Something feels very familiar about DETECTIVE COMICS
#867. Itís not terrrible by any means, but given what weíve come to expect from this title after titanic runs by Paul Dini and Greg Rucka, familiar just doesnít quite demand my $3.99.
I do have to give it up to temporary writer David Hine and artist Scott McDaniel, however, who turn in a staggering 30 pages of story on their own without a backup.
Iíll begin by saying that I have no idea if this Batman is supposed to be Bruce Wayne or Dick Grayson. Heís got three glove fins on the cover, and three glove fins throughout the issue, without the lines on Dickís gloves or Dickís unique belt buckle. So Iím assuming that itís supposed to be a story about Bruce Wayneís Batman.
Which leads me to a hypothesis. I donít think this story was ever intended to appear in DETECTIVE COMICS. This looks and feels and reads and moves like an issue of BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL, so Iím betting that they had this idea lying around for CONFIDENTIAL and asked Hine to write it up and slap it in DETECTIVE as a four-part filler until new writer Scott Snyder comes on board as the titleís new full-time scribe. I donít know that thatís the case. Maybe it isnít. But thatís how it felt to me as I read it.
Now that DC is bringing Terry McGinnis from the BATMAN BEYOND animated series into comics continuity (check out the reviews by BOFís Justin Gonzalez), Hine is using this arc to introduce the Jokerz in their earliest form -- a mob of crazed Gotham citizens who dress up like the Joker and snort Joker juice and cause all kinds of mayhem and havoc.
When an altercation between the Jokerz and the cops spins badly out of control, the cops blame Gordon for letting it go too far while Batman finds out that a Batman impostor is preparing to build his own little mob to fight the fake Joker people.
And somewhere, in Louisville, Kentucky, little John Bierly would rather spend his four dollars on a delicious burger lunch.
Thereís a lot of action in this issue, always drawn with kinetic precision by longtime Batman contributor Scott McDaniel. Hine and McDaniel are certainly earning their paychecks with eight extra pages of story all on their own, but I probably wouldnít have bought it if I werenít reviewing it.
Four bucks is a lot for one comic, and weíre going to have to buy a million Batman titles over the next few months if we want to keep up. For example, we have to buy six issues of THE RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE at $3.99, and at the end, Bruce isnít even going to return. We then have to buy BRUCE WAYNE: THE RETURN, where he actually does return (I hope), which will probably be five bucks. That makes it harder and harder to justify buying stories like this one that are just ďOK.Ē