Posts tagged ‘Tim Drake’

Detective 874 – Gordon and son

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Snyder and Jock resolve the back-up story, dropped in the previous issue, in Detective 874 (April 2011).

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The story picks up on Commissioner Gordon and James Jr in the restaurant, having their conversation.  James Jr announces that he has come to terms with being a psychopath.  The whole scene is quite tense, and water pools from under a door, as if he possibly did kill the waitress, and was not joking.

But it proves to be nothing other than water, and other than making his father feel scared, James Jr doesn’t actually do anything.

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The story weaves off in a weird direction, as Dick and Tim, as Batman and Red Robin, try to deal with the stolen birds.

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But the scene itself seems to be more connected to an upcoming story, with the return of Tiger Shark.  But frankly, these last few issue leave me cold.

Oh, and at the end, Gordon finds out that the birds were not released by his son, it was just a prank by a couple of kids.

Detective 853 – the concluding half of “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?”

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Detective 853 (April 2009) has the second half of Neil Gaiman’s “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?”, with art by Andy Kubert.  The story is a thematic sister to Alan Moore’s “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?”, and exists sort of on its own, as a two-part story outside normal continuity, but also fits neatly into what is currently occurring with Batman.  The first half was published in the previous issue of Batman.

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As with the first half, the story is set at Batman’s funeral, with friends and enemies in attendance.  While the first issue gave a lot of time to a couple of stories, this issue give a number of characters a brief opportunity to tell their versions of how Batman died.

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As well as Betty Kane, shown in the original Bat-Girl outfit for the first time since 1978, eulogies are given by the Mad Hatter, the Joker, Dick Grayson, when he was still Robin, Clayface, Harvey Bullock and Ra’s Al Ghul.

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Superman’s speech ends this section, as Batman starts to become aware of what is happening.

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He suspects that he is having a near-death experience, and the voice that has been with him throughout this,now identified as his mother, tells him that this is true.

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The story becomes a meditation on what Batman is, what he stands for.  Batman cannot ever simply retire and live happily ever after.  He is about never giving up, so Batman can only die in action.

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He asks if he is going to heaven or hell, but the woman replies neither. He does not get those options.  He gets to be Batman, that’s enough.  As the story reaches it end, it takes on the Goodnight Moon narrative, as batman bids good-bye to the cave and the car.  Robin, Alfred, Commissioner Gordon and his villains – Joker, Catwoman, Riddler, Two-Face, Penguin, Ra’s Al Ghul and Poison Ivy shown.  The art mixes past and present versions, creating an eternal Batman.

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And it ends as Martha Wayne gives birth to Bruce.  His death takes him back to his birth, and the cycle begins again.

It serves as a reflection on a character that can never be killed off, in a medium that is so easy to re-read.  Endings launch beginnings, and everything comes around eventually.

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.

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 830 – Robin blowtorches himself

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Moore and Clarke conclude their two-part story about the attack on Wayne Tower in Detective 830 (Late May 2007).

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Robin has to use a blowtorch to remove the explosive goo from his uniform.  Those costumes must be extremely sturdy, if a blowtorch will not damage them.

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Bruce has no luck keeping the peace delegates from fighting amongst themselves, and with Tim in trouble and Vox on the loose, drops a smoke bomb and uses it to get away and change to Batman.

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Both halves of this story use exterior shots of the Tower really well, helping to build the suspense in the situation.

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Batman finally confronts Vox.  The two men fight, but it’s not strength that defeats the bomber.

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Rather, it’s Batman arguments about making innocents suffer while trying to right wrongs, and Vox realizing that he has become just as bad as those he wants to destroy.  He frees himself from Batman, and falls to his death.

Probably because it never really delves into the politics, this remains a good, solid suspense story.

Detective 829 – Wayne Tower under attack

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Stuart Moore and Andy Clarke fill in for a two-part story, beginning in Detective 829 (Early May 2007).

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Bruce Wayne is hosting an international anti-terrorism conference, which not everyone is happy about.  Chiefly, the guy who sets off bombs within the Tower.

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There he is.  Vox.  His agenda has to do with a fictional middle eastern country.  He broadcasts to the police, but Batman realizes the signal is coming from inside the building.  Batman is trapped as Bruce, with the delegates, and Lucius Fox.

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Tim Drake managed to get to one of the secret “closets” and change into Robin, but Bruce is stuck with his cell phone, talking to Gordon.  It all makes for a decent thriller.

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Tim winds up face to face with Vox.

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And as the story reaches its cliffhanger, Robin is coated in explosive goo, as Vox heads away to a safe distance before detonating it.

The story concludes in the next issue.

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 782 – Batman vs the Charlatan, and those darn roses

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Brubaker, Castillo and Von Grawbadger bring their Charlatan story to a close in Detective 782 (July 2003).

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We finally get to see that the Penguin is alive.  I knew he was.  He’s been in hiding the whole time, whining about it making life miserable for Montoya.

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Batman visits Crane while he’s at Arkham, and gets the last piece of the puzzle.  The Scarecrow used Sloan for his experiments, and wound up blocking his ability to feel fear in any way.

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Then it’s off to try to find Two-Face before Sloan kills him.

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Batman does catch up to him, only to find that he was the target all along, and Harvey Dent that bait, just as the plan had been eight years earlier.

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It’s a big, burning finale.  A flip of the coin determines Two-Face’s side, and he leaves Sloan to Batman.

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Sloan survives, and is visited by his fiancee in the hospital.  I called her his wife in an earlier blog.  My mistake.  She just so fills the role of Gilda Dent that I think of her as the wife.

Great mask, but this is the final appearance of the character to date.  I hope.  Certainly that I know of, and I hate being wrong on this.

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The back-up story in this issue, by Jason Hall, Craig Rousseau and Dan Davis, reminds me of a Tales of Gotham City from twenty years earlier.  No specific story, just the style, which centres on a street cleaner, who has noticed the roses that Batman drops off every year.  He has become obsessed with finding out who leaves than, and plans to stake it out that night.

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Alfred overhears, and of course Bruce is impossible to talk to, so he turns to Oracle, who enlists Robin, Nightwing and Batgirl to decoy the man.  Tim pretends to be a lost boy.

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And then Cassandra pretends to be mugged by Dick.

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All of which delays him just long enough to miss Batman leaving the flowers.

I wonder what happened the following year?

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 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.

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