Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Detective Comics [The Black Mirror] by Scott Synder issue #878

This issue and last installment of Hunger City story arc is a definite improvement from the previous issue. Right off the bat, we get an exciting confrontation between Batman and the pirate Tiger Shark who captured him based on the last scene of #877. Now Dick Grayson is hanging on a hook over a killer whale who is eager to bite a chunk of him (well, let's face it, maybe even more than a bite). While this was going on, Dick calmly remembers a memory from the circus about a man named Francis Roy whose gig is to jump from a diving board and into a tank that's filled with water only three feet deep. Dick recalls that Francis told him that it's about judgment. You need to assess the situation before you take the leap. 

Right now, Dick clearly didn't, hence being a whale bait. To make matters worse, he has to listen to bad-guy speeches delivered by Tiger Shark's two henchmen. I really do not like this egoistic pirate who doesn't speak at all and allows his goons to do it for him. He just reeks of self-importance and I can't wait for Batman to kick his ass. But let's not dwell on this scene anymore because this is actually not the thing to zero-in for this issue. It's the overdue meeting between Dick and James Jr. It's been twelve years since that picnic (which I was disappointed not to get a flashback sequence of. I would have loved to see Bruce make a cameo in there). But they did talk about it anyway and James Jr. cracks some really inappropriate jokes and it's making me really uncomfortable because his humor is so dry, and his material is always about him poking fun at his murderous tendencies. I mean, come on! It also doesn't help that James Jr. looks like some gawky nerd with glasses and is quite mild-mannered. There's a modesty there that's suspicious. I really cannot trust this guy.

After that we get a rather...cutesy (?) scene with Dick and Sonia. I don't want to make it sound like I'm actively shipping them because their conversation was not at all that amiable, but do we really have to see Sonia in swimsuit? There's nothing gratuitous about the way she was drawn or anything, but the scenario is about the fact that Dick is not happy about her lying to him and sending him off on a mission when she has ulterior motives to keep him blind-sighted. I suppose he could ignore her soaked, half-naked body when he's not in the mood to notice any of that, but I don't know. It seems to me that given how Snyder spelled out that he might be attracted to her, this kind of scene is not accidental or completely innocent. I really wouldn't be surprised if these two share a private, less professional-like moment in the next issues. And frankly, it wouldn't bother me because I get the sense that Dick believes something is wounded about Sonia--and he might want to repair her wings somehow, like the sweetie he is. But hey, he's Batman so business comes first before any possible, er, entanglements of the passionate kind.

But the real kicker is the last scene. Gosh darn it, I KNEW IT! Dick starts talking about Francis Roy again as the closing monologue.

"It never got old, his act. As a boy, I watched Roy do it dozens, even hundreds of times. I was even watching the day when he got it wrong. The day he misjudged and hit the water just a degree or two off point. He broke his neck, dying instantly."

Now that is one hell of a foreshadowing! It's sinister because it has something to do with James Jr. in the last panels. Overall, Hunger City was not as strong as a story like The Black Mirror (issues #871-873) but it gave us enough thrills. Jock's illustrations of Dick Grayson as Batman gracefully gliding across or diving from the sky are definitely my favorite visuals for this series.


No comments:

Post a Comment