Posts tagged ‘Zsasz’

Detective 865 – how Jeremiah Arkham became Black Mask, and the Question ends

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David Hine and Jeremy Haun conclude the look at Jeremiah Arkham in Detective 865 (July 2010).

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Jeremiah’s three special patients never existed at all.  They were all hallucinations, which is quite staggering, considering the elaborate back stories they were given in earlier tales.  The marrotte, the jester stick that Arkham has been carrying, gets broken, and is revealed to be filled with psychotropic drugs.

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Hugo Strange had convinced Arkham that he needed to understand madness in order to cure it, and suggested he visit the Joker to try to understand him better.  And in walked the fly to the spider.  The Joker gave Arkham the wand, which slowly drove him mad.  He adopted the identity of Black Mask, after Sionis’ death, which gave him the strength and power he had craved.

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After the drugs are washed out of him, he insists that he is fine, he has regained his sanity.

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He gives the code to de-activate the bomb he had planted on the man (from the previous issue), but it explodes anyway.  Was Arkham just too late, or did the code he give activate the bomb?

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He is left in the care of Alyce Synner, the new head of the asylum, and his lover when he was Black Mask.  She sets Zsasz on him, but once again Jeremiah proves his stuff, carving his initials into Zsasz’s eyelids.

Sadly, this is, I think, the final appearance of Jeremiah Arkham before Flashpoint wipes out this reality.  The New 52 restores his sanity and position.

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Greg Rucka and Cully Hamner bring the Question’s series to a close in this issue.

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Renee is determined to take the burning mark, to save Helena, but Helena wants no sacrifices for her.  Essentially, the two women fight over which one gets eternal damnation.

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The Huntress starts the process of removing the mark, but the Question intervenes.  Still, Vandal starts losing the mark, so someone must be gaining it.

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The Huntress and the Question flee.  Helena knows that she does not have the mark, as her face is clear.

Renee refuses to remove her mask.

A strong ending.  But again, I think this is The Huntress’ final appearance before Flashpoint.  The Question returns a few months down the road in Detective Annual 12.

Detective 835 – the Scarecrow escapes

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John Rozum steps in for a 2-part Scarecrow story, beginning in Detective 835 (Oct. 07), with Tom Mandrake art.

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Jonathan Crane is feeling under-appreciated in Arkham.  He has become so reliant on his fear gas that people are considering that he is helpless without it.  He sets out in this story to prove his detractors wrong.

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He displays a skill with hypnosis never seen before, as he convinces his guards that he has turned into a flock of ravens, which terrifies them.  His mask is closer in appearance to that from Batman Begins than it has been before.

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Batman and Robin head to Arkham, and finds not only the guards but also the doctors and inmates in a state of trauma, all caused by listening  to Crane. Poison Ivy cameos, and mention is made of Mr Freeze, and even Zsasz, breaking down.

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The Scarecrow begins a random murder spree, and increases the terror of the citizenry by leaving stuffed Scarecrows all over Gotham.

The story concludes next issue.

 

Detective 816 – Alfred as bait

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Detective 816 (April 2006) concludes the Zsasz story that McCarthy and Chiang began last issue.

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Batman tries to convince Commissioner Akins that Zsasz is too deadly for the police, and he is needed by them.  Akins still has no faith in Batman, and rejects his help – even though a number of cops do get killed by Zsasz.

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And Batman has to deal with angry police, as well as the serial killer.  Still, the bait worked, drawing Zsasz to the hospital to finish Alfred off, and Batman does take him down.

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And the story ends on an up note, as Alfred informs Bruce that he will buy Alfred an expensive Bentley to replace the car he modified.

Detective 815 – Zsasz attacks Alfred

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Shane McCarthy and Cliff Chiang begin a 2-part story, with Zsasz as the villain, in Detective 815 (March 2006).

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Zsasz once again shows himself a formidable and underestimated inmate, as he breaks free and kills his guards before escaping.

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Alfred gets a fair bit of clever banter with Bruce Wayne, as the two of them head off to attend a party – which turns out to be the same location Zsasz heads to, seeking out his next victim.

