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23 Apr 2012

DETECTIVE COMICS #8

By David Lee Andrews   Posted at  07:30   TONY DANIEL

[ BATTY BARGAINS
It is well known that the past can shape the future. It's like dabbling about with a frayed suture. Batman agrees. The Scarecrow has flees. And Catwoman does whatever that suits her. Now Comic book creators Tony (Sally Anne) Daniels and Symon Kudranski know what I am talking about. So too does Publisher: DC Comics in May 2012, as well.

So what’s the STORY morning glory?
This issue of Detective Comics contains a main bat-related feature called 'Scare Tactics'. Plus it also has a back-up feature starring a very sad and moody looking Two-Face.

SCARE TACTICS:
Poor Batman. If he does not follow the Scarecrows demands, this bag-wearing bullying b*stard has threatened to kill someone for no apparent reason what so ever.

So what does the Dark Do-gooder do about it, huh? Comply of course.

For a start, Batman has to catch a fear induced Catwoman whilst she is in the process of stealing some 'anti-fear pills'.

Slap. Done.

Next, he has to find out from her the name of the person who hired her to steal these pills in the first place.

Digger Jones. Done.

And finally, Batman has to go to Digger Jones, and ascertain from him who hired the hirer, so to speak.

Done. But not dusted.

You see, by this stage in Batman's crusade, he decides to play by own rules, and not via the Scarecrows demands. So after he gives him a kick up the ass, Batman tracks down who hired Digger Jones, only to find something very strange indeed.

Eli Strange. Gifted son of Hugo. Who is thwarted by Batman from manufacturing fear drug's for his Dad.

To be continued?

THE BACK-UP FEATURE: Why has Two-Face been shot, and is currently being operated on by some dodgy looking doctor? Well, the answer to this begins three days earlier, when Harvey's old life as a District Attorney comes back to haunt him, when he is told by some numpty called Harden, that the prosecutor has dropped all charges against him.

Maybe? Or maybe not? To be continued after Harvey tortures Harden....   

What is the most memorable SENTENCE OR CONVERSATION spoken in this issue?
I liked that bit when Batman is holding the photo of the young boy up to Eli's face, and he says to him...

'He's here. I know he is. I know... you... you. He's You'.

Not the words within themselves, but rather the emotion coming through the words. Very 'heightened'.

What was the BEST thing about this issue?
The Batman story was a very simple yet well constructed tale to implement as a running narrative. (Phase One) Set-up the premise. (Phase Two) Execute the premise. And (Phase Three) Resolve the tale.

Personally speaking, I know from my own experience as a writer, that sometimes these simple stories's can be very difficult to write at times. Although they may be very straight forward for the reader to read. 

Moreover, where the Two-Face story is concerned, the initial gambit of 'Who shot Two-Face?' is a very nice and striking way to begin his adventure in prose. 

What was the WORST thing about this issue?
I was not that keen on how Tony Daniel's Batman came across like Frank Miller's Batman. Shame really, because over the last couple of issues or so, he has been able to channel his own inner Batman, and not somebody else's. Also, the way that Batman followed Scarecrows orders so easily? Nah! Too pat.

Oh! Plus the Two-Face back-up feature was a mite exposition heavy for an eight page tale. Just a mite though.

What was the most CREATIVE thing about this issue?
STORY: I do like the idea behind Eli Strange, because his character could inadvertently give his father some scope into becoming a much more diverse villain. In addition to this, the angle that Eli is a genius is a nice angle to explore if done with some precedence and relevance (i.e. steeped in truisms).

ART: The stand out for me on this comic book was the art. Tony Daniel's bold and clean pencil work really shone through the Batman section of this issue (especially his Batman splash page). And I have to say that the very atmospheric and stark tone that Symon Kudranski has in his section is particularly captivating to follow as well (mainly the contrast in light and dark).

If you had to CAST TWO CHARACTERS in this comic book, who would they be and why?
ELI STRANGE: Doesn't Jason Biggs look like the son of a master criminal to you? Though I am not too sure if Junior Strange is Jewish or not? Or if he has stuck his cock in a pie either?

DOCTOR STRANGE: Come on! Harold Ramis played Egon Spengler in 'Ghostbusters' for crying out loud! And he is nutty enough to work with Bill Murray! Match made in movie heaven.

If this issue had a MOVIE TAG LINE, what would it be?
Don't Fight Fear With Fear! Fight Fear With Strange. WowwoHoooOOO!

If this issue were a MOVIE, an OBJECT, or a piece of MUSIC, what would that be and why? 
There was an almost Jazz like quality to both tales really. Granted, Batman's tale was more dynamic in tone. But Two-Face's tale had a moody edge to it. Hmm. Dynamic and moody. Sounds like Scott Joplin's Ragtime Piano 'The Entertainer' to me.  




FINAL thoughts...
OK, I have to confess, I was a little bit disappointed with this issue overall. You see, in the last couple of chapters, Tony's writing showed some promise where the personality of his stories were concerned, and I hoped that he would continue the motion from then on in. However, as seen in this story, maybe this will not always be the case.

Sorry Sally Anne.

I just hope that this in mainly due to the fact that this was a 'stop gap' issue, bridging next issues 'Court of Owls' storyline with last issues 'Penguin adventure'.

MARKS out of 10? 8

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