Posts tagged ‘Klaus Janson’

Detective 783 – Nyssa Al Ghul debuts

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I don’t really care for either of the stories in Detective 783 (Aug.03).  But the second one has to be included, by my own rules.

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The story is a prologue for the Batman: Death and the Maidens miniseries about to launch, by Greg Rucka and Klaus Janson.  We meet Nyssa Al Ghul, living nicely in Paris, a new mother.

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She is none too pleased when Ubu shows up with a note from her father, demanding to meet.

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Ra’s Al Ghul wants her son, Daniel.  She wants to be left alone.  Neither will get their wishes, but that is all detailed in Death and the Maidens.

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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.

Detective 686 – the War of the Dragons ends

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Dixon, Lieber and Janson bring the War of the Dragons to a so-so conclusion in Detective 686 (June 1995), picking up from the events in the last issue of Robin.

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The Huntress had joined forces with Robin in his chapter.  Batman is furious, and sends her away.  So much for Huntress.  Nightwing pops up in this issue as well, finishing a fight he began in Robin, and then is just abandoned by the story.

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Batman fights Lynx and the Ghost Dragons by himself.  He wins, but Lynx gets away. Which,you know, maybe she wouldn’t have if Batman hadn’t been such a dick and had let the Huntress help.

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Robin winds up the middle of the big fight between King Snake and the Silver Monkey, which takes all three high above the harbour on container being lifted onto a freighter.

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All three men wind up falling, though Batman swoops in to catch Robin before he hits the water.  King Snake is fished out of the harbour, but the Silver Monkey gets away.

This does an adequate job of fulfilling its goal – to bring King Snake, Lynx and the Ghost Dragons into Batman’s world.  But I think they tried to make the story too big.  Bringing in Nightwing and Huntress in the Robin chapter, only to drop them both before the end, wastes both of them.

 

Detective 685 – The War of the Dragons begins

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Detective 685 (May 1995) begins a three-part story, the War of the Dragons, which begins and ends in the pages of Detective, with its middle chapter taking place in Robin.  Steven Lieber and Klaus Janson are the art team for Chuck Dixon’s story.

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King Snake and Lynx are the two main villains in the story.  Both were introduced as opponents for Robin, and this is the first time they become players against Batman.  King Snake kills the Triad emissaries who come to try to negotiate for Gotham’s drug trade.  Lynx considers his actions rash and dangerous, and they part ways.

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This story also introduces a new, obnoxious, neighbour for Bruce and Tim, J Devlin Davenport, who drives a golf ball into their lunch by way of a greeting.

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Lynx takes control of the Ghost Dragons, the gang they have used to run Chinatown, and King Snake faces off against them.

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The Triad, meanwhile, have their own martial arts assassin heading for Gotham, the Silver Monkey.

 

Detective 681 – the return of Azrael?

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Chuck Dixon, Graham Nolan and Klaus Janson bring the Prodigal storyline almost to a close in Detective 681 (Jan. 95).

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A number of mobsters have been killed, and when Batman and Robin interview one of the survivors, Dick believes the man’s description indicates that Azrael has returned, while Tim thinks it might be somebody else.

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Mackenzie Bock joins the police force, expanding the line-up, and adding a black cop to the roster.  Bullock, Montoya, and Kitch are all on the scene for his introduction, while the friction between Sarah Essen and Jim Gordon is affecting the department.

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Dick pursues the trail of Jean-Paul, but finds him in a homeless shelter.  He is seriously disturbed,but clearly not a threat.  Returning to the cave, he finds Bruce there, prepared to retake the role of Batman.

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It’s Robin who winds up facing the killer.  A new enemy, called Steeljacket. Their battle takes place in the issue of Robin which follows this, and concludes the Prodigal storyline.

Detective Annual 1 – Batman gets told a fable

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The first ever Detective Comics Annual is also the first part of a three annual crossover, Fables.  The issue is written by Denny O’Neil, with art by Klaus Janson and Tony deZuniga.

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The linking factor to the three issues is an aging sensei, who heads to the US to seek out three heroes, for whom he has tales.  Lady Shiva accompanies him on his quest.

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At the same time, Ra’sAl Ghul sends his daughter, Talia, to Gotham to seek out the Penguin, who has stolen a deadly virus that Al Ghul was having prepared.  This story references events in Batman – Son of the Demon, which is generally considered non-canonical.  In that story, Batman and Talia had a child, but Talia lead Batman to believe that she had miscarried.  This marks their first meeting since those events.  Just to confuse issues even more, that conception is not the one that would spawn Damian Wayne – that occurred in a DC Special in the late 70s.

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But back to this story. After a brief meeting with the Question in order to contact Batman, Lady Shiva brings the sensei to him.  He relates a story about how monkeys are captured, and how they could escape if only they were willing to release the bait and walk away.  Batman finds no relevance in the tale.

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Batman is much more interested in tracking down the Penguin and preventing him from releasing the bird-derived plague.

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Talia shows up as the two men battle, and the Penguin injects her with the virus.  Batman stops his fight with the Penguin, rushing Talia to the hospital instead.

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Talia recuperates, and offers to stay with Batman if he will give up his crusade and stay with her.  He refuses, and realizes that he is the monkey caught in the trap.  He sends a message to the sensei that he is in his debt.

The story continues in the Green Arrow Annual, and concludes with Batman and Green Arrow joining the Question in his own Annual.

As for the Penguin, he never does release the virus.  I expect Al Ghul’s men caught up to him eventually.

 

Detective 568 – Batman vs the Penguin in a Legends crossover

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Joey Cavalieri and Klaus Janson launch the adventures of the post-Crisis Batman in Detective Comics with issue 568 (Nov. 86), a Legends crossover.

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Only the very beginning of the story touches on Legends, as Batman and Robin watch an anti-hero rally lead by G Gordon Godfrey.  To my dismay, it appears no one gave Janson an image of what the villain looks like, as the man pictured does not resemble Godfrey in the slightest.

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But most of the story has nothing to do with Legends.  It follows the Penguin, as he kidnaps some peregrine falcons.

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Some great art by Janson (though I intensely dislike how he renders the Penguin’s nose).  And overall a very good issue.  The fact that it only touches on Legends actually works to its benefit, as it shows the early days of the anti-hero rallies, before things really get going.

 

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