Posts tagged ‘Two-Face’

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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 851 – Dick Grayson refuses

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Denny O’Neil and Guillem March begin a two-part story in Detective 851 (Feb. 09).  It’s part of Last Rites, a storyline detailing the immediate aftermath of Batman’s apparent death. Dick Grayson is at the centre of the tale.

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A new character is introduced as well, Millicent Mayne, the Face of Gotham.

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She had once been a very successful model, and was given that monicker by the press.  Two-Face took exception, and scarred her permanently, which is why she now veils her face.

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Alfred tries to coax Dick into wearing the Batman costume, or at least diving the car, but he refuses.  He sticks to his Nightwing gear, and his motorcycle, unwilling to accept that things have changed.

The story concludes in the following issue of Batman.

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

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

 

Detective 819 – more dead villains, and Jason Bard looks for answers

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Robinson, Kirk, Clarke and Faucher deliver chapter 5 of Face to Face in Detective 819 (July 2006).

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Orca, one of Batman’s more recent enemies, has gone missing, and the police and Batman believe her to be a possible victim of whoever is killing the villains.  They go into the sewers to hunt for her.  But the sewers are Croc’s territory, and Batman has to handle him first.

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Batman does find Orca as well.  Dead, with two bullets to the head.

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As all evidence continues to point to Harvey, even he begins to doubt himself.  More dangerously, he begins to talk to himself.  Or more specifically, to his other face, as he can now see Two-Face in the mirror.

The story continues in the next issue of Batman.

 

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Jason Bard’s story once again builds directly out of the events in the Batman story from this issue, and once again has the same creative team.

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Jason goes to question Orca’s husband.  The story gives an unusual glimpse into the everyday life of a Batman villain, and her significant other.  It’s all so downplayed and normal, which makes the man’s comments about how Firebig makes a good cup of coffee all the funnier.

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More significantly, Jason learns that Orca and the other dead villains had been approached by Harvey Dent, to work undercover as his spies.

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But that’s all the Jason can learn, before the widower joins his wife in death, thanks to the new Tally Man, in his debut.

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 781 – The Joker fills in the gaps, and Gottismburgh

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Batman has to beat the truth out of the Joker in Detective 781 (June 2003), because that’s the way the Joker likes it, according to Brubaker, Castillo and Von Grawbadger.

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The Joker tells Batman how Sloan got so into the role of Two-Face that he would start fighting with the other villains, the ones he was terrified of as himself.  The Riddler, Penguin, Scarecrow, Mad Hatter and Killer Moth all get cameos in the flashbacks.

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Sloan decided to pull a job as Two-Face, on his own, to prove he could act the role.  Batman’s remembers, and how he suspected something was wrong when Two-Face hesitated after a coin toss, before shooting a victim.

The Joker also tells Batman that he was the one who phoned in the anonymous tip about the theft that night.  He scuttled his own plans, and pulled in Sloan only to pull him down.

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The robbery was blamed on Two-Face, who was furious at being impersonated, kidnapped Sloan, and tortured him for days.  The Scarecrow pronounced him dead, and took away the body.

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The Joker concludes his run of info by telling Batman that Sloan had told him much of this, only the day before, and wanted him to tell Batman, in order to delay him.

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Two-Face escapes from Arkham, after meeting with a lawyer.  Batman joins Renee Montoya at the scene, and sees that the drawing of the lawyer looks just like Harvey Dent.

The story concludes next issue.

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I suppose this was intended to start off a Batman Elseworlds serial in these pages.  The story as it stands, by Jon Lewis and Stefano Gaudiano, certainly doesn’t feel like it reaches its ending.

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The story deals with child factory workers in an Industrial Revolution era world.  Batman exists a legend, the Bat King, in the forest.  There is a prince, who some kids think might be the Bat King.

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The forest is filled with little Robins everywhere, and the Prince turns out to be a dick, and not likely the Bat King.

And then….

Nothing.  End of story, never followed up again, so far as I know.

Nice art, though.

Detective 778 – Two-Face says no, and Spore (says nothing)

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Brubaker, Castillo and Von Grawbadger continue the story of the Charlatan in Detective 778 (March 2003).

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Jim Gordon is now lecturing at a university.  Most of the students simply want to ask questions about Batman.  One brings up Two-Face, and then pulls out a gun.  Gordon defends himself, tearing the mask of his assailant, who runs off, leaving behind another double scarred coin.

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Batman goes to see Two-Face, in solitary in Arkham.  He asks him about the double scarred coin.  Harvey is reluctant to answer, except that he is upset about the way Jim Gordon was dragged into it.

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It was a scheme Harvey wanted nothing to do with, and refused to take part in.  The Joker, Riddler, Penguin, Scarecrow, Killer Moth and Mad Hatter were all involved.  But as he didn’t participate, he doesn’t know the whole story, and sends Batman to the Penguin.

