Posts tagged ‘Scarecrow’

Detective Annual 11 – Azrael causes problems, the Riddler goes for an old standard, and Oracle teams with Looker


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


The final story in the issue, by Amanda McMurray and Kelly Jones, features a team-up between Oracle and Looker.


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.


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 849 – the Joker praises Batman


Dini, Nguyen and Fridolfs move Heart of Hush closer to its conclusion in Detective 849 (Dec. 08), another part of the Batman RIP storyline.


Batman brings Johnathan Crane back to Arkham and tortures him to get Hush’s location.  The Joker is quite entertained by the show, and has high praise for Batman’s skill at tormenting the Scarecrow.


Dr. Mid-Nite and Mr. Terrific tend to Selina, but both of them are mystified at the tech Hush used to remove Catwoman’s heart without killing her.


In flashback, we see Tommy Elliot and Peyton Riley dating, both unhappy with their parents and their lives.


Batman confronts Hush at the hospital, the same one his mother had died at.  He proudly shows Batman Selina’s heart.  He made a deal with Mr. Freeze, who provided the tech for the operation, and to maintain the heart.


Batman had started the scene fighting Hush, and it was odd when he just sort of stopped, and they began conversing.  In fact, this was not weak writing, but a hint that Hush was gassing Batman, who winds up collapsing, as Hush unveils his new face – Bruce Wayne’s face.

The story concludes next issue.

Detective 848 – the Scarecrow finds a new use for Venom


Batman RIP continues in Detective 848 (Nov. 08), the third chapter in Heart of Hush, by Dini, Nguyen and Fridolfs.


Hush confronts Catwoman, with a knife.  Not good news for Selina.


Meanwhile, Batman, on the track of the kidnapped child, finds him, and Crane as well.  The Scarecrow has hooked the boy up to a device that injects him with Venom when he gets scared, turning the child into a rampaging monster.


The story pauses to give us a glimpse of Tommy Elliot as he approaches manhood, but stuck under the thumb of his controlling mother.  He is at a party with Bruce Wayne, and meets Peyton Riley.


The Venom-ed up boy finds the Scarecrow more of a threat than Batman.  After all, which one has been torturing him?  The boy winds up taking down Scarecrow, and Batman unhooks him from the Venom.


It doesn’t really matter.  The Scarecrow achieved his goal of distracting Batman for long enough that Hush had time to operate on Catwoman.  Batman gets an urgent call from Oracle, letting him know Selina is in the hospital.  Hush has removed her heart.

The story continues in the next issue.

Detective 847 – Catwoman questions Zatanna


Dini, Nguyen and Fridolfs continue Heart of Hush in Detective 847 (Oct. 08), as part of Batman RIP.


We discover that, as a teen, Tommy Elliot was sent to a psychiatrist, a young intern named Jonathan Crane, who helped him come to grips with fear.


Knowing the Hush is back, and uncertain of his plans, Batman seeks out Robin and Nightwing to warn them, and finds them taking down a smaller version of the Wonderland Gang.  Tweedledee and Tweedledum have only the Walrus and the Carpenter working for them this time.


Zatanna is hanging out in front of the theatre she is performing in, running a three card monte game.  Which strikes me as kind of odd, but ok.  Selina confronts her there, but Zatanna tells her that she was rebuffed by Bruce, and that if Catwoman wants him, she should make her play.


Hush sends his drugged slaves to kidnap a young boy, hospitalized due to his intense fears, and turns him over to the Scarecrow.  Tutor and pupil, as Hush terms his relationship with Crane.

The story continues in the next issue.


Detective 836 – Robin in a room full of Scarecrows


Rozum and Mandrake conclude their 2-part Scarecrow story in Detective 836 (Nov. 07).


Robin winds up in a house full of killer Scarecrows, which Mandrake’s art conveys so well.


When he finally confronts the real Scarecrow, Crane expounds on how he is fear incarnate.


But as much as the Scarecrow tries, Batman can always top him.

The ending is pretty pro forma.  Faced with Batman, the Scarecrow loses his confidence, and the fight.

Detective 835 – the Scarecrow escapes


John Rozum steps in for a 2-part Scarecrow story, beginning in Detective 835 (Oct. 07), with Tom Mandrake art.


Jonathan Crane is feeling under-appreciated in Arkham.  He has become so reliant on his fear gas that people are considering that he is helpless without it.  He sets out in this story to prove his detractors wrong.


He displays a skill with hypnosis never seen before, as he convinces his guards that he has turned into a flock of ravens, which terrifies them.  His mask is closer in appearance to that from Batman Begins than it has been before.


Batman and Robin head to Arkham, and finds not only the guards but also the doctors and inmates in a state of trauma, all caused by listening  to Crane. Poison Ivy cameos, and mention is made of Mr Freeze, and even Zsasz, breaking down.


The Scarecrow begins a random murder spree, and increases the terror of the citizenry by leaving stuffed Scarecrows all over Gotham.

The story concludes next issue.


Detective 820 – a tragic return, and Jason Bard vs the Tally Man


The seventh chapter of Face to Face, by Robinson, Kirk and Clarke, is the final installment to run in Detective Comics, in issue 820 (Aug. 06).


Batman and Robin are in the midst of battle with the Scarecrow. He has created a gas that makes the heroes believe they are battling with their own terrors.  Batman faces his own father, in his bat-costume, which Robin first deals with an alternate reality version of himself, and then Superboy-Prime.  Both manage to shake off the gas’ effects, and take down the Scarecrow.


There is a great scene between them, as Batman points out that both he and Robin have been through so much horror in their lives, that nothing the Scarecrow can throw at them is worse than what they have already triumphed over.


We also learn that Jamie Harper is descended from Jim Harper, who was the Guardian in the 1940s.  Batman explains that the reason he has been brusque with Jamie is that too many relatives of heroes don costumes without being prepared, often with tragic consequences.  Jamie insists that the only legacy of Jim Harper’s she intends to follow on is his legacy as a good cop.


Examination of the gun used for the murders shows that it has been tampered with, which is enough to clear Harvey Dent.  Gordon, Batman, Robin, and even Alfred are happy about this – but their joy is quashed when they see the news that Harvey has made himself into Two-Face again.

The story concludes in the next issue of Batman.


Jason Bard’s series comes to an end in this issue, although it seems it was not intended to.


The story in this issue is almost entirely a fight scene between Jason and the Tally Man.  But it’s well told, with the art reflecting Jason’s messed up vision, a result of Tally Man’s gunshot.  Jason also uses his cane in this story, looping it around Tally Man’s leg to bring him down.  Aside from that scene, we barely see it in their brief run.


And he sure doesn’t seem to have much leg trouble anymore.

The story ends with a “to be continued” blurb, but Jason’s series ends here.  He does continue to appear in the Batman books over the next year or two.


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