DETECTIVE COMICS #4

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[ I NEED TO DO MY XMAS SHOPPING
Now I find Jim Gordon a very nice chap. Even when he is encased in a trap. But this won’t be for long, because he has to go to Hong Kong, to buy a Christmas gift that is partially cr*p. Want to know what the hell I am going on about? If so, then read this comic book Written and Drawn by Tony Daniel; Inked by Sandu Florea, and Published by DC Comics in January 2012.

So what’s the story morning glory?
After a quick flashback relating to Batman’s interrogation of a known snitch, called Raju, in this chapter entitled ‘The Main Event’, we are presented with two intertwining dilemmas, and two troublesome questions.

Batman’s dilemma – Unfortunately, the caped crusade is in a very bad place at the moment. The Dollmaker has captured him – he is fighting two pseudo-jokers dangling from strings – and on top of that, he is going to be sold to the Penguins henchmen by his jailers.

No – I do not think so – he’s Batman.

Gordon’s dilemma – Like his caped ally, Commissioner James Gordon is in a very bad place as well. Because not only has he been captured by the Dollmaker as well, but in addition to this, the child he is was attempting to save, Olivia, is acting strangely around him, plus, one of the Dollmakers henchmen is going to turn him into a kebab.

Thankfully, though, due to the actions of Batman and Olivia – this is not something that transpires.

Now to the questions: (1) What happens to the Dollmaker after Batman blows up his domain, and he is then taken away by some crooked cops in a helicopter? (2) Why is Olivia taken to Arkham Asylum once she is saved from the Dollmaker? Held only a few feet away from the Jokers skin, which is being displayed in a glass case.

What is the most memorable sentence spoken in this issue?
OK, I know that this comment was not meant to be funny in any way shape or form, but I found it amusing when Dollmaker said to Raju about Batman “Your client can do what he pleases. Just so long as the body is returned to me within twenty-four hours – but within one hour after his death. I am very particular about my preservations methods”.

Well, it is nice to see someone taking pride in their work.

Was the story any good?
Now this is a difficult question to answer really – because I would say that this was both a good and a bad comic book.

On the plus side, it did tell a story, and managed to conclude an intertwining tale of two unequal proportions. Moreover, this story was presented in a more confident and dynamic manner also.

While, on the negative side, like most of Tony Daniels work recently, the overall structure of this tale was very unfocused by in large, and I did not really see that much personality come through in the characters – a mite bland really.

Was the art any good?
Yes – no problem with the art on this issue at all. In fact, I would say that Tony’s artwork has improved in this issue – because his character do come across as being more well defined, and the inking, by Sandu Florea, does synchronise very nicely.

Though, if I did have a slight nag, it would be that Jim Gordon is starting to look like a gnome.

What is the best thing about this issue?
Personally speaking, I liked Jim’s Gordon’s inclusion into this story. You see, I found that his presence did give the style of this issue a more ‘Year One’ feel to it, and I do want to get to know the new Jim DCnU.

Also, I did like how this concluding part ended somewhat ambiguously – as if something is coming up next upon the horizon.

What is the worst thing about this issue?
The beginning was cr*p. Firstly, the cliffhanger presented at the end of the last issue, did not flow into this one. Secondly, the introduction of Raju did not affect this tale at all – except to say that he works for the Penguin. And finally, this issue began with a ‘What the f*ck?’, and not a...BANG!

If you could sum up this issue in a phrase or saying, what would that phrase or saying be?
Simply put, a sound effect which sums up this issue quite nicely, is – ‘Huh?’.

Well, due to the ambiguous nature of the conclusion, and the somewhat lacklustre execution of the tale, I just feel that this ‘noise’ is appropriate somehow, don’t you?

If this issue were a movie, an object, or a piece of music, what would that be and why? 
Rhubarb – this concluding part of the story reminds me of rhubarb. It’s an acquired taste, it works well if used in conjunction with other ingredients, and its colour is both bland and bold at the same time. 




What do you think would have made this issue better than it was?
Now I do not want to sound cruel like some of the other Bat-fan on the message boards, and say that this title needs a new writer. Still, I do have to admit, this comic book does lack a certain personality overall.

If Tony could work more on his characterizations as well as his plot, then I am sure that this issue – and series – could be a lot better.  

Final thoughts...
Overall, I found this initial story arc a ‘finding your footings’ type tale. It had a very shaky start, and from then on in, it just about managed to walk the plank and jump into the water.

Splash!

Hopefully, the next arc will not be as wet as this one was.

Marks out of 10? 7.5