look bleak when Gordon realizes that they are holding Cluemaster, not believing that this is all happening without his consent.


The roof escape is great.  Huge and garish, suiting the two villains, as the radio tower is blown up and used as a bridge to the next building.


Cluemaster is not surprised that the Riddler is none too fond of him, and I do enjoy how Nigma contrasts the two men, who methods seem so similar.  For Nigma, the riddles are part of the entire meaning of his existence.  For Brown, they are just a gimmick.


So the Riddler puts Cluemaster in the centre of his new caper, strapping a bomb to him, and making him solve the riddles he usually sends to Batman.

The story continues in the next issue.

Detective 680 – Harvey Dent grabs Harvey Kent


It’s Prodigal, chapter 7 in Detective 680 (Dec. 94), by Dixon, Weeks, Nolan and Rubenstein.


Two-Face has captured Harvey Kent, who was meant to be released instead of him, feeling that there is some weird bond between them.  Two-Face is written to be quite irrational in this storyline, which works.


Tim consults Barbara Gordon, making her first appearance as Oracle in this book.  Not yet as confident as she would become in Birds of Prey,the information she gives Tim in this story simply sends him right into the hands of Two-Face.


Shotgun Smith makes one of his rare appearances, as the Cluemaster and Czonk try an escape while being transferred.  Dick proves more than adequate at stopping the two.


Dick also manages to free Robin and Harvey Kent from the double death trap Two-Face puts them in, though Dent himself gets away.

The story continues in the next issue of Robin.


Detective 649 – Spoiler vs the Cluemaster


Dixon, Lyle and Hanna conclude the Cluemaster/Spoiler storyline in Detective 649 (Early Sept. 92).


Spoiler is less than pleased when Batman informs her that she will not be allowed to join him and Robin when they stop her father’s crime.  But she still gives Batman all the information she has on it.  There is some impressively elaborate planning, including staging accidents to block the roads with access to the location, although Stephanie has no idea how they plan to escape afterwards.


Everyone converges on the mall for its grand opening.  Spoiler waits until Batman and Robin have left, and then goes anyway.


Cluemaster and his gang are dressed like Robin Hood and his merry men, and the robbery begins to unfold perfectly.


Batman and Robin show up, but are outplayed when a helicopter smashes through the domed roof, to carry Cluemaster and his haul away.


Spoiler is on the roof, and disrupts his plans long enough for Batman to climb up.  Cluemaster grabs Spoiler, threatening to kill her.


And then finds out who she is.


Unmasked, Stephanie takes down her father. She is tempted to kill him, but Batman talks her out of it.

A really great return for Cluemaster, far better than any story he had previously appeared in.  And the addition of Spoiler makes this a fascinating family, one that we absolutely had to see more of.

Detective 648 – Spoiler debuts


Dixon, Lyle and Hanna continue the Cluemaster story in Detective 648 (Late Aug. 92).


Robin tracks the source of the clues, mailed from different locations in the city, and encounters Stephanie, garbed and masked.  When Robin discovers that the person he tacked is a girl, he is disoriented enough that she manages to fight him off and get free.


Robin doubles down on trying to find out who the girl is, although Alfred suggests that Tim may have some other interest in her.  They determine that she is Stephanie Brown, the daughter of the Cluemaster.  Confronting her, Robin determines that far from working with her father, she has been sending the clues in order to alert the police, in hopes that they will catch him.


Robin brings her to Batman, who asks her codename, and she replies Spoiler.  Batman approves.

The story concludes in the next issue.

Detective 647 – Cluemaster returns


Dixon, Lyle and Hanna bring the Cluemaster back in Detective 647 (Aug. 92).  For the past few years, the Cluemaster had been a member of the Injustice League, appearing in various Justice League books, and more or less reduced to a joke.


In this story, he presents himself to one of Gotham’s gangs, showing himself to be far more capable than he had seemed in recent years.  He insists that he has been cured of his compulsion to send clues to the police before his crimes.


There is another mayoral election brewing, with Armand Krol as the front runner.  And a mysterious young girl, Stephanie, is also introduced.


Commissioner Gordon starts receiving puzzle pieces, and calls in Batman and Robin.  They eliminate the Joker and Riddler as suspects, leaving Cluemaster the most likely culprit.


Batman tracks him down, and for the first time in his long career, we learn that his real name is Arthur Brown.  Brown insists he is on the side of the angels, and has no connection with the clues being sent.  The partial truth is enough to make Batman let him go.


The gang, however, are none to thrilled about the clues the police are receiving, and the boss accuses Cluemaster of sending them, and orders him killer.  Cluemaster quickly turns the tables, killing the boss and taking over the gang.

The story continues in the next issue.



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