Posts tagged ‘Huntress’

Detective 763 – Sasha meets the Huntress, and Josie Mac debuts

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Rucka, Martinborough and Delperdang are the creative team on Detective 763 (Dec. 01), which is part of the crossover series Joker: Last Laugh.  Believing he is dying the Joker releases massive amounts of Joker toxin, Joker-izing a host of other DC villains.  I don’t care for this crossover much, but have to admit that this issue has one of its better stories.

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Rather than dealing with a known villain, this story deals with Cucilla, an inmate at Arkham who gets changed by the gas.  She seems to have a thing for swords, and other pointy objects.

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Being Jokerized, she is far from rational, but there is enough in her rantings to know that her father is of some importance.

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With Batman super busy, Sasha goes out on her own to deal with the craziness on the streets, and runs into the Huntress.  The two women do not hit it off, not at all.  So much so that Cucilla gets away, because they are to into squabbling with each other.

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The Huntress intends to kill Cucilla, while Sasha insists on a non-lethal solution.  The Huntress scoffs, and tells Sasha that Batman will just use her and throw her away.

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But the Huntress does use netting to safely catch Cucilla.  And it’s a good thing, as she was not really an Arkham inmate, but an undercover DEO operative, being transferred so she could attend the funeral of her father, a duellist.

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Josie Mac debuts in this issue.  Created by Judd Winick and Cliff Chiang, she is a Gotham cop, but not one of the ones who gets to hang out with Batman.

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After she leads a bust that winds up revealing the mayor’s wife in bed with another man, she gets demoted.

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We discover that she has the ability to psychically find lost objects -but not lost people.  As a young girl, she learned it was better to conceal this ability.

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She begins her new post, in Missing Persons, and her first case deals with the kidnapped son of a gangster.

I don’t really care for this series, although it was popular enough to return.  This first serial goes on for 10 installments, but I will only return to it towards the end.

Detective 741 – the bloody finale to No Man’s Land

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There is no real victory to be had in Detective 741 (Feb. 00), the final chapter in Endgame, the final storyline in No Man’s Land.  But there is a huge creative team, and a large cast of characters as well.  Greg Rucka and Devin Grayson are the writers, Damion Scott and Dale Eaglesham the pencillers, while the inks are divided between Sean Parsons, Sal Buscema and Robert Hunter.

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It’s Christmas, and a huge celebration is being planned by Lex Luthor, which the Joker is out to destroy.  The Huntress barely survives an attack by the maniac at the start of the issue (the conclusion of the previous chapter). She gets rescued by Nightwing, and even earns a word of praise from Batman.

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The Joker has had his men steal all the babies – all the children born during No Man’s Land.  Batman and crew are not sure what he plans to do with them, but don’t wait to find out.  Oracle co-ordinates as people spread out across the city, trying to find the children, but often finding caches of exploding dolls.

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Azrael and Batgirl (Cassandra Cain now) confront Mercy at Luthor’s huge christmas tree.  Mercy tries to get rid of them, but is lucky they were there to spot the dolls on the tree, which explodes real good, though all three survive.

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Batman has been chasing the Joker, but along the way notices the overtly acrobatic style, and is not at all surprised to discover that it’s Harley Quinn he has been chasing, in disguise.  She does give him the Joker’s location, but really, that’s only a sign that it’s too late to stop him, isn’t it?

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It’s Sarah Essen who confronts him, surrounded by babies, in the basement of the police headquarters.  She cannot shoot, and the Joker knows it full well.  He has no such qualms, and murders Sarah Essen.

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He then calmly walks out of the police station, and surrenders.  The scene almost dares Gordon to kill him, and Batman makes no move to stop it.  Gordon instead chooses to kneecap him, leaving the Joker lame (though unfortunately that just sort of gets forgotten).

A horrible, but perfect, note to end the storyline on.

And to give them credit, there really was never another attempt to recreate No Man’s Land, or hasn’t been to date.  It would be almost impossible.  The current series Batman Eternal is driving huge changes in the Batman world, but doing it in an entirely different way.

 

 

Detective 740 – Bane vs the Joker

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Greg Rucka, Sergio Cariello and Mark Buckingham bring the two-part Shellgame storyline to a close in Detective 740 (Jan. 00), as No Man’s Land draws to a close.

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The issue, which scans over a large group of people and places, begins with Oracle musing over Lex Luthor’s reconstruction of Gotham, and how he has played the media to make himself the golden boy hero of the city.

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Batman and Robin have been monitoring Pettit and the Huntress.  Their region has held off everyone, including all aid, and the people are starting to flee.  Pettit demands that no one be allowed to leave, as it will weaken them.  The Huntress tries to reason with him, but fails.

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Luthor gets frustrated at how his equipment and crews keep getting sabotaged and killed by the Joker, and enlists Bane to guard them.  The Joker brings Harley Quinn to help him, but Bane also has Mercy at his side, and fends the Joker off.

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We even catch up with good old Dr. Simpson Flanders, back on tv, hawking his new book about life in No Man’s Land.

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With Luthor’s rebuilding indicating a power shift in Gotham, the Penguin makes his move, with a large group of men, to demand his cut of the action.  Mercy takes out the Penguin’s men without even breaking a sweat.  Luthor gives the Penguin nothing but his own life.

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The issue has lots of ominous foreboding, but ends on a happy note, as Lucius Fox takes the airwaves to announce that the government has rescinded the No Man’s Land proclamation, and Gotham is open again.

