Posts tagged ‘David Lapham’

Detective 814 – City of Crime ends


City of Crime has its final issue in Detective 814 (Feb. 06), as does the creative team of David Lapham, Ramon Bachs and Nathan Massengil.


Robin deals with an attacking Scarface, as Gordon faces the Joker- but really, both are under the effects of the hallucinations, and fighting each other.  So the apparent movement by Scarface last issue is meant to be understood as Robin’s vision, not reality.


Batman gets Commissioner Akins to light the Bat-Signal, which draws all of the Body’s bodies.  Then he flies by, luring them all further, to his trap.


And blows them all up.

There is a bit more.  A kidnapping thread that I haven’t really touched on, where it turns out the mother actually killed her own daughter.  Darkness and dead ends all around.

But while there are a lot of individual things I like about City of Crime, it really just doesn’t come all together for me.  Where was the Penguin?  That all got dropped.  Too many threads, not carried as well they might be.


Detective 813 – Batman goes underground


Batman discovers where the mudpeople, the Body, comes from in Detective 813 (Jan. 06), as Lapham, Bachs and Massengil relate the second last chapter in City of Crime.


Things are going haywire in the hospital.  Aside from the Body, the paranoia/hallucinations plague is spreading.  As Gordon deals with a hysteric, Robin watches Scarface climb off the Ventriloquist’s body, under his own power.


Batman goes deep beneath Gotham in his quest for the Body, to an underground city and ruined temple.  There is something ancient and supernatural about these creatures.


They have been using the bodies of those fleeing to somewhere even worse, when Gotham’s slums become too dangerous.


Batman can beat the creatures to pieces, but simply cannot defeat something that is willing to pull its own head off to show that the Body is not confined to any one body.

The story concludes next issue.



Detective 812 – protecting the Ventriloquist


Lapham, Bachs and Massengil move City of Crime towards its ending in Detective 812 (Dec. 05).


In his longshoreman identity, Batman was living with a work buddy, who beat on his wife.  By this issue, he has managed to convince the woman to leave her husband, and gives him a sock for her.


Robin, now with Jim Gordon helping, watches over the unconscious Arnold Wesker as the mudpeople – who are called The Body – take over the hospital.  They keep Scarface near the Ventriloquist, which is really nice of them.

The story continues in the next issue.

Detective 811 – people totally lose it


And it’s back to City of Crime in Detective 811 (Nov. 05),with David Lapham, Ramon Bachs and Nathan Massengil returning as the creative team, as if War Crimes had never happened. Of course, as the badge reminds us, this is all still taking place before War Games.


There has been a homeless man wandering around throughout the series, Raffi.  In this issue, he gets infected with an experimental plague, which causes paranoia and hallucinations.  A lot of the huge cast of minor characters get caught up in this, many with fatal results.


Batman has to fight as both himself and his new identity to try to save people, but is anyone living in these slums able to be saved?

The story continues in the next issue.

Detective 808 – Robin protects the Ventriloquist, and Croc haunts the sewers


City of Crime, by Lapham, Bachs and Massengil, continues in Detective 808 (Sept. 05).


Robin sits guard over Arnold Wesker, and the Scarface doll.  It’s a good thing he is there, as the mud people are trying to get in and kill the Ventriloquist.


Meanwhile, Batman spends his time in his new identity, making friends, and even moving in, with other longshoremen.

The story pauses after this issue, resuming after War Crimes.


Croc begins a three-part story in this issue, by Andersen Gabrych, Tommy Castillo and Rodney Ramos.  The story does not take place before War Games, but after it!  Wow!  And though it touches on War Games, it really is more of a sequel to Hush, which saw Croc get altered to a more bestial form.


Black Mask’s men are sent out to get him, and bring him under Black Mask’s control.  That fails significantly.


Croc has his own agenda, and seeks out a doctor who dealt with him in earlier days.

The story continues in the next issue.

Detective 807 – Batman undercover, and Alfred’s cover is blown


It’s another chapter of City of Crime, by Lapham, Bachs and Massengil, in Detective 807 (Aug. 05).


Batman spends the duration of the story wandering around the poorer parts of Gotham (Crown Point in this storyline).  He is in disguise, but a stranger, and he can learn little except that the poor have learned not to trust strangers.  So he tells Robin to hold the fort, and creates a new identity, becoming a longshoreman in order to penetrate their world.


Alfred’s story, by Beatty and Parker, reaches its conclusion in this issue.


The attempted assassination of Parsifal has to do with Russian agents and double-dealings among the Germans, but none of that really helps Alfred, who has to fight his way to freedom.  He takes down Gudra with a shotgun blast of rock salt.


And though he makes it back to England safely, the Germans have a heavy price out for the butler-spy, and Alfred is encouraged to leave the UK and take up a different identity somewhere else.  And that’s how Alfred Beagle became Alfred Pennyworth, and came to the US to be the Wayne’s butler.

Detective 806 – Scarface keeps on talking , and Alfred as spy


It’s more City of Crime, by Lapham, Bachs and Massengil, in Detective 806 (July 2005).


