"Get a Clue"
Writer: Sholly Fisch
Artists: Gordon Purcell(p), Al Nickerson(i), Heroic Age(c)
"A footprint doesn't look like a boot."--The Doctor, Doctor Who--"The Army of Ghosts"
Sholly Fisch in Justice League Unlimited anticipates the intelligence of the reader and sets up "mistakes" that actually prove to be clues in a fairplay mystery. In addition, he comes up with a sublime explanation for the existence of Detective Chimp.
Fisch streamlines the Chimp's origin. According to Fisch, Detective Chimp came from Gorilla City. That is brilliant! We have a city of super-intelligent apes already established in the series. Why not just extend the population to another branch of the primate family tree? Chimpanzees are native to Africa. The gene for hyper intelligence could have evolved in chimps as well as apes.
Detective Chimp's citizenship kicks off the story. Gorilla City has vanished. The disappearance baffles the simian detective. So, he contacts the Justice League which send down their detectives: Batman and the Elongated Man.
Fisch beautifully characterizes Batman and Elongated Man. You may expect a Scooby-Doo writer to have a good handle on the more humorous Ralph Dibney, but he also excels when expressing the behavior of the animated Batman, who though lighter in mien and given more dimension than the DC model, is still serious and grim on Justice League Unlimited. In fact, the Timm Batman is quintessential Batman.
Fisch shows the Dark Knight's lack of patience with Ralph's trademark nose-twitching. He displays Batman's prowess in battle, and he exhibits Batman's humanity at the end of the story, where the Darknight Detective actually treats his fellow Leaguers as colleagues rather than targets to be brought down in the future or idiots in capes and cowls.
Fisch in addition to giving a depth of character to Batman finds utility in Elongated Man's abilities. The plot demands the Elongated Man. Not only does his pliability come in handy. He makes for an amiable contrast to the terse, pragmatic Batman, and his confidence sharply differs from Detective Chimp's uncertainty.
Accompanying Fisch, Gordon Purcell and Al Nickerson easily recreate the look of the series, and they energetically depict a fight between Ralph and Batman that arises naturally from events. The illustration of clues adds to the fairplay mystery, and together the creative team chalks up another spectacular issue of Justice League Unlimited.
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