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Alfred turns out to be that person, attacked by Zsasz more or less at random.  He simply wanted to kill any of the wealthy boors at the function, and Alfred was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  He almost seems more upset to discover that Bruce has modified his classic car, transforming it into another Batmobile, than he does about being stabbed.

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To keep him safe, police have announced that Alfred died in the attack.  But Zsasz is random and unpredictable, and in order to catch him, Batman needs to know where he will be.  So Bruce Wayne goes on the tv and announces that Alfred is alive, and now bait.

The story concludes in the next issue.

 

Detective 796 – Stephanie Brown as Robin, and Onyx shows her stuff

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Stephanie Brown’s dreams have come true in Detective 796 (Sept. 04), as Gabrych, Woods and Massengil relate her adventures as Batman’s partner in crime fighting.

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After Tim Drake quits being Robin, Batman offers the position to Stephanie, who jumps at it.  Oracle accuses Batman of doing this simply to piss off Tim, to which Batman responds by ignoring Oracle.

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This issue pits them against Zsasz, who has broken out of prison and begun another killing spree.  The art does an interesting thing with his vision. Only humans (potential victims) are shown in vibrant colour, everything else is grey.  There is no reason to think this is some sort of super human power, it reflects his psychosis.

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As they search the subway for Zsasz, Stephanie falls into his hands, and needs to be saved by Batman – but evens the scales as she saves Batman from Zsasz later in the fight.

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Batman is not entirely pleased with her actions, finding that she is tending towards wanting to use lethal force.  At the end of the scolding, she asks if he is firing her.  He replies that he is simply teaching her.  But he fires her before the next issue anyway.

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Gabrych also concludes his back-up story of Onyx in this issue, with art by Walker and Nixey.

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Batman and Batgirl stage a fight with Orpheus in Penguin’s Iceberg Lounge.  Onyx shows her stuff, taking down both heroes.  No one is likely to mess with her after that.  Or Orpheus.

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Still, Cassandra Cain hates losing a fight, even a staged one, and hopes for a friendly, but real, match with Onyx one day.

 

Detective 775 – a new life for Sasha Bordeaux, and The Hunt ends

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Greg Rucka’s run on Detective Comics comes to an end with issue 775 (Dec.02), as he joined by Rick Burchett and Jim Royal, bringing Sasha’s storyline to a close.

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Batman has been interfering with Checkmate operations in Gotham ever since hitting a brick wall in his search for Sasha.  Checkmate does not want to get into a war with Batman, he is too vital to the city to take down.  Jessica Midnight is ordered to resolve the situation, and convinces Sasha to meet with him.

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Alfred challenges Bruce on his reasons for not giving up the search.  Bruce claims that Sasha knows too much about them, and needs to find her for his own safety, but Alfred points out that she has not talked in all this time, and is not likely to.  Bruce must have a different reason.

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So they meet.  It does not start well, as Sasha finally gets to vent all the frustration she has felt for her months behind bars.

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But once the anger and suspicion have passed, the truth comes out.

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Still, it’s not a happy ending.  Sasha’s life was destroyed, and she cannot go back to it.  Bruce admits setting her up to find his weaponry, to bring her into his world.  And then to making it all about the costume and the rules, to control her and keep her at a safe distance.  They did love each other, but neither could act on it at the time, and now it’s too late.

Sasha leaves, and Greg Rucka takes her along as he moves to to develop Checkmate, first in The O.M.A.C. Project miniseries.

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The Hunt, by Moore, Hoberg and Gaudiano, also comes to an end in this issue.

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It’s set in Arkham Asylum, as the scary beast man hunts for his latest prey.  Loads of cameos by inmates in this story – the Ventriloquist, Clayface, Calendar Man, Zsasz and Croc.  The creature does not kill his enemy, instead leaving him trussed up, with a note detailing his crimes, for Montoya and Allen to find.

Is this a new vigilante on the scene, or something else?

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The final panel just adds to the mystery.  We see that the beast is a man in a costume, and part of a much larger game.

This is really all a teaser for the Batman: Family miniseries, which begins this month, and reveals the beast to be called Tracker.

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