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Winston Churchill once said “People design the buildings – the buildings shape society – and society shapes us, the people” before he took a big puff of his pipe and then danced the Lambada. Well, I think it was the Lambada? Or else it could have been Body-Popping. And do you know you else does Body-Popping too? Writer: Scott Snyder; Artist: Jock; and Publishers: DC Comics, in August 2011. 

Commissioner Jim Gordon just hates Gotham city, and this all because of the actions of one man, and one man only – the Joker. For many years now, the Joker has plagued Gordon’s family repeatedly, and now he is back – fresh from Arkham – ready to strike anew. But who will he strike? Barbra Gordon, Jim’s ex-wife, and does so with the most savage intent – slitting her mouth and poisoning her with his dreaded Joker toxin.

Thankfully, though, Commissioner Gordon manages to prise Barbra from the clutches of death, and takes her to Wayne labs, whom are able to prudently help her recover.

Dick (Batman) Grayson just hates the Joker, he has, ever since he was a kid as Robin. However, now that Dick is Batman, and the Joker has attacked Gordon’s ex-wife, Barbra, this gives him the excuse that he has always needed to vent that hatred toward him. And does he manage to do this? Does Batman catch the Joker and make him pay for his crime? Yes – after a fashion – as he tracks him down with a bit of help from Tim (Red-Robin) Drake and Barbra (Gordon’s niece) Gordon, giving him the opening that he needs to give the Joker a couple of slaps.  

Strangely, though, it is quickly revealed that the Joker was not the person whom attacked Barbra at all, oh no, it was Gordon’s son, James, who now has his eye’s set on Barbra – the other one – Gordon’s niece. 

To be continued...

Ohhhh! The plot thickens in Detective Comics just like custard left to rest in the noonday’s sun, ha! Well, that my boy, is what I call a good story. No! Not just good! An elaborate, captivating, and nourish tale, which makes the benign seem as clean as the driven snow (that means that I like it). OK, fair enough, for anyone who has been reading the previous chapters’ of this comic book series, the revelation at the end of this one does not really come as any big surprise. However, it is in the way in which Snyder and Jock build this story incrementally and atmospherically in the telling, that makes it just so great.

Now what I mean by this; is that from the very first moment you see the scarred remains of Barbra Gordon in the hotel room, there is an inkling that this may not be by the Jokers hand. Nevertheless, this possibility is not even considered until the Batman has the Joker within his grasp, and the Joker says to him ‘It wasn’t me’. Though why is that? Why was the obvious not so obvious until this point in the story? Well, it is simple when you think about it – as it is all to do with a supple distract, reinforce, and deploy, methodology. (1) Detract: Set up a gruesome revelation that points to a known player – the Joker poisoning Barbra. (2) Reinforce: Elaborate on previous scenarios that will justify both the obvious stance and the revelation – the Jokers history with the Gordon’s as well as him figuring out that Dick is not ‘his Batman’. And (3) Deploy: Hit the revelation home with a series of justifying viewpoints – Batman’s, and both the Barbra’s.

It sounds simple when you think about it, huh? But that is not to say that the knowledge required to instigate this type of story, comes from a simple mind. Bravo Snyder and Jock, you have both – yet again – managed to compel me with one of the best comic books out on the racks today, and I am sure that you will let is go out in style. Cheers!


DETECTIVE COMICS #880 DETECTIVE COMICS #880 Reviewed by David Andrews on August 16, 2011 Rating: 5
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