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on 18 February 2014
The Batman Detective Comics series of the new 52 has been solid so far but nothing special, this volume with a new creative team behind it really gives the title a boost.

The series highlights the detective aspect of the Batman universe, following the Batman investigating and piecing the puzzles together. Although this volume crosses over with the 'Death of the Family' event, unlike over series it's not overtaken by it.

We see the Batman combating the surge in Joker inspired gangs after the return of his arch nemesis, investing a series of murders committed by one particular group that may have something more to them than meets the eye. The writing is tight and the narrative very enjoyable. The 2nd tale in here shows see the penguin dragged into the Jokers grand schemes, leaving his 2nd in command to run the criminal empire which has more ramifications that you might expect to the ongoing Gotham story.

This volumes brings the quality of the series much closer to the excellent Scott Snyder Batman series and I'm very much looking forward to the next book.
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The stories, both main and backups, from issues #13-18 of the ‘New 52’ Batman – Detective Comics series are collected in Batman Detective Comics Volume 3: Emperor Penguin HC (The New 52). The main features, while often ‘stand-alone’ stories or at least two-parters, have a major theme or sub-plot running through them, as the Penguin begins a campaign to become a popular public figure in Gotham, but is unfortunately interrupted by the Joker and his latest scheme, which, leaves his second-in-command to usurp power as the Emperor Penguin.

These are all superb stories with excellent scripting and artwork, and even the ‘Death of the Family’ crossover fits seamlessly into the volume.

THE SPOILER ZONE
THE SPOILER ZONE
THE SPOILER ZONE

Issue #13: “Duck and Cover” sees the Batman working his way through a wave of minor crimes, which he quickly deduces is meant to keep him from a particular location at a particular time. Unfortunately, the time and location coincide with an important appointment for Bruce Wayne. It appears that the Penguin has decided that his family name should be back where it belongs at the top of Gotham society, and he has decided to hijack a building dedication from the Wayne family and have the Cobblepot name replace it. To do this, he has hired the Ghost Dragon ninja assassins to kill Bruce Wayne, and he doesn’t want the Batman interfering…

The backup story – “IQ Test” introduces the Penguin’s right-hand-man Ignatius Ogilvy, as he takes a new man in Gotham on a job to test his suitability to be a member of the gang. Unfortunately, he turns out to be to smart for his own good…

Issue #14: “Unnatural Selection” begins with the Penguin saving Bruce Wayne from a Ghost Dragon assassin, and thereby becoming the hero of the hour, as well as stealing a building dedication way from the Wayne family. However, the main story involves Poison Ivy, who is off here trolley again, and has taken to eco-terrorism. Unfortunately, her latest target is owned by the Penguin, and when Batman goes to stop her, they both fall into a trap. Ivy is kidnapped by the Penguin’s henchman Ogilvy, while Batman is left behind to face the anger of Clayface…

The backup story – “Seeds & Dirt” – sees Ivy breaking into Arkham Asylum and proposing marriage to Clayface…

Issue #15: “The Dirt Nap” opens with Ogilvy burying Ivy alive in a concrete coffin, followed by a flashback to Ivy and Clayface’s wedding in Vegas. Then it is into the Batman – Clayface confrontation in the burning factory. Meanwhile, the Penguin has had a visit from the Joker, and leaves Ogilvy in charge of his operations while he pays a visit to Arkham to help out in Batman Volume 3: Death of the Family HC (The New 52) (Batman (DC Comics)). Batman is busy setting up one of his ‘special’ costumes and returns to his confrontation with Clayface. Ogilvy returns to Ivy’s grave, where he explains that he is replacing the Penguin, and fixed the coffin so that she could escape, as he wants her for an ally. He explains his plans, and his new name – Emperor Penguin…

The backup story – “Love in Bloom” stars Clayface, after his adventures in the main story, and mixes flashbacks to Ivy’s courtship as he makes his way to their rendezvous, where, following Batman’s revelations, he prepares to express his disappointment in Ivy’s manipulation of him..

Issue #16: “Death of the Family – Nothin’ But Smiles” opens with the Emperor Penguin on a gang war spree, but framing the Joker for the killings. However, the Jokers followers are out on the streets causing trouble, and Batman soon runs into a particularly unpleasant group, the League of Smiles - made up of former patients of a now-dead doctor who once worked at Arkham.

The backup story – “Pecking Order” – sees Ogilvy (“’Mr Ogilvy’?”; “Er.. Emperor Penguin”), rounding up the heads of Gotham’s crime families and introducing himself as their new boss…

Issue #17: “Death of the Family – The Pursuit of Happiness” sees Batman tracking down the League of Smiles before they commit their next atrocity, and leading them to their masked leader, the Merrymaker, who is up to something on his own account… Batman also manages to spot that someone is using the Joker’s latest attack to cover up their own gang-killings.

