Posts tagged ‘Scott Hanna’

Detective 703 – Gotham goes dark

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Detective 703 (Nov. 96) is a Final Night crossover, by Dixon, Nolan and Hanna.  The sun has been consumed, and as the world slowly freezes, many heroes gather to try to figure out a solution. But not in this issue.

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This issue largely follows Robin and the Huntress, as they patrol Gotham together, and discuss what it means to work with Batman, and the problems he has with the Huntress.

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Intercut with this is a radio disc jockey giving a very bleak show, insisting that there is no hope and everyone will die.  People are actually listening to this, for some reason.

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There is also a brief sequence, setting up the next Riddler story, in which another inmate breaks Nigma’s arm, at Nigma’s request.

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The disc jockey almost gets killed by a couple of muggers on his way home after the show, but is saved by Batman, who tells him to have faith.

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Not bad, but it adds little to Final Night.

Detective 702 – Legacy gets some meaning

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Detective 702 (Oct. 96) is a Legacy epilogue, by Dixon, Nolan and Hanna, and has more weight and emotional depth than anything from Legacy itself.

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Batman makes an intentionally dorkish public appearance as Bruce Wayne, but his supercilious veneer is impossible to maintain when he comes face to face with the human cost of Legacy.

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Jim Gordon and Sarah Essen try to deal with their relationship problems over the past few years, during her time as commissioner.  They both acknowledge the difficulty of finding time for each other, and even their moment of reconciliation is thwarted by a nearby explosion.  Some of Ra’s crazed followers are still causing problems in Gotham.

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Robin finds a young plague victim, already bleeding from the eyes, and rushes him to the hospital for the cure.  He arrives too late, and the boy is already dead.

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As both Bruce and Tim sit in the cave, feeling the weight of the dead on their consciences, Alfred shakes them up with some harsh words. He points out that, without their actions, everyone in Gotham would be dead.  It’s a good scene for him.

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The story even ends on a happy, romantic note, as the Gordons find some time together.

 

Detective 701 – Batman vs Bane

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The action moves back to Gotham in Detective 701 (Sept. 96), chapter 6 of Legacy, by Dixon, Nolan and Hanna.

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Oracle oversees the search for Ra’s Al Ghul and Talia, with Huntress being included, alongside Robin and Nightwing, for the first time.

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Batman comes face to face with Bane, and the final plague, and they fight.  And fight and fight and fight some more.  It is the first time the two have faced each other since Bane broke Bruce Wayne’s back, but it does go on.

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Batman wins, but it’s a hollow victory as the water takes Bane’s body away on a raft.

The story continues in the next issue of Robin.

 

Detective 700 – Legacy begins

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Contagion had been a perfect crossover series within the Batman universe. It tied together all the books and heroes into a single, complex tale.  It’s scope varied from the world of Babylon Towers, to the chaos in Gotham, to the situation in the far north.  Robin’s bout with the Clench was scary and disturbing.

Legacy probably looked good on paper.  The Clench is made more deadly than it appeared, the scope of the story is now global, and Ra’s Al Ghul puts a face and goal onto the spread of the disease.  In reality, it was bloated, over-long, and extremely unfulfilling.

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Detective 700 (Aug. 96), by Dixon, Nolan and Hanna, opens as Batman discovers that Ra’s Al Ghul, with Talia in tow, as well as a new Ubu, is the mastermind behind the Clench.

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I do really love the idea, and visual, of the ancient Wheel of Plagues, which Al Ghul has used to derive his deadly diseases.  He leaves Batman and Robin deep in the pit, to be killed. Of course they are not, and spend much of this double-sized issue escaping.

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So let’s just cut to the chase.  Nightwing has tracked down Ra’s, and battled him, unsuccessfully.  Ra’s is about to deliver the killing stroke when Batman and Robin burst in.  Ra’s and Talia flee, and Batman knows he has to travel the world to stop all their plague releases.

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Ubu is revealed to be Bane, who has been promised by Ra’s to Talia, as long as he helps bring about the massive plague release.  Talia is less than thrilled about this, but no one cares about her views.

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The story ends on Catwoman, trapped in a cell down with the Wheel of Plagues, being flooded out.

The story continues in the next issue of Catwoman.

Detective 699 – Lock-Up opens the cells

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Dixon, Nolan and Hanna conclude the introduction of Lock-Up in Detective 699 (Late July 1996).

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Lock-Up brings Tim Drake back to his prison.  Tim is still in contact with Nightwing, and informs him that he believes they are on, or near, water.  But then Lock-Up tosses him into the delousing tank, and his mike shorts out.

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With hoods about to shoot him, Matches Malone (Batman in his underworld identity) fights back in close quarters, causing a car accident, spectacularly illustrated by Nolan and Hanna.  Batman manages to crawl out and get away.

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Lock-Up takes Tim’s fingerprints, to determine who he is.  Some quick thinking, and hacking, by Oracle provides him with a fake identity and rap sheet, so Lock-Up has no idea who his new prisoner really is.

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Nightwing keeps searching, eventually finding the prison.  He is interested in freeing Tim and getting away, to return with Batman later.  But Lock-Up opens the cells, and starts flooding the prison.  Nightwing has to deal with Two-Face and Killer Moth, both as interested in vengeance as escape.  Two-Face has already figured out that Tim must be Robin, simply because of Nightwing’s interest in him.

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Batman shows up just in time, and the flooded villains, Lock-Up included, are taken away.

Lock-Up would return, and for a while actually become a sort of ally.

