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BATMAN: STREETS OF GOTHAM #13
Author: John Bierly
June 27, 2010
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OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: Hush finally breaks his silence and decides to make life difficult for Batman. What is Tommy Elliot's gameplan? And what will Bruce Wayne's return mean for the man who's been masquerading as Bruce all these months? Also, the final, thrilling installment of the Manhunter co-feature is here! Kate confronts a vicious enemy who has infiltrated her personal life. Everyone she cares about is in danger, and so is her secret identity! Can she protect her loved ones? And when it's all said and done, will she decide to stay in Gotham City or return to the relative peace of Los Angeles?

Starting from the top, I'd like to have Dustin Nguyen's cover for STREETS OF GOTHAM #13 on my wall. Beautiful.

And inside we get more of the same goodness we got last month with the conclusion of "The Carpenter's Tale," in which coveralls-clad Jenna "The Carpenter" Duffy -- if you can still call them "coveralls" when they most certainly do not cover all -- was last seen building sets for the villainous Director's superhero snuff films, only to discover that her own murder had been scheduled as the first screen test.

Writing credits are the same as part one -- Paul Dini provided the story, but the script is by artists Dustin Nguyen (pencils) and Derek Fridolfs (inks). Once again, the artists do Dini proud by proving on every page how much they've learned from telling stories with one of the industry's finest since they all began their late, great run together on DETECTIVE COMICS.

While Jenna attempts to outsmart her employers-turned-captors, Alfred cuts off Tommy "Hush" Elliot's access to the bank accounts of the man he's impersonating -- Bruce Wayne! -- completely.

With a gaggle of Batman's allies from the superhero community keeping their eyes on Tommy at all times, it seems that his attempts to usurp Bruce are all but finished. Or are they? With a sequel to Dini's epic "Heart of Hush" storyline beginning in this title next month, we're sure to be reminded just how sneaky Tommy really is.

Last month's issue had a really cool Damian subplot, but the new Robin doesn't appear in this issue. Dick Grayson's Batman does, however, but only to provide some action (and some humor, too, when he makes the same remark I did last month about how even though the Director fancies himself some kind of evil genius filmmaker, he still does his storyboards in crayon).

That leaves the bulk of the narrative on Jenna's shoulders, and the story is engaging and fun because it fits in so well with the "Dini-Verse" Paul and his team have been building on the streets of Gotham since their first days on DETECTIVE.

And even though Nguyen and Fridolfs deliver a fast, fun script, they don't skimp at all on the art, which is their usual blend of handsome and unique (with the masterful colors of John Kalisz bringing the same atmosphere and warmth that they always do).

In the Manhunter backup, which begins with an absolutely cinematic shot by guest artist Szymon Kudrankski, we get the conclusion of not just this storyline but of the backup itself. Next month it will be replaced with a new Two-Face backup, and I'm going to be really sorry to see these Kate Spence tales go away.

Last month's installment was my favorite episode of the backup yet, and this one delivers a solid ending even though it feels slightly rushed. But writer Marc Andreyko has taken a character in whom I had zero interest and turned her into someone whose adventures I'd love to follow in a monthly book. (And though he's sitting this issue out, let's not forget the massive contribution by artist Jeremy Haun to this storyline.)

I'd also like to see if what's teased in the final panels actually goes anywhere.

As crazy as it feels to spend four bucks on a comic book, I always get my money's worth from STREETS OF GOTHAM. A solid A for this issue. - John Bierly

Indiana native John Bierly started writing for publications when he was 17 and never stopped.
His favorite things in life are family and friends, concerts, burgers, Mountain Dew, and of course...
...THE BATMAN!
You can read his blog at JOHNBIERLY.COM.

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