Batman: Detective Comics, Volume 1: Faces of Death by Tony S. Daniel

Batman: Detective Comics, Volume 1: Faces of DeathBatman: Detective Comics, Volume 1: Faces of Death by Tony S. Daniel

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ahem.

There are two kinds of people in the world: the ones who believe Batman is the real personality and the ones that believe Batman is the persona.

Ok, the latter camp is something I made up, but it was a cool way to open the review.

Anyway, I belong to the third faction (population: 1) that believes that neither Batman nor Bruce Wayne is the real person, but something in between, a mixed personality that we never get to see.
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Review: Detective Comics, Vol. 6: Icarus (Detective Comics Vol. II #6) by Francis Manapul

Detective Comics, Vol. 6: IcarusDetective Comics, Vol. 6: Icarus by Francis Manapul

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

Icarus is basically where we learn that Drugs are bad, M’kay…

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Honestly, I’m just not a big fan of the Batman fights Drug Dealers stories, so right away this one lost big points with me. And it’s not because I think a crack pipe make you looks more distinguished, or that giving $5 blowjobs behind a dumpster is classy.
It’s just… Well, I was a child during the 80’s, and I was literally saturated with cheesy anti-drug propaganda.
I’m full! Seriously.
No thank you, Nana. I don’t want another helping. Please, for the love of God, don’t put any more on my plate, woman!

But for some reason, it seems like it’s mandated that superheroes fight the evil drug lords every now and then. And who knows? Maybe Manapul is the sacrificial lamb who drew the short straw a few months ago?
*sigh*
Or perhaps he really thought this was a groundbreaking story…

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But.
Unbelievably, once you scrape all of the cheese off of the top, this has a decent Batman story underneath it.
Icarus ain’t what your granny used to get high, kids (so you can stop rummaging around in her medicine cabinet), ’cause this shit is da bomb!
Literally.
Like, your insides will catch on fire, and you’ll explode.

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A woman who wants to help change Gotham is found dead of an overdoes on Bruce Wayne’s front steps. Naturally, he becomes a prime suspect in her death, and Harvey Bullock is determined to bring him down. Of course, he also wants a piece of Batman, and with Gordon behind bars, there’s no one to reign in Bullock’s distrust of the Dark Knight.
Believe it or not, the Harvey/Batman showdown was actually pretty good!

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This is a Bullock-heavy volume, and you kind of get a better peek at the man who was constantly at Gordon’s side for all of these years. Manapul does an excellent job with this character, and I enjoyed reading more about the different aspects of his personality.

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Ok, now let’s talk about the real star of the show.
The art.
It is honestly one of the best things about this volume. Beautiful!

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The colors, the expressions, and even the page layouts were just fantastic. I can’t say enough how much I visually loved the way this was put together.

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There’s an issue at the end called Chaos Theory that ties together random events from the volume, and puts everything in a new light. It was very well done, and centers on Batman helping a young mentally challenged boy who is being abused & neglected by his father. Unbeknownst to Bruce, this ends up being a pivot point for the entire plot.

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In the end, I’d say this is not required reading, but it turned out to be an impressively decent Batman story. I waffled between 3 and 4 stars for quite a while, and I’m leaning closer to 4 the more I think about it.
However, I’m just so biased against the anti-drug stuff that I don’t think I can actually stomach giving a full 4 to anything with that as the underlying plot.

Thanks to NetGalley & the publishers for a digital copy to review.

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Review: Detective Comics Vol. 4 – The Wrath, by John Layman

Batman Detective Comics, Volume 4: The WrathBatman Detective Comics, Volume 4: The Wrath by John Layman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


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I’d give this 3 and a 1/4 stars.

It’s called the Wrath, but that character isn’t really featured for most of the book. This is a very patchy collection of numerous stories.

There’s more about the Man-Bat, Kirk Langstrom, which is confusing, since Vol. 4 of The Dark Knight has a story arc about Abraham Langstrom (Kirk’s father) also Man-Bat! Hmm…turns out even Langstrom’s wife gets in on the act, as She-Man-Bat…though they don’t actually call her that.

