Wednesday, January 8, 2014

SPOILERS: Detective Comics #27

Oh boy, 96 pages to write up... this'll be fun. Actually, I'm going to blaze through a couple of these, but you should be buying this issue anyways, so no complaining!

The Case of the Chemical Syndicate

This is modern retelling of the original Batman story in Detective Comics #27. Some cooperate corruption, Batman stops it, and maybe the Joker? Who knows! This story is 75 years old... I don't need to write it up. It was cool though.

Old School

Batman and Robin have a wild night where they evolved from the old tropes into more modern comic storytelling, as does the art. It all cumulates into Batman asking himself how many times he has to relive his parents death, how many issues that story has to be told in, how many movies open with it, so on and so on... Then Batman wakes up in a comic shop, surrounded by cosplayers... but is he a cosplayer? WHO KNOWS!?

Better Days

It's Batman's 75th birthday, and Alfred, Dick, Tim, Damian and Barbara have come to wish him well. Their celebration is cut short though, as duty calls. When all his allies leave, Bruce decides to get in on the fun, and dawns the suit once more. Despite his old age and his body telling him to stop, Bruce gets one more night in as Batman. When his allies return for the night, they tell him that there were some reports of Batman through out the city, but Bruce plays coy to them, saying he's far too old for that kind of stuff anymore.


Batman saves James Gordon Jr. and his mother from a car crash, or something... I don't know.

The Sacrifice

The Phantom Strangers shows Batman what his life would have been like if his parents hadn't died in Crime Alley. While Bruce gets the life he dreamed of, a loving wife, a child of his own, and his parents to witness it all, Gotham and the rest of the world suffer. Crime has taken over the city, Ra's al Ghul has control of nearly a fourth of Europe, and would be allies like Dick Grayson are on death row for murder. In the end, Batman realizes the sacrifice of his parents was for the greater good.


Gothtopia! Blah blah blah, life is all good, but Poison Ivy knows something is up. She storms into the streets of Gotham telling people to wake up and see that this world has been poisoned, but Batman and his partner, Catbird, show up to stop her, claiming Ivy to be mad.

After the Ivy incident, Batman and Catbird spend the rest of the day helping out Gotham, saving people from fires, car crashes, etc. They even make enough time to be awarded (along with Bluebelle and Brightbat, who are Batgirl and Batwoman) by Mayor Cobblepot for their service to the city.

Then things get strange... Bullock alerts Batman to a suicide attempt. The would-be jumper has just got engaged, has a great job, and actually won a couple thousand dollars in the lottery recently, yet is threatening to jump. Batman manages to prevent the jump, but the man who he saved manages to grab a police officer's handgun, and does himself off that way instead. 

Something is up in Gotham, and Bruce knows it... mostly because there have been dozens of suicides like this recently. There's no connections to the suicides, and all the toxicology reports come back clean, so both Selina and Alfred tell Bruce to relax, as there's nothing he can do. 

So Bruce decides to relax in the gardens of the manor, until he finds a thorn from Ivy on the back of his neck... and when he looks up, the gardens have turned into a graveyard, causing Bruce to lash out in anger. He returns to the Batcave later, telling Alfred to do an analysis on the thorn, while he goes out on solo patrol.

When the analysis comes in, the world snaps back to reality for Bruce, as he finds out he's been dosed with a cocktail of drugs that makes whoever is suffering from the effects to see the world as they'd like and lash out in anger when anything challenges it. Selina shows up soon after, having followed Batman into Gotham. Bruce tries to get her to realize what's going on, but of course, she lashes out when her reality is challenged, believing Bruce to have gone mad, just like Ivy. Selina manages to call in their allies, all of them, who then attempt to subdue Bruce. Knowing fighting his friends will get him no where, Bruce decides to lose the battle in order to win the war, and takes a dive...

The dive works out in his advantage, but things go from bad to worse, as a drugged up and sedated Bruce is wheeled to Dr. Crane, and his "associates" who aim to "help" Batman... These associates end up being Killer Croc, Mr. Freeze, Pyg and Harley Quinn... OH JOY! 


Bruce wakes up all the sudden from a dream to when he told his father he'd become Batman... but things are very different, the world is very different, and an old man guides him through the Batcave. Who is the oldman? He is Bruce, and Bruce is him. They are both Batman. Weird, I know, but there's always a plan.

The elderly Bruce tells his younger self that they are all Batman, and there have been many. When the first Batman became too old and brittle for the job, he looked into ways into extending himself into the future, so the world would never be with out a Batman, eventually finding a way to clone himself.

The first Batman believed these replicants to be useful for twenty-seven years each, so at year twenty-five, the process begins, as it takes two years to complete. Old Bruce tells the new version of him that he'll be around long enough until the nerves take, at which point, he'll die. Old Bruce then instructs his new version to take everything in the cave and burn it once he's gone. New Bruce asks why he has to burn everything, and his old counterpart tells him that he'll make his own enemies and allies. New Bruce spies a joker card hanging from the ceiling, asking who it belongs to... His older self just simply tells him he'll find out, they all do.

New Bruce is taken back by all of this, and asks his old self what if he doesn't want to be Batman. Old Bruce shows new Bruce the door, telling him he's free to take it, but if he intends to do so, he should do it quickly. Bruce makes a break for the ladder out of the cave, but he's too slow... he hears a call for back up over the radio, and instinctively drops down from the ladder, and approaches the computer as his older self watches on.


The Good:

Oh god, like the 900th issue, there's so many good stories to be had in this issue, Gothtopia is a great story in the making, Twenty Seven was fucking crazy, and Old School had a really unique almost fourth-wall breaking premise. Then you just take a look at the creators involved, and that's just icing on the cake. Great anniversary issue for the Batman franchise, that's for sure.

The Bad:

Francesco Francavilla's story was really short, not really amounting to much other than a seemingly slight nod to The Black Mirror. It sucks if only for the fact that it was so short, and more Francavilla is always a good thing.

The Bottom Line: 

While renumbering titles like Detective and Batman was almost a shock back when it happened, you can't argue with the results found here. This issue is just a great celebration of Batman, where he's been, where he is, and where he'll go, all put together by some of the best in the industry. If cool anniversary style stories wasn't enough, we also get a 27 page debut of the next regular story arc in Gothtopia, which is all sorts of weird and crazy, a fitting end to Layman's run on the title. If you like Batman, you need this book, without a doubt.


1 comment :

  1. What a great issue! The Chemical Syndicate was awesome! And Gothtopia starts with a bang! Layman writes the best Poison Ivy in years. It's about time her character progresses into something more than a gimmicky villain.