Wednesday, January 15, 2014

DETECTIVE COMICS #676 - July 1994


Too Many Ninjas
Credits:  Chuck Dixon (writer), Graham Nolan (penciler), Scott Hanna (inker), John Costanza (letterer), Adrienne Roy (colorist)

Summary:  Bruce is herded by a group of ninjas into the highway, where he’s confronted by another master.  After defeating the master in battle, another appears.  The fight ends prematurely when her chain whip is caught up in a passing semi-truck.  Bruce is disappointed that he didn’t defeat her personally.  In the Batcave, Nightwing meets Harold.  Meanwhile, Jean-Paul continues his search for LeHah.  He finds the body of a gunrunner he believes was killed by LeHah.  A vision from St. Dumas tells Jean-Paul that LeHah didn’t personally kill his father, but instead sent a surrogate.

I Love the ‘90s:  One of the hoods Jean-Paul is chasing is annoyed that his friend now has a “portable phone.”

Total N00B:  I believe this is the first story in all three of the Knightfall trades to actually explain who Harold is.

Review:  It’s hard not read any meta-commentary into that title.  This is the third chapter in a row of Bruce fighting nameless, personality-less, martial arts masters while the ongoing storylines advance at a snail’s pace.  To Dixon and Nolan’s credit, the action in this issue is pretty entertaining, if only because a martial arts duel on a rainy multi-lane highway is kind of unusual for a superhero comic.  And there is a nice moment where Nightwing voices the audience’s frustrations with Bruce for selecting Jean-Paul as the replacement Batman instead of Dick.  “He’s his own man now” was always a copout explanation, and at least there’s one scene in the event where Dick reaffirms that he would’ve taken on the role even if he didn’t want it, simply out of loyalty to Bruce.  The rest of the issue is kind of a disappointment, as a lot of space is spent reiterating established plot points (which I guess was necessary for anyone not following every single Bat-title at the time), and Jean-Paul chews up a few pages beating up generic goons.  The Jean-Paul/LeHah subplot is even more tedious than Bruce fighting martial arts masters every issue, since Jean-Paul remains an unsympathetic character, and LeHah himself is a mystery to anyone who hasn’t read Sword of Azrael.

1 comment:

wwk5d said...

"The fight ends prematurely when her chain whip is caught up in a passing semi-truck."

I'm not sure if that sounds ridiculous or awesome. Or some combination of the two.