Posts tagged ‘Talia Al Ghul’

Detective Annual 4 – Batman’s future with Talia


Detective Annual 4 is one of the Armageddon 2001 crossover annuals.  Waverider has come back in time 10 years to prevent one of Earth’s heroes from becoming the world dominating tyrant Monarch.  He travels from annual to annual using his power to see the future of various heroes on his search.  He had already met Batman in his own annual, but figures he is worth a second look, in this story by Louise Simonson, with art by Tom Grindberg.


Waverider is invisible when he wants to be, and so Batman is completely unaware of the future Waverider sees.


The future he sees begins with a climactic battle between Batman and Ra’s Al Ghul.


Both Batman and Ra’s are seriously wounded in the battle, and while Talia takes her father to a Lazarus Pit, Batman flees on his own.


Alfred and Tim Drake get him back to the cave, though they want to take him to a hospital.  He is suffering from injuries not completely unlike those he would sustain in Knightfall.


Ra’s last attack left Wayne Manor in ruins, and Batman had spent so much time pursuing Al Ghul that Gotham has fallen apart as well.  When Robin comes to answer the Bat-Signal, even Commissioner Gordon believes that Batman is dead.


But Batman returns to patrol Gotham, and tries to fend off an attack by the League of Assassins, but fails.  Talia discovers that it is not Bruce beneath the cowl, but Tim Drake, and has him killed.


Bruce is distraught to hear of Tim’s death, and blames Tim and Alfred for operating behind his back, which earns a stern rebuke from Alfred, on how the “world’s greatest detective” isn’t paying attention to what is going on right in front of him.


That shapes him up, and he devises an exo-skeleton to allow him to function, and goes to seek out Ra’s Al Ghul.  He finds on a statue, Ra’s had died following their last encounter.  It’s been Talia in charge of the Assassins since then.


She has her men defeat Batman, so that she can immerse him in the Lazarus Pit, and make him the new leader of the League.   This is really the first story to paint Talia as demented and dangerous as her father.


It turns out Batman had rigged his exo-skeleton with a bomb, which he detonates, killing them all.

Quite the downer.  But far closer to what would take place in upcoming Batman stories than the future shown in the Batman annual.


Detective Annual 2 – Batman vs the Klan


Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn script the second Detective Comics Annual, while Val Semekis and Michael Bair provide the art.  The story deals with young Bruce Wayne training under famed detective Harvey Harris, ground that was covered decades ago (and in the previous blog) in the story in which Bruce dresses up in the Robin costume.


This story is much darker than the earlier one, and dispenses with the Robin costume. Instead, Bruce and Harvey deal with Klan murders in a small town in the deep south.


Their investigation is not welcome, as one might expect.


There are buried secrets, and even the Klan element is a bit of a distraction, not that the racism in the town is any less prevalent or deadly because of that.


And though Bruce and Harvey do take down a gun toting Klan killer, Bruce realizes that there are unexplained factors to the story, and that more is going on.


The solution, presented in secret by Bruce to the mastermind of the situation, is sick and sad, with the Klan murders simply a cover to hide that the killer had black ancestry.  There is a time lapse at the end of the story, and we see that Batman came back to the town every year, to confront the man with his deeds.

All in all, much better than I was expecting it to be.


The issue concludes with some “Who’s Who” entries on Batman villains.  Kevin Maguire’s take on the Joker is certainly interesting, if not scary.


I remember being saddened when I saw this drawing of Catwoman.  Her appearance is based on that from Batman: Year One, and was the first indication that her old classic costume was now a thing of the past.


Two-Face, the Riddler, the Penguin, the Scarecrow, as well as Ra’s Al Ghul and Talia, round out the entries, all villains one might expect to see highlighted.  But a two page spread by Norm Breyfogle is also devoted to the four Clayfaces: Basil Karlo, Matt Hagen, Preston Payne and Sondra Fuller, in conjunction with the Mudpack storyline.


Detective Annual 1 – Batman gets told a fable


The first ever Detective Comics Annual is also the first part of a three annual crossover, Fables.  The issue is written by Denny O’Neil, with art by Klaus Janson and Tony deZuniga.


The linking factor to the three issues is an aging sensei, who heads to the US to seek out three heroes, for whom he has tales.  Lady Shiva accompanies him on his quest.


At the same time, Ra’sAl Ghul sends his daughter, Talia, to Gotham to seek out the Penguin, who has stolen a deadly virus that Al Ghul was having prepared.  This story references events in Batman – Son of the Demon, which is generally considered non-canonical.  In that story, Batman and Talia had a child, but Talia lead Batman to believe that she had miscarried.  This marks their first meeting since those events.  Just to confuse issues even more, that conception is not the one that would spawn Damian Wayne – that occurred in a DC Special in the late 70s.


But back to this story. After a brief meeting with the Question in order to contact Batman, Lady Shiva brings the sensei to him.  He relates a story about how monkeys are captured, and how they could escape if only they were willing to release the bait and walk away.  Batman finds no relevance in the tale.


Batman is much more interested in tracking down the Penguin and preventing him from releasing the bird-derived plague.


Talia shows up as the two men battle, and the Penguin injects her with the virus.  Batman stops his fight with the Penguin, rushing Talia to the hospital instead.


Talia recuperates, and offers to stay with Batman if he will give up his crusade and stay with her.  He refuses, and realizes that he is the monkey caught in the trap.  He sends a message to the sensei that he is in his debt.

The story continues in the Green Arrow Annual, and concludes with Batman and Green Arrow joining the Question in his own Annual.

As for the Penguin, he never does release the virus.  I expect Al Ghul’s men caught up to him eventually.


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