Posts tagged ‘Greg Rucka’

Detective 865 – how Jeremiah Arkham became Black Mask, and the Question ends

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David Hine and Jeremy Haun conclude the look at Jeremiah Arkham in Detective 865 (July 2010).

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Jeremiah’s three special patients never existed at all.  They were all hallucinations, which is quite staggering, considering the elaborate back stories they were given in earlier tales.  The marrotte, the jester stick that Arkham has been carrying, gets broken, and is revealed to be filled with psychotropic drugs.

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Hugo Strange had convinced Arkham that he needed to understand madness in order to cure it, and suggested he visit the Joker to try to understand him better.  And in walked the fly to the spider.  The Joker gave Arkham the wand, which slowly drove him mad.  He adopted the identity of Black Mask, after Sionis’ death, which gave him the strength and power he had craved.

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After the drugs are washed out of him, he insists that he is fine, he has regained his sanity.

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He gives the code to de-activate the bomb he had planted on the man (from the previous issue), but it explodes anyway.  Was Arkham just too late, or did the code he give activate the bomb?

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He is left in the care of Alyce Synner, the new head of the asylum, and his lover when he was Black Mask.  She sets Zsasz on him, but once again Jeremiah proves his stuff, carving his initials into Zsasz’s eyelids.

Sadly, this is, I think, the final appearance of Jeremiah Arkham before Flashpoint wipes out this reality.  The New 52 restores his sanity and position.

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Greg Rucka and Cully Hamner bring the Question’s series to a close in this issue.

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Renee is determined to take the burning mark, to save Helena, but Helena wants no sacrifices for her.  Essentially, the two women fight over which one gets eternal damnation.

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The Huntress starts the process of removing the mark, but the Question intervenes.  Still, Vandal starts losing the mark, so someone must be gaining it.

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The Huntress and the Question flee.  Helena knows that she does not have the mark, as her face is clear.

Renee refuses to remove her mask.

A strong ending.  But again, I think this is The Huntress’ final appearance before Flashpoint.  The Question returns a few months down the road in Detective Annual 12.

Detective 864 – Batman returns, and the Question and the Huntress face Vandal Savage

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Bruce Wayne is back, and Batman returns as the lead feature in Detective Comics 864 (June 2010), in a story by David Hine, Jeremy Haun and John Lucas.

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Jeremiah Arkham is now a resident in his own asylum, after being exposed as the new Black Mask.  Much of his story over the last few years has been very unusual, but also spread around over a number of books and one-shots.  This 2-parter ties up a lot of loose ends.

Although the inmates expect to be able to torment Arkham now, he still knows all there is to know about them, and their families, and now has Black Mask’s ruthlessness.  No one messes with him.

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When a man shows up a a police station, with a bomb strapped to him by Black Mask, Batman heads to the asylum to question Jeremiah.  He reveals his three secret cases, seen in an Arkham Asylum special a year or so earlier – No-Face, Mirror Man and Hamburger Mary.  The first two share names with old Batman villains, but are completely different characters.

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Jeremiah brings Batman to show the three to him, but the entire story suddenly goes completely haywire and surreal.  What is going on with Arkham?  The only hints given are his time spent with Hugo Strange, and the unusual jester wand.

The story concludes next issue.

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Rucka and Hamner begin this installment of the Question by recapping the Biblical origin of Vandal Savage, who has now been identified with Cain.

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He has no problem holding off Huntress and the Question.  And if you can handle having a burning mark on your face, is a crossbow in the eye really likely to slow you down?

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In the end, he forces the women to make a choice.  One of them must accept his burning mark as their own, or he will kill them both.

The story concludes next issue.

Detective 863 – Batwoman ends, and the Question finds the big guy

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Scott Kolins joins Greg Rucka and Jock for Batwoman’s final story in Detective, in issue 863 (May 2010).

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Batman and Batwoman continue on their separate, but similar, cases, and the art does all it possibly can to parallel the two stories.

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I particularly like Kate’s tennis suggestion, which allows Bette to free herself from Cutter, and uses the skills she is known to have.

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The story ends as Bette confronts Kate.  She knows her cousin is Batwoman, and reveals herself to be Flamebird.  She has found the hero she needed.

Batwoman moves into her own book, bringing Bette along with her, but it’s launch is delayed until the New 52.

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The Huntress and Question find prison on Oolong Island not as bad as they feared in this story, by Rucka and Hamner.

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That’s largely due to Veronica Cale, the ruler of the island of mad scientists.  She knows Renee and Helena are spies, but figures she has more chance of finding out what they are up to over lunch than through torture.   And indeed, the women are forthcoming.  It becomes a clever bit of negotiating, convincing Veronica that it is in her interest to lead them to the head of the Network, rather than waiting for the big guns heroes to show up.

