05 December 2007

Batman: Death and the City (DC, 2007)

This is the second trade collecting Paul Dini's run on Detective Comics (with Stuart Moore filling in with a two parter), collecting issues #827 to #834. I like Dini's run on 'Tec so far. Most of the stories Dini wrote are done-in-one-issue deals which is such a rarity in superhero comics nowadays and are such joys to read. Of course in a series where Batman is more of a detective than a costumed adventurer, the mysteries are quickly solved and that new character introduced on page two is usually the one who did it. With only 22 pages available to tell a story, compression is key and Paul Dini pulls it off.

Not that he doesn't write a multi parter story now and then. The last two issues in the trade feature Batman teaming up with Zatanna when her former stage assistant dies onstage during a performance by magician Ivar Loxias. Ivar was rescued by Batman in a story collected in the first trade of Paul Dini's Batman run, Batman: Detective, but you don't need to get that collection to enjoy this one though it's better if you do, even if just for completeness' sakes.

Other stories include the return of the puppet Scarface, this time with a new Ventriloquist after Arnold Wesker was killed off in the 'One Year Later' storyline. This new Ventriloquist is way hotter looking than Wesker but is no less crazier. Probably even more crazy.

Yup, totally loony.

Stuart Moore pitches in for a couple of issues about a suicide bomber named Vox who wants to destroy Wayne Tower because, y'know, it's there
. Well, actually because Vox wants the foreign occupation of Iraq..er, sorry...Jalib to end and he's gonna blow up Wayne Tower to show he's serious. You know, by now everyone should know that Batman is the de facto guardian of Gotham City, right? So why do they still go there to cause trouble? Why not destroy a building in Boise, Idaho? Better chances of surviving with all your teeth intact over there if you're a costumed villain.

Anyway, I don't read individual issues of comics anymore, as well you know if you ever read my profile, so I don't know if this Jalib terrorist story is explored further in future issues of Detective or the other Batman books. In this trade, Vox goes against Robin and meets up with Batman towards the end only to choose suicide instead of incarceration.

Since Paul Dini write stories that are pretty much self contained, this collection is perfect for the casual reader or the new reader who doesn't know where to start when it comes to Batman. Although as I've stated above, it's better to collect the first Dini Detective trade as well which is still widely available as I write this.

All ages comic?: It's safe enough for the kids though it may be a bit too noir and violent for them. Or am I being patronising?

Favourite story: Kind Of Like Family which features Harley Quinn turning the tables on Scarface and Ventriloquist (yes, they appear twice in this trade collection)

Art chores by Don Kramer and Andy Clarke (pencilers) and Wayne Faucher (inker)


collectededitions said...

I just finished Batman: Detective (review coming soon) and I was super-impressed with Dini. His done-in-one style and his take on Batman is great -- and the Robin/Joker tale he tells at the end is rock solid. Have you read it?

Khairul H. said...

Yes, I have. Never got to reviewing it though. I just went ahead to the second trade here, though I did recommend anyone interested in Death and the City to get the first trade as well.

Khairul H. said...

Forgot to add...the Batman/Zatanna team up in Death and the City is a follow up from the Robin/Joker story from the first Dini trade.

I've just given away a spoiler, haven't I? Aww, just read the darn book. It's a good 'un.