More gang warfare in this storyline, as the dissolving mud people prove they are able to blast away their enemies.  Arnold Wesker lies prone and bloody, looking near death, but Scarface keeps on talking.


It all makes for a very creepy scene, even for Batman.  The Ventriloquist is not dead, though.  Can’t really tell from this issue, but we see him (and Scarface) in the hospital in a later issue.


And the Penguin has had enough of the mud people.  He winds up coming to Batman’s aid, machine gunning them from a helicopter.

The story continues in the next issue.


Scott Beatty and Jeff Parker share a story of Alfred’s early days.  For some reason, there is no “before War Games” badge on this story, even though it obviously occurs decades earlier.


Set during World War 2, Alfred Beagle is a young actor, and master of make-up and disguise.  He gets called up by MI5, to serve as a spy.


He adopts the guise of a butler, to serve at a party for German bigwigs, including some of their super-powered soldiers.  Gudra, the Valkyrie appears.  She appeared throughout the 80s in All-Star Squadron and Young All-Stars, but hasn’t been seen much since.  There is also a heavily armoured soldier named Parsifal.  This is clearly a different person than the World War 2 German operative Parsifal that appeared in James Robinson’s Golden Age miniseries.


A very alert Alfred saves Parsifal from being poisoned, but not from being shot.  However, the price is that everyone now knows he is a spy.

The story concludes in the next issue.

Detective 805 – Mr. Freeze gets a hug, and a strange Clayface


Mr. Freeze gets the attention in this chapter of City of Crime, appearing in Detective 805 (June 2005), by Lapham, Bachs and Massengil.


Batman defeats the host of masked attackers.  This is made much easier when they all turn to mud after being beaten.


The rest of the issue centres on Mr. Freeze, and his demented attempts to win the love of the girl he kidnapped.


Ironically, she is the one who is able to defeat him.  She hugs him, and her body heat causes him to pass out, although he begs her to keep hugging him.

The story just keeps on going though, continuing in the next issue.


Far more entertaining is the back-up tale, by Kimo Temperance and Zach Howard.  Even though it, too, gets a “before War Games” sticker.


Batman returns to the cave after plowing his car through a Clayface he describes as being unusually child-like, saying it’s much like a Bizarro Clayface.  He does not realize that running into it did not kill it.  Clayface thus finds himself in the cave.


It’s powers are different than the other ones – at one point he splits into a bunch of little Clayfaces, and is far more interested in amusing himself than in fighting Batman.


But the cave is not a playground, and the creature winds up defeating itself.  Cute, fun, and succinct.


Detective 804 – the problem with Mr. Freeze, and The Barker ends


Lapham, Bachs and Massengill continue with City of Crime in Detective 804 (May 2005).

I guess I should admit that this is a storyline I have never read until now. I am a few issues ahead of these posts, but generally I know the whole story before writing it up.


The best scene in the issue, in my eyes, once again deals with the dead girl, Haddie McNeil.  Bruce attends her funeral, and tries to give some consolation to her father, who assumes that Bruce was sleeping with his underage daughter, but also doesn’t care at all.


Mr. Freeze has fallen in love with the girl he kidnapped, and so he kidnaps a minister, so the two of them can get married.


The Penguin sends a message to the Ventriloquist.  Mr. Freeze has gone out of control, and the Penguin needs someone reliable.  Apparently, that means someone who talks through a dummy.  Ah, Gotham.


Batman goes to talk to Dr. Jeremiah Arkham, a wonderful character, getting his first real scene in Detective Comics, despite having been around for over a decade.  Arkham explains that Freeze was undergoing a complete re-building of his psyche when he escaped.  Being midway through the process means he is even more deranged than usual.


Batman tracks down Freeze, and is about to bring him in when a sniper shoots through his helmet, which will cause Freeze to die.  At the same time, Batman finds himself surrounded by masked attackers.

The story continues in the next issue.


Mike Carey and John Lucas bring The Barker to an ending in this issue.


The circus folks realize that the killer is the man who owns the circus, that he has been using them all along, while pretending to be on their side.


The Barker kills him, and winds up in prison for his efforts to seek justice.  Downer.

Not a bad story, but like The Tailor before it, it made me want to see more of the person in their titled position.


Detective 803 – The Penguin gets attacked, and the Barker attacks


Lapham, Bachs and Massengil continue the City of Crime storyline in Detective 803 (April 2005).


Mr. Freeze kills his own men, freezing and then shattering them.  We do not learn the reason behind this for a while, but Freeze kept one girl alive, that he found in the lawyer’s office.  When his gang asked him why, he killed them.


This issue also brings in a mysterious villain, who uses masks to impersonate others.


But there is more than simple disguise involved, as he (or they) turn to dirt after being killed, and dissolve.


And the Penguin’s club goes boom.


Carey and Lucas continue the Barker’s story in this issue.


He and his friends pursue the Senator, who confesses to his fake name and passport, but pleads innocence of the murder.  This gets backed up when someone shoots and kills him.

The story concludes next issue.


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