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This volume reprints issues #821-826 of Detective Comics, from 2006. The stories are stand alone, though there is a common theme of showcasing the Batman’s detective skills, and the Riddler, in his new “consulting detective” persona, does appear in a couple. These are entertaining stories, unburdened by Cosmic Events or mind-bending conspiracies, just an unassuming, entertaining read with good scripting and artwork.


Detective Comics #821: “The Beautiful People” – There is a new kidnapping ring in town, targeting wealthy members of Gotham society:
Gordon: “Do you have any connections in that part of town?”
Batman: “A couple.”
Bruce pays a visit to one of his clubs, where he spots a few clues, and a likely suspect, who leads the Batman to the lair of Façade, the brains behind the scheme. The reader, naturally, has spotted the wrong clue and is surprised at the outcome…

Detective Comics #822: “E. Nigma, Consulting Detective” – The Riddler, following his coma, has been reborn as a new man, and taken up the role of Consulting Detective, after being bought out of Arkham, to investigate the murder of a wealthy socialite known to Bruce Wayne, the last man to be seen her before her death… The Riddler quickly clears Bruce, of course, and Batman soon crosses paths with the Riddler on the investigation, and are soon teamed up… “Nice car. First time I’ve been inside it conscious.” “Don’t touch anything”
The Riddler soon solves the case, while Batman digs a little deeper…

Detective Comics #823: “Stalked” – Poison Ivy, in Arkham, is attacked by a killer plant; she flees to the Gotham police for protection. Batman takes her to the Cave for safekeeping in a booby-trapped cell, while he investigates, leaving Robin to watch over her: “So what do you boys do around here for fun?”
Batman soon unearths the secret and returns to the cave, to be followed by the killer plant…

Detective Comics #824: “Night of the Penguin” – The Penguin has returned to Gotham to open the Iceberg Club, a legitimate business:
P: “I’m an honest entrepreneur with every right to protect my establishment”
B: “You tried to kill me.”
P: “Oh come on. If I thought for one moment you couldn’t get out of that hoary old death trap, I wouldn’t have bothered. I even left your belt on.”
Bruce comes to the opening night, where he runs into Lois Lane, who is digging around. The Riddler is also there, and the Penguin reveals his big secret: “Forget crime, today the big money is in branding! Merchandise! Franchising!”
Unfortunately, someone is running a scam against the Penguin’s legitimate gambling tables…
Riddler: “So he won. It’s not the end of the world.
Penguin: “Yes it is! I threw every cent into tonight’s opening!”
Lois: “Meaning if he splits with all your cash, its torpedo time for your future Icebergs?”
Penguin: “Exactly!”
Batman, of course, feels obliged to look into it…

Detective Comics #825: “The Return of Doctor Phosphorous – Cadmus Research in Gotham has got its hands on Doctor Phosphorous for research into his physiology, and the scientist in charge is planning on making his fortune from it. Co-incidentally, he was one of the men who scammed Doctor Phosphorous out of his fortune and caused the accident that turned him into the creature he is today. It doesn’t go well for him, and the good Doctor goes off looking for revenge on the rest of the original scammers…

Detective Comics #826: “Slayride” – Robin is caught in the crossfire between two rival gangs, when a passing motorist provides him with an escape route. Unfortunately, the passing motorist is the Joker, and Robin wakes up to find himself imprisoned in the passenger seat, as the Joker goes on a killing spree. He must rely on his sense of humour to defeat the Joker…
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 December 2011
Bruce Wayne has just started out as the Batman, he's maybe a year or so into learning his new role as this Caped Crusader, and he's starting to feel the heat. So he decides to recruit some out of work, talented underachievers to act as his surveillance/backup team on the various criminals loose in Gotham. Meanwhile, Dr Victor Fries suffers a devastating loss when his ill wife takes a turn for the worse - but can he save her with the ice technology he's been working on?

Dan Curtis Johnson and JH Williams III write a Batman story that shows the Dark Knight still learning who Batman is and the complications that are fraught with being a vigilante. It's set sometime in the 70s (judging from the fashions and tech) and Batman's fighting an afro-ed mob boss (no-one famous like the Falcones) and having trouble accomplishing this simple task. I thought the vulnerability and uncertainty of Batman was unusual but showed a side to him that should be seen by the Batfans out there, showing that their hero wasn't as slick as he is today.

That said there were a number of issues I had with the book: why are Bruce and Jim Gordon so old-looking when they're supposed to be just starting out? Wasn't Bruce in his early twenties when he decided to become Batman? Wayne Manor looks like a cottage with Bruce enjoying a leisurely English breakfast each morning after 6 hours of sleep (impossible to imagine given how much time of Batman's is spent in the night) and his cape looks ridiculously billowing alongside his small, almost schlumpy frame (no muscles at all, Batman here looks like an impersonator).

And then there's the somewhat laughable team Batman puts together to help him fight crime which serves to point out that Batman should only work alone - or maybe with a certain circus acrobat as backup only.