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So Veronica sends them on to Syria, where they finally meet the man in charge.  Vandal Savage.

The story continues in the next issue.

Detective 862 – Bette joins the fight, and Oracle helps out

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Rucka and Jock continue the Cutter storyline in Detective 862 (April 2010).

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The missing girl that Batman is pursuing turns out to be a different case than the one Batwoman is on.  Add to that the missing girls in the Question’s Pipeline story arc, and that’s a lot of missing women.

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Bette has a conversation with Kate about letting go of the past.  Kate is thinking of her sister, and the kidnapping, and does not clue in that Bette is referring to her career as Flamebird.

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The story climaxes as Bette and a friend are heading home, and Cutter attacks.  Batwoman intervenes, but Bette’s friend is killed, and Bette gets taken by Cutter.

The story concludes next issue.

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The Question and Huntress need someone to replace Tot as their human computer in this story, by Rucka and Hamner.  Helena takes Renee to Oracle, but introduces her as Barbara Gordon.  Renee knows her, of course, and thinks it’s crazy to trust their case to the police commissioner’s daughter, but Huntress is just amused.  Sooo many secret identities.

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Barbara gives them the name of the company that runs the Network.  The Question plans to use stealth to learn what they want, but Huntress prefers a more direct approach, and makes that happen.

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Following the trail, the woman head to Oolong Island, where they are promptly arrested.

The story continues in the next issue.

 

 

Detective 861- Kate seeks out Bette, and the Question and the Huntress vs Zeiss

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Jock joins Greg Rucka as they begin a three-part story that teams Batwoman with Batman, and concludes her run in this book. in Detective 861 (March 2010).

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A new villain is introduced.  A knife wielding murderer of young women, Cutter.  Batwoman has her first fight with him early in the issue, but is wounded, and he gets away.

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Batwoman also has her first encounter with Maggie Sawyer, who has no idea that this is the same woman who she has started seeing.  To be fair, the meeting is brief, and in darkness, and the fake hair is a good decoy.

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Batman is also on the case of Cutter, and meets with Commissioner Gordon to discuss it.

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Kate also seeks out her neglected cousin, Bette.  There is a casual reference to her tennis pro days, a nice reminder that this is the same person who has appeared with the Titans.  And Kate is not the only one who sought out Better that day.  She is also being scoped by Cutter as his next victim.

The story continues in the next issue.

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Rucka and Hamner do a good job turning the tables on their own cliff-hanger ending from last issue, as it becomes clear that the Question and Huntress knew Zeiss was following them, and were just waiting for him to arrive.

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Despite his ego, and getting some good shots on Renee, it’s two against one, and he has no chance.  But the women convince him to flip on his paymaster.  They stage a scene, so he can send his employer a picture of their supposed deaths, and he gets paid.  He turns over the name of the one who paid him, and readily admits he has no idea if it’s the big guy, or just another operative.

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The women are pleased with themselves, but Tot is not.  He has harsh words for them, working with and releasing a murderer, and claims the original would have been ashamed of them.

The story continues next issue.

Detective 860 – suspicions confirmed, and the Question teams with the Huntress

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Batwoman’s origin storyline concludes in Detective 860 (Feb. 10), by Rucka and Williams III.

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Kate has been operating as a vigilante, but without any costume or even a clear goal.  Renee runs into her in a biker bar, and can’t fathom what is going on with her.  Her father figures it out, and Kate insists that she has found her purpose, her way to serve.  Jake gives in, but insists she get better training.  Kate spends two years being trained by the best in the world, while her father builds a base of operations, and creates a suit for her as well.  What a nice dad.

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This makes it all the more crushing when Batwoman gets the results of a DNA comparison between her and Alice, and it confirms that they are twins.  Her father lied to her about Beth’s death all along.

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Rucka and Hamner continue the Question story, as Zeiss starts tracking her down.

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After a good tour busting ass and taking names, Renee and Helena return to Tot’s place.  The Huntress had worked with Vic Sage, the original Question, but had never met Tot.

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Very nice ending, with the women saying they weren’t followed, and Zeiss’ arrival immediately after.

The story continues in the next issue.

 

 

Detective 859 – Kate meets Renee, and the Question needs an ally

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Rucka and Williams III continue with the origin of Batwoman in Detective 859 (Jan. 10).

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This issue is almost entirely flashbacks scenes, although Batwoman does have an encounter with Abbot, in which he confirms that the Crime Bible prophecy about the “twice-named daughter of Cain” was interpreted by them to mean twin girls, and they knew that Alice was her sister.

But onto the backstory.  We see Kate graduate at the top of her class from the Marine academy.  But on the same day, she is accused of being a lesbian, which at that time meant you could not serve in the US army.  She will not lie, so she winds up leaving the force.

