Posts tagged ‘Harvey Bullock’

Action 598 – Checkmate debuts


Byrne joins with Paul Kupperberg and Ty Templeton to introduce a new team in the DC Universe, Checkmate, in Action 598 (March 1988).


Cat Grant, an entertainment reporter on the Daily Planet, introduced in Adventures of Superman, makes her first appearance in Action Comics, toying with the affections of young Jimmy Olsen, and more seriously pursuing Clark Kent.


Lois Lane is busy trying to arrange an interview with an unpopular Quraci leader, who is being pursued by terrorists with nukes.


Checkmate has been assigned to protect the Quraci leader, even though he is a mass murderer himself.  We meet one of the knights assigned to him, as well as Harry Stein and Harvey Bullock, the heads of the organization.


Superman helps Checkmate round up the kidnappers and dispose of the nukes.  But Superman is not aware that Checkmate also kills the Quraci as soon as his plane leaves US territory.

Checkmate begins in its own book the following month.




Detective 879 – psychos everywhere


Snyder and Jock begin the three-part story that will conclude Detective Comics in issue 879 (Early Sept. 11).  It centres on James Gordon Jr, as much of Snyder’s run has done.  I just don’t like this psychotic son, abruptly shoved into the narrative, which is likely why this final run never grabbed me.


James Gordon is not the only psychotic in this issue, as prisoner transfer is taking place.


Gordon goes to pick up his son from Leslie Thompkins’ clinic, where he has been volunteering, and acting the good boy.


The prisoner turns out to be the Joker, who infects his doctor with Joker toxin simply by touch, through his skin.  The Joker escapes, as he often does.


Commissioner Gordon swiped one of James’ anti-psychotic pills, and gives it to Barbara to analyze.  She discovers that James is apparently a master chemist, as he has reversed the effects of the pills, making them create psychotics, and has possibly been giving them to babies.


Bullock calls Gordon about the Joker’s breakout, but Gordon has his son on his mind.

Lots of very grisly art by Jock in this storyline.  It’s all quite well done, but makes for a very bloody finale.

The story continues in the next issue.




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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

Detective 867 – fake Jokers


David Hine, Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens begin a four-part story in Detective 867 (Sept. 10), as impostors prove as troublesome as the original.


A fake Joker shows up in Gotham, causing mayhem and havoc, if not death.  More start appearing, causing major amounts of damage.


One fake Joker does have a version of Joker toxin, but it’s not lethal.  Certainly not as lethal as the guns of the police who kill him.


His death at the hands of the police turns into a big issue, with all manner of people dressing as the Joker in protest – and using this to act crazy and violent.  The media and police are on high alert. Gordon sends some police in to break it up, and the mob turns on them, killing some cops and becoming riotous.


With chaos breaking out, a robotic looking Batman impostor declares his intention to bring order to Gotham.  Dick and Barbara are not pleased.

The story continues next issue.

Detective Annual 11 – Azrael causes problems, the Riddler goes for an old standard, and Oracle teams with Looker


There are three stories in Detective Annual 11 (2009), the first, which is also the longest, being a continuation of a story from this year’s Batman Annual.


The story, by Fabian Nicieza and Tom Mandrake, deals with another secret society, this one out to raise a demonic spirit through the seven deadly sins, and the sacrifice of children descended from earlier cult members.


Batman and the Question work on it together from their side.  Azrael has his own agenda, and Robin has gone in disguise as one of the children, and already been kidnapped.  Renee does not take long to realize that it is Nightwing now wearing the Batman costume.


Azrael learns that the sacrifice depends on the children being of the blood of the earlier ones, which of course means that, should Robin get sacrificed, the spell will not work.


Damian does break free, and his identity as Robin is exposed.  The evil cultists try to lure him back.  I’m not sure that sending an aggressively naked older woman is the best way to lure a 10 year old boy, even if it’s Damian.


But it’s Azrael to the rescue anyway, and he joins with Robin as they take down the cultists, in a manner as overtly violent as only Damian and an Azrael can be.


Batman and the Question are rushing to the scene.  The cultists are in a penthouse, and the story gets a moment of levity as Batman sends Renee up to the roof quickly.


Frankly, this story failed to grab me, even with Mandrake’s art.   I do like Harvey Bullock’s crude way of explaining how he knew Renee was the Question, and there are some other good moments.


The story ends with both the villains and the heroes angry with Azrael.  I have never liked any version of that character, which probably explains why I don’t care for a long story featuring him.


There is a very cute 2-page “L’il Gotham” story, by Derek Fridolfs and Dustin Nguyen.  Not much in the way of plot, the Riddler does a variant of the St. Ives riddle song, though calling it Poison Ives.  A staggering amount of cameos in this, for only being two pages.  Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Commissioner Gordon, Batman, Batwoman, Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl, as well as the Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Two-Face, Clayface, Mad Hatter, Joker, Scarecrow, Black Mask, Croc, Hush, Ra’s Al Ghul, and even the original Ventriloquist, Arnold Wesker, with Scarface.

Of the three stories in this issue, it’s sad that I enjoyed this 2 page piece more than the others.


The final story in the issue, by Amanda McMurray and Kelly Jones, features a team-up between Oracle and Looker.


There is a bad guy who thinks he is a vampire, but isn’t, and who is obsessed with Barbara Gordon, though we never find out why.  Looker is unaware that Barbara is Oracle, and is kept in the dark. Looker has become a vampire herself during her time with the Outsiders, so she is the perfect one to take down a faker.


The ending of the story leaves more questions than answers, and was clearly intended to be followed up.  As far as I know, it never was.



Detective 853 – the concluding half of “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?”


Detective 853 (April 2009) has the second half of Neil Gaiman’s “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?”, with art by Andy Kubert.  The story is a thematic sister to Alan Moore’s “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?”, and exists sort of on its own, as a two-part story outside normal continuity, but also fits neatly into what is currently occurring with Batman.  The first half was published in the previous issue of Batman.


As with the first half, the story is set at Batman’s funeral, with friends and enemies in attendance.  While the first issue gave a lot of time to a couple of stories, this issue give a number of characters a brief opportunity to tell their versions of how Batman died.


As well as Betty Kane, shown in the original Bat-Girl outfit for the first time since 1978, eulogies are given by the Mad Hatter, the Joker, Dick Grayson, when he was still Robin, Clayface, Harvey Bullock and Ra’s Al Ghul.


Superman’s speech ends this section, as Batman starts to become aware of what is happening.


He suspects that he is having a near-death experience, and the voice that has been with him throughout this,now identified as his mother, tells him that this is true.


The story becomes a meditation on what Batman is, what he stands for.  Batman cannot ever simply retire and live happily ever after.  He is about never giving up, so Batman can only die in action.


He asks if he is going to heaven or hell, but the woman replies neither. He does not get those options.  He gets to be Batman, that’s enough.  As the story reaches it end, it takes on the Goodnight Moon narrative, as batman bids good-bye to the cave and the car.  Robin, Alfred, Commissioner Gordon and his villains – Joker, Catwoman, Riddler, Two-Face, Penguin, Ra’s Al Ghul and Poison Ivy shown.  The art mixes past and present versions, creating an eternal Batman.


And it ends as Martha Wayne gives birth to Bruce.  His death takes him back to his birth, and the cycle begins again.

It serves as a reflection on a character that can never be killed off, in a medium that is so easy to re-read.  Endings launch beginnings, and everything comes around eventually.

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