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Detective Comics #852 [Review]

Reconstruction

Writer: Paul Dini
Penciller: Dustin Nguyen
Inker: Derek Fridolfs
Colors: John Kalisz
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Asst. Editor: Janelle Siegel
Editor: Mike Marts
Cover: Andrew Robinson
Publisher: DC Comics

As far as I can tell, this issue opens shortly after Heart of Hush (and handily spoils said story, which I have not yet read). Thomas Elliot has gone from top of the world to having nothing, thanks to miscalculations in his last attack on Batman/Bruce/Catwoman. This issue follows him from being defeated and suicidal on to several incidents where he is able to successfully impersonate Bruce Wayne. By doing so he begins to reconstruct his power and wealth while regaining confidence in his ability to get revenge. The issue’s end plays a bit in the metatextual realm–I for one was put in mind of Iron Man and how amusing this could be to play on that character–and ends on a nice little moment that I’m sure would mean so much more if I’d read Heart of Hush.

The art on this issue is pretty good. I recall Nguyen’s art from a stint he had on Batman back in ’04 or so; I think I like this current work better than that, though. Nguyen’s art seems to work well with this story, and I have nothing worthwhile to complain about with it.

The story itself works well despite the cliched rags-to-riches bit. Even so, it builds on established continuity and continues to build on the Thomas Elliot character in a believeable way, keeping the character’s story moving forward. The character is being developed in a way that–to make a comparison–feels much more organic and reasonable than what’s been done with Jason Todd. For that I certainly have to give Dini points.

It’s been a couple months now since Batman: RIP wrapped up, and I wish I’d had a clearer map/checklist of what the Bat titles were going to do for these last few months as they’ve been all over the place with fill in stories and whatnot. This is another story that looks to be the same creative team with the story appearing in both Detective and Batman. With a story like this, though…I could handle reading Dini’s stuff in both Bat-books and be quite satisfied.

Story: 8.5/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 8/10

Batman #684 [Review]

Batman: Last Rites – Last Days of Gotham part 2 of 2

Writer: Denny O’Neil
Art: Guillem March
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Assistant Editor: Janelle Siegel
Editor: Mike Marts
Covers: Guillem March & Tony Daniel
Publisher: DC Comics

Nightwing finds himself in need of rescuing, followed by guilt at having been rescued. A conversation with Alfred gets him back into fighting shape, and he heads out to do what he’s gotta do. Meanwhile, the other players in the story are busy–looking over the city, beating heads in (doing so in another’s name), and dealing with the “order” side of things. The expected fight happens, and a number of characters ponder what life’s handed them.

This is a bit of a vague summary. Some stuff in the story feels a bit vague to me–specifically the new characters with ties going back to the Gotham quake. Names did not stand out to me at all, and without going back and re-reading just to look for a name, I don’t recall ’em.

However, I did like this chapter much moreso than the first–not sure what made this so different, unless it just played better having already gotten the foundational stuff outta the way with the Detective Comics chapter of this.

The story plays nicely with continuity–drawing from stuff going back over a decade, while being planted in the midst of current/contemporary continuity, which is a definite strength in my eyes. I’d almost be interested in seeing a longer story by O’Neil, though I don’t think the current continuity’s climate would work well for that.

The art is not bad, though not my ideal choice for a Batman-related story. There’s something about this art that reminds me of the art in Superman right now–though I prefer this to the Superman art.

All in all, a solid issue for a fill-in arc (which if this is not a fill-in, it sure feels like one). If you picked up Detective 851 with the firstd chapter, this is worth nabbing to get the 2nd half of the story. I’m not sure how/where this’ll be collected (if it is) down the line; definitely beats trying to track down a 6-parter. I do wish DC would adopt some system of recounting what’s come before. I also wish they’d quit GLUING these Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe ads in–I wanna rip ’em out, but because of the glue cannot without ripping out actual story pages.

Story: 8/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 7.5/10

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