Posts tagged ‘David Hine’

Detective Annual 12 – Batman meets the Night Runner, the Questions seeks help, and the origin of the Night Runner

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There are three stories in Detective Annual 12 (2011), two of which deal with a new hero, the Night Runner, who will become part of Batman Incorporated.

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So it’s appropriate that the Night Runner opens this book, in the first story, by David Hine and Agustin Padilla.  He is heading across the Paris rooftops, though we do not yet know why, and finds himself pursued by Batman.  His attempts to get away are futile, and he understands why when he sees that he is facing two Batmen, not just one.

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The rest of this story is a flashback, taking us full-circle back to the opening.  Bruce Wayne comes to Paris to try to see his Batman, Incorporated plan, but finds no interest among the French in importing an American hero.

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But a hero is desperately needed.  An organization called the Golden Door, lead by a woman called Korrigan, has been behind a number of assassinations, of people across the political spectrum, which has caused tensions and reprisals.  Renee Montoya comes to join the cult, though it’s a safe bet she is doing this undercover for Batman.

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The next planned assassination is of a popular rap singer.  Night Runner has figured this out, and was heading there when he ran into Bruce and Dick.  They determine that he is not part of the Golden Door, and has the same goal they do, of preventing the murder.

The story continues in this years Batman Annual.

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The Question heads to Nanda Parbat, in a story, by Brad Desnoyer, Lee Ferguson and Ryan Winn, that follows up the Mark of Cain element from her earlier series.

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She consults with Richard Dragon, who takes her down to a secret city hidden below the secret, hidden city of Nanda Parbat.  There Renee encounters an ancient immortal, a creature of misery and torment, living out an endless punishment.  He tries to con Renee into taking his place, telling her she is damned.  But Renee refuses to feel any shame about her life or her choices, and the mark begins to vanish on its own.

It is made clear that the mark is not gone, it’s simply hidden.

Not a bad story, and the Mark of Cain could have been developed interestingly, but I believe this is Renee Montoya’s last appearance before Flashpoint, and the New 52 will see a completely different version of the Question.

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The final story in the issue, by Kyle Higgins and Trevor McCarthy, details the origin of the Night Runner.

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He is a young Muslim boy in Paris, living amongst constant racism and hassles.  He and his friends are targeted by everyone, from the police to total strangers.  When his best friend is killed, and then labelled a terrorist, his grief leads him to running across the rooftops.

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He gets a different perspective from up there, and decides to become a masked hero.

It’s not the greatest origin story, so far, but it does continue in this year’s Batman Annual.

 

Detective 870 – too many Jokerz

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Hine, McDaniel and Owens conclude their story of Batman and Joker impostors in Detective 870 (Dec. 10).

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The carnival location helps add to the feel of this final chapter. Most of the issue takes place there, and the setting is packed with imitation Jokers and Batmans.

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Batman, who is clearly smarter than I am, has figured out that as well as being the main Joker impostor, Winslow Heath is also the masked Batman impostor.  I thought it was the Joker himself.  I get a half a point.

Winslow’s motivation is less personal than it seemed.  He had a girlfriend with him the day he was attacked by the Joker, who had been doing the same drugs.  Batman and the police did not see her, so she lay there, also paralyzed, and was eaten alive by birds.  Winslow blames both Batman and the Joker for her death.

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Batman briefly captures Winslow, but when he tries to take him through the crowd, they get separated, and of course he melts in and vanishes.

The end of the story lays the ground for his return, but Flashpoint wipes out this universe before that can happen.

Detective 869 – come to the fun fair

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Hine, McDaniel and Owens continue the war of the Jokerz and the Guardian Bats in Detective 869 (Nov. 10).

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Winslow Heath, the mastermind of the fake Joker venom, leaves a clue for Batman, a canned laughter device.  But what does it mean?  Not much beyond the obvious, it seems.  Fake laughter instead of real.

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Oracle has been doing some digging on her own, and has figured out that Heath is the most likely person to be the Joker impostor.  He has been setting up and promoting a Batholomew Fair for Gotham.

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Batman goes to confront Heath, and accuse him of being the Joker impostor, but Heath denies everything.

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As Barbara suspected, the Bartholomew Fair is a huge trap, and Heath explodes balloons of Joker toxin, infecting the crowd and turning them all into Jokerz.  It’s not that different from a real Joker plot – except that the Joker would have just killed everyone.

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The story ends as a young boy, the little brother of a teenage Guardian Bat, is told he cannot join them because he is too young.  He decides to become a Robin instead, and approaches the Batman impostor to be his sidekick.  Instead, he gets thrown off the roof to his death.

I must admit, this panel made me think that the real Joker was in disguise as the Batman impostor.  Killing Robin and all.  But I was wrong.

The story concludes in the next issue.

Detective 868 – The Guardian Bats vs the Jokerz

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A new type of gang war breaks out in Detective 868 (Oct. 10),by Hine, McDaniel and Owens.

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As the Jokerz gang continues to grow and run wild, those opposed to the madness start dressing up as Batman to fight them.  Well intentioned, but it hardly brings peace.

