Scott Snyder and Jock tie up their James Gordon Jr storyline in Detective 881, the final issue of the series.
Commissioner Gordon fills Batman in on his son’s activities. It never gets known for certain whether he really put anti-psychotics into the formulas of thousands of babies or not, the heroes are left to wonder.
James tortures Barbara, piercing her legs through the arteries, and later removing a knife to drain her blood.
James has a big villain monologue, explaining that he was behind earlier events, such as the dealer at the Mirror House. I almost expected him to reveal that he was also the masked Tiger Shark, but he refrains from going that far.
The finale gets to a point where it seems like one is reading a Halloween or Friday the 13th comic. But it’s all superbly rendered.
And Commissioner Gordon does provide and uplifting ending, literally, as he saves James from falling to his death.
I really do not care for ending the story, and the series, on the panel of the possibly psychotic babies. In fact, it made me glad the series was ending, and we were spared a storyline of crazy babies attacking Gotham.
Flashpoint puts and end to all the DC books, and three months down the road, the New 52 launches. Detective Comics is part of the starting line-up for that universe, beginning with a new issue 1, and will be discussed in my blog when I reach that point. Years from now, I expect.
Beautiful cover for the second last issue of Detective Comics, 880 (Late Sept. 11), for the story by Snyder and Jock.
Barbara Gordon, the ex-wife of Commissioner Gordon, not the daughter, gets attacked doused with Joker toxin. She has been appearing in Birds of Prey, but hasn’t been seen, or even much talked about, since Batman: Year One, and occasional flashbacks to those events.
Batman has little trouble tracking, and taking down, the Joker. Likely because the series was coming to an end and there wasn’t much time. The Joker quickly convinces Batman that he was not the one who attacked Barbara.
Nope, it was her psycho son, who shows up at Barbara Gordon’s place for a exceptionally well done final page.
The story, and the series, conclude next issue.
Snyder and Jock begin the three-part story that will conclude Detective Comics in issue 879 (Early Sept. 11). It centres on James Gordon Jr, as much of Snyder’s run has done. I just don’t like this psychotic son, abruptly shoved into the narrative, which is likely why this final run never grabbed me.
James Gordon is not the only psychotic in this issue, as prisoner transfer is taking place.
Gordon goes to pick up his son from Leslie Thompkins’ clinic, where he has been volunteering, and acting the good boy.
The prisoner turns out to be the Joker, who infects his doctor with Joker toxin simply by touch, through his skin. The Joker escapes, as he often does.
Commissioner Gordon swiped one of James’ anti-psychotic pills, and gives it to Barbara to analyze. She discovers that James is apparently a master chemist, as he has reversed the effects of the pills, making them create psychotics, and has possibly been giving them to babies.
Bullock calls Gordon about the Joker’s breakout, but Gordon has his son on his mind.
Lots of very grisly art by Jock in this storyline. It’s all quite well done, but makes for a very bloody finale.
The story continues in the next issue.
The original Tiger Shark was a one-shot villain, a pirate with a secret identity, who pretended to be aiding Batman in his fight. Snyder and Jock introduce an updated version in Detective 878 (Aug. 11), as they conclude their three-parter.
The new Tiger Shark has plenty of oddities. He wears a wrap around his eyes, for some reason. And has one of his goons talk for him. Later, he is shown talking for himself, but I think it might be painful for him.
Look at that tongue. Ouch. The things people do to stand out as Batman villains. Dick manages to get away from Tiger Shark. But the pirate does not get caught, escaping to fight another day.
A subplot in the last couple issue had Commissioner Gordon approach Dick Grayson about his son. Gordon does not know whether to trust James Jr or not, and asks Dick for his honest opinion. Dick meets James, and the two reminisce about the last time they saw each other, on a picnic as kids, when James got beat up by a bully. He does make a decent impression, mentioning that he ran into the bully earlier in the day, who has matured to a decent person.
Dick give James a thumbs up to his father, but has a harsher tone with Zucco’s daughter. It took Dick a while, but he finally began to wonder why she sent him against Roadrunner first. She basically admits to having manipulated him into taking down the two men threatening her, but defends her actions, including moving the whale into the bank to draw his attention, as acting in the cause of justice. As with Tiger Shark, Zucco’s daughter is basically set up by this story to become a major player later on, but Flashpoint would end those plans.
The story ends on James Jr, torturing and mutilating the man who had tormented him at the picnic as a child. It’s really extreme, and leaves no doubt that James Jr is evil. Although that had already been shown in Birds of Prey.
Detective 876 (June 2011), sees Snyder and Jock begin a three-part story that will introduce a new version of an old villain.
Remember those whales from a couple of issue ago? Well, they gain importance now, as one shows up in a bank lobby.
With a dead body inside, nonetheless. Commissioner Gordon calls Batman onto the case, and they determine the identity of the dead woman, who worked at the bank, which is run by the daughter of Anthony Zucco, the mob boss who had Dick Grayson’s parents killed.
Batman goes to question her. The woman, who has changed her name to avoid being associated with her mobster father, claims to have no idea about the murder or the whale. But after Batman leaves, she immediately calls someone, begging him to stop.
Batman, of course, spies on the call, and traces it to a gangster known as Roadrunner. Investigating his place, a large auto junkyard, used for hiding and rebuilding stolen cars. But Roadrunner sees Batman, who wanders right into a place for crushing cars, it seems. Roadrunner has no problem trying to kill Batman when he does something so dumb.
The story continues in the next issue.
James Gordon Jr is once again the focus of the story, as Snyder and Jock deal with murders past and present in Detective 875 (May 2011).
Back when Gordon was still just a captain, and James was young, there was a serial killer of children in Gotham, the Peter Pan Killer. Gordon was never able to catch the man he thought was guilty, but the crimes have started again. This is intercut with young Gordon realizing his son is disturbed and dangerous. One of his friends went missing, and Gordon suspected James.
The two stories are intercut throughout, and climax together, as Gordon discovers that the Peter Pan Killer went to try to kill his son many years ago, but couldn’t get to him, so killed the girl instead, which Gordon had always blamed his son for.
Overall, these stories are meant to show his doubt about his son, and whether to treat him as a criminal or not. It’s all a bit undercut by events in Birds of Prey, where James is unquestionably evil.
Snyder and Jock resolve the back-up story, dropped in the previous issue, in Detective 874 (April 2011).
The story picks up on Commissioner Gordon and James Jr in the restaurant, having their conversation. James Jr announces that he has come to terms with being a psychopath. The whole scene is quite tense, and water pools from under a door, as if he possibly did kill the waitress, and was not joking.
But it proves to be nothing other than water, and other than making his father feel scared, James Jr doesn’t actually do anything.
The story weaves off in a weird direction, as Dick and Tim, as Batman and Red Robin, try to deal with the stolen birds.
But the scene itself seems to be more connected to an upcoming story, with the return of Tiger Shark. But frankly, these last few issue leave me cold.
Oh, and at the end, Gordon finds out that the birds were not released by his son, it was just a prank by a couple of kids.