This issue of Detective Comics emphasizes Batman's resourcefulness. Trapped in a cul-de-sac against the Dollmaker and his men, Batman uses whatever he can to escape. Writer/Artist Tony S. Daniel depicts a Batman unafraid to use gadgetry. He fires knockout gas from his gloves. He delivers brute force and skilled blows, and for his finale, he executes a beautiful gymnastic dismount through a window.
The twist in Daniel's action plot is that Batman takes one of the Dollmaker's flunkies with him. The way Batman ignores the need to remove the pliable henchman exhibits a focused Dark Knight. The instinct of anybody else would be to extricate him first before going through the window, but Batman is a master of his own mind, and that makes all the difference, not to mention a très cool moment.
Since the remora attached itself, Batman decides to exploit him. He carts his rag doll to an abandoned steel plant, demonstrating his "matchless knowledge of the city" and beats the tar out of him in order to discover James Gordon's whereabouts.
The figure left in Batman's arms during the cliffhanger was not his old friend but a dead simulacrum constructed from the flesh of the Dollmaker's many victims. Dollmaker himself turns out to be the son of a composite: part infamous Ed Gein, and the lest well-known Robert Hanson who allegedly hunted women on his compound like Count Zaroff in The World's Most Dangerous Game.
A Chilling Moment
The Dollmaker's parentage isn't Daniel's only nod to realism. Amongst the grue, a child suffers from Stockholm's Syndrome, and in a kind of inside-out homage to City of Lost Children, Olivia leads the Batman into a trap that explains the Joker's rationale for allowing the Dollmaker to cut off his face.
Ray Tate's first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, "Spider Without a Web," published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups, where he reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he's young at heart. Of course, we all know better.