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The fake Joker toxin is being used voluntarily by the Jokerz, and Batman tries it himself, to see how strong it’s effects are.  He almost attacks Alfred, but retains enough self-control not to.

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The Batman impostor also makes the scene, cutting down any Jokerz violently and without mercy.

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When Batman tries to restore order, he simply blends in with the chaos, and the normal effect his costume has is completely lost.

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The issue ends as we learn who the Joker impostor is who started this all.  Winslow Heath had been hit with Joker toxin years earlier, but had been doing drugs just before that and the combination saved his life, but left him paralyzed for years, and permanently disfigured.

The story continues in the next issue.

Detective 867 – fake Jokers

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David Hine, Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens begin a four-part story in Detective 867 (Sept. 10), as impostors prove as troublesome as the original.

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A fake Joker shows up in Gotham, causing mayhem and havoc, if not death.  More start appearing, causing major amounts of damage.

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One fake Joker does have a version of Joker toxin, but it’s not lethal.  Certainly not as lethal as the guns of the police who kill him.

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His death at the hands of the police turns into a big issue, with all manner of people dressing as the Joker in protest – and using this to act crazy and violent.  The media and police are on high alert. Gordon sends some police in to break it up, and the mob turns on them, killing some cops and becoming riotous.

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With chaos breaking out, a robotic looking Batman impostor declares his intention to bring order to Gotham.  Dick and Barbara are not pleased.

The story continues next issue.

Detective 865 – how Jeremiah Arkham became Black Mask, and the Question ends

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David Hine and Jeremy Haun conclude the look at Jeremiah Arkham in Detective 865 (July 2010).

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Jeremiah’s three special patients never existed at all.  They were all hallucinations, which is quite staggering, considering the elaborate back stories they were given in earlier tales.  The marrotte, the jester stick that Arkham has been carrying, gets broken, and is revealed to be filled with psychotropic drugs.

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Hugo Strange had convinced Arkham that he needed to understand madness in order to cure it, and suggested he visit the Joker to try to understand him better.  And in walked the fly to the spider.  The Joker gave Arkham the wand, which slowly drove him mad.  He adopted the identity of Black Mask, after Sionis’ death, which gave him the strength and power he had craved.

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After the drugs are washed out of him, he insists that he is fine, he has regained his sanity.

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He gives the code to de-activate the bomb he had planted on the man (from the previous issue), but it explodes anyway.  Was Arkham just too late, or did the code he give activate the bomb?

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He is left in the care of Alyce Synner, the new head of the asylum, and his lover when he was Black Mask.  She sets Zsasz on him, but once again Jeremiah proves his stuff, carving his initials into Zsasz’s eyelids.

Sadly, this is, I think, the final appearance of Jeremiah Arkham before Flashpoint wipes out this reality.  The New 52 restores his sanity and position.

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Greg Rucka and Cully Hamner bring the Question’s series to a close in this issue.

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Renee is determined to take the burning mark, to save Helena, but Helena wants no sacrifices for her.  Essentially, the two women fight over which one gets eternal damnation.

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The Huntress starts the process of removing the mark, but the Question intervenes.  Still, Vandal starts losing the mark, so someone must be gaining it.

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The Huntress and the Question flee.  Helena knows that she does not have the mark, as her face is clear.

Renee refuses to remove her mask.

A strong ending.  But again, I think this is The Huntress’ final appearance before Flashpoint.  The Question returns a few months down the road in Detective Annual 12.

Detective 864 – Batman returns, and the Question and the Huntress face Vandal Savage

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Bruce Wayne is back, and Batman returns as the lead feature in Detective Comics 864 (June 2010), in a story by David Hine, Jeremy Haun and John Lucas.

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Jeremiah Arkham is now a resident in his own asylum, after being exposed as the new Black Mask.  Much of his story over the last few years has been very unusual, but also spread around over a number of books and one-shots.  This 2-parter ties up a lot of loose ends.

Although the inmates expect to be able to torment Arkham now, he still knows all there is to know about them, and their families, and now has Black Mask’s ruthlessness.  No one messes with him.

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When a man shows up a a police station, with a bomb strapped to him by Black Mask, Batman heads to the asylum to question Jeremiah.  He reveals his three secret cases, seen in an Arkham Asylum special a year or so earlier – No-Face, Mirror Man and Hamburger Mary.  The first two share names with old Batman villains, but are completely different characters.

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Jeremiah brings Batman to show the three to him, but the entire story suddenly goes completely haywire and surreal.  What is going on with Arkham?  The only hints given are his time spent with Hugo Strange, and the unusual jester wand.

The story concludes next issue.

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Rucka and Hamner begin this installment of the Question by recapping the Biblical origin of Vandal Savage, who has now been identified with Cain.

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He has no problem holding off Huntress and the Question.  And if you can handle having a burning mark on your face, is a crossbow in the eye really likely to slow you down?

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In the end, he forces the women to make a choice.  One of them must accept his burning mark as their own, or he will kill them both.

The story concludes next issue.

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