Wednesday, May 1, 2013

SPOILERS: Detective Comics #20

Ignatius Ogilvy is out of the shadows, robbing banks, and straight up taunting Batman to come and find him. So, naturally, Bruce does come and find him, but underestimates him just a tad too much, seeing that Ogilvy has injected himself with a cocktail of Man-Bat serum, some Poison Ivy stuff, and venom, thus kicking Batman's ass.

Earlier that day, Alfred is sitting in on the Penguin's court hearing, where thanks to some "leverage," Penguin gets off the hook, something that when reported back to Bruce, he doesn't take any surprise to. What Alfred does report that is of interest, is ever since the end of the hearing, Penguin was on the phone with someone trying to find a man named Ogilvy. Coincidentally enough, Bruce happens to be interrogating Mr. Mosaic, and decides to ask the low ranking thug about his boss.

Flash forward to the brutal ass beating Bruce is getting at the hands of Ogilvy... yeah, his ass is getting beat. Ogilvy has the speed of a bat, his skin is like bark armor (thanks to some of Poison Ivy's chemicals) and he's got venom increased strength. It doesn't end well for Bruce, and I say that given the fact he's left in a chain-link noose, hanging from a tree, while Ogilvy goes back inside his (Penguin's) house to call the Mayor, giving him an ultimatum to basically hand over Gotham.

Outside, Bruce's noose is broken by a gunshot. Penguin shows up, and in a "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" moment, helps Batman back up, and sends him off to get Ogilvy this time. Bruce approaches his second confrontation with Ogilvy a bit differently. Where once he was fighting a good fight, man against man, since Ogilvy prefers the monster route, Bruce now prefers to fight dirty, using all the tricks in the book, eventually besting Ogilvy with some acid and tasers.

Defeated, Ogilvy laughs off his loss, telling Batman that while he may be down, it doesn't matter. What does matter is that for a short time, he controlled Gotham, he'll forever be part of the history books, something no one can take away. Penguin has some other things to say that involve a fire round coming out of his umbrella, and setting Ogilvy's head on fire. But, Ogilvy doesn't die, and Penguin just tells Batman to get him out of his house.

Later, Penguin has had enough of his attempted spotlight in Gotham, and is returning Martha Wayne's  name to the children's center he stole from under Bruce's nose. Bruce happens to have heard about it, and shows up to the site where he asks Penguin why he's doing it. Penguin decided he doesn't like being a target, so he'll give this one back to Bruce, but'll take whatever else he wants from the shadows.

On top of a rooftop, a lady assassin (see the cover for the next issue) watches Bruce with some familiarity of him, wishing to become reacquainted, but tells herself there's too much killing to do.

In the backup, Ogilvy gets transferred to Blackgate, where he meets "The Boss," a criminal who is that one guy that basically runs the prison. We learn a bit about Ogilvy's backstory, and how his father was a low level criminal, who preached keeping your head low, and good things will happen... Well, that just ends up with him and his wife getting murdered outside of the Monarch theatre, leaving Ogilvy alive. So, Ogilvy, thinking his father's philosophy is shit, came up with a new one, and that was to take what he wanted (which puts some context to his "victory" speech), something he plans to continue in Blackgate. So, a strangled prison boss later, and Ogilvy is calling himself "Emperor Blackgate."


The Good:

So, the first arc is over, and you know what I've loved about the Layman/Fabok run so far? It has just been flat out consistent. From issue #13 to 20, it's just been one enjoyable issue after another, with great art in both the main feature and back-up. Obviously, with that praise, I felt no different about this issue. It wrapped up the arc nicely, and filled us in on even more of Ogilvy's backstory, something we'd been missing. The way Layman built Ogilvy up just felt very organic through this arc, but surprising in a way. After #13, I never would have told you "oh yeah, that henchman is the guy to look out for," so kudos to Layman, he did something that's pretty hard to do, make a henchman interesting.

The Bad:

Round 2 between Bruce and Ogilvy left me wanting a bit more. This issue could have used a few more pages, because after a pretty intense first round, Ogilvy is dealt with in a little under two full pages afterwards. It was a bit anticlimactic in a way, given how badly Bruce got his ass kicked in the first fight. I also thought Ogilvy's parents getting killed outside of the theatre was a little too on the nose. I read it, and just went "eeeeeeeh, I don't like that." Not a deal breaker, but I just don't think it worked, personally.

The Bottom Line:

That awkward moment when you realize you've said everything you'd like to say in the finale, in the "good" section. Well, whatever. The arc was closed out very nicely, with the exception of the rather quick mop up in that second fight. When all is said and done, I knew Jason Fabok was going to kill it on this series, but the question mark was John Layman, who I believe has done a great job with his first crack at Batman. I look forward to reading more and more Detective Comics from these two in the months to come.


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