Wednesday, April 3, 2013

SPOILERS: Detective Comics #19

*Note: There are quite a few stories to get through in this issue, so I'm going to try and keep things a bit brief and break it up into sections... and baseball is on, so I kinda want to get back to watching that, Sorry!*

The 900

Somehow, hundreds of Man-Bats have begun to flood Gotham, as Kirk Langstrom and his wife look on, Kirk knowing that this is partly his fault. Elsewhere, Batman fights throughout the city, mostly in the 900 block neighrborhood, an upscale part of Gotham, where the spread of the Man-Bat transformations originated.
Through blood tests acquired from some knocked out Man-Bats, Bruce and Alfred find out that the cause of the outbreak is an airborn virus, that is rapidly spreading through out Gotham. While crazy Arkham inmates like Zsasz are still out, the Man-Bat infestation takes priority, and Bruce heads out again.

While fighting more and more Man-Bats, Alfred suggests he calls the other, something Bruce insists on not doing. The truth is though, he had already attempted to contact both Batgirl and Nightwing. Babs didn't pick up, as she was already fighting off her fair share of Man-Bats, but Dick was already on his way to Chicago on his bike.

Alfred manages to use the 911 records to figure out where the virus originated from, as Bruce finds an apartment with a dead body, impaled with an owl blade inside. Along with the blade, there's a blue substance around the wound, which Bruce believes to be what the virus was originally kept in. Bruce has an idea of who committed the murder, one that gets put to the test pretty quickly, as a Man-Bat Mr. Zsasz takes a swipe at Bruce from behind. The two begin to fight, but Bruce manages to tie up Zsasz's new wings, and pushes him out the window, onto a car below.

Outside, he finds Batwoman waiting for him. Seeing as she isn't on the best of terms with Batman either, she points out the only reason she's there is because she found Langstrom and his wife, claiming to know how to help.

Langstrom explains the whole situation, and asks to see the sample of the virus Bruce has. Somehow, Langstrom figures out that he can reverse the infection by injecting himself, and releasing basically the anti-virus into the air. Yeah, I don't know the science behind it, but it's comics! So whatever. Langstrom turns into the Man-Bat, and having lost most of his humanity, flies off, with his wife crying out to him.

Things begin to get back to normal, and as Zsasz is being turned over to the police, he tells Batman that the "Bird-Man" is waging a war against him, and that his releasing of the virus was the first step. Batman asks just who he means, thinking it's the Penguin, but Zsasz points out that it's the Emperor Penguin. 

Elsewhere, Ogilvy meets with Poison Ivy, calling in the favor she owes him for saving her life.

Birth of a Family

The origin of Man-Bat in The New 52! Here we see how Kirk and his wife met, during Kirk's trials of curing deafness in children, by trying to use bat's echolocation in some sort of gene splicing attempt, something that Francine found very nobel. 

Kirk presented some of his findings to colleagues, but lied about the side effects he had encountered so far, which he claimed to be minor... Where the children he was actually working with got turned into mini Man-Bats.

Now, with the Man-Bat formula stolen, and Kirk the lone Man-Bat left, Francine is left alone... In a move of despair, she brings up to herself the mating habits of bats, who usually seek out others like themselves, even if they are solitary... Then Francine decides to drink a bit of her husband's formula. Uh-oh.

War Council 

Bane returns to the island of his birth, Santa Prisca, to find an ally of his known as The Professor, working with three others who have been dosed with Venom in various ways. Bane tells them to get ready for war, but not against Batman, against the Court of Owls.

When we last saw Bane, he was attempting to make a move on Batman, which at the time, something else of significance, a certain night if you will, was happening. On his way into Gotham, Bane is ambushed by a group of Talons, who take out his soldiers, but are little match for him. He tries his standard back-breaking method, but when that doesn't work, Bane just straight up rips off their heads.

