Friday, June 28, 2013


Why We Love Detective Comics


I was going to call this Why We Love Detective Comics: The New 52. But unfortunately, Detective Comics has not been well served by DC's latest reboot. The art's pretty good, and the series got off to a strong - if shocking - start, but the storylines have been a bit drawn out and meandering. And not much happens in each issue because there's three panels per page. And Batman is not much of a detective a lot of the time.

Detective Comics - the comic book from which DC got its name - started in 1937 and ran 881 issues before it was canceled in 2011 and then started up again the following month with a brand new first issue, in which The Joker had his face cut off for some reason. Starting over again with a new #1 seems to me to have been a mistake, but I'm not going to hold that against the new Detective series. My problem with The New 52 version of Detective Comics is that it's not really very good.

However, Detective Comics has been around for a long time and has had its rough patches. In hindsight, these rough patches have provided some of the charm of the venerable series. So that's why - after ignoring the new Detective Comics for a year and a half, I've decided to pick out something that I got a kick out of.

These guys:
They just showed up in Detective Comics #6. (The panel above is from the following issue.) I don't even know all their names. They were at the Penguin's night club, sitting around a table. I guess they are investing in the night club and making a sort of gangland alliance with the Penguin.

The guy who looks like he should be called Light-Bulb Head is Mr. Combustible. The guy with the scarf and the spectacles is known as Hypnotic. The dude in the center in the back is Mr. Toxic. The others? Ya got me. I couldn't find their names mentioned anywhere.

I'm kind of intrigued. They're more like villains from the pulps than comic book villains. But they aren't really breath-taking creations. They remind me of all those one-shot Batman villains from years past. (Like Mr. Camera and The Spinner and The Mirror Man.)

I guess I could describe what's going on in the issue. But I just read it a few days ago and I've forgotten already. I'd have to read it again and the very idea is making me sleepy.

Still. These dudes. (I think they were called "the investors" at some point. Not the best name for a super-villain group.) There's some potential here. I think they've appeared since, alone or in groups. But they haven't made much of an impression as yet.


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