1 — may be what matters most, and if that’s the case, Tony Daniel has done his job. Daniel’s may be perhaps the definitive artist of Batman’s new costume, depicting the lines and seams of the armor more distinctly than Greg Capullo on Batman (though Capullo is no slouch either). I’m pleased to see artist Brad Walker back on this title, and his large, in-your-face art is a perfect complement to the book’s Joker chaos. The result is that most of the beginning of this book doesn’t actually matter, and that Harvey’s stated reasons for his cult are nonsense because it’s all actually just the Joker making chaos. That we’re still trading in “emotionally closed off Batman doesn’t support his family” after so many fresh starts have promised otherwise is also annoying in its repetitiveness. Even while brandishing a knife with that freaky, dead-eyed stare, Yugana’s female Joker still has an undeniably creepy-cute appeal. 5: The Big Burn, nine years and a continuity ago, not to mention that he uses elements like the no-face Joker and Lincoln March that stem from even earlier than that. Taken as a whole, however, Superman: The Black Ring has been a great romp through the DC Universe, and notable especially for Paul Cornell’s use of Sandman’s Death, and as a fairly faithful story of the aftermaths of both the Blackest Night even and “New Krypton.” If nothing else, this storyline has made me take notice of Cornell’s writing, and I’m eager for his Reign of Doomsday (awkward ties to this book notwithstanding) and also his Demon Knights and Stormwatch in the new DC Universe.
See our great choice. That was interesting, including the Harvey persona teamed with Batman against Two-Face, though it was hard to see where “Joker War” would tie in. If the tie to the “Joker War” crossover feels like a little bit of a contrivance, interrupting what if anything Tomasi originally had planned for this story, then the madcap energy is still epic and worthy of the “event” Detective has been dragged in to. Martian Manhunter alerts Cyborg, The Flash, Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, and Robin, and they all head up to the Watchtower, except for Batman and Robin, who still need a ride up into space, due to the Slideways teleport system being shut down temporarily. Further, Tomasi seems to go out of his way in Detective: Joker War to show a gentler Batman, polite to bystanders and children, such that Tynion and Tomasi’s depiction doesn’t quite mesh. And this is before a crazy-in-the-best-way-possible multi-faceted pitched battle between Batman, Two-Face Harvey Dent in Jim Gordon’s DC You “Rookie” robot bat-suit(!), a whole mess of Court of Owls Talons(!!), and a Jokerized version of super-Talon (and sometimes Batman’s long-lost brother) Lincoln March(!!!). That said, at the point in which all hell breaks loose and Tomasi pits Lincoln March and his Owls against the robot from Scott Snyder’s Batman Vol.
At the center of Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 8: The Joker War was puzzling, as was Batman’s big apology to his family in Batman: Joker War proper. 5: The Joker War is a story that involves at least five of Batman’s villains. Tomasi’s Two-Face story is a direct sequel to his Batman & Robin Vol. I recognize DC not wanting to break up the flow of the prominent Batman collections, but this is a story that, had it been stuck at the beginning or end of Batman Vol. 1: Their Dark Designs, if not Batman Vol. By creating Two-Face, Joker also forces Batman to kill, cementing his spiritual victory in The Dark Knight. Indeed, things seemed more or less copacetic at the beginning of Dark Designs, with Bruce Wayne planning a(nother) aspirational rebuild of Gotham with only the barest hint of trouble around the edges; that Barbara Gordon seems so angry with him in Batgirl Vol.
Detective Vol. 5 kicks off with the Batman: Pennyworth RIP special, written by Batman’s James Tynion and Tomasi. Batman: Detective Comics Vol. But no one following along at home was going to read Detective: Joker War before Batman: Joker War, and therefore Batman: Joker War lacks a piece it needs that most won’t discover until afterward. That’s all in regards to the first two chapters, which given there’s about nine stories here, suggests Detective: Joker War offers at least a lot to think about. Nolan riffs on the philosophical ideas of social contract and Tucker’s Prisoner’s Dilemma in this scene, the latter of which is a social experiment designed to study whether two opposing sides will trust the other to cooperate in the hope of better outcome for both. Batman — Detective Comics: Faces of Death begins better than it ends. The book ends with a couple of “Joker War tales” by Tomasi and incoming Detective writer Mariko Tamaki; I was glad to see these, though it’s a reminder that so far the only place to find the Joker War Zone special is in the dedicated Joker War Saga collection.
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