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She descends into a rich girl life of drunken parties, until she gets stopped, in every way, by Renee Montoya.  Their relationship is tempestuous, and they break up.

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And that’s when we get the one bit of her origin that we have already seen, the attempted mugging that she fights off, only spotting Batman’s presence after it’s over.  He commends her and leaves.  She has found her calling.

The story continues in the next issue.

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The Question continues to pursue the people behind the human smuggling operation in this story, by Rucka and Hamner.

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Tot does research into the organization, which is huge, and operates globally.  Renee decides she will need help.

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And gets it, from the Huntress.  It’s a pretty good team.  Question has less trouble with the Huntress than pretty much any other her.

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And it’s good that Renee found someone to help her, because the bad guys hire one of Batman’s foes, Zeiss.

The story continues in the next issue.

Detective 858 – Batwoman’s twin sister, and the Question unloads a ship

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Rucka and Williams III begin a three-part story that goes into the background of Kate Kane, as we learn more about what drove her to become Batwoman.

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The story begins with flashbacks, as we see Kate’s mother, and her sister Beth.  The twins are army brats, moved around as their parents get assigned to different bases around the world.

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Almost this entire issue is a flashback.  In the present, Batwoman hunts for Alice’s body, without success, and bars her father from seeing her, with more success.  You might think she would want to question him about Alice implying that they are sisters, but she doesn’t.  I suspect she doesn’t want to know the answers.

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After being assigned to NATO headquarters in Brussels, the two girls, and their mother, are kidnapped by terrorists.

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Jake Kane leads the assault team that frees Kate. But she is the only one left alive in the room.  And despite her father telling her not to look, the images she sees scars her for life.

The story continues in the next issue.

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Rucka and Hamner bring an ending to the first half of the Question’s storyline in this issue.

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Despite the bad guys killing off everyone she questions, Renee still manages to find the ship that is being used to smuggle the women into sex slavery.

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And Renee is also smart enough not to try to take over an entire cargo ship on her own, having called the police to back her up.

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There is even a happy ending, as the brother who hired Renee is re-united with her sister.

Part 2 of Pipeline, as the Question continues her investigation of the smuggling ring, begins next issue.

Detective 857 – Batwoman jumps, and the Question chats

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Batwoman’s first fight with Alice concludes in Detective 857 (Nov. 09), by Rucka and Williams III.

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Abbot lets Kate know that Alice has plans to bring an end to Gotham, with chemical warfare.  Kate figures that Alice is likely to attack a military base, and contacts her father.  But Alice answers the phone…

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It’s a good, suspense-y issue. as Abbot flies after Alice’s plane, and Batwoman jumps from one to the other.

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Their fight occurs, though it’s entirely possible to fall into the artwork and not even notice.  Alice falls as well, from the airplane, letting go of Kate’s hand, and saying “you have our father’s eyes.”

Not quite up there with “Luke, I am your father,” but good enough to give Kate some sleepless nights.

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Renee Montoya is getting pissed as this chapter of the Rucka/Hamner Question series begins.

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She meets with Tot over the internet, and they share information, as she gets the address of the next man up the chain.

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She uses her usual charm and tact, bursting into his home to confront him.  This time, it is clear that his bodyguards are not really working for him, and killing him has been ordered to ensure his silence.  Things don’t look good for Renee!

The story continues in the next issue, although the Question also appears in the Annual, which comes first.

 

 

Detective 856 – Batwoman runs with the wolves, and the Question won’t be unmasked

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Batwoman continues in Detective 856 (Oct. 09), by Rucka and Williams III.

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Some of the art by Williams is just so amazing.  In fact, I find the art at times overshadows the story, but that’s about my only critique of it.  The monster turned out to be Abbot, once a devotee of the Crime Bible, he and others have turned against Alice, as she takes over the organization.  They get to safety, and her father tends to her wounds and poisoning.

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Kate is back up on her feet in time for a big party by her step-mother that night. We finally get to see Bette Kane, who had been mentioned in earlier issues.  She is Kate’s niece, giving her the same relationship to Kate Kane as Betty Kane had to Kathy.  She is the same woman who has been appearing as Flamebird in Titans stories since Crisis, a sidekick without a hero.  The Batwoman series brings her in slowly.

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On the other hand, there is nothing slow int he romance between Kate and Maggie Sawyer.  They talk about their exes, but the spark between them is clear.

Perhaps I should have mentioned when this changed format, that currently not only does Detective Comics feature two series starring women, both women are lesbians.  Kate and Renee had once been a couple.

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And as for Renee, Rucka and Hamner have her being questioned by Vargas, who is not able to remove her mask (it’s chemically bonded to her skin.)

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She gets free, and another name on the chain, and Vargas gets shot by his own men, who apparently have more gusto than aim.

The story continues in the next issue.

 

 

 

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