Posts tagged ‘Nathan Massengil’

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.

 

Detective 795 – Orpheus needs help, and Green Arrow hunts out Onyx

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Gabrych and Woods are joined by Nathan Massengil on inks for Detective 795 (Aug. 04).

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The Tarantula and Orpheus get into a fight.  Tarantula is completely unaware that Orpheus is working for Batman, and sees him as nothing more than another gang leader, albeit one who wears purple and keeps a motorcycle helmet on at all times.  Batman has to start, and lose, a fight with Orpheus so that he can retain some street cred after being humiliated by Tarantula.

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Batman runs into her again, in the sewers, as they face Kafka once more.  The cockroaches have increased their number, but now fight amongst themselves.  This is the last appearance of Kafka to date.

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Batman and Orpheus meet at the end of the story, as Batman forces Orpheus to accept that their plans are not working out.  Orpheus needs help, and it can’t be from one of the Batman’s people. Who can they turn to?

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The back-up story in this issue really follows the main story directly.  Gabrych scripts, with Brad Walker and Troy Nixey on the art.

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Green Arrow takes a journey to a place he has not been in a long time, the monastery that Onyx came from.  Remember her?  She was a supporting player in Green Arrow’s back-up series in this book, just before Crisis.  She has abandoned her afro for the shaved head look.  Fashion even reaches the Himilayas, it seems.

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At Batman’s request, Green Arrow enlists Onyx to come to Gotham, and to act as Orpheus’ bodyguard.

The story continues next issue.

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