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COMIC REVIEW: DETECTIVE #826

Author: Bill Ramey
Thursday, December 7, 2006

From DC COMICS: "Series writer Paul Dini returns as an unexpected twist of fate places Robin directly in the clutches of Batman's archenemy, the Joker! Alone and incapacitated, Robin must summon every bit of his courage and ingenuity to free himself before the madman ends the Boy Wonder's life!"

You longtime readers likely know that DETECTIVE is my favorite Batman comic book (although this new BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL looks like it may give it a run for itís money). Furthermore, Iíve enjoyed writer Paul Diniís run on the book tremendously and his latest effort in DETECTIVE #826 was not exception.

In fact, #826 -- titled ďSlayrideĒ -- may be his best work on Ďtec to date. And get this: The Batman is barely in it. Frankly, this story could have been in an installment of sister book ROBIN as The Boy/Teen/Dude Wonder is the star of this particular show.

So, y'all shocked that I'm giving a "Robin story" such high marks?

Now on to "The Guest Star." Well Iím sure you already know, but Iíll tell you anyway -- The Joker. I figure weíll be seeing more of The Clown Price of Crime as the next Batman movie, THE DARK KNIGHT approaches (In fact, Iíve heard something special might be on the way!).

Anyway, hereís the dealÖ

Robin is out on his own in Gotham tracking down some lowlife Gotham gun dealers. Things go wrong, and Robin quickly goes from being the chaser to being the chasee. But ďluckily,Ē just when he seems down with no where to go, a good Samaritan comes by and offers Robin a ride. Unfortunately, itís not a good Samaritan behind the wheel, itís a bad one -- The Joker.

The Harlequin of Hate quickly gives Robin a shot of gas which renders him unconscious. When he awakes, he finds himself tied up and gagged. The Joker then proceeds to go on an killing spree throughout Gotham with Robin at his side -- and unable to do anything about it.

Dini writes some great stuff here with The Joker doing all of the talking and Robin doing all the thinking. Of course, we the readers are privy to the latter via his inner dialogue.

So how many people will The Joker take out before Robin is able to stop him? Will The Batman arrive to save his partner? Does The Dark Knight show up at all in this story? You know I wonít spoil it for yíall, so you are going to have to pick this one up and find out for yourself.

As I said, this may be Diniís best work on Ďtec since his run started -- itís certainly my favorite story so far. The ending with The Joker even harkens back to the good old days -- once you read it, youíll know what Iím taking about. And one last note about The Joker here, Dini just nails him in my opinion. They need to get this one in Heath Ledgerís hands ASAP!

The artwork was pretty good again with Don Kramer on pencils and inks by Wayne Faucher. My only criticism is that the look of The Joker, in my eyes at least, tended to change a bit throughout the story.

Overall, another good read and I simply love the fact that these stories in DETECTIVE are each one-shots with a beginning and end and arenít strung out over several issues. Letís keep Ďem that way for a while DC

Next, DETECTIVE #827 and the return of Scarface. On sale January 3, 2007.

"Jett" is the founder and editor-in-chief of BATMAN ON FILM, BATMAN IN COMICS, and ON-FILM.NET.

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