Posts tagged ‘Johnathan Crane’

Detective 849 – the Joker praises Batman

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Dini, Nguyen and Fridolfs move Heart of Hush closer to its conclusion in Detective 849 (Dec. 08), another part of the Batman RIP storyline.

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Batman brings Johnathan Crane back to Arkham and tortures him to get Hush’s location.  The Joker is quite entertained by the show, and has high praise for Batman’s skill at tormenting the Scarecrow.

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Dr. Mid-Nite and Mr. Terrific tend to Selina, but both of them are mystified at the tech Hush used to remove Catwoman’s heart without killing her.

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In flashback, we see Tommy Elliot and Peyton Riley dating, both unhappy with their parents and their lives.

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Batman confronts Hush at the hospital, the same one his mother had died at.  He proudly shows Batman Selina’s heart.  He made a deal with Mr. Freeze, who provided the tech for the operation, and to maintain the heart.

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Batman had started the scene fighting Hush, and it was odd when he just sort of stopped, and they began conversing.  In fact, this was not weak writing, but a hint that Hush was gassing Batman, who winds up collapsing, as Hush unveils his new face – Bruce Wayne’s face.

The story concludes next issue.

Detective 848 – the Scarecrow finds a new use for Venom

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Batman RIP continues in Detective 848 (Nov. 08), the third chapter in Heart of Hush, by Dini, Nguyen and Fridolfs.

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Hush confronts Catwoman, with a knife.  Not good news for Selina.

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Meanwhile, Batman, on the track of the kidnapped child, finds him, and Crane as well.  The Scarecrow has hooked the boy up to a device that injects him with Venom when he gets scared, turning the child into a rampaging monster.

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The story pauses to give us a glimpse of Tommy Elliot as he approaches manhood, but stuck under the thumb of his controlling mother.  He is at a party with Bruce Wayne, and meets Peyton Riley.

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The Venom-ed up boy finds the Scarecrow more of a threat than Batman.  After all, which one has been torturing him?  The boy winds up taking down Scarecrow, and Batman unhooks him from the Venom.

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It doesn’t really matter.  The Scarecrow achieved his goal of distracting Batman for long enough that Hush had time to operate on Catwoman.  Batman gets an urgent call from Oracle, letting him know Selina is in the hospital.  Hush has removed her heart.

The story continues in the next issue.

Detective 847 – Catwoman questions Zatanna

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Dini, Nguyen and Fridolfs continue Heart of Hush in Detective 847 (Oct. 08), as part of Batman RIP.

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We discover that, as a teen, Tommy Elliot was sent to a psychiatrist, a young intern named Jonathan Crane, who helped him come to grips with fear.

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Knowing the Hush is back, and uncertain of his plans, Batman seeks out Robin and Nightwing to warn them, and finds them taking down a smaller version of the Wonderland Gang.  Tweedledee and Tweedledum have only the Walrus and the Carpenter working for them this time.

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Zatanna is hanging out in front of the theatre she is performing in, running a three card monte game.  Which strikes me as kind of odd, but ok.  Selina confronts her there, but Zatanna tells her that she was rebuffed by Bruce, and that if Catwoman wants him, she should make her play.

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Hush sends his drugged slaves to kidnap a young boy, hospitalized due to his intense fears, and turns him over to the Scarecrow.  Tutor and pupil, as Hush terms his relationship with Crane.

The story continues in the next issue.

 

Detective 836 – Robin in a room full of Scarecrows

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Rozum and Mandrake conclude their 2-part Scarecrow story in Detective 836 (Nov. 07).

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Robin winds up in a house full of killer Scarecrows, which Mandrake’s art conveys so well.

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When he finally confronts the real Scarecrow, Crane expounds on how he is fear incarnate.

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But as much as the Scarecrow tries, Batman can always top him.

The ending is pretty pro forma.  Faced with Batman, the Scarecrow loses his confidence, and the fight.

Detective 835 – the Scarecrow escapes

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John Rozum steps in for a 2-part Scarecrow story, beginning in Detective 835 (Oct. 07), with Tom Mandrake art.

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Jonathan Crane is feeling under-appreciated in Arkham.  He has become so reliant on his fear gas that people are considering that he is helpless without it.  He sets out in this story to prove his detractors wrong.