The backup story – “Doctor’s Orders” gives us a look at the Merrymaker’s background, which is also tied in to the Joker, but in a rather unusual way…

Issue #18: ”Return to Roost” sees the Penguin discover that there is a cuckoo in his nest, and he decides on some extreme measures to recover it. In the middle of the story, we discover what has happened to Damian over in Batman Incorporated Volume 2: Gotham's Most Wanted HC (The New 52). This ties in to the resolution of the Penguin / Emperor Penguin conflict, as the Emperor takes delivery of something stolen from Talia al Ghul… (not a body!)

The backup story – “A Cut Above” sees Mr Zsazs’ adventures in Arkham during the Joker’s recent visit, and his recruitment by the Emperor Penguin.
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The stories, both main and backups, from issues #13-18 of the `New 52' Batman - Detective Comics series are collected in Batman Detective Comics Volume 3: Emperor Penguin HC (The New 52). The main features, while often `stand-alone' stories or at least two-parters, have a major theme or sub-plot running through them, as the Penguin begins a campaign to become a popular public figure in Gotham, but is unfortunately interrupted by the Joker and his latest scheme, which, leaves his second-in-command to usurp power as the Emperor Penguin.

These are very well-written and illustrated stories, and even the `Death of the Family' crossover fits seamlessly into the volume.

THE SPOILER ZONE
Issue #13: "Duck and Cover" sees the Batman working his way through a wave of minor crimes, which he quickly deduces is meant to keep him from a particular location at a particular time. Unfortunately, the time and location coincide with an important appointment for Bruce Wayne. It appears that the Penguin has decided that his family name should be back where it belongs at the top of Gotham society, and he has decided to hijack a building dedication from the Wayne family and have the Cobblepot name replace it. To do this, he has hired the Ghost Dragon ninja assassins to kill Bruce Wayne, and he doesn't want the Batman interfering...

The backup story - "IQ Test" introduces the Penguin's right-hand-man Ignatius Ogilvy, as he takes a new man in Gotham on a job to test his suitability to be a member of the gang. Unfortunately, he turns out to be to smart for his own good...

Issue #14: "Unnatural Selection" begins with the Penguin saving Bruce Wayne from a Ghost Dragon assassin, and thereby becoming the hero of the hour, as well as stealing a building dedication way from the Wayne family. However, the main story involves Poison Ivy, who is off here trolley again, and has taken to eco-terrorism. Unfortunately, her latest target is owned by the Penguin, and when Batman goes to stop her, they both fall into a trap. Ivy is kidnapped by the Penguin's henchman Ogilvy, while Batman is left behind to face the anger of Clayface...

The backup story - "Seeds & Dirt" - sees Ivy breaking into Arkham Asylum and proposing marriage to Clayface...

Issue #15: "The Dirt Nap" opens with Ogilvy burying Ivy alive in a concrete coffin, followed by a flashback to Ivy and Clayface's wedding in Vegas. Then it is into the Batman - Clayface confrontation in the burning factory. Meanwhile, the Penguin has had a visit from the Joker, and leaves Ogilvy in charge of his operations while he pays a visit to Arkham to help out in Batman Volume 3: Death of the Family HC (The New 52) (Batman (DC Comics)). Batman is busy setting up one of his `special' costumes and returns to his confrontation with Clayface. Ogilvy returns to Ivy's grave, where he explains that he is replacing the Penguin, and fixed the coffin so that she could escape, as he wants her for an ally. He explains his plans, and his new name - Emperor Penguin...

The backup story - "Love in Bloom" stars Clayface, after his adventures in the main story, and mixes flashbacks to Ivy's courtship as he makes his way to their rendezvous, where, following Batman's revelations, he prepares to express his disappointment in Ivy's manipulation of him..

Issue #16: "Death of the Family - Nothin' But Smiles" opens with the Emperor Penguin on a gang war spree, but framing the Joker for the killings. However, the Jokers followers are out on the streets causing trouble, and Batman soon runs into a particularly unpleasant group, the League of Smiles - made up of former patients of a now-dead doctor who once worked at Arkham.

The backup story - "Pecking Order" - sees Ogilvy ("'Mr Ogilvy'?"; "Er.. Emperor Penguin"), rounding up the heads of Gotham's crime families and introducing himself as their new boss...

Issue #17: "Death of the Family - The Pursuit of Happiness" sees Batman tracking down the League of Smiles before they commit their next atrocity, and leading them to their masked leader, the Merrymaker, who is up to something on his own account... Batman also manages to spot that someone is using the Joker's latest attack to cover up their own gang-killings.

The backup story - "Doctor's Orders" gives us a look at the Merrymaker's background, which is also tied in to the Joker, but in a rather unusual way...

Issue #18: "Return to Roost" sees the Penguin discover that there is a cuckoo in his nest, and he decides on some extreme measures to recover it. In the middle of the story, we discover what has happened to Damian over in Batman Incorporated Volume 2: Gotham's Most Wanted HC (The New 52). This ties in to the resolution of the Penguin / Emperor Penguin conflict, as the Emperor takes delivery of something stolen from Talia al Ghul... (not a body!)

