Posts tagged ‘David Lapham’

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

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

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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

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

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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.

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

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

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And the Penguin’s club goes boom.

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

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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.

 

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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