Posts tagged ‘Paul Sloan’

Detective 782 – Batman vs the Charlatan, and those darn roses

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Brubaker, Castillo and Von Grawbadger bring their Charlatan story to a close in Detective 782 (July 2003).

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We finally get to see that the Penguin is alive.  I knew he was.  He’s been in hiding the whole time, whining about it making life miserable for Montoya.

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Batman visits Crane while he’s at Arkham, and gets the last piece of the puzzle.  The Scarecrow used Sloan for his experiments, and wound up blocking his ability to feel fear in any way.

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Then it’s off to try to find Two-Face before Sloan kills him.

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Batman does catch up to him, only to find that he was the target all along, and Harvey Dent that bait, just as the plan had been eight years earlier.

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It’s a big, burning finale.  A flip of the coin determines Two-Face’s side, and he leaves Sloan to Batman.

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Sloan survives, and is visited by his fiancee in the hospital.  I called her his wife in an earlier blog.  My mistake.  She just so fills the role of Gilda Dent that I think of her as the wife.

Great mask, but this is the final appearance of the character to date.  I hope.  Certainly that I know of, and I hate being wrong on this.

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The back-up story in this issue, by Jason Hall, Craig Rousseau and Dan Davis, reminds me of a Tales of Gotham City from twenty years earlier.  No specific story, just the style, which centres on a street cleaner, who has noticed the roses that Batman drops off every year.  He has become obsessed with finding out who leaves than, and plans to stake it out that night.

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Alfred overhears, and of course Bruce is impossible to talk to, so he turns to Oracle, who enlists Robin, Nightwing and Batgirl to decoy the man.  Tim pretends to be a lost boy.

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And then Cassandra pretends to be mugged by Dick.

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All of which delays him just long enough to miss Batman leaving the flowers.

I wonder what happened the following year?

Detective 781 – The Joker fills in the gaps, and Gottismburgh

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Batman has to beat the truth out of the Joker in Detective 781 (June 2003), because that’s the way the Joker likes it, according to Brubaker, Castillo and Von Grawbadger.

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The Joker tells Batman how Sloan got so into the role of Two-Face that he would start fighting with the other villains, the ones he was terrified of as himself.  The Riddler, Penguin, Scarecrow, Mad Hatter and Killer Moth all get cameos in the flashbacks.

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Sloan decided to pull a job as Two-Face, on his own, to prove he could act the role.  Batman’s remembers, and how he suspected something was wrong when Two-Face hesitated after a coin toss, before shooting a victim.

The Joker also tells Batman that he was the one who phoned in the anonymous tip about the theft that night.  He scuttled his own plans, and pulled in Sloan only to pull him down.

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The robbery was blamed on Two-Face, who was furious at being impersonated, kidnapped Sloan, and tortured him for days.  The Scarecrow pronounced him dead, and took away the body.

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The Joker concludes his run of info by telling Batman that Sloan had told him much of this, only the day before, and wanted him to tell Batman, in order to delay him.

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Two-Face escapes from Arkham, after meeting with a lawyer.  Batman joins Renee Montoya at the scene, and sees that the drawing of the lawyer looks just like Harvey Dent.

The story concludes next issue.

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I suppose this was intended to start off a Batman Elseworlds serial in these pages.  The story as it stands, by Jon Lewis and Stefano Gaudiano, certainly doesn’t feel like it reaches its ending.

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The story deals with child factory workers in an Industrial Revolution era world.  Batman exists a legend, the Bat King, in the forest.  There is a prince, who some kids think might be the Bat King.

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The forest is filled with little Robins everywhere, and the Prince turns out to be a dick, and not likely the Bat King.

And then….

Nothing.  End of story, never followed up again, so far as I know.

Nice art, though.

Detective 780 – An offer the Charlatan can’t refuse, and Spore ends

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Catwoman gets featured on the cover of Detective 780 (May 2003), so one might think Brubaker, Castillo and Von Grawbadger have given her a significant role in this issue.  But one would be wrong.

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The Charlatan poisons the Mad Hatter, having tied up and impersonated a guard to get in.  Scarecrow is a couple seats down, but still shows no fear.  The Hatter is rushed to the infirmary, and is in critical condition.

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Catwoman gives Batman the location where the Riddler is hiding, in fear of his life.  She offers to come along, and be worthy of the prominence she is given on the cover, but he demurs, and that’s it for Catwoman. One page.

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Batman gets some answers from the Riddler.  He learns how Joker, Riddler, Scarecrow, Penguin, Mad Hatter and Killer Moth had a plan, but felt they could not pull it off without Two-Face.  So they approached Sloan, and offered him the role of his life.  Batman does not recall any plot by these men to kill him, and Riddler tells him in never got pulled off, but there is clearly more to the story.

Which is why it continues in the next issue.

But Spore does not, as Gagne and Gagne bring it to an end.

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Detective 779 – Mark Merlin reveals the identity of the Charlatan, and Superman vs Spore

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The Charlatan’s story continues to unfold in Detective 779 (April 2003), by Brubaker, Castillo and Von Grawbadger.

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The Riddler heads to Arkham, and has a frantic conversation with Johnathan Crane about the Charlatan.  The Scarecrow does not seem afraid at all – but then, that’s who he is, right?

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And, in a complete cut away from the story, Lucius Fox leaves the hospital.  He has been in a coma.  You didn’t know that?  Maybe because Lucius has not appeared in Detective Comics for over a year, and his period in hospital was never even referred to.  But at least you now, too late to send flowers.

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Batman learns that the Penguin consulted Mark Merlin before his attack, and goes to see him.  Mark Merlin had been a detective with a supernatural bent in the pages of House of Secrets in the early 60s.  His final appearance saw him lose his body to the extra-dimensional Prince Ra-Man, as explained in a DC Comics Presents in the 80s.  This marks Mark’s first appearance as himself since that.

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Mark tells Batman that the Penguin wanted protection from a ghost, of Paul Sloan, a famous actor, who disappeared eight years earlier.

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Bruce Wayne arranges to attend the theatre with Jim Gordon and Barbara, and Barbara casually gets Sloan’s wife to talk about her husband, and his dangerous way of getting too much into his roles, and his strange behaviour, shortly before vanishing.

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And during the performance, Bruce spots something Phantom of the opera-like, changes clothes, and winds up confronting the scarred Charlatan.  Sloan manages to get away, but Batman knows who he is now.

Paul Sloan is clearly a re-working of Paul Sloane, the actor who got scarred while playing Two-Face, and wound up committing crimes in that persona.  Sloane had most recently appeared in this book, shortly after Crisis (shortly after this blog took over form the previous one).

Gagne and Gagne pit Superman against Spore.  Say no more!

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