We're still dealing with DC books as I take a look at this week's issue of Detective Comics and Batman: The Dark Knight, which are, in my opinion at least, two comics that shouldn't be getting the reboot treatment. ESPECIALLY Detective! I mean come on, Detective has been around for almost 900 issues! Why not just renumber everything BUT Detective and Action Comics? Meh. On to the reviews!
Detective Comics #879:
Summary: Alright, this is actually a twofold story, and neither piece involves any Batman! Weird, no? The main story is about Commissioner Gordon's son James Jr. James Jr. has been working at Leslie Thompkins clinic and from everything Leslie has been telling Gordon, he's been the model volunteer. Anything she asks him to do, he happily does, with her handing over more and more responsibilities every day. Gordon is still unwilling to fully trust James, and is about to voice those concerns when James walks in to the room. Leslie covers for Gordon's lack of trust in front of James, and Gordon leaves. Gordon heads to Barbara Gordon's apartment and hands her one of the pills James was taking to cure him of his psychotic tendencies. Gordon figures if the pills do what they're supposed to(help crazy people feel empathy), and if James blood work comes back showing that he was taking the pills, he'd have to believe that maybe James wasn't crazy anymore. Babs runs the tests and comes to a startling realization... It seems James had reversed the pills, making them remove the empathy from anybody who took them, turning them into psychopaths. Babs tempers this news by telling Gordon that the dosages of the pills were so low that adults wouldn't be affected by them, at which point Gordon remembers that Leslie was sending James to distribute baby formula to the poor, and that the lower dosages of the pills WOULD affect an infant. With that, Gordon rushes off, but before I get more into that, let's move over to the second part of this story. Over in Arkham Asylum, the Joker is being tested by a doctor. Needless to say Joker is strapped up tighter than Hannibal Lecter, and is surrounded by guards. While the doctor is taking Joker's readings, Joker is telling a love story about a married couple. As the story progresses, the doctor realizes that Joker was talking about him and his wife, meaning Joker must have had people shadowing his wife. Enraged by Joker's audacity, the doctor tries to strangle the Clown Prince of Crime, but that turns out to be a BIG mistake, as Joker managed to get some kind of toxin on his skin, which drives the doctor crazy, and allows Joker to make good his escape. This issue ends with the two stories colliding, as Gordon is preparing to hunt down his own deranged son just as Detective Bullock informs him that the Joker had escaped.
Thoughts: Man, Scott Snyder can really tell a good story! This issue had my full attention from beginning to end. I loved the James Jr story, and enjoyed seeing that Commissioner Gordon's detective senses were still going strong, even at his age. It was also nice to see Babs and Gordon working together, something that we really don't see enough of. The Joker story was also pretty good, with Joker doing his thing and slowly getting under the doctor's skin until the doctor just couldn't take it anymore. Yes, Joker is totally insane, but it's nice to see him use his more cerebral side every now and then. I also liked Joker's creepy word balloons, but that's neither here nor there. If I had a complaint here it would be the fact that we didn't get any Dick Grayson Batman appearance. With Dick soon to be stripped of the Bat-mantle, I'd like to see as much of him as Bats as I can before September and the Reboot. But besides that? No complaints here. As a matter of fact, after reading this issue, I think I'm most looking forward to seeing how this series ends out of all of DC's books.
Score: 9 out of 10."Hey Jim, the guy who paralyzed your daughter and killed your wife is on the loose. Are you okay?" What the HELL kind of dumb question is THAT?!
Batman: The Dark Knight #3:
Summary: A possessed looking Ragman is about to murder a bum in Gotham when Etrigan the Demon arrives on the scene and attacks Ragman. Unfortunately for Etrigan, it appears he's lost his standing in Hell, and with it, much of his power. The possessed Ragman manages to escape from Etrigan, and the angry Etrigan kills the bum. Uh-huh... Meanwhile, Batman(Bruce Wayne) is tied up with Killer Croc standing at his side and the Penguin taunting him from a television set. Penguin reveals why he captured and tortured Dawn Golden(she mocked him 'cause he's ugly), before informing Bats that he had 8 seconds before the room he was in exploded. This is obviously news to Killer Croc, who dashes for the door, giving Bats the opportunity to break free of his bonds and leap out of the room in the nick of time. Once out, Bats realizes that there was a strong possibility that Dawn was also being held captive there, and sure enough, he discovers her in the basement surrounded by a bunch of high-powered heat lamps. While Bats is getting her out of there, some girl who stole the Batmobile last issue gets spoken to by Alfred from afar, and she ends up driving the Batmobile to Bats location before Alfred allows her to leave the car. Bats exits the building with Dawn, and while he's a bit surprised to see the Batmobile there, he doesn't look a gift horse in the mouth and places Dawn in before hopping in and driving off. Back in the Penguin's hospital room, we learn that the Penguin was working with a demon, and that the demon was expecting Penguin to open the gates of Hell.
Thoughts: First things first, I didn't get, nor like the whole thing with the girl who tried to steal the Batmobile... I mean this is a Batman comic, wouldn't it make more sense if that was a boy who was trying to steal the Batmobile, ala Jason Todd back in the day? If it would have been a male, they could have ended up not as Robin, since that's Damian's position for the foreseeable future, but some other kind of Batman trainee. With it being a female, that's just not going to happen. Don't believe me? Just look at the way Spoiler was treated when she got the chance to step up and become Robin. For whatever reason, be it editorial(I'm looking at YOU, Didio) or the fans themselves, female characters never really do very well in the main Bat books. Enough about that though. I enjoyed this issue. I don't get how it can end with a “To be continued” since this series is usually like two months late, meaning the next issue would come out after the reboot, which is impossible. Will they somehow manage to get a forth issue of this series out in August to wrap up all the loose ends here? I doubt it, because there's a LOT going on here! I guess David Fitch will just continue the storyline in the rebooted Dark Knight series in September, which really doesn't make a ton of sense... I mean that would mean we'd have the first three parts of this storyline in Dark Knight #1-3, with the forth part taking place in Dark Knight #1... And I thought Marvel had trouble with math!
Score: 8 out of 10.I love the completely random Batman glare at the bottom of this page...