Detective Comics 823

by

cover.jpgStalked

It’s no secret I’ve been a Dini fan-boy since he first burst on the scene, and I’ve been babbling like a giddy schoolgirl over his work in Detective Comics. The plant world is no longer Poison Ivy’s ally, and it is up to Batman to protect her. Is Dini able to pull off a hat trick in Detective Comics #823?

Last we saw Poison Ivy, she had just been captured by Batman and Robin during their triumphant return to Gotham City after being away for an entire year. Locked away in her cell, something seems amiss, when suddenly the wall explodes and a huge plant appears to be strangling her.

IMAGE REMOVED BY DC LEGAL DEPARTMENT

Holy Crap! Tentacle Porn in Batman! Don’t believe me? Check out the layout from a few panels later.

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Okay, so it isn’t Tentacle Porn, but it is pretty darn close.

I usually save my comments on art until the end, but I really love the work done by Joe Benitez (pencils) and Victor Llama (inks), with John Kalisz doing colors this issue. The images pop, and Benitez’s styling, at least to me, make the characters stand out among their surroundings. There is just enough over exaggeration to the anatomy (not just Ivy’s) to remind me of J. Scott Campbell. I like it, but sadly Benitez is just a fill in artist on this issue.

We now return you to the plot summary…

Ivy, knowing she’s in deep fertilizer, seeks help from Gotham’s Finest, who then call the Caped Crusader for assistance.

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Previously, I’ve talked about Dini returning Batman to his roots as a detective, but Dini also has a knack for slipping in great one-liners using great dry wit. This issue is no exception, and you get a laugh without detracting from the story.

Robin is assigned to keep an eye on Ivy back at the Batcave, while Batman does what he does best – sleuthing for clues. And a tip provided by Pam sends the Dark Knight to her last hide out.

While examining the rubble (thanks to a bomb Ivy set off when then good-guy Harvey Dent went to capture her), Batman is taken by Isley’s brilliance through insanity, but knows she is pure danger. Batman’s inner dialogue is reflected in a game of 20 Questions between Ivy and Robin back at the cave. Here Dini shows Tim Drake really is a brilliant teen, blurting out what we’ve known all along.

IMAGE REMOVED BY DC LEGAL DEPARTMENT

Batman returns with a DVD that Poison Ivy recorded showing her slowly torturing victims by throwing them into a man-eating plant. As gruesome as those images are, even more shocking is Poison Ivy’s nonchalant attitude toward her actions. The pretty ones are always crazy…

As Batman and Ivy argue over her actions, the killer plant attacks, and we learn its name is Harvest. Yes, the plant can talk all thanks to a combination of growth serum, mutated plants, and the absorbed bodies and consciousness of her victims. Harvest is out for revenge, but when things are at their darkest, Batman saves the day.

A dose of herbicide, and a long fall into the salt water below, seems to be the end of Harvest, but Batman thinks otherwise. It had the ability to adapt before; it may have done it again.

The issue ends with a touch of irony. Ivy, once the friend of all plant life, now fears anything green knowing it might just be Harvest in a different form, or perhaps word has gotten out to the rest of the plant kingdom and they are all out to get her.

So, how is my giddy fan boy attitude after issue 823? I’ve read complaints that others don’t like the one-shot storylines Dini has been dishing out, stating it will get old after a while. As much as I like the one-shot stories, I think it is about time Dini try a larger story arc. I only say this because this issue seemed a bit rushed and I really wanted more of the Batman/Ivy relationship we saw last year when he tried to save her.

That being said, I trust Dini, and know he will crank out great stories each and every month. Writing superb, art fantastic, but the one-shot argument got me thinking and I can only give this issue 4.5 Stars.

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What did you think of this issue? Discuss it over at the Major Spoilers Forum.