Wrath is actually a super rich industrialist who comes back to Gotham and wants to change things for the better…Alfred makes some sly observations about this. Of course he wants to buy Wayne Enterprises, and Bruce doesn’t like him at all…in about 5 seconds, anyone with half a brain knows who he is…yup. It ain’t a spoiler unless you’re legally brain-dead. There’s a showdown, and Batman saves the day, but also lets the GCPD do things, and it repairs some of the bad feelings between the two (AWWW!!! Meh.)

There’s a story about Jane Doe, a psycho who has no skin, and can become anyone (sorta looks like a less weird Red Skull if she were a DC Girl) anyhoo, she’s killing tons of people and there’s a storyline with her and Harvey Bullock (nice to see Harvey finally getting used again!)

We see that Dick and Barbara are still not speaking to Bruce after the events of Death of the Family (though, having read it all, I’m still not entirely sure why…maybe someone would like to walk me through it? I have ideas, but…) though Batwoman shows up, but only to help the Langstroms try and stop all the Man-Bats who have been unleashed in the 900 Block by some bad serum (900 block story coincides with issue 900 of Detective Comics, or what would have been – clever eh?) given to everyone by Zsasz, who was given it by another uber baddy…the Emperor Penguin of Vol. 3…

It’s all to set something else up, and Batman has a showdown with him, which is actually a lot more taxing than the one with Wrath. I feel like Emperor Penguin got ripped off here, with the title going to Wrath…Not cool dude.
Batman gets help in the unlikeliest of places.

There’s a lot of Evil here, mostly from the uber baddies like Emperor Penguin and Wrath, and to some extent with Man-Bat, but he’s like the Curt Connors/Lizard of Gotham…trying to cure something with animals and fucking shit up along the way…sad storyline, but a bit confusing after how things end earlier in the book, and also no mention at all of his father’s actions as Man-Bat in TDK Vol. 4…hmmm…

Anyhoo, John Layman does the best he can, and there’s a bit more explanation of things that need it, and it is in no way bad, but it’s just very herky jerky, all over, and doesn’t flow much at all, it’s just a patchwork of interconnected Bat-Drama.

A decent read, but non-essential. Then there’s a story at the end about Bane, but not by Layman, and I barely read that…There’s also some very cool artwork by the 1000 artist who drew this volume…no joke, like 1000.

It’s good, and I’ll keep reading it, but Scott Snyder is on a whole other plain than everyone else in terms of Batman.


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Review: Detective Comics, Vol. 2: Scare Tactics by Tony S. Daniel, Ed Benes (Illustrator)

Detective Comics, Vol. 2: Scare TacticsDetective Comics, Vol. 2: Scare Tactics by Tony S. Daniel

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Visually, this is nice, and the story didn’t stink…but it’s not going to knock you socks off.

I’m not sure how to classify this one, other than to say that it’s a decent piece of Batman filler.
Nothing about the story pissed me off, and nothing made me go Wow!.
And maybe that’s not entirely Daniel’s fault.
I mean, this title is competing with Snyder’s excellent run on Batman, so most anything is going to seem meh compared to it, right?

There’s a small portion of the Owls crossover, where they attack the Assylum and try to take out Jeremiah Arkham. It involves Black Mask, which in turn, brings the Mad Hatter into the story.
Ehhhhh.
Kudos to Daniel for trying to make Jervis Tetch look like a badass.
It didn’t work.
But I think he should get an I Participated medal for the effort.

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Then there’s another storyline with Mr. Toxic.
Something, something, clones, something, something, evil scientist
And so on.
The moral of the story?
Radiation isn’t something you should play around with!
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There’s a few one-shot issues at the end that don’t suck too badly.
One involves a newbie to the Gotham PD, who has to guard that flap of Joker’s skin overnight.
Another is a flashback to Bruce learning some Mind Over Matter kung fu shit from a grumpy old fart, who apparently has more problems than Bruce.
And then there’s the What Was Alfred Doing, While Bruce Was Kung Fuing? issue.

This is a fairly thick volume, so you’re definitely going to get your money’s worth out of it, if you decide to buy.
Recommended for Hardcore Batfans only.

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