Dixon, Nolan and Hanna bring the Joker’s movie to its grand finale in Detective 673 (April 1994), another chapter in Knightquest: The Crusade.
The Joker pits Batman against a roomful of hoods. He got the hoods into the room by giving them guns, but loaded them with blanks. He wants footage of Batman fighting, but wants to save the death scene for himself.
As he watches the fight, the Joker realizes that the man in the new costume is not the same Batman he has known and fought for so long.
And while it’s fun to see him finally get so pissed off by the two critics that he shoots them, to me, the story goes wrong as the Joker goes on with the film. Somehow, having figured out it was not the same man, I wanted, needed, a bigger reaction from him. Like maybe giving up on the film entirely.
I can’t fault the great musical setting for the big finale, but it just becomes another fight scene.
Jean-Paul does, perhaps, almost kill the Joker. Certainly Kitch felt it necessary to put a rifle to his head. Once again the story ends with the police stopping him from killing a bad guy, and Harvey and Montoya feeling that this is not the Batman they know.
The next two issue pit Batman against two gun nuts, Gunhawk and Gunbunny (did I need to mention they were gun nuts?) The stories really add nothing. Jean-Paul continues to feel tormented, and act overly violent, and the cops continue to get suspicious.
The Joker’s movie storyline continues in Detective 672 (March 1994), as Dixon, Nolan and Hanna continue with Knightquest: The Crusade.
Once again, Batman does not behave as the Joker expects, when he sees the falling Robin dummy, and the Joker’s planned shot goes awry.
And I have to say, I think I like the Joker’s poster for this storyline better than the storyline itself, which frankly goes on longer than the story merits.
Jean-Paul is not nearly as much fun to watch in the traps, which he has nothing but irritation for.
This issue has the Joker decoying the police to one location, while luring Batman to his real film shoot. Bullock, Montoya and Kitch have small roles in the issue, following the false trail, but it’s all sort of filler.
The story concludes next issue.
Detective 671 (Feb. 94) manages to have both an accurate and a deceptive cover. This Knightquest: The Crusade story does indeed feature Batman saving that woman from a number of monsters. But it is the start of the Joker storyline, and there is no hint of that.
Dixon, Nolan and Hanna rectify that on the splash page, leaving no doubt as to who the villain of this story is.
He gets a Hollywood producer to finance his picture, which just sets up traps for Batman, which the Joker films.
But the Joker is playing on the mentality and reactions of the Batman he knew, and is surprised, and disappointed, by Batman’s behaviour.
The Joker submits his rushes to two critics, clearly based on Ebert and Roper, who give entertainingly pompous criticism. They, as well as the producers and the crew, are all being held in cages by the Joker and his men.
Feeling the movie needs a bigger emotional impact from the hero, the Joker pulls out his ace.
The story continues in the next issue.
Chuck Dixon, Graham Nolan and Eduardo Barreto share the conclusion of the Trigger Twins storyline in Detective 669 (Dec, 93), part of Knightquest: The Crusade.
The Trigger Twins pull a train robbery – stealing the finds gathered by the subway system.
Batman does much better with his rocket on this outing, using it to get alongside the subway train, and board it.
This issue is almost entirely devoted to the robbery, and Batman stopping the duo. It’s a pleasant change of pace from the long, multi-part storylines, although this had been built up over the past two issues. Jean-Paul spends this issue acting like Batman, instead of stressing over it.
The last page features the Joker, preparing to shoot his movie.
The Trigger Twins return a few years down the road, in a Robin annual.
The tensions between Tim Drake and Jean-Paul Valley reach a breaking point in Detective 668 (Nov.93), part of Knightquest: The Crusade, by Dixon, Nolan and Hanna.
Batman goes for a test drive of the subway rocket, and almost has a head-on collision with a train. One cannot help but be impressed at the vehicle’s ability to instantly change direction.
Tim comes home from school to discover that he special driver’s liscence has arrived. Though he is only fifteen, he has used his father’s disability to get the dispensation. Excited, he heads for the Batcave, to get the car that Bruce had constructed for him.
The Trigger Twins get their monicker from a gang boss they consult with in Gotham. I love that he alludes to them being comic book characters. The Trigger Twins were western heroes, and the cover feature for many years in All-Star Western.
The Joker also has a cameo, setting up his forthcoming storyline. He contacts a Hollywood producer about making a movie about himself.
Robin has to sneak into the cave, and finds a very angry Jean-Paul. He wants Robin out of the cave, and has no interest in Tim’s explanation about the Redbird. Their fight ends the issue, and continues into the pages of Robin 1, as the first ever ongoing Robin series begins.
With Knightfall ou tof the way, Detective Comics 667 (Oct. 93) begins relating the adventures of Jean-Paul Valley as Batman, under the banner Knightquest: The Crusade. Chuck Dixon, Graham Nolan and Scott Hanna remain the creative team.
Two bank robbers, Tom and Tad Trigger, meet by pure fluke when they both rob the same location. They appear to be twins, and may be related, although neither is sure. They bond, though, and decide to work together, and head for Gotham City.
Jean-Paul is not having an easy time fitting in to the Batman role. Being visited in his dreams by the ghost of St. Dumas does not help things any.
We discover that Harold has been quite busy and resourceful, as Jean-Paul stumbles across the new passageway to the Gotham subway system, and finds the rocket that Harold has designed. Remember that issue a while ago in which Harold found the connection to the subway through the caves?
The Trigger Twins (not yet referred to by that title) amuse themselves by quoting the film The War Wagon during a robbery, but their purple costumes with prominent triangles put me more in mind of Brokeback Mountain.
The story continues in the next issue.