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Pistachio – Monkey – Cashew – and James Gordon Junior. Which is the odd one out? Monkey of course, because the others’ are not encased in a fibrous husk. Intrigued? Then read this instalment, Written by: Scott Snyder; Art by: Francesco Fancavilla; and Published by DC Comics in March 2011.

James Gordon Junior, goes to see his father, Commissioner James Gordon Senior, for a private chat in a rundown dinner, situated in a remote part of town. OK, this may seem like a normal thing to do between a son and a father one dusky Eve, however, James Junior has a chequered history, something that has prompted this confrontation in the first place. James Senior suspects that his son has committed a crime in an aviary, a crime that Junior, in turn, confesses that he did not commit. He then pleads to his Father that he has changed his ways, and then tells him why this is so. James Junior is on medication to temper his violent philology, and needs’ his Fathers help so that he can gain employment at Dr Leslie Thompkins clinic. James Senior is reticent with his reply, and just allows for the evening to drift into the night. Meanwhile, in the second part of this tale, Dick (Batman) Grayson and Tim (Red Robin) Wayne, find the men who committed the aviary crime, and in doing so, Dick relives some of his recent failures.    

Now this is a great story. There was not fight scenes (well, not in the main part) no superfluous splash pages (again, not in the main part), and no needless cameo appearances, just for hell of it (you get the picture by now, right?). The main thrust of this issue is a conversation between Father and Son, this time thoe, the Father is the Commissioner of Police, and his son is a psychopath. The great thing with this is, is that James Junior – as a character – has hardly been touched in the Bat-mythos at all. And in this issue, this ‘neglect’ is utilised to lay down a back-story that will most probably be more fully explained in subsequent issues. In the past, James Junior has only been used a hand full of times: (1) In ‘Batman: Year One’ – James was the bond that sealed Batman’s and Gordon’s friendship at the end of the book. (2) In the ‘Legend of The Dark Knight series’ – James was used, once more, as someone who needed rescuing from an old foe of his Fathers. And (3) In ‘Batman: Night Cries Graphic Novel’ – James was almost made into a punching by his father, to highlight the cycle of child abuse in a family (Gordon Senior was beaten by his Dad). There are quite a few other instances in which James Junior has reared his head, but none, that I don’t think of, that are as memorable as these – plus this issue. Please Snyder and Francavilla, keep up the good work, as this issue has been one of the most atmospherically and compelling stories in your grand run so far. A class act. 

DETECTIVE COMICS #874 DETECTIVE COMICS #874 Reviewed by David Lee Andrews on March 30, 2011 Rating: 5
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