The One Year Later storyline for Batman and Detective Comics has been excellent. James Robinson has this story rocking like a Saturday night here at the Bunker when all the chicas come over to party. Can Robinson keep his streak of great issues going with Batman #652? Let’s check it out.
Writer: James Robinson
Penciler: Don Kramer
Inkers: Michael Blair & Wayne Faucher
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Total Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: The issue starts with Batman, Robin and Bullock investigating the scene of the Ventriloquist’s murder. The bullet wounds appear to be from the same gun that killed Magpie and KGBeast. Batman notices that the Ventriloquist wrote a name of a street with the grease from his spaghetti diner: Norvick Way.
We then shift to the Batcave. Batman is working out on some gymnastic handles while Robin is working the Bat Computer. The only buildings on Norvick Way are two storage facilities. Robin access the surveillance camera fro one of them that shows a meeting between KGBeast, Ventriloquist, Magpie and Harvey Dent. During this scene Bruce is thinking to himself that he has to stay focused, but he can’t stop thinking about his plans for Tim’s future. Bruce thinks to himself that he is responsible for the loss of Tim’s father. Batman then tells Robin to rewind the surveillance tape of the meeting. Bruce freezes and magnifies the shot of the metal sign behind the group of villains. In it is the reflection of Orca.
We then shift to Batman and Robin at Gordon’s office. Gordon tells Batman that Bullock might know something about the connection between all these villains. We then go to Batman and Bullock meeting on the roof of Gotham Police headquarters. Bullock confronts Batman with the fact that Batman still doesn’t like him. Batman says Bullock was a dirty cop and may still be dirty. That Gordon sensed corruption in Gotham at the highest level and sent a thief, Bullock, to catch many thieves. Bullock uncovers graft all the way up to Commissioner Atkins.
Gordon got re-instated and so did Bullock because if his job on the case. Bullock then tells Batman that it was his chance for him to get his job back and to make things right. That he made a mistake and he is not that guy. Bullock asks Batman if he has ever made a mistake.
Bullock brings up why Batman disappeared for a year. If Batman was off finding himself and why he would need to do so. Batman then tells Bullock that the slate is clean between the two of them and that his opinion of Bullock begins from today. Bullock then tells Batman that the villains who have been killed were all hired by the Penguin as high-end muscle. Batman thanks Bullock and then Bullocks tells batman “no, thank you.” They are interrupted by a police officer who tells them that they have found something.
We cut to the end of a sewer line near the sea. There lies Harvey Dent’s gun. Robin says the prints on the gun match Harvey Dent.
We shift to Batman and Robin flying in the Bat-plane. Batman doesn’t want to believe that Harvey Dent is behind these murders since Batman is the one who left Harvey in charge while they were gone. Robin tells Batman to stop blaming himself and to “chill out, Bruce.” Batman thinks that this is the brightness that he needs from Robin. That he needs the light because he needs hope. Batman thinks that he is in fear for Tim, Harvey, Selina, Dick, Alfred, and his city. Suddenly, atman gets a call from Gordon telling him that Killer Moth into a jewelry store. Batman drops Robin off to handle Killer Moth.
We then cut to Batman confronting Harvey Dent. Dent gets mad at Batman that moment he returns to Gotham that he automatically accuses Harvey of a string of murders. That Batman still sees him as a villain. Harvey says a friend wouldn’t want assurances that he didn’t do it. Only a jealous rival would. Harvey says he won’t give Batman any help. That perhaps he is being framed or perhaps he did kill them. Either way, it is for him to know and for Batman to find out.
Harvey says that his new apartment was to mark a new and sane life for him, but that it was just a dream. Harvey then pushes a button under his desk and BOOOM! There is a huge explosion. During this scene, were scenes of Robin kicking butt on the Killer Moth. We then see Batman amid the wreckage of the apartment, but no Harvey. End of issue.
The Good: This was a great issue! Robinson continues to spin an intriguing tale. The more I read, the more I think that Robinson must never leave this title. Robinson has an excellent handle on all of these characters. He writes Batman, Robin, Bullock, and Gordon so well. The dialogue is well done and pulls the reader into the story.
I really like how Robinson is writing Batman. I can’t wait to find out what his plans are for Tim. It is interesting that Batman is now assuming more and more guilt. Guilt for Tim’s father and guilt for Harvey Dent. Bruce may fall even further down before he can ever get back up and come to the light.
I love the interaction between Batman and Robin. It is very well done. Robin trying to get Bruce to relax while Bruce acknowledges how Robin can take care of himself.
The scene of this issue was one between Bullock and Batman. That was just excellent. Absolutely perfect. Bullock was always a sleazy character who was easy to hate. It was cool to see this other side of him. To see a man struggle to do the right thing and to change himself. And Bullock calling Batman out about if he had ever made a mistake or needed to find himself. Very well done.
Don Kramer’s art was very nice. I really like how he draws Batman and Robin. But, the best was Kramer’s new Bat-plane design. That looked wicked!
The Bad: My only complaint is the ending between Batman and Harvey Dent. It was just too murky. The entire scene was too muddled for me. The entire “maybe I did it, maybe I didn’t” routine with Harvey was less than satisfactory. I imagined the scene when Batman confronts Harvey to be a little more interesting. Having said that, it is a small complaint and one that the next issue may help to clear up.