The Archives: Dini’s Detective Part 3 – Spoilers!

Detective Comics #846-850 (****)

And so we come to Dini’s big story. This is the first Batman yarn that took him more than two issues to tell. Points are detracted already. Well, not really, but I do like those done-in-ones. I want Dini to get back to those if you know, he comes back. I really do hope Morrison and Dini return after the “filler” Batman stories. When was the last time the Bat franchise was so awesome? But I digress. Let’s delve into this spoilerific review.

So right off the bat I have to bitch about that RIP tag. This story has nothing to do with RIP. I think Jezebel Jet and the Black Glove are mentioned once or twice in passing, but that’s it. So what does Dini try to accomplish in this story? Flesh out the Batman baddie, Hush. Dini is a master of this. For proof, go watch that 90’s Batman cartoon. Well, the first two issues of this story didn’t impress me at all.

The tale kicks off with business as usual for Batman. He and Catwoman crash some villain’s plan to achieve something or other. That stuff is fine but we’ve seen it done better. We also get inside Hush’s mind a bit. Is Dini adding to Loeb’s character or reinventing him? Probably a little bit of both. Am I the only one who was bugged by Hush’s narrative? That constantly frustrated me throughout the entire story. I realize it’s hard to criticize the writing of someone’s thoughts, but I kind of have to. It’s still Dini. Anyway, Hush also has some kind of creepy hospital operation. Oh, that creepiness will continue in this arc by the way. The first issue ends with Hush quoting “beware the man who can strike from a distance”. Hush has done that before, right?

The second issue is mostly Hush origin stuff. Robin and Nightwing make an appearance as well. Good God Robin is short! He’s like two heads smaller than Batman. What’s up with that, Nguyen? Don’t worry. I’ll criticize the art more later. This second part also features Zatanna and Catwoman, but it’s nothing too impressive. Those characters seem a bit off here, which is odd because Dini usually writes a great Zatanna.

Ah the third issue, my negativity ends! Well, not really, but I do think Batman #848 is where things get better. Hush pops up, fights Catwoman and then stabs her! Cool! Then Batman is tracking this scared kid that was taken by Scarecrow. Did I mention that the Scarecrow hooked the kid up to some Bane venom? So Batman has to beat up this poor little kid. That’s so twisted right? But wait, why was Scarecrow fighting Batman? So he would be distracted while Hush took Selina’s heart! Hush, you sick fuck!

So, at the beginning of the fourth issue, Batman shoves Scarecrow’s head in a toilet and electrocutes him. Why?! Is Dini writing Jack Bauer or something? Or is he just supposed to be badass now that Selina lost her heart. “This shit just got real” basically. Oh and then Dr. Mid-Nite and Mister Terrific show up, why? Just because. Ok, but then Batman infiltrates Hush’s wacky hospital. They fight a little and then stop, why? Just because. Oh no! Bruce has been breathing some crappy gas and Hush’s face is now Bruce Wayne’s. That’s…creepy, but it makes sense. Hush is kind of Bizarro Batman. Not Batzarro, but his opposite. He does bad things with his money instead of good things, that kind of stuff. I think that was Loeb’s touch, but I’m sure Dini will get the credit.

Last issue now and Hush gets his ass kicked by Alfred! Yay! But how did Alfred know it was Hush and not Bruce? Because Batman is awesome. Hush and Bats begin their ultimate showdown! It reaches the cave so we can get fun things like a giant robot Tyrannosaurus rex! Who knew that thing was a robot? Nightwing and Robin show up. Everybody fights, but how does this thing end? Remember in the Incredibles when those capes were bad for the heroes? Well, that’s kind of what happens to Hush. Everything wraps up now. Catwoman is alone, how sad. Bruce has so many women in love with him doesn’t he? And then Catwoman gets her revenge.

So that’s the story, but let me talk about Dustin Nguyen a little bit. I’m not a big fan. I can tell he’s a good artist, but it seems he unnecessarily makes things weird. Look at those covers. Some of them just look stupid. There’s a time when that look helps, but what’s the reason here? There were a lot of impressive visuals. Everything in the Batcave looked cool and his storytelling was fine. Maybe I just have to get used to his style.

So how was this story? Well, hopefully from the stars and the review you can tell I liked it. The fact that it competed with one of the best Batman stories ever didn’t help, but I was still entertained. Sure there were flaws, but in the end, it was fun. That’s what Dini’s Detective is all about.

Oh, and sorry for skipping a few issues.

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