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The Penguin has already fled.  Consulting with Oracle, Batman scours the city until she feeds him a report about the  Penguin’s car having crashed.

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Batman finds the Penguin hanging, and there is another coin in his hand.  Is he alive or dead?

The story continues in the next issue.

And now, more Spore, by Gagne and Gagne.  Hah!  Broke my rule there and listed the artist first and the writer second!

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Detective 771 – Batman does not like Checkmate, and Two-Face does not like Josie Mac

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It’s Bruce Wayne: Fugitive, Part 12 in Detective 771 (Aug. 02), and Batman continues to be interested in anything other than his own case, according to Rucka, Lieber and McKenna.

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Crispus Allen and Renee Montoya stake out the courthouse as Sasha Bordeaux’s trial begins, in case Bruce should happen to show up.  He doesn’t, of course, but Alfred does, out of respect for the woman, even though they had never met.  Alfred’s behaviour just does not match that of a man who would help a cold blooded killer flee justice, and Allen is having serious doubts about Bruce Wayne’s guilt.

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Through David Said, Batman gets to communicate with Checkmate, and learns that they know who is behind the poisoned heroin, but will neither do anything about it, nor tell him who the man is.

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Maggie Sawyer calls Allen on the table, after Alfred complains of his harassment.  Maggie insists Allen must find something, anything, to charge Alfred with if he wants to keep the heat on him.

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And David Said and Batman identify the poisoner.  Said informs Batman that the man is NSA.

The story continues in the next issue.

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Josie Mac and Batman take on Two-Face in the penultimate chapter of her first storyline, by Winick and Chiang.

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Two-Face winds up between them, and tosses the child off a catwalk.  Batman dives to rescue the boy, and Two-Face takes advantage of the distraction to grab Josie Mac, and put a gun to her head.

The story concludes next issue.

Detective 770 – Checkmate in Gotham, and Batman meets Josie Mac

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Rucka, Lieber and McKenna continue the poisoned heroin story in Detective 770.  The story itself is not bad, though very much a middle chapter, but I get bothered by the Batman: Fugitive numbering, which does not lend itself to the reading order it establishes, and even the fact that this is the third and final chapter of the”Purity” storyline, yet the story itself continues into the next issue!

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Complaining aside, Batman does a good job of talking Tzu down, if only to turn him over to the police.  Batman also establishes a decent working relationship with David Said.

But all the other elements of the story – Allen and Montoya tailing Alfred, the poisoned heroin, Chcekmate’s shady dealings – continue on to the next issue.

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Picking up on the Josie Mac story, now on it’s eighth chapter, by Judd Winick and Cliff Chiang.  Josie is still on the case of the mobster’s kidnapped child.  Her father was murdered, to try to get her to drop the case, but it just made her more determined.

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Perhaps because of the dead father thing, Batman pays a visit to Josie Mac, and is far more friendly than usual.  They compare information, and Josie shares a psychic vision she had of the child thinking the kidnapper’s face was just like his.

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Half the boy’s face is covered by a birthmark. The kidnapper is Two-Face.

The story continues next issue.

 

 

Detective 755 – Bruce Wayne parties it up, and the Jacobian takes a trip

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Greg Rucka, Shawn Martinborough and Steve Mitchell are back as Commissioner Gordon retires after recovering from being shot, in Detective 754 (April 2001).

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The story is largely narrated by Sasha Bordeaux, as she observes the odd behaviour of Bruce Wayne.  The notion that Wayne is a combination of Cary Grant and Jim Carrey is brilliant.

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In fact, much of this story plays out as light comedy – the terribly awkward silence after Bruce introduces Sasha around at the party, and no one has anything to say.  Nice to see Shotgun Smith there, and Barbara’s presence is a given.

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Sasha notices that, despite Bruce’s behaviour, he is not drinking alcohol, nor has she ever seen him do so.

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Things get a bit more serious when arm armed man bursts in to kill Gordon.  Well, not on this page, which makes it clear he has no chance.

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But amidst the chaos and comedy, Sasha notices something. And Bruce notices something.  And Sasha notices that the lazy playboy, with a hard as rock body, has noticed what she has noticed.  And once again he disappears on her.

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Following him into the men’s room, she delivers a stern lecture to the one occupied cubicle, only to find that Bruce was not inside it – Two-Face was.

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Two-Face takes the podium, as Batman pulls Sasha to safety.  But instead of some deranged attack, it’s Harvey Dent who speaks, giving a testimonial to Jim Gordon as if the years, and the acid scarring, were erased.

An excellent story.  A lot of fun, some good surprises, and Bruce has no idea how close Sasha is to figuring things out.

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Gorfinkel and Panosian bring the Jacobian story towards its conclusion in this chapter.

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The Mahmetchik are bringing the Jacobian and Leelee to their secret temple, on board a flying slave ship thing.

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As they arrive, they face Kobi.  I have a hunch that Kobi is the same boy who was the general a few issues ago. And in this series, hunches are what you go on.

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