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Batman: Dark Detective #5

Posted: Saturday, July 9, 2005
By: Ray Tate



"Everybody Dance Now"

Writer: Stephen Englehart
Artist: Marshall Rogers(p), Terry Austin(i), Chris Chuckry(c), John Workman(letterer)
Publisher: DC

Now this is more like the good stuff. Shaking off the horrendously boring padding from last issue, Dark Detective returns the reader to the world of eerie, action packed goodness.

The first few pages resolve the cliffhanger. The Joker has kidnaped Silver St. Cloud, but not because of the bat--a refreshing shift in rationale--but because of former boyfriend and gubernatorial rival, Evan. In these scenes, Englehart, Rogers, Austin, Chuckry and Workman all contribute their talents to make the Joker madder than he's been before--or rather, as mad as he was before he became simply murderous. The Joker is so more complicated than that, and this story delves into his complexity.

As Silver and the Joker suggests, Batman is his "perfect foe." Now what does that mean? It means Batman must be as complex as the Joker, and he is in these pages. He uses science and raw detective skills to track down the Scarecrow. Again, the creative team give this old foe a unique and plausible twist to even the odds, but Batman is no mean detective nor super-hero, and the Scarecrow goes down like a bale of hay.

When Batman discovers the Joker has kidnaped Silver in a scene where Evan and Bruce draw their lines in the sand, he immediately goes into motion, and again the creative team surprise you. Two-Face logically should give up the location of the Joker's home--a death trap no doubt inspired by the serial killer H.H. Holmes' abode, but Two-Face's abnormal psychology stands in Batman's way. Yet another twist gives Batman the answer and sets the stage for what I suspect will be a killer denouement. Dark Detective is how Batman is supposed to be.



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