Posts tagged ‘Pete Woods’

Detective 810 – Why the Joker is pissed, and Croc ends

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War Crimes, by Gabrych, Woods, and Bergantino, continues in Detective 810 (Late Oct. 05).

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Batman finally figures out that Aaron Black is Arthur Brown.  Now, to be fair, the Cluemaster had supposedly died in the debut issue of the Suicide Squad revival a year or so earlier.  So Batman didn’t know he was alive.  But really, Aaron Black?  And so concerned about Spoiler?

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Black Mask has been impersonating Batman, framing him for a series of murders, and he attacks Stephanie’s mother on live tv.

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Batman shows up in time to save the woman, but after the feed is cut, so people will not know he was not the attacker.

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Black Mask gets away, simply by putting others in danger.  But he runs afoul of the Joker.  As far as the Joker is concerned, killing Robins is his shtick, and Black Mask had no right to hone in.

The story concludes in the next issue of Batman.

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Croc’s story comes to a bitter ending, by Gabrych, Castillo and Rick Purcell.

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The doctor tries a number of potential cures on Croc, and one even changes him back to a form he was comfortable in, but the Hush virus is too strong and mutates him again.

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Regretfully, but hungrily, he eats the doctor.  His more bestial state appears permanent.

Detective 809 – War Crimes begins, and Croc needs help

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Andersen Gabrych and Pete Woods return, with Javier Bergantino on inks, for War Crimes, a four part sequel to War Games, beginning in Detective 809 (Early Oct. 05), and continuing though the following issue, and the two issues of Batman the same month.

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The question of blame for the events in War Games is central to this storyline.  Batman takes down the head of the Vosovs, but even she blames Batman for the revived warring.

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Bruce Wayne is sent the tape of a tv show, in which a heavily scarred survivor, Aaron Black, is interviewed, and talks about the torture and death of Stephanie Brown at the hands of Black Mask.  He reveals her identity as Spoiler, and as Robin as well.

Batman goes to see Leslie Thompkins, only  to find that she has left Gotham completely.  And Stephanie’s medical records have been stolen as well.

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Batman runs into Aaron Black, and has the guts to stand up to him and defend his position, but gets a bit more scared when the Joker shows up.

The story continues in the next issue of Batman.

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Gabrych also scripts the Croc story, with Castillo and Ramos on the art.

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As dangerous and threatening as he is, Croc still maintains enough sanity to not eat the doctor, who he is relying on to cure him from the virus Hush injected him with.

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The last page of the story makes one wonder about the doctor’s motives, but that’s just for the cliff-hanger.  She stays true to her oath.

The story concludes in the next issue.

 

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 799 – Batman’s plans go very wrong, and Poison Ivy’s plans work out

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Gabrych, Woods and Smith open the third act of War Games in Detective 799 (Dec. 04).

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Batman now has a desperate Commissioner Akins on his side. All the gangs have gathered in the big arena, with Tarantula looking after the kids in the crowd.  Batgirl, Robin and Nightwing are all stationed outside, with the police armed only with rubber bullets, at Batman’s insistence.

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Orpheus takes the stage, and is meant to give a speech that will unite the gangs under him, and thus, under Batman.  But that does not happen.  Because it’s not Orpheus under the helmet, it’s Black Mask (though Batman does not learn that in this issue).

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Onyx does find the corpse of the real Orpheus, but too late to warn anyone.

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Batman swings down into the arena, attempting to take control of the situation.  But even that goes very wrong.  Firefly hits him with a jet of flame on his way down, and a burning Batman in the midst of dozens of criminals does not inspire terror.

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Aside from Firefly, The Electrocutioner, Scarecrow and Tweedledum and Tweedledee appear in this issue.  Some of the gang members come pouring out the arena, and get into a shooting match with the police.  But they have real bullets and the police do not.

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By the end of the issue, it is total chaos.  Commissioner Akins has had enough, and issues a shoot to kill order on Batman and his entire crew.

The story continues in Legends of the Dark Knight.

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The Riddler’s story also comes to a close this issue, by McCarthy, Castillo and Ramos.

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Ivy quickly catches up with the Riddler.  Not much use trying to hide from her in her own jungle.  Although the Riddler is waiting for Ivy to kill him, her intent is more subtle, and she continues to degrade and humiliate him.

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In the end, she simply turns her back and contemptuously walks away.  Her goal was to destroy the Riddler, not kill Edward Nigma.  And she has succeeded.

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.

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.

Detective 794 – Batman meets the Tarantula, and The Tailor ends

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The ground is getting laid for the upcoming War Games, as Gabrych, Woods and Smith bring the Tarantula and Orpheus into Detective 794 (July 2004).

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L’Shea is also sticking around for a while.  The Miracle Mom attends the funeral of her daughter, although no one but Batman (and Leslie) realize that.

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Catalina Flores gets introduced,before her alternate identity does.  The Tarantula had been around for a couple of years already, in Nightwing’s comic, driving him up a wall with her murderous vigilantism.

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Orpheus also makes his first appearance in these pages.  Introduced back in 2001, Orpheus has become Batman’s undercover operative, a supposed gang leader taking control of The Hill, in order to prevent any other gangs from doing so.

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The Tarantula also finds that the business that has brought her to Gotham involves the Hill.

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And Tarantula gets to encounter one of Batman’s more disgusting enemies, Kafka.  Introduced a few years earlier in Gotham Knights, Kafka is a semi-sentient collection of cockroaches, who take on human form.  Just, yuck.

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Batman is none too keen on having the Tarantula in his city, knowing about her already from Nightwing.  But she has no intentions of doing what Batman wants.

The story continues in the next issue.

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AJ Lieberman, Jean-Jacques Dziakowski and Daniel Green conclude The Tailor in this issue.

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It’s a big, burning finale, as the Tailor takes down the former members of his team, even finding the one who betrayed them and set him up.

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The ending confuses me.  Presumably the Tailor finally got the money from the heist, although the dequence of events on this page is not clear.  The finale had been a let down to me before that, though, as we never got to see that much of the character functioning as designer/armorer.  All in all, I prefer Gambi.

 

Detective 793 – tunneling out, and getting ready

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Gabrych, Woods and Smith continue their story of family troubles and mob manipulations in Detective 793 (June 2004).

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Below the rubble of the building, Batman finds Leslie, L’Shea and the still-dying girl, now with the baby delivered.

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There is no clear way out, but a small passage that Batman has opened.  L’Shea crawls out with the baby, her grand-child.  It’s really not clear if she will take the baby to the hospital, or just dump it and run.  Batman and Leslie stay with the mother until she dies.

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Batman hunts down Mr. Freeze, unplugging him and quickly removing him from the picture.

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The story ends as Bruce and Leslie take a walk through the rarely-seen gardens surrounding Wayne Manor.  L’Shea did get the child t safety – and to the media, where she spun a story of delivering the child herself and earned the monicker Miracle Mom.  Bruce and Leslie are neither impressed nor surprised, but have also found more understanding between themselves.

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Liberman, Dziakowski and Green get things set up for the finale of The Tailor, coming in the next issue.

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Each page of this story shows the Tailor getting prepped for the coming fight, and along the bottom, his three former team-mates approaching Gotham, as the mileage signs mark the distance.

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The story concludes next issue.

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