Posts tagged ‘David Roach’

Detective 737 – Harley Quinn plays the field

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No Man’s Land saw the introduction of Harley Quinn into the Batman universe proper.  Detective 737 (Oct. 99) concludes her introductory storyline, by Bronwyn Taggart, Tom Morgan and David Roach.  Notice how many No Man’s Land storylines conclude in Detective?

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As the Joker proceeds with plans to run in an election in No Man’s Land, Harley Quinn continues to play hard to get.  This is part of her “code”on how to win back his affections, after he loved her and then tried to kill her. The whole “tried to kill her” thing is not a major issue to Harley.

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Huntress, now aligned with Pettit, after both were ousted by their respective leaders, reports back to him on the Joker’s election plans.  Pettit has more or less taken command of the region abutting the Joker.

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Josh, the cartoonist who has been making the Joker’s election posters, finally acts on the blatant crush he has on Harley. He simply cannot figure out why she would be more interested in the Joker than in him.  She rebuffs him, but not before the Joker sees them together.

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The Huntress has her first confrontation with Harley, as she attempts to infiltrate the Joker’s campaign headquarters.  I really like the touch that Harley figures out that the Huntress is a schoolteacher, picking up on her use of words, after only a few sentences.  It shows that there is a mind in there capable of achieving her degree.  And fighting-wise, the Huntress also finds herself outmatched.

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Jealous, the Joker kills Josh in an explosion, which brings Harley running (to the Huntress’ relief).  The Joker and Harley re-unite. But now that he has her, the Joker no longer wants her.  And on and on and on with these two.

 

 

Detective 707 – The Cluemaster fights to save Batman

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Dixon, Nolan and Roach conclude the three-part Riddler/Cluemaster story in Detective 707 (March 1997).

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Batman does not put everything else on hold for this.  When he comes across some thieves, he goes off to fight them, and gets grazed by a bullet.  Cluemaster tries to hide, but the Riddler orders him to save Batman, or he will set off the bomb.  So Cluemaster actually stands up to the hoods.  It doesn’t work, and he starts to get pummeled, but Robin shows up in time.

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The signal to the Riddler is blocked as they go through a tunnel, and Batman takes advantage of this to switch Cluemaster to the trunk of the Redbird. Robin has a voice modulator that makes him sound like Batman.

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Robin is also the one to figure out that the sequence of numbers and letters, in a set of nine, refers to baseball.  The biblical clue was not meant to be read as “In the beginning,” but as “in the big inning.”  Batman reveals a complete lack of knowledge of baseball.  His childhood was consumed by other things.

With the baseball part clear, Oracle does a search, and finds out that the stats that have been the answers to the riddles all refer to a game from 1919, the bat from which is being auctioned off – and is the Riddler’s goal.  Heck of a riddle, I give Dixon credit.

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But things take a turn for the worse when Cluemaster lets it slip that he is with Robin, not Batman, pushing up the Riddler’s schemes.

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Query and Echo do little, but are around in this, and the previous issue, and get taken down by Batman, before he catches the Riddler and destroys the device that would set off the bomb.

A great story for both villains, clarifying the difference between them, and making Cluemaster once again look like the lowest of the low.

 

Detective 706 – the Cluemaster switches teams

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Dixon, Nolan and Roach continue the Riddler/Cleumaster saga in Detective 706 (Feb. 97).

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Batman and Robin do not trust Cluemaster at all, but need him to get the Riddler’s clues.  So they stick him in the trunk of the Batmobile.

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And Arthur Brown shows why it is never wise for anyone to trust him.  When Batman cannot hear him, he tries to make a deal with the Riddler; but when the signal gets blocked later, and the Riddler cannot hear him, he tries to make a deal with Batman.

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This issue sends the heroes racing around the city, and solving clues that just create more confusion.  Oracle is helping out, but all the answers are letters or numbers, not words.  Their code breaking skills are put to the test.

The story concludes next issue.

Detective 705 – the Riddler, Cluemaster, Query and Echo

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Chuck Dixon, Graham Nolan and David Roach launch a highly entertaining, three-part story that has the Riddler and Cluemaster together for the first time, beginning in Detective 705 (Jan. 97).

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The story also brings back Query and Echo, the Riddler’s sidekicks from his Year One origin in last year’s annual.

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Nigma is in the hospital, and we see how his broken arm int he previous issue was intended to get him to where he wants to be.

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As Query and Echo rampage through the city, they also break Arthur Brown out of prison.  At first, he is not recognized by the police, who believe the girls have a hostage.  Sergeant William Pettit makes his first appearance in Detective.  A trigger-happy cop, he was introduced the previous year in the Man-Bat miniseries.

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Query and Echo bring the Cluemaster to the roof of a building, which the police have surrounded.  Their plan seems to make no sense, and things look bleak when Gordon realizes that they are holding Cluemaster, not believing that this is all happening without his consent.

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The roof escape is great.  Huge and garish, suiting the two villains, as the radio tower is blown up and used as a bridge to the next building.

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Cluemaster is not surprised that the Riddler is none too fond of him, and I do enjoy how Nigma contrasts the two men, who methods seem so similar.  For Nigma, the riddles are part of the entire meaning of his existence.  For Brown, they are just a gimmick.

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So the Riddler puts Cluemaster in the centre of his new caper, strapping a bomb to him, and making him solve the riddles he usually sends to Batman.

The story continues in the next issue.

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