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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old school Batman stories
This volume reprints issues #1-7 of the `New 52' Batman - Detective Comics series. This contains two stories, the four-part `Faces of Death', and a three-part `Russian Roulette'. This series appears to be set in an `earlier' period, as there is only Batman, with Alfred, Gordon and Bullock in the supporting cast, and no mention of any other Bat-family members, though that...
Published 22 months ago by Pink Fluffy Bunny

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Faces of boring
SPOILERS

The book is about as close to cookie-cutter Batman as you can get. It opens with Batman running across the Gotham skyline in pursuit of Joker. Cut to Arkham Asylum and Joker's in a straitjacket talking menacingly to doctors and then inevitably he escapes. Then Batman is after Penguin who's opened a new Iceberg Casino floating in Gotham Bay which leads...
Published on 19 July 2012 by Sam Quixote


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Faces of boring, 19 July 2012
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
SPOILERS

The book is about as close to cookie-cutter Batman as you can get. It opens with Batman running across the Gotham skyline in pursuit of Joker. Cut to Arkham Asylum and Joker's in a straitjacket talking menacingly to doctors and then inevitably he escapes. Then Batman is after Penguin who's opened a new Iceberg Casino floating in Gotham Bay which leads to Penguin's arrest. The book's over. Ho hum.

Despite the inclusion of these stalwarts of Batman's rogues gallery, there are some more interesting villains thrown into the mix: Dollmaker is creepy with his collection of disfigured human dolls and the side story involving him removing Joker's face was intriguing but didn't go anywhere (probably to be explored in later volumes). There's also a weird kid called Olivia whose dead eyes were unnerving as she played on peoples' perceptions of what a pre-pubescent girl should behave like and came across as a psychopath in the early stages of development. But that's pretty much where the good parts of the book end.

The Joker storyline doesn't really go anywhere, it leads to the Dollmaker and then just peters out - presumably we'll find out what happens to Joker after his face was removed in another volume but it's still an unsatisfying plot thread. The Penguin storyline turns into a dull heist involving Snakeskin and Mayor Hady's foxy daughters. There's even a strange scene involving protestors doing a kind of Occupy Movement demonstration supporting the Joker(!).

I've read a few Tony Daniels Batman books he's scripted and drawn - "Battle for the Cowl", "Life After Death", "Eyes of the Beholder" - and like those books "Faces of Death" shows that his artistry far exceeds his writing ability. He can't seem to write an involving Batman book, it's all just surface texture propped up by his excellent artwork, it never delves deep into the characters' psyches.

"Faces of Death" looks good but doesn't have a solid storyline, it's just a mishmash of villains with Batman chasing after them to no real purpose. It's just a series of things that happen and they don't feel connected or that they're going anywhere new. Compared to Scott Snyder's "Court of Owls" with its combination of focused original storyline, taut writing and great art, and "Faces of Death" comes off as amateurish and sloppy. Here's hoping Daniels stays on as artist but is relieved of writing future titles. He just doesn't cut it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old school Batman stories, 3 Jun. 2013
By 
Pink Fluffy Bunny (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Batman Detective Comics Volume 1: Faces Of Death TP (Paperback)
This volume reprints issues #1-7 of the `New 52' Batman - Detective Comics series. This contains two stories, the four-part `Faces of Death', and a three-part `Russian Roulette'. This series appears to be set in an `earlier' period, as there is only Batman, with Alfred, Gordon and Bullock in the supporting cast, and no mention of any other Bat-family members, though that is not conclusive evidence. It is certainly not a `year one' scenario, as it is in the `New 52' Action Comics. `Faces of Death' is a blood-splattered grotesquery, the sort of thing we'd expect from Grant Morrison - although I have just remembered that the writer/artist on this book drew Morrison's blood-splattered grotesquerys, so he's entitled to draw his own; the second is a complicated heist / conspiracy story, which is tied back to the background characters of the first.

Spoiler Zone

"Faces of Death " is a Joker story, though the main protagonist is the Dollmaker and his family of surgically altered loonies, who's own father was killed by a young Jim Gordon, and he's back for revenge on Gordon, who is bait in a trap to capture Batman, who is to be auctioned off, as well as using his surgical skills to remove the Joker's face.

