Posts tagged ‘Talia Al Ghul’

Detective 842 – the Suit of Sorrows

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Peter Milligan joins Nguyen and Ridolfs for a story centring on the Suit of Sorrows, given to Batman by Talia, in Detective 842 (May 2008).

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Batman has noticed that he has become more violent with criminals since he has begun wearing the suit, and he and Tim decide to find out as much as they can about it.  Carbon dating of some dirt found deep in the armor dates it to the Crusades, at the time Ra’s Al Ghul was working with the Order of St Dumas.

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Batman heads to Spain to seek out the connection between the suit and a Catalonian massacre hundreds of years earlier.

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Batman learns that the suit was forged by an off-shoot of the Order of St Dumas, the Order of Purity, whose members continue to this day.  They are pleased that Batman has returned the suit to them, and attempt to arrange his death while heading back.  But he survives and beats them.

And learns the darker secret, that the massacre, blamed on the Moors, was in fact by the first person to wear the suit, as it amplifies one’s darker impulses.

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Batman is tempted to destroy the suit, but keeps it in the cave, where Talia finds it a year or so down the road.

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Detective 839 – The Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul ends

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Paul Dini works with both art teams, Kramer and Faucher, and Benjamin and Crawford, on the big finale to the Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul, in Detective 839 (Feb. 08).

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It’s an awful lot of fighting, as many finales are, as everyone converges in Nanda Parbat.  Batman, Robin, Nightwing, and even Alfred are on one side, with Ra’s Al Ghul, Merlyn, and the League of Assassins on the other, and Talia and Damian in the balance.

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Talia is appalled to see Damian in a Robin outfit, when she has been training him to become Batman’s successor, not his sidekick.  But Damian wants to prove himself to his father.

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Ra’s Al Ghul is restored to what he considers healthy, after consuming his son, the White Ghost.  From the outset of this storyline, Ra’s knew he needed the body of someone of his own bloodline to revive, and White Ghost has been hanging around, begging to be of use.  Sad that it took seven issue to accomplish what was obviously going to be the resolution.

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With Ra’s back in action, Talia knocks out Damian and takes him away, to safety, and back into her control.

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Batman and crew are only faring moderately well against Ra’s, Merlyn and the Assassins.

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But the residents of Nanda Parbat have had enough.  Ra’s has befouled their peaceful hidden city, and they cause the earth to split, to drive all of them away.  Also puts an end to the fight, which Ra’s wants to continue, but Batman is smart enough to pull his troops out.

The story does continue, with an epilogue in the next issue.

 

Detective 838 – Batman’s Choice

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The Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul, a tedious and obvious story arc pushing its way through the Batman books over two months, has its third chapter in Detective 838 (Jan. 08).  Paul Dini is joined by Ryan Benjamin and Saleem Crawford on the art.

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I don’t much care for this storyline (you guessed that already, right?), and this chapter is very much a middle one, which does not help matters any.  Robin and Damian are brought to Al Ghul.  Damian is unconscious throughout this issue,which is unfortunate, as this is his first appearance in Detective Comics.  Tim Drake is alert, and Ra’s tries bargaining with him, before just giving up and having him knocked out as well.

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Ubu threatens Alfred, to get Nightwing off the trail, but Alfred shows himself equal to the task of self-defense.

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Batman and Talia work together to rescue Damian, as she leads Batman to her father’s lair, and he finds a way in. Talia has given Batman the Suit of Sorrows, which seems to be nothing more than armor in this story, but will have greater significance later.

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Batman attacks Ra’s, but his current body, so old that the Lazarus Pit will no longer revive it, is also so decrepit that he feels no pain.

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The issue ends as Ra’s has his men bring out Tim and Damian, and commands Batman to choose which one will die, and which will live.

The story continues in the next issue of Batman.

Detective 750 – Batman cures Whisper A’Daire, and the Jacobian hears about the Moment

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I took a ridiculous amount of screen shots for Detective 750 (Nov. 00), but I do like both stories in it.

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Greg Rucka, Shawn Martinborough and Steve Mitchell are the team as Whisper A’Daire returns, catching up with the now one-eyed Abbot.  She gives him the serum to restore his powers, so Ra’s Al Ghul can make use of him again.

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Batman has begin actively searching for Ra’s, and though he claims he is just catching up on his hunt for Whisper, Oracle knows this has to do with events from JLA – the Tower of Bable storyline, in which Talia stole Batman’s plans to use against the other members of the team, and Ra’s executed the plans, almost killing the other Leaguers.  Batman was expelled from the League shortly before the events in this story.

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Ra’s has been searching for Talia, who split from him towards the end of Tower of Babel.  Whisper has found her, and Ra’s demands she be brought to him.

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Talia is in Gotham, so it’s no surprise that Batman finds her as well, and there’s a rematch for Batman and Abbot.  Whisper shoots Talia before Batman takes her down, and Abbot flees with Al Ghul’s daughter. tec_750_006

And Ra’s is all angry at Talia, for betraying and deserting him, yet again.

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Batman holds Whisper, and gets information by “torturing” her, pouring out all her serum. Love this page, so well done.

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Batman also gives her the antidote, freeing her of her addiction, and removing her cobra tongue.

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Silly Batman.  Whisper was not a victim of Ra’s, but a willing follower, and she returned to him, and is back on the cobra juice.  Everyone is gathered for Ra’s latest big evil destructive plot.  He orders Batman killed, but Talia begs to be allowed to plead with him.

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Which, as always, leads to his escape. What makes me fascinated with this story is that Ra’s expects it, watches it.  He even gives up before Batman returns to attack, knowing that it is over, as it always is.  There is an odd fatalism to it. tec_750_011

There is an extra-length Jacobian story in this issue, by Gorfinkel, Johnson and Panosian.

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The Jacobian hears about a hero from the past, the Moment, and the woman he tried to train as a sidekick.  He was about getting out of the moment, or into the moment.  Being of the moment and what it can free you to do.  Gorfinkel writes it all waaaay better than I do.

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And this chapter is really fun, with the art altering to convey the different takes on reality that the Moment and the sidekick-turned-villainess can create.

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And all the while reading it, one cannot help but feel there is a connection between these two characters, and the Jacobian and Leelee – which is confirmed by the art towards the end.  Gotta love parallel structure.

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 0 – Batman gears up

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The “0” issues that ran in the DC books throughout October 1994 were used to tell the origins of the series stars, with any alterations they wanted to make, in the wake of the new reality created at the end of Zero Hour.  Because there were so many Bat-books at this time, each chose to focus on a different side of the Batman tale.  In Detective 0, Dixon, Nolan and Hanna look at his early days in the costume.

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Alfred is there from the start, of course, but now Lucius Fox is as well.  In fact, this scene mirrors the way Lucius would be introduced in Batman Begins, in conjunction with Bruce seeking out Wayne technology for his car and weaponry.

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I should mention that there is a framing device of Batman hunting down and beating up criminals in present day Gotham, but that’s really just an excuse for action scenes.  More interesting, to me, was the use of the classic Batmobile, keeping that in the new continuity.

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The story briefly acknowledges other supporting cast towards the end – Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Bullock.  Dick Grayson’s days as Robin, and Jason Todd’s brief career.  We see the Joker, Riddler, Two-Face, Scarecrow, and Ra’s and Talia Al Ghul.

Not great, not awful.  About on par with most of the “0” issues.

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