Thursday, October 11, 2012

Detective Comics #13

This month: No Rob Liefeld. No J.T. Krul. No Tony S. Daniel. Things are looking up!

Apparently Batman justifies his over-the-top violence by participating in monetary offsets.

Except you're doing it wrong, Batman! If you're creating a lot of business for those careers, why do they need monetary help? You should be donating to some sort of health insurance program for people brought to justice by The Batman.

I guess Bruce Wayne's rationale is that a lot of these criminals going in for emergency surgery on their jaws, arms, ribs, legs, spines, skulls, and whatever other bones exist won't have insurance or the ability to pay. Which would make a normal person think, "Why am I putting down and out people in the hospital when they get desperate and commit a crime? Perhaps there is a better way?" But why bother with a better way when you can just assuage your guilt by throwing money at people already making good money? Just think how many people you could have helped with that money! And what about all of the money you've spent on weapons to fight crime? That probably could have been put to better use as well!

Now I just sound like Judas chastising Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar.

One thing definitely hasn't changed with the change in the creative team:

The huge double splash pages!

Batman is on patrol when a sniper in a Japanese demon mask gets him in his sights. He asks for permission to take him out but his controller denies him. The only person they're supposed to be taking out that night is Bruce Wayne. Oh the irony!

The Penguin has ordered the hit on Bruce Wayne because he doesn't want him near the commemoration of the Martha Wayne Wing of the Neville Community Center. I don't know why he doesn't want him there! The wing is being named after his mother! And why does The Penguin need him killed simply to keep him from being there? What are you planning, The Penguin? Are you interested in it because it's "a wing"? Aaaaack ack ack ack ack!

The Penguin is also making plans to keep The Batman busy all night so that he won't interfere. Now Batman is running around Gotham putting out fires (not literal fires! Figurative fires! Like robberies and homicide and arson! Oh, except that last one!) and the Neville Community Center is surrounded by sniper Ghost Dragons who "do not fail." No wonder the sniper wasn't allowed to take a shot at Batman. Besides believing he's bullet proof (he is!), they also don't want him suddenly taking an interest in whatever The Penguin is up to.

The night has barely started and it seems Batman has already figured out that someone is trying to keep him busy.

They don't call him The Dark Knight for nothing! I mean, the World's Greatest Detective!

You know one nickname he doesn't have? The Dark Knight Grammarian.

Batman has also figured out how the mystery person is keeping him busy. All of the robberies he's stopped tonight had the same security system with a flaw that allows the alarm to be triggered remotely. He sends Nightwing off to take care of robberies in a few businesses he knows has the same security system and heads off to attend the Martha Wayne Wing commemoration.

Gotham criminals are stupid. Trying to rob a fictional tale about jewelry.

As Batman nears the Community Center, he notices a sniper on the roof. One last distraction to deal with before he gets to the dedication. But while he's being stalled, The Penguin reveals his plan. He just wants Gotham to love him like they love Bruce Wayne. He's keeping Bruce Wayne away so he can donate some money himself and get the wing named after the Cobblepots. Along with the donation, he also offers up a nice, juicy threat. The Penguin is obviously keeping Batman busy because who wants the Batman showing up to knock out your teeth after you've had Bruce Wayne killed.

And even though Batman figures it all out and Bruce Wayne isn't killed, The Penguin manages to succeed!

It's as if The Penguin just dug up the corpse of Martha Wayne and pissed in her mouth.

Ha ha! Take that, Batman! The Penguin just...well, he sort of...I mean, he...what the fuck. Except for the threat, where's the crime? And maybe the attempted murder of Bruce Wayne. And possibly a bribe although any court would have to allow that it was a donation. Maybe conspiracy by giving out the information for all of the robberies during the night? But getting the wing renamed after his mother instead of yours? I'm pretty sure worse people have done worse things in this shitty town.
I guess Bruce Wayne just doesn't take kindly to being shown up in public. If only he'd made a larger donation! If only he'd listened to Alfred and arrived at the event on time! If only he'd done his detective work quicker! But now he's failed his mother. Poor baby.

The Penguin realizes the night has gone beautifully and there's no reason to have Wayne killed now as it would look a little bit suspicious. So he calls off the hit on Bruce Wayne. Except the Ghost Dragons, like Lobo and Deathstroke and every other mercenary in the comic book world, don't accept failure and don't quit on a job before it's complete. So before The Penguin can gloat directly in Bruce Wayne's face, the leader of the Ghost Dragons breaks in and attacks Bruce Wayne.

That's the cliffhanger part of the comic. I don't know what happens next. The next issue blurb says, "Next: Tangled up in Ivy!" I suspect that's a clue as to a villain Batman might encounter next issue. Perhaps the Floronic Man! He's on my mind because Poison Ivy mentioned Jason Woodrue in Swamp Thing #13. Now the name, "Floronic Man," won't get out of my fucking head.

The back-up story takes place a week before the main story and is about The Penguin's right hand man, Ogilvy, as he and a new recruit steal the codes for the alarm systems in the main story. He's teaching the new recruit how to survive in Gotham City by being smart. Ultimately the new recruit proves to be too smart and Ogilvy kills him because being too smart isn't smart in Gotham City's underworld. The end!

Detective Comics #13 Rating: +1 Ranking. Holy shit! Detective Comics is moving up the charts! It's got a long way to go to make up for how badly Tony Daniel fouled it. But it now has a little less of his stink on it. This may also be the first Detective Comics where the back-up story was actually well done and interesting. And I like how it tied in to The Penguin story and followed his right hand man on a caper. So good work to both writers. I guess John Layman, the man behind Chew, shouldn't have surprised me with a good story. And the artists did their job as well. They just didn't have any particular style that thrilled me. The art worked but didn't stand out.

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