`Russian Roulette' involves a complicated scam to rob the vaults of the Penguin's floating casino, which is also a front for his banking services to the criminal fraternity. Bruce Wayne's current girlfriend, who happens to be an investigative journalist, goes undercover to investigate, just as a major robbery, involving a family member, is underway...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More than Face Value, 27 Feb. 2014
I read a library copy of the paperback.
Other reviews say this title is not a patch on other Batman products out there in the new 52 and whilst that may well be true I found it more than satisfying enough.
I haven’t seriously collected Batman for many years but have dipped in and out every now and then for the big events etc.
The story arcs here are nothing particularly groundbreaking – except for the obvious development for the Joker in that one issue, - but this is a solid well crafted product.
I took from this that the new52 is not that far divorced from the previous continuity and yet it is still a fair jumping on point.
I would recommend this volume as an appetiser for any of the revamped Bat-titles that’s how I used it – but I warn you – it could open the floodgates!
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3.0 out of 5 stars The very definition of a "mixed bag", 5 July 2012
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With the start of a brand new era for DC Comics, with the launch of the New 52 and the resetting of all their titles back to issue #1, you would expect that there would be a new degree of innovation in all of those titles. And for the most part, this was entirely true. Unfortunately, Detective Comics is not one of the titles that screams "rebirth", and while that might initially be an attractive concept to some older fans, that excitement is not likely to last long.

But let's start with one of the positive aspects of the book. Despite being enclosed in a single volume, this edition essentially contains two stories. The first is about a new, gruesome serial killer named the Dollmaker, and the second focuses on a more traditional villain: The Penguin.

Don't be deceived by the Joker's grinning face on the cover of the book. It isn't really about him. In fact, he's only in the first issue (of seven), and then something rather unpleasant happens to him. With Gotham's latest killer (the Dollmaker) on the loose, it's up to Batman to track him down and stop him before he can kill again. But, as with all of Gotham's criminals, Dollmaker has a particular theme in his attacks: he cuts off his victims faces, before reconstructing 'new faces'. Sounds gruesome, but it's not exactly the most original idea in comic books. In fact, there was something very similar in "Batman: Heart of Hush".

Still, the storyline is engaging, and only let down by two things in my mind. The first is the essence of mystery, which while being present, does not really allow the reader to work out who the Dollmaker is before Batman deduces it. One of the draws to the Batman stories (and especially DETECTIVE comics) is the detective work, but it's always more satisfying if the reader can follow the trail that leads Batman to the answer, and either get there before him, or else be able to "track back" once the identity of the killer is revealed.

Which leads me to my second gripe with this story; it ends extraordinarily suddenly, with no true conclusion. I was expecting Tony Daniel to pick the story up two or three issues later, but so far that hasn't been the case, and that came as a huge disappointment. Either way, the first story is an engaging and enjoyable read, and despite the sudden ending, is fairly satisfying.

The second story, however, is very different. Focusing on the Penguin and set mostly on the newly-built Iceberg Lounge, this three-issue length story feels particularly muddled, and illustrates exactly why Tony Daniel should stick to drawing, which he is (I can't fail to add) extremely talented. His writing, on the other hand, does not do his artwork justice. The brand new characters that are introduced during this story aren't the most original characters ever, but they do have a certain potential, and one that is not realised through the storytelling. The storyline is weak and cliched, and there is very little to keep you interested in the way the story is playing out. In fact, I would go as far as to say that this is one of the most disappointing Batman stories I have ever read.

As I said before, Tony Daniel's artwork throughout the book is very good. He captures a certain aspect of the characters which feels very generic, but in a familiar, recognisable and downright welcome way. His art might not be hugely iconic when compared to 'Batman''s Capullo, but it captures both sides of Bruce Wayne's life particularly well, showcasing both the billionaire philanthropist and the Dark Knight himself in a particularly engaging style. It's just a great shame that his writing is not up to scratch: there are lines of dialogue that are likely to make you cringe, and not in a good way.

It is worth buying, especially if you can get it for under £10, and if only for the first issue, which explains the Joker's prolonged disappearance in the DC Universe, prior to his return later this year. But certainly don't expect anything revolutionary here.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Fairly Average, 16 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Batman Detective Comics Volume 1: Faces Of Death TP (Paperback)
Well what can I say about this volume it's not the worst Batman story I've read but it's far from the best as well.

This volume is set somewhere in the time between the start of the new 52 and the court of the owls I think fairly early on in the timeline, after a brief Joker moment at the start (in there to set up the second major story ark in the main Batman) we get a new take on the Dollmaker with his extended family are fairly creepy but you don't ever feel they are any real threat to the Bat but the involvement of a young girl and Jim Gordon to the story does elevate it a lot but the story does seem to die with no real conclusion in place.

Then we get a story involving Bruce's girlfriend Charlotte Rivers and various criminals set around Penguin's new iceberg casino (with a brief interlude involving the son of a bat villain which was very random and out of place) frankly if you can work out the point of this story your a better person then I the word filler comes to mind when describing it.