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One other significant thing does happen in the issue.  Armand Krol, hanging on to the bitter end of his term, collapses and dies.  He had survived the Clench, but it seems to have returned.

This is a set-up for next issue, and the Legacy storyline.

Detective 698 – Lock-Up has a key

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Dixon, Nolan and Hanna continue the introduction of Lock-Up in Detective 698 (Early July 1996).

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Two-Face, Killer Moth and Veezey are all concerned when Lock-Up does not return.  They are not his only prisoners, but the only ones of note.  Killer Moth’s inhuman new appearance is a result of his deal with Neron in Underworld Unleashed.

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The police refuse to make the deal and release him, but this is not of much concern to Lock-Up.  He swallowed a handcuff key, which he brings up.  He takes out the guards, steals a uniform and walks right out the front door.

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The heroes decide to split up, each keeping watch on one of the three men they feel most likely to be Lock-Up’s next target.  Batman goes into his Matches Malone disguise, but things do not work out well for him.  Nightwing gets busy, when he discovers his subject has kidnapped a child.

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Tim turns out to have the right target, but winds up getting captured by Lock-Up himself.

The story concludes next issue.

Detective 697 – Lock-Up

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The mystery man grabbing the villains comes to the forefront in this three-part story by Dixon, Nolan and Hanna, beginning in Detective 697 (June 1996).

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Two-Face is busted out during a prison transfer.  Batman, Robin and Nightwing all gather when Gordon turns on the Bat-Signal (for the first time since regaining his position).  They worry what he might be up to, but their concerns are misplaced.  Harvey Dent is in the hands of Lock-Up, a dominatrix-garbed warden of his own personal prison.  He was the one who grabbed Veezey while Batman was dealing with Poison Ivy, and also grabbed Killer Moth, in the pages of Robin.

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When nothing happens with Harvey, the heroes compare notes on other villains that have gone missing.  But the police are more concerned with the spreading influence of Black Mask, and one of his men turns informer.

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Batman, Robin and Nightwing join the police assault on one of Black Mask’s hideouts.  The leader himself is not around, but there are plenty masked gang members to deal with.

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As it turns out, Lock-Up also had Black Mask on his list, and it turns out to be his misfortune to come across the police.  Montoya takes the big guy down!

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I really like the unusual way the issue ended.  Lock-Up is in police custody, his identity as Lyle Bolton, a wanna-be cop refused because he was considered too violent and disturbed (for Gotham!)  The tables are neatly turned when he points out that no one else knows the location of his secret prison, and those incarcerated will starve to death unless he is freed.

The story continues next issue.

 

Detective 696 – Robin gets the Clench

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Chuck Dixon, Graham Nolan and Scott Hanna do as good a job as possible in the frantic Detective 696 (April 1996).  It’s chapter 8 of Contagion, and the story touches on a lot of characters and threads.

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Nightwing brings Robin back to the Batcave after he collapses.  He has contracted the Clench, as the plague is now being called, and Alfred tends to the boy as best he can. But throughout the issue, Tim’s condition worsens.

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The Huntress watches the angry mob that has set fire to Babylon Towers.

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Batman and Commissioner Gordon, still inside the Towers, avoid the dying residents and the fire, carrying the unconcious Poison Ivy as they seek a way out.

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Catwoman contacts Oracle, with news of a second survivor of the plague, an Inuit girl.  Oracle is barely polite.  There is never any warmth between these two.

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My favourite panel comes as Gordon, out of danger, re-unites with Montoya and Bullock, as they watch Babylon Towers burn, incapable of doing anything about it.

The story continues in the next issues of both Catwoman, and Batman Chronicles.

Detective 695 – Contagion spreads

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Detective 695 has the second chapter of Contagion, by Chuck Dixon, Tommy Lee Edwards, and Scott Hanna.

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Edwards art is a big change for the book, but certainly suited to this tale.  Batman escapes from a military lab, the source of the plague that has reached Gotham.  Throughout the issue, we also get scenes of normal people falling victim to the horrible illness, which causes one to bleed from the eyes before suffering crippling spasms leading to death.

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One man escaped before the base shut down, and Batman and Robin have tracked him to the wealthy enclave of Babylon Towers.

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He falls victim to the disease, and has spread it through the sealed-off building.  But he informs his friends that there was one survivor, after the disease wiped out a town in Greenland.

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News of the survivor gets out, and the reward offered for him by the residents of Babylon Towers.  The Penguin sends out men to find the survivor, and make the most he can by selling him to the highest bidder.

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Robin also heads to Greenland, for much the same goals, if more selfless reasons.  But all he finds is Catwoman.

The story continues in the next issue of Robin.

Detective 692 – Batman vs Spellbinder

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Dixon, Johnson and Hanna conclude the Underworld Unleashed crossover in Detective 692 (Dec. 95).

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Johnson’s art really showcases the new Spellbinder’s abilities, effectively conveying how she completely disorients Batman and Robin.  There is simply no way they can catch her.

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There are some pauses in the action.  J Devlin Davenport plays golf against Bruce Wayne, and Tim Drake runs into Bruce’s stalker, Madolyn Corbett, making her first appearance in this book.

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Batman consults with Oracle, and though she gives him the idea he needs to defeat Spellbinder, he behaves extremely dismissively to Barbara.

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With Tim Drake hooked up to a camera, feeding him information, Batman is able to block out the wild illusions that Spellbinder surrounds herself with.

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Even still, the climactic battle on the ledge of the building is gripping.

Sadly, even with the powers booster, Spellbinder never really became anything more than a minor player.  She returns a few years down the road in Birds of Prey.

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