Posts tagged ‘Don Kramer’

Detective 839 – The Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul ends

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Paul Dini works with both art teams, Kramer and Faucher, and Benjamin and Crawford, on the big finale to the Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul, in Detective 839 (Feb. 08).

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It’s an awful lot of fighting, as many finales are, as everyone converges in Nanda Parbat.  Batman, Robin, Nightwing, and even Alfred are on one side, with Ra’s Al Ghul, Merlyn, and the League of Assassins on the other, and Talia and Damian in the balance.

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Talia is appalled to see Damian in a Robin outfit, when she has been training him to become Batman’s successor, not his sidekick.  But Damian wants to prove himself to his father.

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Ra’s Al Ghul is restored to what he considers healthy, after consuming his son, the White Ghost.  From the outset of this storyline, Ra’s knew he needed the body of someone of his own bloodline to revive, and White Ghost has been hanging around, begging to be of use.  Sad that it took seven issue to accomplish what was obviously going to be the resolution.

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With Ra’s back in action, Talia knocks out Damian and takes him away, to safety, and back into her control.

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Batman and crew are only faring moderately well against Ra’s, Merlyn and the Assassins.

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But the residents of Nanda Parbat have had enough.  Ra’s has befouled their peaceful hidden city, and they cause the earth to split, to drive all of them away.  Also puts an end to the fight, which Ra’s wants to continue, but Batman is smart enough to pull his troops out.

The story does continue, with an epilogue in the next issue.

 

Detective 837 – Harley Quinn and the Riddler, crime fighters

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Dini, Kramer and Faucher give centre stage to the Riddler and Harley Quinn in Detective 837 (Dec. 2007), a tie-in to the Countdown weekly miniseries.

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Edward Nigma’s agency is not doing as well as he had hoped, but things look to be turning around when Bruce Wayne comes to him with a case.  One of his employees has gone missing, along with an experimental serum, and Bruce offers the Riddler a hefty sum to retrieve it, and find the woman.

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The Riddler tracks her to Athena’s spa, a centre for the empowerment of women, which has become home to Harley Quinn, as seen in Countdown.

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Harley relates the circumstances that saw her leave the Secret Six, something that occurred between their miniseries and ongoing book.  Harley, along with Deadshot, Cat-Man, Scandal Savage, Knockout and Rag Doll, had been hired to protect an ambassador’s daughter during a parade.  Instead, Harley and Rag Doll got into a fight, which distracted everyone enough for kidnappers to steal the girl.  Harley got fired.

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Holly Robinson, Catwoman’s sidekick, is also at the spa, as per Countdown, and joins the Riddler and Harley as they deal with the thief, who injects herself with the serum to take them down. It does not have the desired effect.

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The Riddler retrieves the rest of the serum, returning it to Bruce Wayne.  We learn that he hired the Riddler and paid him well, simply to keep him content as a detective, and less likely to return to crime.

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The story ends as Athena turns over vial of the serum, extracted from the thief’s blood, to DeSaad.

Harley, Holly and Athena and her spa continue their storyline in Countdown.

Detective 834 – Batman and Zatanna vs the Joker

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Dini, Kramer and Faucher conclude their 2-part Batman/Zatanna team-up in Detective 834 (Sept. 07).

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Batman breaks free of his electrified chair, and finds Zatanna not as wounded as he thought.  Though her throat was cut, she used her blood to write a healing spell.  This goes against much established lore, that Zatanna must speak her spells.  But it’s also not the first time she has been shown to write them, and Dini explains that writing them in her own blood makes the spell even stronger.

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Either way, it worked, and she survived.  Dini adds another nice touch, that the Joker is a compulsive planner.  Batman turns on the Joker’s shower, to read what he had scrawled on the shower wall, and finds his plans.

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With the Joker exposed, Loxias’ death had been announced.  But the Joker takes to social media, still pretending to be the magician, and claiming that his death was faked, part of an act, and invited them to his big “return from the dead” that night.  It’s one of the Joker’s more successful mass slaughters, as hundreds of Loxias’ fans show up, getting either gassed with Joker toxin, or fried against the electric fence.

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But of course Zatanna can out-magic the fake Loxias, and the Joker is never a physical challenge for Batman, so they take him down.  And Batman also reaches a point of being able to forgive Zatanna for her error in judgement so many years earlier, as the current situation was made much worse by his own error in not trusting her.

Zatanna returns a few months down the road.

Detective 833 – Bruce Wayne meets Zatanna

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Dini, Kramer and Faucher are back, bringing Zatanna with them in Detective 833 (Aug. 07).