The backup story - "A Cut Above" sees Mr Zsazs' adventures in Arkham during the Joker's recent visit, and his recruitment by the Emperor Penguin.

These are all superb stories with excellent scripting and artwork.
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on 24 January 2014
I recently started collecting more of Batman outside of the main Batman comic run and it seemed the most notable comic to turn to was Detective Comics! I must say that with the purchase of Volumes 1 and 2 I was quite disappointed with the simple and less than enthralling storylines of both volumes! However with the recent introduction of brand new writers for the title Volume 3 was a much needed refreshment into the series. A very enjoyable read and I can't wait for volume 4!
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on 22 March 2014
The previous volumes of the New 52 issues of Detective Comics have been a little hit and miss but for my money and overall the series has lagged behind the other Batman titles in terms of overall quality. New writer, John Layman, puts that right with what is easily the best entry in the series collecting issues 13 to 18. Unlike the previous volume which was more episodic in nature, we get a coherent storyline featuring the Penguin, Poison Ivy and Clayface amongst others. Some nice artwork too and even if Poison Ivy has put on a little weight she has never looked better! Each individual issue included a back- up story which reveals some additional details relating to the main story. These shorts work surprisingly well and I am very glad that they have been included in the collection. I am definitely looking forward to volume 4.
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on 3 April 2014
I’m so relieved DC booted Tony Daniel off of Detective and replaced him with John Layman, the writer of the excellent Image series, Chew. DC must’ve been paying attention to the negative reaction of Daniel’s run because right on the cover is a blurb acknowledging that his series was dead in the water: “Layman has reinvigorated the book with his first story arc”. That said, while I think the new creative team - Layman is joined by artists Jason Fabok and Andy Clarke, both outstanding - is definitely a step up, the new Detective Comics isn’t brilliant.

The first half of the book concerns Poison Ivy and Clayface who’re up to some shenanigans, while the second half follows a new villain called the Merrymaker, a dude in a plague mask inspired by the Joker. In the background is the titular character, the Emperor Penguin, who is the Penguin’s former assistant, Ogilvy, who’s decided to take advantage of Penguin’s absence (he was forced to help Joker in the Death of the Family storyline) to become the new head of Penguin’s empire.

The Ivy and Clayface storyline was a complete flatline for me. It was Ivy doing her usual act of making guys do her bidding and the only “mystery” was why Clayface was going along with it, believing he was Ivy’s husband. I say “mystery” because I definitely didn’t give a damn one way or the other and my reaction at the reveal was a shrug.

The Merrymaker storyline isn’t much better but is definitely more interesting. Referencing the Joker’s return in the Death of the Family storyline, a new group of devoted fans called the League of Smiles (terrible name!) is killing in the name of Joker. The references to fandom and Joker’s influence over weaker-minded people are narrative avenues Layman explores in a semi-compelling way.

The entire Emperor Penguin stuff though… meh. Emperor Penguin doesn’t distinguish himself enough from Penguin so while we see Oswald on his ass dealing with being on the bottom of the ladder, Emperor Penguin isn’t doing anything very differently from the original Penguin - he’s still scheming, coming up with criminal plans to beat Batman, etc., plus his personality is your bland stereotypical villain.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover this was the first New 52 book in a long while that wasn’t stuffed with pointless crossover issues. This volume collects Detective Comics #13-18 and NOTHING ELSE! It does reference events like Death of the Family and Damian’s death in Batman Incorporated but doesn’t have issues from those titles shoehorned into it. DC, if you’re reading this, and of course you are, let’s have more volumes like this please!

Layman’s a good writer but the storylines here don’t enthral (the aimless Ivy/Clayface one especially) and he needs to find a better hook for the series. I wouldn’t say he’s reinvigorated the title but he’s definitely pointed it in the right direction, away from whatever the hell Tony Daniel was doing. Jason Fabok and Andy Clarke’s art on the other hand is wonderful. Fabok draws the main issues and Clarke draws the backups (those focus on small players in Gotham’s underworld, some of which are actually more interesting than the main stories) and both draw Batman and Gotham beautifully - dark, gothic, beautifully dramatic, and exciting.

So is Detective Volume 3 a must-read? Nope! It’s an unfocused collection of middling Batman stories with great art, but there’s potential with this creative team that might develop in future volumes, so, unlike Tony Daniel’s first Detective book which turned me off the title, I’ll be around for the next one.
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on 20 November 2014
Great story with absolutely beautiful artwork..a visual treat!!
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on 27 September 2014
Another engaging story line and some fantastic artwork. Unfortunately I have missed a few things which pop in leaving me looking for some back issues to get the full story.
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on 12 November 2015
Finally i got it, and for a reasonable price! Thankyou!!!
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on 7 November 2015
BRILLIANT.
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