So a mix of good and bad, it's just a shame the words detective comics on the front cover should be a pointer to quality but unfortunately this is the least of all the new 52 Batman titles not without it's moments but a real must do better all round.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Grim, grimmer, grimmest., 4 July 2012
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Ian Williams "ianw" (Sunderland, UK) - See all my reviews
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The Batman continuity in DC's New Universe is the least changed, certainly on the evidence of Batman and now Detective Comics, which isn't to say that there are no changes. At the very least, especially in Detective Comics, the tone is even grimmer and bleaker than before. At the end of the first issue (minor spoiler warning) we find the Joker's face nailed to the wall of his cell. This leads us into the Dollmaker story arc whereby this psycho villain is surgically creating patchwork people and intends to operate on Batman and James Gordon. Nothing is really resolved by the time we start the Penguin arc whereby Pengy is convincingly transformed from a joke of a character into a genuinely scary villain. Bruce Wayne (as opposed to Batman) has a new girlfriend in the form of crusading journalist Charlotte Rivers, a potentially interesting new character if she survives.

Okay, this isn't as good as Court of the Owls in Batman, but it isn't bad either by a long way. True, the art is better than the story but then the art is very good indeed being detailed stylish and graphically gruesome. So: vile villains, attractive women, Batman in full swing, all adds up to another hit for the DC NU.

And just what has happened to the Joker?
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3.0 out of 5 stars very mixed could be better, 4 Oct. 2013
By 
This is Volume one of Batman Detective Comics and it is a very very mixed novel

their are two story arcs in this novel

the first one is the "Faces of Death" story line which is partially a Joker story but serves to introduce a new Villain Doll face and also set up a future Joker story arc

essentially this arc is fifty fifty the Joker chase scene is done well and is action packed but after that the dollmaker seems like a very bland Villain but has a lot of potential

the second story arc is the "Russian Roulette" story line which in my opinion is very uneven some parts are ultimately good but others let it down the idea of a bank type heist on the penguins casino/club/palace seems intriquing but it was just lacking a little something the stakes didint feel to high but it was a interesting story line none the less

in my opinion just a very mixed novel great art but just mixed
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not as bad as many claim, 3 July 2012
It's very trendy right now amongst Batman fans to knock Tony Daniels' skills as a writer. And it's true, he won't be nominated for any dialogue awards anytime soon - nor will his stories go down in the annals of comic book history. However, what they are is rather fun. And - no doubt this exposes me as "not a proper comic book fan" - 'fun' is really why I read these things anyway.
The "Dollmaker" arc is good, with some creepy moments and a villain that seems rather refreshing. The Penguin three-parter (wherein the Penguin doesn't appear much) is less engaging, but still readable. It's not a sprawling, thought-provoking epic, but sometimes I just want a Batman story with a beginning-middle-end where he's either in detective mode, or hero-kicking-butt, and we see both sides of the Dark Knight here.
£9 is a good price for a seven-issue collection, and I say give this a chance!
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2.0 out of 5 stars yeah... it's sort of meh, 26 Mar. 2013
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I wasn't expecting Detective Comics to rise to the greatness of Batman or Batman and Robin, what with Batman's Night of the Owls storyline in full throttle and Peter Tomasi's great writing in Batman and Robin. However, I am still severely disappointed by a truly mediocre start to the New 52 with Detective Comics. The main story, revolves around a lame, pretty flat villain named the Dollmaker. It isn't a terrible read and has it's moments, but the back up story is atrocious. The art is down-right ugly and the writing is such a mess. It's a shame, because the premise was kind of cool: a plot to rob the Iceberg Casino on it's opening night full of double crosses, however it's let down so bad by Tony Daniel's dialogue that almost made me put the book down and never pick it up again.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre but still entertaining, 12 Dec. 2013
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Sadly this is a bit of a run of the mill Batman story. It would have perhaps have faired better pre-new 52. However, as it stands this feels like an early 2000 bog standard filler run, not bad totally serviceable, but placed alongside the Court of Owls, and the successor to this story, Death of the Family, it seems so... 2 dimensional and just killing time until the real story turns up.

And that's ultimately the only real reason to read this, it serves as a precursor for the later joker story, setting up the shift in the character. But really, this is for completists only and should likely be avoided by all but the few who really want have the whole story, even the mediocre bits.
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Batman Detective Comics Volume 1:  Faces Of Death TP
Batman Detective Comics Volume 1: Faces Of Death TP by Tony S. Daniel (Paperback - 16 April 2013)
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