book review: detective

Batman: Detective is a Paul Dini book about Batman doing detectivey kinds of things instead of just punchy kinds of things. At this book’s point in continuity, the Riddler has reformed and is trying to be a media-friendly publicly private detective solving crimes, which is actually a pretty cool story. There’s a story about the Penguin opening his new nightclub and realizing the legal theft through merchandising was crazy lucrative. The book also has a Doctor Phosphorus story that hinges on baking soda, which wasn’t awesome, and I wasn’t a huge fan of the Poison Ivy story. But man oh man there’s a Joker story that’s just amazing.

Robin (version: Tim Drake) is chasing down some criminals and then accidentally gets kidnapped by the Joker who proceeds to go on a killing spree with the boy wonder tied up in the front seat. Robin is being resourceful and gets out of it okay, but that’s not the main point of the story. Dini writes the Joker as teetering on that line of violence and terrible humour and ultimate not-giving-a-fuckness the best I’ve seen. Yes, that’s right; I think that might have been the best Joker story I’ve read.

book review: batwoman elegy

Batwoman: Elegy is a comic giving us the origin and backstory of Batwoman. This is before the whole New 52 thing so I don’t know how much has changed since. Greg Rucka writes the story and it’s fine, but not excellent like his Gotham Central stuff was. J.H. Williams III used a bunch of interesting page layouts throughout the book that made the fights seem less by-the-numbers but a little more difficult to follow, as the tradeoff usually goes.

The story is about a cult of crime that had already tried to kill Batwoman and now they’ve got a new leader. Batwoman fights her and we learn about her background. She and Renee Montoya had a past relationship (neither of them in costume). She’s got a good backstory and reason to be a crimefighter, and the dynamic with her father who helps her is pretty good too. It was all pretty good superhero stuff, nothing spectacular.