Posts tagged ‘David Lapham’

Detective 802 – The Penguin schemes, and the Barker learns a secret

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Lapham, Bachs and Massengil continue City of Crime in Detective 802 (March 2005).

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The Penguin is brought into the story.  He has a new assistant, Miss Jessica.  One of the tenements he owns burns down, and he expects trouble as a result.  Not only from Batman, but also from the lawyers at the free legal clinic.

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Mr. Freeze, recently escaped from Arkham, decides to help the Penguin with his problems.

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But the only part of this issue that really grabbed me was when Bruce and Alfred watch a security camera from the Manor, and see that Haddie came by, wanting to see Bruce Wayne.  He was not there, and she stole one of his antiques.  Bruce suspects she sold it for the drugs she overdosed on, and continues to feel really crappy.

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Mike Carey and John Lucas provide the most entertaining chapter of The Barker in this issue.

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Circus skills prove uniquely valuable when breaking in to City Hall.  They raid the files on the autopsy and police investigation into the dog-faced boy’s death.

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The evidence they find implicates a Senator, who is holding his seat under a fake name.

The story continues in the next issue.

 

Detective 801 – City of Crime, and The Barker both begin

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David Lapham launches his big Batman epic, City of Crime, in Detective 801 (Feb. 05), with art by Ramon Bachs and Nathan Massengil.  The story is set before War Games, and has a badge proclaiming this at the start of each issue.  You have to wonder why they would run such a long tale immediately after War Games, if they didn’t want it to follow the other story. It also sort of diminishes the effects of that story, as it cannot have repercussions in a story set before it.

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My overall impression of City of Crime is that it likely would have made a better novel than a comic.  Lapham really does attempt to create a huge, interlocking saga of people and events, but the result is that it is often difficult to know what is important, or where the story itself is going.

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It’s premise is pretty standard.  Gotham is hell, and Batman struggles to do what he can.

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The one part of this that really stands out to me is the minor character of Haddie McNeil, a 14-year old party girl, with far too much money, and negligent parents.  She flirts with Bruce Wayne at a society function, and he rebuffs her.

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The next time he sees her, she has died of an overdose.

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This sets him on a mission to take down drug dealers.  But the story promptly goes in a different direction next issue.

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This issue also sees the start of a four-part back-up story, The Barker, by Mike Carey and John Lucas.

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The story is set at a circus, with the carnival barker as the main character, though his circus friends are all central to the tale.  The dog-faced boy gets killed, and the callous police do not care, and write it off as an accident.

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The Barker does not believe it was an accident, nor do any of the others, and they decide to take the law into thei own hands.

Detective 800 – fallout from War Games, and a teaser for City of Crime

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Andersen Gabrych, Pete Woods and Cam Smith end their run on this book with an epilogue to War Games, in Detective 800 (Jan.05).

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Batman finds himself on the wrong side of the law once again.  Akins is still out to get him, and the police blame him for the deaths of many of the comrades during War Games.

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With her Clock Tower base destroyed, Barbara decides to leave Gotham, and set up as Oracle somewhere else – corresponding to events in Birds of Prey.  And with Barbara gone, Jim Gordon also feels it is time to move on.

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Orpheus turns out to be a more successful martyr than hero, and Onyx leads his old followers, and new devotees.

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There is a kidnapping in this story, and some action.  Batman tracks down the kidnapper, the Mad Hatter, who is using a mind-controlled Croc as his muscle.

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But the real goal is not the kidnapping, but luring Batman, so that Black Mask can gloat, and show off the degree of control he now has, thanks to Batman.

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About his only friend left is Catwoman, who learned his identity during Hush, and can still can break through his dispassionate shell.

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The second story in the issue is a teaser, or a prologue, for City of Crime, which will run in this book over the next year.

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David Lapham is the writer and artist.  The story, if there is one, is not very clear, but certainly sets an evocatively threatening mood.

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The art is great, but the lack of focus or direction left me concerned.

 

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