Friday, October 31, 2014

Detective Comics by John Layman issue #18

REQUIEM issues for the Bat-titles last year honored the memory of the fallen Boy Wonder, Damian Wayne. This is Layman and Fabok's contribution to that, and it has little to do with that tragedy. Instead, we focus on Batman doing something productive even while he was in the process of grieving his son which was great, considering we were also back on track with the Penguin vs. Emperor Penguin main arc, or rather about to begin that overdue confrontation.

Cobblepot finally realized what his loyal henchman had done and it rocked his world. I don't think he ever anticipated getting stabbed in the back by someone he had been a father figure to in some way. Since I'm watching the show Gotham as well, I can't help but draw parallels between this and the situation there with the character Fish Mooney whom the show's Cobblepot considered a mentor but whom he also betrayed in order to get a larger share of the power. It would be quite poetic to connect these two events in an alternate universe somewhere. Just a thought.

Now if I have to choose sides, I'm betting my money on Oswald Cobblepot and only because he's a historical Bat-villain and I don't think you can replace him that easily. Sure, Oglivy is pretty impressive for making his decisive move against Cobblepot while he's at his lowest point or when his absence was most guaranteed (being dragged to take part on the Joker's Arkham festivities and all), but I don't understand why he wants to rule and have an empire for himself.

As far as I'm concerned, his life as the all-around servant is convenient enough. But then again, he has shown that he has greater ambitions--does he have the brains to pull it off, though? I'm not entirely convinced he knows what he's doing. I'm sure he had these little schemes throughout the years but I'm quite laxed about his overall presence as a villain in the comics so far. I'm sure this will change (hopefully) and he will begin to show us more teeth. The real measure of a villain's threat for me after all is when he or she can subdue, defeat or outsmart the Dark Knight himself. And Oglivy hasn't really done anything that one-ups Batman...yet.

Speaking of Batman: of all the Requiem issues, this is him in his most focused state as far as his bereavement would allow him. I would like to say that this might be after all that 'five stages of grief' business he had with Tomasi in his title, and even Snyder's Clayface storyline in his title--that's how I decided to contextualize it. In any case, kudos to Layman. He didn't feel the need to make his Batman go through the motions of sadness and despair as we would expect. Instead, he stayed true to what Detective Comics is all about: allowing Batman to showcase his skills as a sleuth which also meant giving him small victories in light of his son's demise as a sort of serviceable consolation for what he had lost.

Nevertheless, the issue wasn't that Batman-centered. This really is about the Penguin vs. Penguin arc, and it's about to get even better after that last page revealed that Oglivy has decided to cast the first die against Batsy that could lead to potentially disastrous results. Oh, who am I kidding. I already read and reviewed issue #19 months ago so I know what it was!

You can read my thoughts on that HERE.


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