Posts tagged ‘Nathan Massengil’

Detective 805 – Mr. Freeze gets a hug, and a strange Clayface

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Mr. Freeze gets the attention in this chapter of City of Crime, appearing in Detective 805 (June 2005), by Lapham, Bachs and Massengil.

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Batman defeats the host of masked attackers.  This is made much easier when they all turn to mud after being beaten.

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The rest of the issue centres on Mr. Freeze, and his demented attempts to win the love of the girl he kidnapped.

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Ironically, she is the one who is able to defeat him.  She hugs him, and her body heat causes him to pass out, although he begs her to keep hugging him.

The story just keeps on going though, continuing in the next issue.

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Far more entertaining is the back-up tale, by Kimo Temperance and Zach Howard.  Even though it, too, gets a “before War Games” sticker.

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Batman returns to the cave after plowing his car through a Clayface he describes as being unusually child-like, saying it’s much like a Bizarro Clayface.  He does not realize that running into it did not kill it.  Clayface thus finds himself in the cave.

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It’s powers are different than the other ones – at one point he splits into a bunch of little Clayfaces, and is far more interested in amusing himself than in fighting Batman.

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But the cave is not a playground, and the creature winds up defeating itself.  Cute, fun, and succinct.

 

Detective 804 – the problem with Mr. Freeze, and The Barker ends

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Lapham, Bachs and Massengill continue with City of Crime in Detective 804 (May 2005).

I guess I should admit that this is a storyline I have never read until now. I am a few issues ahead of these posts, but generally I know the whole story before writing it up.

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The best scene in the issue, in my eyes, once again deals with the dead girl, Haddie McNeil.  Bruce attends her funeral, and tries to give some consolation to her father, who assumes that Bruce was sleeping with his underage daughter, but also doesn’t care at all.

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Mr. Freeze has fallen in love with the girl he kidnapped, and so he kidnaps a minister, so the two of them can get married.

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The Penguin sends a message to the Ventriloquist.  Mr. Freeze has gone out of control, and the Penguin needs someone reliable.  Apparently, that means someone who talks through a dummy.  Ah, Gotham.

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Batman goes to talk to Dr. Jeremiah Arkham, a wonderful character, getting his first real scene in Detective Comics, despite having been around for over a decade.  Arkham explains that Freeze was undergoing a complete re-building of his psyche when he escaped.  Being midway through the process means he is even more deranged than usual.

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Batman tracks down Freeze, and is about to bring him in when a sniper shoots through his helmet, which will cause Freeze to die.  At the same time, Batman finds himself surrounded by masked attackers.

The story continues in the next issue.

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Mike Carey and John Lucas bring The Barker to an ending in this issue.

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The circus folks realize that the killer is the man who owns the circus, that he has been using them all along, while pretending to be on their side.

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The Barker kills him, and winds up in prison for his efforts to seek justice.  Downer.

Not a bad story, but like The Tailor before it, it made me want to see more of the person in their titled position.

 

Detective 803 – The Penguin gets attacked, and the Barker attacks

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Lapham, Bachs and Massengil continue the City of Crime storyline in Detective 803 (April 2005).

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Mr. Freeze kills his own men, freezing and then shattering them.  We do not learn the reason behind this for a while, but Freeze kept one girl alive, that he found in the lawyer’s office.  When his gang asked him why, he killed them.

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This issue also brings in a mysterious villain, who uses masks to impersonate others.

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But there is more than simple disguise involved, as he (or they) turn to dirt after being killed, and dissolve.

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And the Penguin’s club goes boom.

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Carey and Lucas continue the Barker’s story in this issue.

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He and his friends pursue the Senator, who confesses to his fake name and passport, but pleads innocence of the murder.  This gets backed up when someone shoots and kills him.

The story concludes next issue.

 

Detective 802 – The Penguin schemes, and the Barker learns a secret

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Lapham, Bachs and Massengil continue City of Crime in Detective 802 (March 2005).

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The Penguin is brought into the story.  He has a new assistant, Miss Jessica.  One of the tenements he owns burns down, and he expects trouble as a result.  Not only from Batman, but also from the lawyers at the free legal clinic.

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Mr. Freeze, recently escaped from Arkham, decides to help the Penguin with his problems.

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But the only part of this issue that really grabbed me was when Bruce and Alfred watch a security camera from the Manor, and see that Haddie came by, wanting to see Bruce Wayne.  He was not there, and she stole one of his antiques.  Bruce suspects she sold it for the drugs she overdosed on, and continues to feel really crappy.

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Mike Carey and John Lucas provide the most entertaining chapter of The Barker in this issue.

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Circus skills prove uniquely valuable when breaking in to City Hall.  They raid the files on the autopsy and police investigation into the dog-faced boy’s death.