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The story deals with Loxias, the evil magician who has caused problems for the Penguin a few issue ago.  But it also provides some backstory for the relationship between Bruce and Zatanna.  Zatanna’s father, Zatara, had been friends with the Waynes, and after their murder, Alfred enlisted Zatara for one of Bruce’s birthday parties.  He was hoping to life the boy’s spirits, but failed.  But Zatara brought his young daughter along, and she followed Brice down to the river, and managed to make him smile, and laugh, with her own magic.

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So a lifelong bond is retroactively created between the two characters, which makes her mind-wiping of Batman, as related in (and flashed back to) Identity Crisis, even more of a betrayal.

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But Zatanna remains the magic user that Batman trusts the most (which doesn’t say much for the rest), so he turns to her for help against Loxias.

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But there is still a degree of hesitancy Batman has around her – which causes him to not react as fast as he might when Loxias attacks, cutting her throat.

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And is also what kept Batman from picking up on the clues that Loxias is actually dead, and has been replaced by the Joker.

The story concludes in the next issue.

 

Detective 831 – Harley Quinn’s secret friend

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Dini, Kramer and Faucher return, and give the spotlight to Harley Quinn in Detective 831 (June 2007).

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The story opens with a hearing at Arkham, to determine if Harley should be released.  Bruce Wayne casts the deciding vote against her, but as she is being returned to her cell, her “guard” breaks her out.

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The guard turns out to be Moose, the sister of Rhino, the original Ventriloquist’s muscle.  The new Ventriloquist, and Scarface, broke Harley Quinn out of Arkham to use her abilities in a robbery.

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Harley seems more than happy to go along with the plan, but at the first opportunity, calls Commissioner Gordon and informs him of what is going on.

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The Ventriloquist and Scarface intended to kill Harley after the theft, but she gets the jump on them.  She seems to really despise the new Ventriloquist, although it’s not clear why.  Batman shows up, and rescues Harley.

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She explains to Batman that her first night in Arkham she was feeling very alone and frightened, and Arnold Wesker put on a puppet show to cheer her up, and their bond continued.  And while Batman does not think that balances the murders Wesker committed, Quinn insists that it showed that there was a decent person deep inside, even if few people got to see it.

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It’s genuinely touching, and lays the groundwork for the conclusion, as Harley is called back before the board.  Bruce Wayne has deiced to change his vote, and Harley is released from the asylum.

Detective 828 – Batman and the Riddler on the case

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Dini, Kramer and Faucher return on Detective 828 (April 2007), as the Batman and Riddler work on the same case.

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Matthew Akins, Bruce’s friend from the first story of Dini’s run, returns in this tale, running into Bruce Wayne at a costume party aboard a yacht.  Bruce was dressed as Zorro, but dramatically unmasked by the Riddler.  Matthew winds up falling overboard, dying apparently after being eaten by sharks.  But both Batman, and the Riddler, suspect there is more to it.

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Looking into Matthew’s past, and his sudden flush of cash that made Bruce suspicious of him in the earlier tale, Batman finds clues that lead to the museum, where he had recently been working.  Batman discovers the Riddler already three, and unconscious, on the same trail he is.

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Oh, and Batman finds the killer as well.

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The Riddler revives, while Batman is on the ropes, and to everyone’s surprise he stands his ground and defeats the costumed villain.

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Batman solves the rest of the case, how Matthew’s girlfriend, who worked at the museum, had been using him to sell off antiques.  But greed spelled the end for the poor guy.  The Riddler offers to share the credit with Batman, who has a number of good reasons to refuse.  But the offer, following the heroics during the fight, pretty much show the Riddler to be one of the good guys now.

Detective 827 – The Ventriloquist returns?

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Dini, Faucher and Kramer have a lot of fun with the reader in Detective 827 (March 2007).

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The story begins as Batman sees Catwoman fall into the street.  It turns out to just be a mannequin,and a trap, apparently set by Scarface.  Going to the cemetery, Batman and the police discover that Arnold Wesker’s grave has been dug up, and the coffin is empty. Bullock relates how many cops, and criminals, suspect there is more to Scarface than just a wooden doll.

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Scarface calls a meeting of the Ventriloquist’s old gang, and other hoods.  Batman, in disguise, is present.  Wesker does appear, but his corpse is just used as another dummy, as the new Ventriloquist introduces herself.

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Scarface suspects one of the people at the meeting is probably Batman.  As the scene starts to get violent, Batman goes into action, and manages to escape.  The new Ventriloquist likely does not succeed in hiring any of the people Scarface just shot, or shot at.

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Batman, and the reader, do get a glimpse of the Ventriloquist’s scarred face, her bond with Scarface, and the assurance that there is more to her story than we know.

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And the relationship between the Ventriloquist and Scarface has changed as well. Yuck.

But I’m glad they brought Scarface back.

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