Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Detective Comics #44 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

Buccellato really wraps up this arc nicely.  In fact, each arc just keeps getting tighter and tighter.  It already makes me excited about the next one.

In the end, this arc was really about re-establishing the Bullock/Montoya partnership.  Renée tells Harvey that she had to leave Gother (and him) to learn what she did in Blüdhaven, and he gets over his anger at her for leaving.  But, he can't have two partners, and it means that Yip has to go.  In truth, Buccellato gives her a better send-off than she deserved.  He had me going for a few pages that Harvey really did kill her, but eventually I figured that he simply rescued her from the burning car and let her slink into the night.  Instead, we learn that she went into the witness-protection program, turning on Stefano Falcone.  He had hired her to provide the seating chart for the circus not because he wanted to kill the VIPs (as everyone thought), but because he wanted to kill the cops attending the rehearsal that had refused to work with him.  It's a solid motive, one made all the clearer when he lets Yip live after he gives her the money, since he wants people that do work with him to know that they'll be rewarded.

I don't really have a problem with his motivation, but I still don't understand Yip's.  She tells Stefano that she worked with him since she realized that all the other cops in Gotham were in his pocket, so she might as well be.  I totally get that, but we don't learn why she immediately called Harvey after she takes the money.  I would buy her feeling enough guilt after a period of time to call, hurriedly confessing to the crime in time for Harvey to save everyone.  Instead, Buccellato essentially lets her have her cake and eat it, too:  she gets the blood money and a clean conscience.  But, if she had qualms about helping Stefano kill a bunch of cops, then why take the money in the first place?  Conversely, if her motivation came from the fact that she didn't care about the GCPD given how corrupt it was, then why feel guilt over a getting a bunch of cops killed?    Buccellato has her on a fine line here, as if she essentially only felt bad that clean cops would get killed so she makes the play to make everyone happy.  I'd rather the type of clear (and dark) motivation that we saw from Captain Watanabe in "Amazing Spider-Man: Spiral."

Motivations aside, her departure clears the deck for Bullock and Montoya to reunite, so good riddance to bad rubbish, I say.  Along the way, Jim is forced to take down Joker's Daughter's Jokerbot, a reminder that sometimes Batman has a lot of competing priorities that we has to tackle.  Jim ends the issue sharing a beer with Harvey on the rooftop, so all's well that ends well.  Just like Layman's run on this title giving us a better set of Batman-focused stories than the main title did, I feel like Buccellato is following the same path, stripping away the mythos that often plagues "Batman" and just telling a good story.  Hopefully he keeps up the good work.

*** (three of five stars)

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