Detective Comics #823 Review

The Revolution has really enjoyed Dini’s first couple of issues of Detective Comics. Dini has delivered some great one-shot issues. We don’t get Kramer’s great art on Detective Comics #823. However, I’m sure that Dini will deliver such an entertaining story that I will enjoy this issue no matter who is handling the art duties. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Paul Dini
Penciler: Joe Benitez
Inker: Victor Llamas

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: This issue starts with Poison Ivy in her cell at Arkham. She suddenly gets attacked by a monster plant. Their fight causes her to get broken out of Arkham and she runs into the woods outside Arkham where the monster plant attacks her again.

We cut to Gotham Police Headquarters. Bullock is watching an ad on TV for the Riddler’s new Private Investigations business. Suddenly, Poison Ivy shows up at the police station asking for help. Batman then arrives and decides to investigate who may be after Poison Ivy. Batman knocks her out with his Bat-Vulcan nerve pinch and takes her back to the Batcave.

Poison Ivy wakes up in a sterile examination tube. Batman tells her that she checks out normal so it isn’t an unbalance in her pheromones causing plants to go crazy and attack her. Batman then decides to go investigate Poison Ivy’s hideout where she was prior to Harvey Dent capturing her and sending her back to Arkham.

We cut to Batman at Poison Ivy’s old hideout. He finds a DVD in her bedroom. We zip back to the Batcave where Batman races back in and yells at Robin to get away from Poison Ivy’s tube. Batman plays the DVD her found in Poison Ivy’s room. It is video footage of her feeding various people to a giant plant that slowly digested them body part by body part. Poison Ivy claims it is nothing more than one of her guilty little pleasures.

Suddenly, the monster plant that attacked Ivy earlier appears in the Batcave. The monster plant reveals itself to be the souls of the people that Ivy fed to her plant. Batman comments that Ivy’s growth serum for the plant that she fed her victims to absorbed the bodies, minds and souls of the victims. And now it has blossomed and wants revenge. The monster plant starts to kick Ivy’s butt. However, Batman activates the Batcave’s plant toxin spray and send the monster plant howling in pain back into the water leading out of the cave.

We cut to later that night where Batman and Robin cannot find any trace of the monster plant. Batman says that since it is a very adaptable creature that it probably isn’t gone forever. Batman figures that Ivy also knows that this monster plant isn’t dead, either. We see Poison Ivy recovering in her hospital room with a terrified look on her face as she looks at the plant in her room. End of issue.

The Good: Detective Comics #823 was another excellent issue. Dini is really impressing me with his work on this title. Once again, Dini serves up a well constructed and nicely paced one-shot issue with a nice mix of action and drama. Dini has an excellent feel for the various characters in the Batman family. I like how he writes Batman, Robin and Poison Ivy. This also helps Dini create some outstanding dialogue and pleasant chemistry between the various characters.

The opening scene with Poison Ivy getting attacked by a monster plant certainly got the issue off on a bang and got my attention. Dini knows the formula to a successful one-shot issue. Get off with a fast start. Slow it down and build up the anticipation and then deliver an exciting ending. That is exactly how Dini constructs Detective Comics #823.

After a quick start, Dini then slows it down at the police station where he gets the players in place including Batman to help track down whoever is after Poison Ivy. I liked the touch of having Bullock watching the ad for The Riddler’s P.I. agency. I really am digging the way that Dini is writing The Riddler. I certainly enjoy his character more in this new role than being a traditional rogue and fighting Batman with various corny schemes. This take on the Riddler is making his character much more fascinating. This scene also had some humorous dialogue especially with regard to Bullock asking Batman if he was Vulcan after Batman nerve pinched Ivy.

The scene with Poison Ivy in the Batcave was well done. The best part is when Batman leaves to go investigate her old hideout and she asks Robin what they do for fun around the Batcave. Robin’s look on his face is priceless.

The scene in the Batcave where Batman confronts Poison Ivy with her dirty deeds and then the monster plant attacks was fantastic. I like how hostile Batman gets toward Poison Ivy. Angry to the point that he is ready to push a button and spray her with the herbicides he has above her tube. Dini’s Batman is just right. Dini writes Batman’s dialogue with a minimal amount of words. Short and tight sentences. Direct and to the point. Dini gives Batman his seething anger, but makes sure that it is always held in check enough to keep Batman from doing anything that would put him on the same level as his villains.

Dini also did a great job developing Poison Ivy’s character in this scene. Up until now, the reader was actually beginning to feel sympathetic toward Poison Ivy. Her pretty exterior and playful humor pulls the reader into a false sense of security. Dini then pulls away her beautiful façade to reveal a woman who is sick, demented and totally despicable. I like how twisted and despicable Dini makes Poison Ivy. Well done.

Dini also does a nice job with Robin in this scene. Dini portrays Robin as a nice bright balance to Batman. Robin also is still a child and while Batman has no problems watching Ivy’s DVD full of gruesome deeds, Robin asks Batman to please turn it off. Nice touch.

The final scene was a perfect ending. Batman disposes of the monster plant, but he knows that it is not permanent. That the monster plant will return at some point. And seeing Poison Ivy terrified of what she once loved the most was some sweet irony. Dini wrapped up this one-shot issue with a satisfying ending.

Benitez delivered some solid artwork. It wasn’t anything incredible and I definitely prefer Kramer’s artwork. However, Benitez did a good job and made this a nice issue to look at.

The Bad: I have no real complaints at all. I do think that DC needs to figure out on an age for Robin so that his appearance in all the various titles is somewhat similar. In Teen Titans, Robin appears to be 18. In Robin, he appears to be about 15. In this issue of Detective Comics, he appears to be about 13. It would be nice if there was some sort of internal consistency within the DCU concerning Robin’s age.

Overall: Normally, I would complain about three one shot issues in a row. As a general rule, I’m not a huge fan of one-shot issues. I’m definitely not a fan of nothing but one-shot issues over a three issue period. However, Dini has done the impossible and made me absolutely love reading nothing but a series of one-shot issues. Dini has crafted such well constructed and well developed one-shot issues that I don’t mind that there is no major story arc or continuing plotlines. Because of this format, Detective Comics is an easy title for a new reader to pick up.