Posts tagged ‘Joker’

Detective 880 – The Joker claims innocence

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Beautiful cover for the second last issue of Detective Comics, 880 (Late Sept. 11), for the story by Snyder and Jock.

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Barbara Gordon, the ex-wife of Commissioner Gordon, not the daughter, gets attacked doused with Joker toxin.  She has been appearing in Birds of Prey, but hasn’t been seen, or even much talked about, since Batman: Year One, and occasional flashbacks to those events.

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Batman has little trouble tracking, and taking down, the Joker.  Likely because the series was coming to an end and there wasn’t much time.  The Joker quickly convinces Batman that he was not the one who attacked Barbara.

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Nope, it was her psycho son, who shows up at Barbara Gordon’s place for a exceptionally well done final page.

The story, and the series, conclude next issue.

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Detective 879 – psychos everywhere

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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 870 – too many Jokerz

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Hine, McDaniel and Owens conclude their story of Batman and Joker impostors in Detective 870 (Dec. 10).

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The carnival location helps add to the feel of this final chapter. Most of the issue takes place there, and the setting is packed with imitation Jokers and Batmans.

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Batman, who is clearly smarter than I am, has figured out that as well as being the main Joker impostor, Winslow Heath is also the masked Batman impostor.  I thought it was the Joker himself.  I get a half a point.

Winslow’s motivation is less personal than it seemed.  He had a girlfriend with him the day he was attacked by the Joker, who had been doing the same drugs.  Batman and the police did not see her, so she lay there, also paralyzed, and was eaten alive by birds.  Winslow blames both Batman and the Joker for her death.

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Batman briefly captures Winslow, but when he tries to take him through the crowd, they get separated, and of course he melts in and vanishes.

The end of the story lays the ground for his return, but Flashpoint wipes out this universe before that can happen.

Detective 868 – The Guardian Bats vs the Jokerz

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A new type of gang war breaks out in Detective 868 (Oct. 10),by Hine, McDaniel and Owens.

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As the Jokerz gang continues to grow and run wild, those opposed to the madness start dressing up as Batman to fight them.  Well intentioned, but it hardly brings peace.

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The fake Joker toxin is being used voluntarily by the Jokerz, and Batman tries it himself, to see how strong it’s effects are.  He almost attacks Alfred, but retains enough self-control not to.

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The Batman impostor also makes the scene, cutting down any Jokerz violently and without mercy.

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When Batman tries to restore order, he simply blends in with the chaos, and the normal effect his costume has is completely lost.

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The issue ends as we learn who the Joker impostor is who started this all.  Winslow Heath had been hit with Joker toxin years earlier, but had been doing drugs just before that and the combination saved his life, but left him paralyzed for years, and permanently disfigured.

The story continues in the next issue.

Detective 866 – Dick Grayson solves an old case

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Denny O’Neil, Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs relate a decent one-issue tale, of a mystery that has puzzled Dick Grayson for many a year.

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Dick Grayson is Batman in this story, but Bruce Wayne has returned.  Because he has launched Batman Incorporated, he is busy around the world, so there is room for both him and Dick in the role.  After fighting some hoods, Dick comes across a medallion in the refuse on a street.  He recognizes it instantly, and Nguyen changes the art to a very child-friendly style for an extended flashback.

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The Joker has stolen the medallion from the Order of St Dumas, and fights an early (but uncostumed) Azrael.  Batman gets in the middle, and the flaming sword takes precedence.

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Robin follows the Joker, and captures him, but the medallion is nowhere in sight.  The Joker had bumped into a bum, Loomis, along the way.  Loomis was arrested, along with the Joker and Azrael, but while they escaped, he went to prison for 25 years, protesting his innocence, even though the medallion was never found.

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Dick finds the dying old man, assures him that his name will be cleared, and then finds the hoods and scares them into turning themselves and the medallion in.

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Batman rushes back with the good news, only to find the Joker had been there first.

Lots of different moods in this story, and the art carries them all well.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

 

 

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