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DETECTIVE COMICS #869
Author: John Bierly
October 5, 2010
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OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: "Impostors" continues here! Madness and mayhem face off against law and order for control of Gotham City, and not even the Batman is safe! With The Joker Impostor leading the charge of chaos and filling the streets of Gotham with his army of Jokerz, the ranks of the Batman Impostor's army grow thanks to regular citizens choosing sides and taking up arms. But what is Impostor Joker's ultimate goal Ė and what does it have to do with the real Dark Knight and Clown Prince of Crime?

David Hineís tale of impostor Batmen and Jokers at war on the streets of Gotham City has been fun so far, reading like a Batman Confidential tale. This issue isnít on par with its predecessors, however, trading in the action that had been saving the arc for plot stuff thatís just a little too difficult to digest.

Iím sorry, but you donít open a big peopleís fair in Gotham when lots of loonies have been dressing up as heroes and villains and shooting at each other in open gang war for 22 consecutive days. Why get thousands upon thousands of people in the same place just so they can get Joker-juiced? Oh, wait, because that was the nefarious plan behind the fair in the first place. Why would the city -- or Gordon, or Batman -- let this happen?

The reveal of the Batman impostorsí leader happens here, too, and though I didnít see it coming, itís too late in the game and too far out of left field to have any dramatic impact -- or to build the slightest bit of interest -- whatsoever. I like being surprised, but come on. It actually takes something away from the vigilante cops storyline, too.

I still donít know if this is Dick or Bruce. Last issue I thought it was Dick, but now I think itís Bruce, because Barbara Gordon tells Batman that heís met Jokerized pharmaceutical magnate Winslow Heath before, and she of all people would know the difference between Bruce and Dick as Batman. I donít guess it really matters.

Another thing is that the deeper we get into Heathís origin, the more I wonder why they just put him back in charge of his company when he came out of his coma after being Jokerized. Clearly not a healthy man.

Hine and artist Scott McDaniel -- whose kinetic pencils are always welcome in Batman books -- do admirably fill another 30 whopping pages of story, but I think this arc could have been wrapped up an issue sooner as itís starting to lose its steam.

One more issue of this storyline before we get yet another ďnew eraĒ with writer Scott Snyder, artist Jock, and Dick Grayson definitely under the cowl. DETECTIVE is so far away from its recent glory days under Dini & Nguyen and Rucka & Williams that the new regime had better hit the ground running for its life if this book is going to keep earning its legendary title. These fill-in arcs just arenít quite doing the job. - John Bierly

GRADE: C

John Bierly still can't believe he
gets to write for BOF.
Check out JOHNBIERLY.COM to read about the other things he writes about.

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