"Snow" is mostly about Mr Freeze's origin story and while this is fairly interesting, seeing Batman bumble about Gotham with a ragtag bunch of misfits backing him up with some lo-tech gadgets in vans isn't as fun to read as you'd think. The script is a bit spare and boring but the artwork from Seth Fisher is fantastic, a mix of JH Williams III (whose artwork is far, far better than his writing) and Geof Darrow, and is worth picking up this book just for that.

Overall, not bad but a very average outing for the Dark Knight and not nearly as interesting as it could've been. A slow story with few memorable scenes and too much time given over to uninteresting side characters who only really factor in this book rather than in the Batman universe - "Snow" is definitely for fans only.
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on 20 November 2011
This collection is fantastic featuring some classic Batman foes in single stories, Paul Dini who writes nearly all the stories use to work on the Batman animated series and his understanding of the character and his enemies shines through. The opening story features a new villian and gorgeous art from J.H. Williams III, then we get a great Riddler story in which Dini finds something new to do with the character after his mishandling during and after the Hush story. Poison Ivy pops up next for a fun story followed by an appearance by the Penguin. The return of Dr Phosphorus is next, a story not written by Dini but still readable, although the cheesy exchange between Bruce and Alfred at the end almost spoils the whole thing. The final story is worth the price of the novel alone, Slay Ride features Robin tied up and helpless trapped in a car with the Joker at the wheel. Its an utterly brilliant tale which shows the true evil and crazy nature of the Joker one minute youre smirking along with him the next youre horrified at his actions, the tension bulids expertly as things slip out of the Boy Wonders control and you fear for the outcome, a masterclass in how to do justice to the Joker and how to write a single issue story this whole collection is a treat for fans of Batman.
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on 15 July 2012
Really great Batman story.
Well written, and keeps the character of Batman true to himself, despite the artwork being somewhat child like.
Speaking of the artwork, I personally really loved it, but I don't think it will be to everyone's taste. The way Batman is drawn in this book reminded me of how he used to look in the old Adam West days; kinda fat, stupid sewn up costume, and just generally looked like a bit of a div. But despite that, as aforementioned, the character of Batman remains as dark and mysterious as he always has been, which is why I loved it.
Moving on, I'm a huge fan of J.H. Williams (as i'm currently reading Batwoman), so with his name being attached to this story, I had to pick it up. I recommend any fan of his to do the same.
The story itself tells the origin of Dr. Freeze, which for me was great, because I have never read any of Batman stories where he was the main bad guy (unless Gotham Central: In the Line of Duty can be counted as a Batman story?).
Anyway, overall, this had to be given a 5/5 rating from me. Loved it.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 February 2011
By early Batman, I mean early in the career of Batman. It`s always good to see a Batman story which addresses his early years, and the concept of Batman engaging a team to support him, and how he learns that he must act alone, is a good one. Mr. Freeze would undoubtedly hold a higher place in the Gotham villains hierarchy if he had not been portrayed (dubiously) on film by the Governor of California. You can almost see how Christopher Nolan might deal with him here; a tragic back story, and his original motivation as Victor Fries was definitely good intentioned. Generally, Seth Fisher`s art is a real plus as it complements the story, rather than grabbing your attention away from it (although his depiction of Bruce and the Bat is not perfect - using the old grey and blue colour scheme instead of the modern black, also, the cowl has very short ears which sometimes looks odd). All in all, a very good story and a satisfying read.
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on 17 September 2013
I enjoyed this book. I understand some of the criticism around the art style and plot but personally I liked the artwork - some of it is excellent and the concept of Batman trying to work with a team in his early days was interesting and sits well within his early development. Recommended.
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on 10 October 2010
After reading all the major Batman books, like Hush, Long Halloween, Knightfall an countless others, I wanted a Bat book that dealt with his more detective side, so just like the title suggests, you get that and then some. After handling Batman: The Animated Series for so long, Paul Dini easily writes Batman, with the artits on hand to deliver a great visial compliment. The stories are all self contained but still offer a brilliant look at the dark knight, with cameos from Dini's favourites including, Zatanna and Harley Quinn. Supposed gone straight villains Riddler and Penguin also show up, as well as Poison Ivy. The Joker pops round to spread some holiday merriment as the stories final chapter and a good end to the book. Overall this is an overlooked trade that reminds you why Batman is, the worlds greatest detective.
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on 6 October 2013
The art is absolutely gorgeous, the take on Batman is highly interesting without being anti-canonical, the story is tight and jam-packed with humor... what more could you possibly want?!
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on 28 January 2016
For some unbelievable reason, this book is out of print! Believe me, the stories it contains are some of the finest to establish the reason behind Ra's Al Ghul always addressing Batman as "Detective". They are thrilling, funny, naughty (slightly), and laced with tragedy. The art is good enough, but again & again it's the magic weaved by Paul Dini that compels you to read & re-read the book.

I don't know where & how you can get hold of this book (I got from a second hand store at an obscene price), but it's simply essential.

Highly Recommended.
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