Posts tagged ‘Echo’

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 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.

Detective Annual 8 – the origin of the Riddler

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The origin of the Riddler is the subject of Detective Annual 8 (1995), one of the Year One annuals released this year.

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Chuck Dixon and Kieron Dwyer do an admirable job of being faithful to the original story, while expanding it to carry the length of the issue.  Dwyer’s art captures some of the look of Batman: Year One, but in a way that the Riddler does not look completely out of place.

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The story delves more into Edward Nigma’s neglected childhood, and his being bullied at school, to give more weight to his decision to cheat on the puzzle contest, and the brief burst of recognition that came with it.  He begins a life of crime, but finds it no challenge.  His first riddles are sent to the police in general, but it’s Jim Gordon who reads them.

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His first encounter with Batman, which weaves away from the original tale, comes as a shock for the Riddler.  He had assumed Batman was nothing more than an urban legend.  But he has found his worthy adversary, and now his crimes would not be complete without a teasing clue sent to Batman beforehand.

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The story weaves back to the original tale with the billboard and its crossword clues.  Having had no success convincing any real hoods to join up with him, the Riddler’s first two sidekicks are women, Echo and Query.

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While the police interpret the clues to mean that the Riddler is going to rob a banquet at the Basin Street Hotel, Batman suspects the clues may have another, less obvious, meaning.

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The underwater bank robbery (Basin St bank-wet) is far more impressive than in the original tale, with the water being used to fool the hi-tech safe, and make the robbery far easier.

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The Riddler and his sidekicks get caught, of course, and he winds up in Arkham, where he launches into his rant (the story we just read) to show the sanity behind his madness.  Sadly, the doctor was on lunch break at the time.

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