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The ’00s Revisited: Detective Comics #826

detective_comics_0826Slayride

Writer: Paul Dini
Penciller: Don Kramer
Inker: Wayne Faucher
Colorist: John Kalisz
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Cover: Simone Bianchi
Assoc. Editor: Michael Siglain
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: February 2007
Cover Price: $2.99

Hard to believe even this issue was published OVER 12 YEARS AGO, but then, it’s been 8 since the announcement of The New 52, and it’s been a decade longer SINCE Tim Burton’s Batman than IT was from the ’60s series. Time flies. This issue is from a period where I’d largely stepped away from the Bat-books, before I came back for Batman RIP and Battle for the Cowl and such. So though I obviously knew Detective Comics was out there, I was not buying it regularly in 2006/2007. I actually found out about this issue from a post on Facebook with a discussion of "favorite Tim stories," and decided to track it down. Sort of surprisingly, the very first place I looked for it, I found it–for about $4, or "only" $1 more than cover price, and perfectly in line with what would be paid for a contemporary 2019 new comic!

This issue opens on Robin–Tim Drake–speeding away, being chased and shot at after winding up in the middle of rival drug gangs. As his bike is totaled, a minivan pulls up and someone throws the passenger door open, calling to him by name. Not looking a gift-horse in the mouth, Robin leaps in…to be greeted by The Joker! When Tim awakes from the Joker’s gas, he’s bound to his seat, the heat in the vehicle is on, the seat-warmer is on, and the original owners of the vehicle are dead in the back. Tim’s in for a hell-ride with one of those most deadly individuals he’s come up against, as the Joker drives over pedestrians and generally tortures Tim with his inability to DO anything. We get some flashbacks to some "human" moments Tim has with Dick…that also lend context to Tim’s eventually distracting Joker enough to escape. Unfortunately, he’s unable to capture the Joker. Batman appears, and the two leave the scene, knowing this is anything but the end of their old foe.

I don’t know if I’d consider this the greatest Tim story ever–but for reading it as a sole, single issue, completely out of any context of issues surrounding it, and getting a complete story in one issue…this is definitely an excellent issue TO get as a one-shot!

Adding to my enjoyment of this issue was having just watched a couple episodes from early in Batman: The Animated Series. Perhaps that this issue was written by the same Paul Dini that wrote those episodes, this had a certain vibe that fit right in with that…especially for being a complete story told in a short amount of time!

The cover is primarily black-and-white…with only the title logo "Detective Comics" in red. Bianchi is a hit-or-miss artist with me…but for a cover, this works very well! It also helps that the cover is actually RELEVANT to the CONTENTS of the issue–something that seems to all-too-rarely be the case in 2019, where "variants" rule and the cover doesn’t often seem to matter.

The interior art is quite good as well. I would not say I’m familiar with Kramer‘s work by style or name, but I was able to follow the story quite well and "get" what was going on, with no great distractions to yank me out of the story. If the art doesn’t "blow me away" with sheer awesomeness, then I greatly appreciate when–as with this issue–it recedes to the background and simply does its job. BY receding to the background it’s better as it becomes part of the story, the issue, and doesn’t take anything away. That said, this is probably one of the best-looking Jokers I’ve seen, and I WOULD welcome this art for the Joker in more contemporary stories!

Story-wise, the writing is very good, and along with presenting a solid story about Tim as Robin–facing and surviving The Joker–it gets into character moments/downtime with the character, and manages to give us a complete story in a single issue! Nowadays something like this one issue would be stretched to at least 3 issues, if not somehow 6 to be a full graphic novel, if one wants a "complete story." While it might be slightly toned back, this would be an excellent episode of Batman: The Animated Series.

Having thoroughly enjoyed this issue, I’m reminded that I may have read that there was a time with the title where Dini was doing a bunch of done-in-one issues…and I will definitely have to "investigate" that as that’s something I would almost certainly enjoy reading more of!