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He displays a skill with hypnosis never seen before, as he convinces his guards that he has turned into a flock of ravens, which terrifies them.  His mask is closer in appearance to that from Batman Begins than it has been before.

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Batman and Robin head to Arkham, and finds not only the guards but also the doctors and inmates in a state of trauma, all caused by listening  to Crane. Poison Ivy cameos, and mention is made of Mr Freeze, and even Zsasz, breaking down.

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The Scarecrow begins a random murder spree, and increases the terror of the citizenry by leaving stuffed Scarecrows all over Gotham.

The story concludes next issue.

 

Detective 782 – Batman vs the Charlatan, and those darn roses

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Brubaker, Castillo and Von Grawbadger bring their Charlatan story to a close in Detective 782 (July 2003).

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We finally get to see that the Penguin is alive.  I knew he was.  He’s been in hiding the whole time, whining about it making life miserable for Montoya.

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Batman visits Crane while he’s at Arkham, and gets the last piece of the puzzle.  The Scarecrow used Sloan for his experiments, and wound up blocking his ability to feel fear in any way.

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Then it’s off to try to find Two-Face before Sloan kills him.

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Batman does catch up to him, only to find that he was the target all along, and Harvey Dent that bait, just as the plan had been eight years earlier.

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It’s a big, burning finale.  A flip of the coin determines Two-Face’s side, and he leaves Sloan to Batman.

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Sloan survives, and is visited by his fiancee in the hospital.  I called her his wife in an earlier blog.  My mistake.  She just so fills the role of Gilda Dent that I think of her as the wife.

Great mask, but this is the final appearance of the character to date.  I hope.  Certainly that I know of, and I hate being wrong on this.

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The back-up story in this issue, by Jason Hall, Craig Rousseau and Dan Davis, reminds me of a Tales of Gotham City from twenty years earlier.  No specific story, just the style, which centres on a street cleaner, who has noticed the roses that Batman drops off every year.  He has become obsessed with finding out who leaves than, and plans to stake it out that night.

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Alfred overhears, and of course Bruce is impossible to talk to, so he turns to Oracle, who enlists Robin, Nightwing and Batgirl to decoy the man.  Tim pretends to be a lost boy.

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And then Cassandra pretends to be mugged by Dick.

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All of which delays him just long enough to miss Batman leaving the flowers.

I wonder what happened the following year?

Detective 779 – Mark Merlin reveals the identity of the Charlatan, and Superman vs Spore

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The Charlatan’s story continues to unfold in Detective 779 (April 2003), by Brubaker, Castillo and Von Grawbadger.

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The Riddler heads to Arkham, and has a frantic conversation with Johnathan Crane about the Charlatan.  The Scarecrow does not seem afraid at all – but then, that’s who he is, right?

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And, in a complete cut away from the story, Lucius Fox leaves the hospital.  He has been in a coma.  You didn’t know that?  Maybe because Lucius has not appeared in Detective Comics for over a year, and his period in hospital was never even referred to.  But at least you now, too late to send flowers.

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Batman learns that the Penguin consulted Mark Merlin before his attack, and goes to see him.  Mark Merlin had been a detective with a supernatural bent in the pages of House of Secrets in the early 60s.  His final appearance saw him lose his body to the extra-dimensional Prince Ra-Man, as explained in a DC Comics Presents in the 80s.  This marks Mark’s first appearance as himself since that.

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Mark tells Batman that the Penguin wanted protection from a ghost, of Paul Sloan, a famous actor, who disappeared eight years earlier.

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Bruce Wayne arranges to attend the theatre with Jim Gordon and Barbara, and Barbara casually gets Sloan’s wife to talk about her husband, and his dangerous way of getting too much into his roles, and his strange behaviour, shortly before vanishing.

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And during the performance, Bruce spots something Phantom of the opera-like, changes clothes, and winds up confronting the scarred Charlatan.  Sloan manages to get away, but Batman knows who he is now.

Paul Sloan is clearly a re-working of Paul Sloane, the actor who got scarred while playing Two-Face, and wound up committing crimes in that persona.  Sloane had most recently appeared in this book, shortly after Crisis (shortly after this blog took over form the previous one).

Gagne and Gagne pit Superman against Spore.  Say no more!

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