Posts tagged ‘Oracle’

Detective 872 – entering the Mirror House, and the Commissioner warns Barbara

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A nicely creepy cover for Detective 872 (Feb. 11), as Batman continues his investigation of the stolen villain gear, by Snyder and Jock.

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Oracle gives Batman the name of a person connected to the Mirror House, which seems to be the source of the stolen items.  The man dies in a car accident as Batman pursues him.  Batman also discovers that Harvey Bullock is now in charge of the case, Gordon being busy with “personal business,” which is related in the second story in the issue.

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Batman goes, in disguise as the dead man, to the Mirror House, full of other wealthy Gothamites eager to bid on the stolen villain merchandise.  The guests are all masked, both to conceal their identity, and to protect them from a deadly gas released into the room, as a protection against unwanted intruders.

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The man in charge, Etienne Guiborg, has figured out that Batman is impersonating Rhodes, though how he knows this is never explained.  But his apparent hunch is correct.  The mask Batman is wearing is not functional, and he is prey to the gas, and to the room full of people who now want him dead.

The story concludes next issue.

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The back-up story, by Snyder and Francavilla, sees Commissioner Gordon invite Barbara for dinner, and to tell her that her brother is back in town.  Barbara actually already knows this, because of events in Birds of Prey, but it is interesting to see how neither of them view James with anything other than fear.

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Barbara heads out, and Jim is joined by his son.

The story continues, but skips the next issue, returning in the one following that.

Detective 869 – come to the fun fair

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Hine, McDaniel and Owens continue the war of the Jokerz and the Guardian Bats in Detective 869 (Nov. 10).

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Winslow Heath, the mastermind of the fake Joker venom, leaves a clue for Batman, a canned laughter device.  But what does it mean?  Not much beyond the obvious, it seems.  Fake laughter instead of real.

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Oracle has been doing some digging on her own, and has figured out that Heath is the most likely person to be the Joker impostor.  He has been setting up and promoting a Batholomew Fair for Gotham.

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Batman goes to confront Heath, and accuse him of being the Joker impostor, but Heath denies everything.

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As Barbara suspected, the Bartholomew Fair is a huge trap, and Heath explodes balloons of Joker toxin, infecting the crowd and turning them all into Jokerz.  It’s not that different from a real Joker plot – except that the Joker would have just killed everyone.

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The story ends as a young boy, the little brother of a teenage Guardian Bat, is told he cannot join them because he is too young.  He decides to become a Robin instead, and approaches the Batman impostor to be his sidekick.  Instead, he gets thrown off the roof to his death.

I must admit, this panel made me think that the real Joker was in disguise as the Batman impostor.  Killing Robin and all.  But I was wrong.

The story concludes in the next issue.

Detective 862 – Bette joins the fight, and Oracle helps out

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Rucka and Jock continue the Cutter storyline in Detective 862 (April 2010).

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The missing girl that Batman is pursuing turns out to be a different case than the one Batwoman is on.  Add to that the missing girls in the Question’s Pipeline story arc, and that’s a lot of missing women.

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Bette has a conversation with Kate about letting go of the past.  Kate is thinking of her sister, and the kidnapping, and does not clue in that Bette is referring to her career as Flamebird.

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The story climaxes as Bette and a friend are heading home, and Cutter attacks.  Batwoman intervenes, but Bette’s friend is killed, and Bette gets taken by Cutter.

The story concludes next issue.

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The Question and Huntress need someone to replace Tot as their human computer in this story, by Rucka and Hamner.  Helena takes Renee to Oracle, but introduces her as Barbara Gordon.  Renee knows her, of course, and thinks it’s crazy to trust their case to the police commissioner’s daughter, but Huntress is just amused.  Sooo many secret identities.

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Barbara gives them the name of the company that runs the Network.  The Question plans to use stealth to learn what they want, but Huntress prefers a more direct approach, and makes that happen.

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Following the trail, the woman head to Oolong Island, where they are promptly arrested.

The story continues in the next issue.

 

 

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.

 

 

Detective 845 – the chat room

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Dini, Nguyen and Fridolfs conspire on a decent mystery in Detective 845 (Aug. 08).