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The evidence they find implicates a Senator, who is holding his seat under a fake name.

The story continues in the next issue.

 

Detective 801 – City of Crime, and The Barker both begin

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David Lapham launches his big Batman epic, City of Crime, in Detective 801 (Feb. 05), with art by Ramon Bachs and Nathan Massengil.  The story is set before War Games, and has a badge proclaiming this at the start of each issue.  You have to wonder why they would run such a long tale immediately after War Games, if they didn’t want it to follow the other story. It also sort of diminishes the effects of that story, as it cannot have repercussions in a story set before it.

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My overall impression of City of Crime is that it likely would have made a better novel than a comic.  Lapham really does attempt to create a huge, interlocking saga of people and events, but the result is that it is often difficult to know what is important, or where the story itself is going.

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It’s premise is pretty standard.  Gotham is hell, and Batman struggles to do what he can.

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The one part of this that really stands out to me is the minor character of Haddie McNeil, a 14-year old party girl, with far too much money, and negligent parents.  She flirts with Bruce Wayne at a society function, and he rebuffs her.

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The next time he sees her, she has died of an overdose.

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This sets him on a mission to take down drug dealers.  But the story promptly goes in a different direction next issue.

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This issue also sees the start of a four-part back-up story, The Barker, by Mike Carey and John Lucas.

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The story is set at a circus, with the carnival barker as the main character, though his circus friends are all central to the tale.  The dog-faced boy gets killed, and the callous police do not care, and write it off as an accident.

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The Barker does not believe it was an accident, nor do any of the others, and they decide to take the law into thei own hands.

Detective 797- War Games begins, and the Riddler visits Poison Ivy

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Gabrych, Woods and Massengil launch the first chapter of War Games, which will run through the Batman books for the next three months, in Detective 797 (Oct. 04).  The story follows the one-shot, Batman – the 15 Cent Adventure, in which Stephanie, back as Spoiler, tries to prove her worth to Batman by stealing one of his secret plans and putting it into operation – which results in sparking a gang war.

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Batman and Oracle spend most of the issue trying to co-ordinate things and keep control of a situation that spirals rapidly away from them.  The Penguin had attended the meeting-turned-firefight with Deadshot as his bodyguard, and as the story progresses, all the mobs wind up hiring costumed villains, though most only get cameos.

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Orpheus and Onyx visit the Penguin and Deadshot, but discover that they know no more than anyone else about the situation.  But everyone is leaping to take advantage of it – the Escobedos and Vosovs get into their own personal vendetta, and the Triad splits and winds up fighting against itself for dominance in Chinatown.

The story continues in Legends of the Dark Knight.

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The Riddler comes to visit Poison Ivy in the first chapter of a three-part story, by Shane McCarthy, Tommy Castillo and Rodney Ramos.

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The story is a follow-up to Hush, from recent issues of Batman.  The Riddler, blamed by many for setting all of that off, is on the run, and mistakes Poison Ivy’s invitation for sanctuary.  He is amazed at her private jungle, unaware that her powers were so great.

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She, of course, did not invite the Riddler for tea.  She was used as part of Hush, and none too happy about it.

The story continues next issue.

 

Detective 796 – Stephanie Brown as Robin, and Onyx shows her stuff

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Stephanie Brown’s dreams have come true in Detective 796 (Sept. 04), as Gabrych, Woods and Massengil relate her adventures as Batman’s partner in crime fighting.

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After Tim Drake quits being Robin, Batman offers the position to Stephanie, who jumps at it.  Oracle accuses Batman of doing this simply to piss off Tim, to which Batman responds by ignoring Oracle.

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This issue pits them against Zsasz, who has broken out of prison and begun another killing spree.  The art does an interesting thing with his vision. Only humans (potential victims) are shown in vibrant colour, everything else is grey.  There is no reason to think this is some sort of super human power, it reflects his psychosis.

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As they search the subway for Zsasz, Stephanie falls into his hands, and needs to be saved by Batman – but evens the scales as she saves Batman from Zsasz later in the fight.

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Batman is not entirely pleased with her actions, finding that she is tending towards wanting to use lethal force.  At the end of the scolding, she asks if he is firing her.  He replies that he is simply teaching her.  But he fires her before the next issue anyway.

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Gabrych also concludes his back-up story of Onyx in this issue, with art by Walker and Nixey.

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Batman and Batgirl stage a fight with Orpheus in Penguin’s Iceberg Lounge.  Onyx shows her stuff, taking down both heroes.  No one is likely to mess with her after that.  Or Orpheus.

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Still, Cassandra Cain hates losing a fight, even a staged one, and hopes for a friendly, but real, match with Onyx one day.

 

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