Posts tagged ‘Detective Comics’

Detective 874 – Gordon and son

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Snyder and Jock resolve the back-up story, dropped in the previous issue, in Detective 874 (April 2011).

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The story picks up on Commissioner Gordon and James Jr in the restaurant, having their conversation.  James Jr announces that he has come to terms with being a psychopath.  The whole scene is quite tense, and water pools from under a door, as if he possibly did kill the waitress, and was not joking.

But it proves to be nothing other than water, and other than making his father feel scared, James Jr doesn’t actually do anything.

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The story weaves off in a weird direction, as Dick and Tim, as Batman and Red Robin, try to deal with the stolen birds.

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But the scene itself seems to be more connected to an upcoming story, with the return of Tiger Shark.  But frankly, these last few issue leave me cold.

Oh, and at the end, Gordon finds out that the birds were not released by his son, it was just a prank by a couple of kids.

Detective 873 – Batman’s nightmare

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The Mirror House story concludes in Detective 873 (March 2011), by Snyder and Jock.

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I probably should have mentioned, in my previous entry, that the item being auctioned that night at the Mirror House is the crowbar the Joker used to kill Jason Todd.  I plead carelessness, as the story itself has some gaping plot holes (like, why were the mother and son attacked in the first place?), so I get distracted trying to make sense of it.  Anyway, Dick grabs the crowbar, and uses it to climb to freedom.  He gets out, and passes out.

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He wakes to find Barbara Gordon tending him, and discovers that he has lost his legs.  She tells him they were eaten by the people in the Mirror House.

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Nope, just kidding,  That was a dream sequence.  Dick’s legs are fine, but Barbara is tending him, and tells him the gas was either one of the Scarecrow’s, or Dr. Death’s, which caused the nightmare.

Dick puts on a armored flying suit, and catches up with Guiborg’s airplane.  Guiborg turns himself into a Man-Bat, but still loses the fight.  Batman jumps to safety as the plane explodes.

An ok story at best.  It reads even more poorly, simply as it comes right after the impostor storyline, and seems to be a variation on the theme.

 

Detective 872 – entering the Mirror House, and the Commissioner warns Barbara

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A nicely creepy cover for Detective 872 (Feb. 11), as Batman continues his investigation of the stolen villain gear, by Snyder and Jock.

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Oracle gives Batman the name of a person connected to the Mirror House, which seems to be the source of the stolen items.  The man dies in a car accident as Batman pursues him.  Batman also discovers that Harvey Bullock is now in charge of the case, Gordon being busy with “personal business,” which is related in the second story in the issue.

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Batman goes, in disguise as the dead man, to the Mirror House, full of other wealthy Gothamites eager to bid on the stolen villain merchandise.  The guests are all masked, both to conceal their identity, and to protect them from a deadly gas released into the room, as a protection against unwanted intruders.

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The man in charge, Etienne Guiborg, has figured out that Batman is impersonating Rhodes, though how he knows this is never explained.  But his apparent hunch is correct.  The mask Batman is wearing is not functional, and he is prey to the gas, and to the room full of people who now want him dead.

The story concludes next issue.

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The back-up story, by Snyder and Francavilla, sees Commissioner Gordon invite Barbara for dinner, and to tell her that her brother is back in town.  Barbara actually already knows this, because of events in Birds of Prey, but it is interesting to see how neither of them view James with anything other than fear.

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Barbara heads out, and Jim is joined by his son.

The story continues, but skips the next issue, returning in the one following that.

Detective 871 – a fake Croc?, and an unwelcome return

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Scott Snyder begins his run on Detective Comics with issue 871 (Jan. 11), and his run will last out the remainder of the series. Mark Simpson does the art on this tale.

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The story begins as a schoolboy is turned into a Croc-like monster after a dip in the school swimming pool.

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When Batman goes to the boy’s home to investigate, only the butler seems concerned about the boy.  The father is nowhere to be found, and the mother seems to have gone completely insane.  She murders the butler (but she’s trying to kill Batman), and then leaps to her death.  Batman discovers one of the Mad Hatter’s tags sewn into her neck.

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Batman approaches Commissioner Gordon, and together they find the one police officer with access to the evidence room, where the atavistic serum and tag were kept.  It turns out a number of other criminal “mementos” have gone missing.

Batman questions the policeman, but he dies from a Poison Ivy-like vine attack.

The story continues in the next issue.

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Commissioner Gordon is featured in the back-up story, also by Snyder, with Francesco Francavilla on art.  After someone releases all the birds from the zoo aviary, Harvey Bullock calls in Gordon.  Spotted on the surveillance video is James Gordon, Jr, the commissioner’s son, not seen since Batman: Year One.

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Gordon goes on the trail of his wayward son, and though we do not find out much about James in this story, there are certainly a lot of hints that all is not right with the boy.

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The story continues in the next issue, although James also begins appearing in Birds of Prey, which marks his next appearance.

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.

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