Flash forward to his eventual defeat at the hands of Batman, and while he lays on the beach, beaten, a mysterious man comes up to him, reciting the Court of Owls' nursery rhyme. The mysterious man throws Bane an owl mask, telling him to look upon the face of his true enemy, the mysteriously vanishing. 

Back in the present, once again, Bane rallies his troops, as they begin plans to march on Gotham, and face the Court on their own turf.


Hey, remember Mr. Combustible, that guy Tony Daniel introduced with a lightbulb for a head? Well, he's taking advantage of the Man-Bat situation and goes on a bank heist. Unfortunately, he has to kill one of his goons when he foolishly takes off his gas mask, but who cares about nameless dudes, right?

See, Ogilvy has all those Tony Daniel Penguin allies doing some heists for him, but Mr. Combustible has a bad feeling about it, and meets Penguin in Blackgate. Combustible thinks that once Ogilvy has what he wants, they'll be given a pink slip in a pretty bad manner. So he and Penguin come up with a plan to "convince" the judge to let Penguin go, and the OG. Penguin begins his path back to power.

Through a Blue Lens

Remember that rookie cop who Bullock scared with the Joker's face? Well she and a few other cops meet with one who got exposed to the Man-Bat virus, and is currently in the hospital.

Long story short, a bunch of the cops start to talk shit on Batman, who she defends. They basically call her a party pooper, and ditch her and the wounded cop. Mr. wounded cop then admits to her when they're alone that he's thankful for Batman, having lied when he said he didn't remember any of his time as a Man-Bat. The cop knows that if Batman hadn't stopped him, the blood of an innocent woman and child would have been on his hands.

In the end, both of them feel comfortable knowing that Batman has the backs of good cops like themselves.


The Good:

Man, this issue was jam packed with story. Yeah, it came with an $8 price point, but it also came packed with 60 pages of great story. Layman, who wrote all but the Bane story, really had a wide variety of different stories, one from Batman's perspective, from that of a civilian personally damaged from the events of the issue, one with a bunch of characters who no one has really done anything substantial with up until now, and the other from a cop's point of view. There was a lot of great story to be had here, and the artist all delivered, especially Jason Fabok, who knocked it out of the park, as usual. Love how he drew Batwoman, just want to throw that out there. The Bane story, which was a bit out of place, admittedly, was still really good. James Tynion and Mikel Janin got me excited for Bane's upcoming presence in Talon, as the character's last appearance was a bit underwhelming. From the artistic standpoint, it was cool to see Janin on something outside of Justice League Dark, I'd be interested in seeing him draw some Batman related stuff down the line.

The Bad:

There were a couple of things that just irked me, nothing huge, but worth noting. First, Nightwing's departure. He was on a bike to Chicago in the middle of this Man-Bat outbreak... makes him seem like a huge fucking dick, no pun intended. I think it would have been better to see him like either on a plane, or just getting into Chicago, something where you can't fault him for not turning back immediately. 

Finally, the fact that this was the origin of Man-Bat in the New 52 took me by complete surprise, I would have imagined he was already well established, given the fact Bruce has been fighting Man-Bat ninjas in Inc. Those are even referenced, by saying "yeah, these are sort of alike!" but that's the thing... they're litterally the same thing. Oh well... it took me by surprise, but I've let worse slide, at this point, retcons like this are pretty standard in the New 52, and it's not like Man-Bat needs that rock solid origin along the lines of movie theatre, pearls, gun, parents dead.

The Bottom Line:

At the end of the day, this is just one meaty, jam packed issue, with entertaining stories, all entirely unique to each other. The intertwining plot threads, the use of characters one wouldn't expect much to be done with, and the great art is why I've really been loving this creative team on Detective, and all the extra stories are just frosting on the cake. I'd say with confidence that this issue was worth every dollar, and my only gripe is that DC didn't sack up and say "okay, we'll renumber the series now" especially when the "52" in "New 52" doesn't really mean anything anymore... looking at you, June.


No comments :

Post a Comment