Thursday, October 9, 2008

Detective Comics #849 Review

Written by Paul Dini
Art by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs

Detective Comics quietly rolls on in the wake of Grant Morrison's story. The story continues to flush out Hush's character and add depth to Thomas Elliot that a majority of readers felt they were missing when Loeb did Hush. I personality never had a problem with Thomas Elliot in Hush because it was obvious that he was the gunman and the real mystery was in the Riddler. Dini manages to write every Hush story into continuity by revealing what happened in the end of Gotham Knights with the pace maker in Hush's heart. I guess the strongest thing about this whole story is how seamlessly Dini manages to provide motivation for Thomas's anger while tying up all the loose ends in Gotham Knight and adding a nice bow on top by adding characters throughout his run into the story to make all his previous work apply to this story. I enjoyed the stylized art provided by Nguyen as he adds a gritty feeling to the story by drawing everything with stains and a rusty aesthetic. The biggest complaint that the average reader may have is the appearance of the Joker in this issue. He isn't full blown clown at midnight and he shows no signs of the bullet wound or scars on his face. Whether or not that is part of an art style or just part of the story it takes the reader out of it by saying the Joker should be different. The confrontation between Hush and Batman was really engrossing. It started off with a bang with Batman disguised in scrubs jumping Hush in the hallway but it never developed into an action sequence. Hush and Batman begin to talk about the relationship between Batman and Catwoman and as a result they take a walk to where the heart is stored. It was during this sequence that you could see some of the guilt Bruce felt for nearly letting the Joker kill him as he followed Hush blindly into the room where Catwoman's heart is stored. While the idea of stealing a heart is a bit convoluted, it does get worse because Hush used the boy from the previous by placing him with a poison that when combined with the room where the heart is stored resulted in Batman being immobilized. He claims that Bruce got the poison on him when he hugged the boy to calm him down but if that's the case then Hush should be in the same situation since Batman jumped him in the hallway as we know jumping on a person to pound them is almost the same amount of physical contact as a hug (watch an MMA fight or boxing, at one point they hug it out). After that little plot hole occurs we get the exposition where Hush reveals his plan to replace Batman and has already taken his face. The character work that Dini does is impressive because you can understand Hush and his motivations which are quite captivating. On one side we have the kid that wants his parents and looks for that shelter and on the other we have the kid that wants his independence but is too financially dependent on their parent to ever get true freedom. I can understand the argument of Hush also being another villainous Batman. I do enjoy how this story ties into the theme that Morrison established of replacement Batmen as he ties in his run not through R.I.P. directly but thematically. I would some faults are the plot holes I alluded to earlier such as the poison that Batman from the kid doesn't rub off on Hush even though they tangled for quite a bit as well as the appearance of the Joker. Dini still manages to craft a captivating tale that I enjoy. It also features a nice introduction of Batman laying some sweet street justice on Scarecrow which is worth it (street justice always is).

Overall: GET IT

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