Posts tagged ‘Dale Eaglesham’

Detective 741 – the bloody finale to No Man’s Land

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There is no real victory to be had in Detective 741 (Feb. 00), the final chapter in Endgame, the final storyline in No Man’s Land.  But there is a huge creative team, and a large cast of characters as well.  Greg Rucka and Devin Grayson are the writers, Damion Scott and Dale Eaglesham the pencillers, while the inks are divided between Sean Parsons, Sal Buscema and Robert Hunter.

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It’s Christmas, and a huge celebration is being planned by Lex Luthor, which the Joker is out to destroy.  The Huntress barely survives an attack by the maniac at the start of the issue (the conclusion of the previous chapter). She gets rescued by Nightwing, and even earns a word of praise from Batman.

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The Joker has had his men steal all the babies – all the children born during No Man’s Land.  Batman and crew are not sure what he plans to do with them, but don’t wait to find out.  Oracle co-ordinates as people spread out across the city, trying to find the children, but often finding caches of exploding dolls.

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Azrael and Batgirl (Cassandra Cain now) confront Mercy at Luthor’s huge christmas tree.  Mercy tries to get rid of them, but is lucky they were there to spot the dolls on the tree, which explodes real good, though all three survive.

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Batman has been chasing the Joker, but along the way notices the overtly acrobatic style, and is not at all surprised to discover that it’s Harley Quinn he has been chasing, in disguise.  She does give him the Joker’s location, but really, that’s only a sign that it’s too late to stop him, isn’t it?

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It’s Sarah Essen who confronts him, surrounded by babies, in the basement of the police headquarters.  She cannot shoot, and the Joker knows it full well.  He has no such qualms, and murders Sarah Essen.

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He then calmly walks out of the police station, and surrenders.  The scene almost dares Gordon to kill him, and Batman makes no move to stop it.  Gordon instead chooses to kneecap him, leaving the Joker lame (though unfortunately that just sort of gets forgotten).

A horrible, but perfect, note to end the storyline on.

And to give them credit, there really was never another attempt to recreate No Man’s Land, or hasn’t been to date.  It would be almost impossible.  The current series Batman Eternal is driving huge changes in the Batman world, but doing it in an entirely different way.

 

 

Detective 731 – The Huntress as peacemaker

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Fear of Faith has its final chapter in Detective 731 (April 1999), part of No Man’s Land, by Devin Grayson, with art by Dale Eaglesham and Sean Parsons.

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The story centres on a hospice run by Father Chris, who tries to be accepting of everyone – even if this includes the Scarerow, a former member of Black Mask’s gang, and the Huntress.  The Scarecrow has manipulated people’s fears, creating a stand-off between Father Chris, the Black Mask gang, the Penguin, who wants to move in to the territory, and the cops.

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It’s a great story to show the malevolent manipulations of the Scarecrow, and also puts the Huntress into an interesting light, as she has to try to keep people calm and rational.

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Batman observes as the various forces converge, and tensions rise.

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The Huntress restrains herself, and even brings a degree of peace and understanding.  The Scarecrow’s schemes are exposed, and he exiles himself when Father Chris and his followers offer him forgiveness and acceptance again.

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The story concludes with a scene between Batman and the mysterious new Batgirl, as he takes her to one of his many new “caves,” this one in Arkham Asylum.

I am going to spoil the mystery here.  The new Batgirl is Huntress.  When I first read this issue, I took the scene at the end as an indication that Batgirl and Huntress were two different people.  But reading it, knowing they are the same, it makes a lot of sense.  Batman is rewarding her for her stability and maturity during this storyline.

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