By Paul Dini (writer), Dustin Nguyen (pencils), Derek Fridolfs (inks), John Kalisz (colors)
Readers who have been complaining about Grant Morrison’s RIP story arc in Batman have no reason to bitch about Paul Dini’s story in Detective Comics. In the opening pages the story immediately touches on RIP, explaining the general synopsis in bite-sized nuggets for new readers. The rest of the issue covers a fair amount of ground and in a straight forward fashion that surprisingly almost comes off as dull. Maybe I’m just used to Morrison’s cryptic style of story with Batman; I’ll admit I haven’t read much of Paul Dini’s Detective work.
Much like the aforementioned straight forward storytelling style, so is the concept. Hush is back and nothing has changed. He wants Bruce Wayne dead. Dini spends most of this issue putting us in Hush’s mindset, giving us glimpses of his past and how he conspired to kill his own parents. And I’ll be the first to admit that Hush’s twisted logic for wanting Bruce Wayne dead is pretty freaking stupid. But hey, whatever, I’ll go along with the ride (even though I think the character is retarded). Basically, it comes down to this: Hush learns of the Black Glove’s plan to kill Wayne and takes it upon himself to eliminate anyone who seeks to steal that privilege away. Again, twisted logic, but then again, most of Batman’s villains are whack jobs, right?
There’s a lot of fable and proverb-inspired ramblings in this issue thanks to Doctor Aesop. At first, it seems rather clever as Batman and Catwoman try to take in the Doctor’s musings while upping the ante with their own famous quotes (all while fighting him and his brainwashed animals and henchmen). But eventually, things get out of hand, almost to the point of being ridiculous. The story borders on becoming cliche and a self-parody. Thankfully it’s all ended with a gun shot, which I guess is supposed to be somewhat shocking, but had me applauding the villain.
Dustin Nguyen’s art is still wonderful on the eyes, but if you were to ask me what I prefer, Morrison’s mess of a puzzle of Dini’s straight forward silliness, I think I’ll take the former. (Grade: C-)
– J. Montes