If you’re a fan of Robin, of Tim Drake, of Joker stories, or just getting a full story in a single issue of a comic, I’d highly recommend this! I consider it to absolutely be "worth" $4 or so…and anything under that is a bargain!

detective_comics_0826_blogtrailer

Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force #1 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
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Story: 3/5
Art: 2.5/5
Overall: 3/5

Green Lantern #10 [Review]

Quick Rating: Good
Title: Revenge of the Green Lanterns, part one

It’s One Year Later, and Green Lantern is definitely back…but with quite a shadow hanging over him; meanwhile, Hal Jordan prepares to be honored for a past deed…

greenlantern010 Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Ivan Reis
Inks: Marc Campos
Colors: Moose Baumann
Letters: Rob Leigh
Assoc. Editor: Michael Siglain
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Cover Art: Simone Bianchi
Publisher: DC Comics

So…awhile back, Hall Jordan lost his city when it was blown up by an alien bent on having revenge on Superman for failing to save his family and driving him away from Earth. Hal couldn’t handle the strain, went nuts, killed a bunch of other GLs in his bid for control of the central power battery on Oa, became Parallax, tried to wipe out time to set things right, died to re-ignite Earth’s sun when it was put out, stepped forward as a volunteer-host for the Spectre during a spiritual crisis, and ultimately split from the Spectre as the real Parallax stood revealed…huh?

You don’t really need to know all that–though it adds a bit of context to the character. What you need to know for this issue is that Hal Jordan–Green Lantern–has apparently had his past exposed to the world, and/or done something that has led to most people of Earth not trusting him–regarding him as little more than some criminal acting without regard for Earthly laws and regulations.

Of course, this issue takes place a year after the events of the currently-unfolding Infinite Crisis so there’s a lot that’s happened that we–as readers–are not yet aware of. Though Green Lantern has been cast in a negative light (and this seems to extend to Jon Stewart as well, though we don’t actually see him in this issue), Hal Jordan is regarded as a hero for things he’s taken part in during the past year.

On the one hand–at the surface–this story seemed rather boring to me. Looking deeper, though, it’s actually a lot better than I wanted to give it credit for. The one-year jump allows for stories to be beyond the whole "hey…you’re back?!?" sort of situations. Hal’s gotten himself very much involved in life again and rebuilt as well as simply built new relationships. He’s fairly established again within the DC Universe.

Apparent flashbacks give some hint as to a fairly major event in Hal’s past (the missing year) that seems rich in character potential. I also like the fact that a story from the Green Lantern Secret Files & Origins 2005 comes into play here–we saw in that story last year that Hal leaves his ring behind when he flies. It added an extra touch of humanity (and/or recklessness) to the character, and provides context for stuff shown in this issue). That’s not to say that you need to have read that to "get" this issue.

The art gives me little to talk about–it worked for me. Things were clear panel-to-panel as to what was going on, all the more in context of the text. The imagery in general is pretty bright–we’re not mired in shadows here. Characters are recognizable and while they may not be clones of versions from other artists, they don’t at all come across as a reinterpretation, which means we have good art, good story, and a good issue.

There are some definite questions that arise from this issue: exactly what does the world know about Hal Jordan? What do they actually know about Green Lantern that has made GL unwelcome outside the US? (As readers, we have plenty of "dirt" that could place him in that position if the info were common knowledge to the residents of the DCU) And so on.

Having seen (and had it as my computer’s desktop for the last few weeks) the cover to a later issue of this title, I’ve a pretty good idea who the villain of this arc is, which takes away from the "shock" that’s apparent at the end of the issue. But then, anything lost there is replaced by an eager "Why?" to the whole thing.
In the end, this is definitely a good issue, and well worth checking out if you haven’t already. It’s also a good jumping-on point, as it’s the first "One Year Later" issue for this title, and in many ways functions as a new # 1–old and new readers alike are at the same point regarding Hal’s past year or so and his new life.

Ratings:

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

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