Monday, July 21, 2014

DETECTIVE COMICS #680 - December 1994

A Twice Told Tale
Credits:  Chuck Dixon (writer), Lee Weeks & Graham Nolan (pencilers), Joe Rubinstein (inker), John Costanza (letterer), Adrienne Roy (colorist)

Summary:  Batman deals with the crime wave that’s been fueled by Two-Face’s mass release of prisoners.  Gordon’s refusal to rely on Batman’s help continues to create a rift in his marriage.  Meanwhile, Robin consults Oracle and deduces that Two-Face is hiding out in the Hall of Records.  He leaves Batman a message and investigates.  When Batman arrives, Robin is already held captive with Harvey Kent, with both strapped underneath two thousand pounds of paper.  Batman commandeers a forklift and rescues both of them.  Confident in his abilities, he easily defeats Two-Face.

Irrelevant Continuity:  The opening narration of the issue claims once again (erroneously) that a computer glitch, a typo, is responsible for Two-Face’s release.

Total N00B:  Robin #0 is once again used as the crux of Batman’s insecurities regarding Two-Face, and I’ll point out again that there’s no footnote referencing it in the actual issue, nor is that story reprinted in this collection.

Review:  Six issues of build-up to a Two-Face fight probably wasn’t the best move, given that Two-Face isn’t that intimidating physically and the scheme he’s hatched this time never really comes together.  Two-Face using computers to cause chaos in the city is a decent idea, but the execution has been all over the place.  In this very issue, we’re told that computer glitches have caused dozens of cons to be released early from prison, while at the same time the prisons are being overcrowded.  Which is it, then?  If there are enough freed criminals to cause a crime wave, how could Two-Face also arrange for Blackgate to be overcrowded?  And how long would it really take the authorities to just forget the computers and manually figure out how many prisoners each facility can hold, especially if a large portion of them have already been released early?

Overlooking the villainous scheme, there’s also a problem with Batman’s big catharsis this issue.  Batman’s allegedly overcome his adolescent anxieties regarding Two-Face by deciding not to play by his rules, which apparently means stealing a forklift and just picking his hostages up out of harm’s way.  I understand the idea is that Dick’s learned from his mistakes in Robin #0, but as I recall the events of Robin #0, it’s not as if “grab a forklift and just ignore Two-Face” was really an option for young Dick in that story.  It’s taken Dick all of these years to finally realize that Two-Face is running a crooked game and that he shouldn’t fall for it?  This just doesn’t work.  As I’ve said earlier, the basic ideas behind this storyline aren’t bad at all, but the execution just feels mangled.

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