But the story is not yet over…

Detective 737 – Harley Quinn plays the field

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No Man’s Land saw the introduction of Harley Quinn into the Batman universe proper.  Detective 737 (Oct. 99) concludes her introductory storyline, by Bronwyn Taggart, Tom Morgan and David Roach.  Notice how many No Man’s Land storylines conclude in Detective?

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As the Joker proceeds with plans to run in an election in No Man’s Land, Harley Quinn continues to play hard to get.  This is part of her “code”on how to win back his affections, after he loved her and then tried to kill her. The whole “tried to kill her” thing is not a major issue to Harley.

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Huntress, now aligned with Pettit, after both were ousted by their respective leaders, reports back to him on the Joker’s election plans.  Pettit has more or less taken command of the region abutting the Joker.

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Josh, the cartoonist who has been making the Joker’s election posters, finally acts on the blatant crush he has on Harley. He simply cannot figure out why she would be more interested in the Joker than in him.  She rebuffs him, but not before the Joker sees them together.

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The Huntress has her first confrontation with Harley, as she attempts to infiltrate the Joker’s campaign headquarters.  I really like the touch that Harley figures out that the Huntress is a schoolteacher, picking up on her use of words, after only a few sentences.  It shows that there is a mind in there capable of achieving her degree.  And fighting-wise, the Huntress also finds herself outmatched.

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Jealous, the Joker kills Josh in an explosion, which brings Harley running (to the Huntress’ relief).  The Joker and Harley re-unite. But now that he has her, the Joker no longer wants her.  And on and on and on with these two.

 

 

Detective 731 – The Huntress as peacemaker

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Fear of Faith has its final chapter in Detective 731 (April 1999), part of No Man’s Land, by Devin Grayson, with art by Dale Eaglesham and Sean Parsons.

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The story centres on a hospice run by Father Chris, who tries to be accepting of everyone – even if this includes the Scarerow, a former member of Black Mask’s gang, and the Huntress.  The Scarecrow has manipulated people’s fears, creating a stand-off between Father Chris, the Black Mask gang, the Penguin, who wants to move in to the territory, and the cops.

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It’s a great story to show the malevolent manipulations of the Scarecrow, and also puts the Huntress into an interesting light, as she has to try to keep people calm and rational.

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Batman observes as the various forces converge, and tensions rise.

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The Huntress restrains herself, and even brings a degree of peace and understanding.  The Scarecrow’s schemes are exposed, and he exiles himself when Father Chris and his followers offer him forgiveness and acceptance again.

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The story concludes with a scene between Batman and the mysterious new Batgirl, as he takes her to one of his many new “caves,” this one in Arkham Asylum.

I am going to spoil the mystery here.  The new Batgirl is Huntress.  When I first read this issue, I took the scene at the end as an indication that Batgirl and Huntress were two different people.  But reading it, knowing they are the same, it makes a lot of sense.  Batman is rewarding her for her stability and maturity during this storyline.

Detective 721 – Robin catches key words

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Dixon, Nolan and Janson handle chapter 15 of Cataclysm, in Detective 721(May 1998).  It’s another of those issues in which the story jumps around all over the place, trying to keep up with all the plots, but Dixon has shown himself particularly adept at these kind of tales.

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The story opens as Batman and Nightwing watch a mass grave of burning bodies in the middle of the street.  A shocking and powerful start to a story.  Quakemaster is inset on the page, the villain who may or may not be behind the destruction.

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Robin and Alfred study the tapes of Quakemaster’s broadcast, claiming responsibility and threatening another quake if he is not paid off.  Robin’s comments about the Quakemaster’s choice of words made me pause and think, and I am proud to say I finished this page with very firm suspicions about who the Quakemaster really was.

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Batman and Nightwing, trying desperately to maintain some sense of order in Gotham, come across the Huntress.  In her eyes, this is martial law time, but Batman disagrees.

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The Quakemaster makes another broadcast, and this time, with Robin’s words in my mind, I confirmed my suspicions.  Read the page closely.

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The Quakemaster’s demands are not even practical, Gotham is close to broke.  But people take it seriously, believing that Mayor Grange has access to the millions, and despite Jim Gordon’s presence, City Hall gets attacked by thieves.

The story continues in the next issue of Robin.

Detective 720 – swimming out of the Batcave

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Dixon, Nolan and Janson are the creative team on Detective 720 (April 1998), chapter 5 of Cataclysm.  Gotham has been hit by a massive earthquake, leaving Batman trapped in the cave when Wayne Manor collapses.  As with Contagion, this storyline does an excellent job of giving interesting arcs to many of the supporting players, and telling a large, sprawling story while keeping it grounded in smaller, personal events.

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The art is top-notch, and the ruined Gotham looks just terrifying.

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Helena Bertinelli had the misfortune to be down in the subway when the earthquake hit.  She dons her Huntress outfit, hoping to make people follow her to safety.

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Instead, she comes across a wanted felon in the subway car, who believes that she is only there for him, and the situation deteriorates rapidly.

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She does manage to get most of the people out of the subway car, but when the shooter gets partly buried by another collapse, she leaves him to die in the rubble.

Alfred, also trapped in the cave, is more surprised than he ought to be when Harold bulldozes his way in.

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Batman has spent this issue swimming through flooded tunnels and caves, trying to find a way out.  It a taught scene, with limited air, but he does make it out.

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But his first view of Gotham does not make for a happy ending.

The story continues in the next issue of Robin.

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