Friday, August 8, 2014

Detective Comics Annual #3

How is there anybody left that isn't just plain fucking sick of Batman?!

Look! I'm so sick of Batman that I forgot to make an Arkham Asylum Advent Calendar joke in the caption for the cover! Fuck you, Batman! Stop taking all the jobs! Let some other heroes have annuals and monthly comic books and movie franchises!

Luckily Batman is in the middle of the Icarus case over in Detective Comics which means this annual should be a stand alone story! I know that goes against DC's "fine tradition of making annuals essential reading," but I think I can make due with that decision.

Also note: I will never let DC off the hook for saying that making annuals essential reading was a fine tradition. More like a fine method of highway robbery.

Dammit! It's tied into the Icarus story? Jerkos!

At least the story isn't numbered, so it's probably just a side tale about how awesome doing Icarus is. Also it seems to star Matches Malone. I wish it was completely a Matches Malone story but I already see Batman on the facing page.

I bet he orders his roast beef "with au jus."

I have a feeling the story wasn't exciting enough to just tell in a linear fashion which is why it's exploded all over the place. First its 6:45 and then it's 4:40 and then it's 6:10 and then it's 5:06! I'm seriously considering ripping out the pages and putting them in the correct order so I don't have to keep all these story elements straight!

Batman is on the hunt for some of The Wrath's company's weapons that were stolen by a crappy little Gotham street gang. But no matter how many bones he breaks or internal organs he bruises, not a single one of them will talk. But one of the neighborhood kids that isn't smart enough to keep his mouth shut has some information to pass along.

I think I trademarked "Batmanarang" at some point during one of my millions of commentaries!

Batman finds out where the guns are and he also finds out that little Aden here wanted the Batmanarang to kill his abusive father! That little shit is trying to frame the Jeezly Crow Batman! The little snitch!

Batman decides a Batmanarang is an inappropriate gift for a snitchy little ratfink bastard. Instead, he decides to kick Aden's father's ass for Aden. Holy shit! That's some gift! DC should offer that birthday package to kids. "Have Batman come to your party and kick the fuckall out of your shitty parent!" Best birthday ever!

Anyway, that's the consequences intended that Matches Malone mentions in that first panel I scanned. See, this Julian guy is Aden's dad. He's also working for The Squid and is in charge of the big deal with the Kings of the Sun. As we've seen at the beginning of the entire Icarus saga, that deal gets completely fucked up. Looks like it's because Batman took out the guy in charge which meant The Squid's slacker brother had to do the deal.

This story takes place before Bruce's friend, the one with the motorcycle riding daughter, overdoses on Icarus on his doorstep. Parts of that story are also being fleshed out in this annual which doesn't make it "essential reading," but it definitely shines a little light on how the story began.

Batman goes back later to see Aden to find he's been kidnapped by The Big Bastard, the guy in charge of the shitheel gang Batman's been hunting. He was hired by The Squid to find Aden's dad because he thinks Aden's dad stole the Kings of the Suns' drugs when in reality, his little brother stole them! So this whole Icarus gang war crap was all because Batman decided to go all parental vigilante on Julian. I guess that's why this issue is called Chaos Theory. I think it also could have been called Rube Goldberg Device! Or Reasons Why Batman Isn't Ultimately In As Much Control as He Believes He's In.

Batman figures Julian isn't the best father and he might not try to save his son, so Batman takes on the responsibility.

This kid's birthday just keeps getting better and better.

Batman saves the kid's ass, gives him a Batmanarang, and drops him off at his new home, Aguila Family Shelter for Women and Children. Too bad the person the place is named after will be dead soon! Probably because her daughter was the last person to call her boyfriend's phone. And that phone was left at the site of the Kings of the Suns' Icarus storage unit. And those drugs were stolen by The Squid's younger brother. And he stole those drugs because Matches Malone beat the shit out of Julian. And now when the Kings investigate who took their fucking drugs, they're going to think Elena Aguila's daughter might know something. And Elena's going to wind up dead and The Squid is going to be in a gang war and Elena's daughter is going to be kidnapped and all hell is going to break loose because Batman just had to beat the shit out of a butterfly in a bathroom. Nice one, Bruce!

Detective Comics Annual #3 Rating: Leave it to Buccellato to walk the fine line between DC's fine tradition of essential reading and the old fine tradition of a stand alone story to make this annual a little bit of both. You don't have to have any idea what's happening in the Icarus story to understand this story. It's a story about Batman helping a kid as he also gets some weapons off the street. But a regular reader of Detective Comics just happens to get a lot more out of the story and can go back to the regular story arc bursting with new background information and a new understanding of why all the shit that's going down is going down. What I thought was going to be a boring little side story was actually a very masterfully told tale which asks some interesting philosophical questions about Batman's activities as a vigilante.

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