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Detective Comics #9 is perhaps my favorite issue since the series began. I have loved all the issues that have come out but this issue in particular stands out for me.
It begins with the corruption of a cop by a couple of guys offering either drugs or alcohol to the cop. Their car catches on fire, and two good cops stop them as they are alerted to the escape. Jeremiah Arkham introduces his worldview on Arkham. He thinks it is the safest and best place for his patients and himself, and gives his two cents worth about Blackgate; mainly that it is a terrible place for criminals. He feels he can best rehabilitate them here. He discusses with Officer Cash how he has been targeted by the Court of Owls, and he should move to a more secure location. Arkham disagrees stating Arkham Island cannot be targeted as it is an island (separate from the main city), and it is best for his patients if he remains free. The reader is introduced to examples of his patients such as Clayface and Nocturna (who I am left wanting to know more about since we are not privy to much information about her). Roman Sionis or the first Black Mask is brought back from the dead here in the New 52. He has apparently been suffering from mental problems with his normal side and his Black Mask side. Daniel references his previous Batman run where Arkham became the second Black Mask. However, he seems to have cleaned up his act, and been allowed to practice medicine again. As he speaks with Black Mask about Sionis’ situation, the lights go black, and the talons arrive. As they come in, Batman attacks. Arkham blames Batman for leading them here. Bruce tells him to move quickly as there are several points of escape for the asylum. Arkham thinks about how all are welcome to gain help at the asylum, and he wonders whether he might be able to rehabilitate Batman. Arkham sees his being forced to flee the asylum as if he is fleeing his home, and he feels he must fix the situation quickly on his own. He gives Sionis his mask back, and promises he will give him any comfort possible afterwards. As Batman is being choked, Clayface joins the fight as he is angered greatly by the intrusion of the talons. Just about all the inmates are too as they begin to leave their cells attacking the three talon invaders. As Sionis tries to mind control Batman with the mask, Batman stops him quickly before it affects him anymore. As Batman stops him, he demands the location of Arkham who is locked away in a room. As one of the talons begins to open the door, Batman stops him, and takes the doctor with him. As the police wonder where Arkham is, they notice the Batmobile speed off. As Batman leaves, he speaks with Dick who says he can take Arkham off Bruce’s hands, and Bruce remarks in the finality of how he must speak to Lincoln March, the head of the Blackhawks……
The backup continues Two-Face’s interaction with Sterano, a man who might be able to get Harvey back in the District Attorney’s seat. Sterano says the charges can wiped clean or made worse. If Harvey wants his seat back, he will have to find his old friend Freakshow. However, as he
finishes talking, three mysterious men inform Harvey he has been chosen by their leader.
Tony Daniel keeps churning out great stories, and this is one of the best he has written. Not only does he reference his previous stories, he builds upon them, and creates a fascinating different look at Roman Sionis aka Black Mask. He also gives us another look into Jeremiah Arkham’s head, and we see what happened to him after the arc Daniel did where Arkham becomes the second Black Mask. Not only does he manage a great narrative, his art is just amazing. He churns out some great sequential art that flows well with the structure of the story he wrote.
In the backup, he again manages to create another great tale. I thought the last issue’s backup was good but this keeps it going. He re-introduces Two-Face in a great way, and gives me a resolution I would like to see: Two-Face becoming D.A. I would love to see that happen, and the effects it has on Gotham. However, that may not be the case with this group of mysterious men who interrupt his meeting with Sterano. However, I cannot complain much elsewise as it is good. The art by Szymon Kudranski is awesome. Coming off of Penguin: Pride and Prejudice, he brings his film-noir sensibilities to this book, and it completely captures the tone Daniel seems to be going for along with the type of dark story he is telling.
As this book continues, I cannot see any reason to departit. It is indeed still one of the best books sent out by DC today……
Tomorrow Jones is an interesting looking superhero comic in the works from Arcana. Fun looking stuff well worth a couple bucks invested.