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There appears to be a new serial killer in town, after a number of apparently random murders. Batman is on the case, and so is the Riddler, who proclaims publicly that he will bring the killer in.

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Batman has a brief scene with Catwoman.  This follows her return to Earth after events in Salvation Run, and her own comic.  He tries to enlist her help against the serial killer, but she is more interested in finding out about his romances with Zatanna and Jezebel Jet (who has been appearing in the pages of Batman).  She dramatically takes off, and Batman knows she wants him to follow her.  But tonight he has other concerns.

Not a great appearance for Catwoman, frankly. She comes off as jealous and childish.

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But the scene is followed by a really wonderful one, as Batman goes on the net and discusses the case with others.  Although the various people talking have no idea who the others are, we see that the conversation includes Bruce, the Riddler, Oracle and Detective Chimp.

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The solution is actually quite sad. It was all a trap for the Riddler, laid by the widower of one of his victims.  The first victim had been his psychiatrist, who could have informed the police.  The rest were random, with clues designed to draw the Riddler to where he could be killed.  Batman intervenes, but has more sympathy for the killer than for the Riddler.

Detective 800 – fallout from War Games, and a teaser for City of Crime

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Andersen Gabrych, Pete Woods and Cam Smith end their run on this book with an epilogue to War Games, in Detective 800 (Jan.05).

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Batman finds himself on the wrong side of the law once again.  Akins is still out to get him, and the police blame him for the deaths of many of the comrades during War Games.

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With her Clock Tower base destroyed, Barbara decides to leave Gotham, and set up as Oracle somewhere else – corresponding to events in Birds of Prey.  And with Barbara gone, Jim Gordon also feels it is time to move on.

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Orpheus turns out to be a more successful martyr than hero, and Onyx leads his old followers, and new devotees.

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There is a kidnapping in this story, and some action.  Batman tracks down the kidnapper, the Mad Hatter, who is using a mind-controlled Croc as his muscle.

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But the real goal is not the kidnapping, but luring Batman, so that Black Mask can gloat, and show off the degree of control he now has, thanks to Batman.

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About his only friend left is Catwoman, who learned his identity during Hush, and can still can break through his dispassionate shell.

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The second story in the issue is a teaser, or a prologue, for City of Crime, which will run in this book over the next year.

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David Lapham is the writer and artist.  The story, if there is one, is not very clear, but certainly sets an evocatively threatening mood.

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The art is great, but the lack of focus or direction left me concerned.

 

Detective 798 – Tim Drake makes a decision, and the Riddler does as well

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War Games has the first chapter of its second act in Detective 798 (Nov. 04), by Gabrych, Woods and Smith.

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The gang war has turned personal, as the teenaged daughter of one of the mobsters was murdered, and Batman is getting frantic. It doesn’t help that he was captured on television for the first time.  Oracle suggests bringing in Stephanie, as they need more operatives, but Batman, though he regrets how he treated her, does not think Spoiler would be safe.  Neither realizes yet that she is already sooo involved.

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The Body Doubles, villains from the old Resurrection Man series, who proved far more popular than the hero, make an appearance in this, shooting Renee Montoya.

Batman meets with Commissioner Akins, asking him to turn the police force over to him, so that Batman can have the men needed to end the gang war, but Akins turns him down cold.

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Tim Drake spends a lot of time agonizing in this issue.  He vowed to never become Robin again, after his father’s death.

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But he knows he is needed, and too many lives are at stake.  Tim returns to the Manor, and a grateful Alfred, and once again becomes Robin.

The story continues in Legends of the Dark Knight.

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The Riddler is at the mercy of Poison Ivy in the second chapter of his three-part story,by McCarthy, Castillo and Ramos.

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Ivy really belittles him.  Not only does he not have any powers, he does not have the stature of the Penguin,or even the Joker.  He whines and pleads and begs.

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Marched to the top of a high canopy of trees, and certain that Ivy intends to kill him, the Riddler shows some courage after all.  He tosses Ivy a riddle, and jumps into her jungle.

The story concludes in the next issue.

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