no_name_'s Detective Comics Annual #12 - All the Rage, Part One of Two / Marked Woman / The Night Runner review

Two Bat-Men, a Question and a Night Runner

Batman: Detective Comics #12 Annual features three stories, centering around three very different characters. While the stories featured in this issue are very different, they still manage to be connected by a single underlying theme.

 

The Good

We open to Batman and, well, Batman; and take a peek at one of the first attempts at fleshing out Morrison's new outline for the Bat-verse. It is here that we see Batman go corporate with his appropriately titled new team, 'Batman Incorporated.' I admit, at first it seemed a little bit strange seeing two dudes dressed like Batman in the same panel, but you get used to it pretty quickly. In fact, I have to give writer David Hine some serious credit for distinguishing between Bruce and Dick so seamlessly. Even if the artist hadn't distinguished between the two characters through their costumes, I think I still would have known which 'Batman' was supposed to be Bruce and which one was Dick Grayson. The first story is set in Paris, France and a lot of what inspired this story seems to have been taken straight from news headlines. If you recall back in October, there were reports of violence and rioting in Paris, and we see the way current events may have influenced Hine's book.

I have to say, between the three stories, The last two were in my opinion, more interesting than the first. The second story features 'The Question,' who, after having taken on the Mark of Cain from Vandal Savage during Crisis in order to save The Huntress, she walks the Earth as though she were cursed. This story is absolutely amazing. The art is very pretty, but it's the dialogue in the story that is what makes this inspirational. This story will really make you like Renee Montoya.

The third story featured in the Annual is  'The Night Runner,' about a young Muslim boy and French citizen who struggles with racism and discrimination in France. What I like most about this tale is it's relevancy- it's as thought the writers of the story are paying attention to the present struggles of many French citizens, and it's interesting to see current events influence a comic book. The art is absolutely gorgeous, and very fitting with dark scenes and gritty panels.

The Bad

There are some weak plot areas in the story, though. The scene between Bruce Wayne and the Head of Paris' Police Nationale struck me as somewhat odd. It felt as though Bruce Wayne forced the Head of French Police to acquiesce to his demands. The Chief of Police really had no choice but to work with a PRIVATE company (Wayne) because Batman Incorporated placed a spy amongst the ranks of the French Police.

The Verdict- 4 out of 5

The Batman story was the least interesting of the three, which sort of surprised me, Batman: Detective Comics #12 Annual is a collection of three stories; each one  features very unique and different characters which happen to be connected by a single underlying theme. This issue is also one of our first looks into Batman Incorporated and the logistics of the new team. 
9 Comments
Posted by longbowhunter

I'd like to see more of Renee Montoya. I was a big fan of the Rucka & Hamner Question back up stories that ran in Detective last year.
Posted by Fantasgasmic

Ok, I consider myself a pretty big Batman fan, and I know a fair amount about the characters he tends to interact with (thanks, ComicVine) but who the EFF is Nightrunner?! On a related note, worst name EVER!

Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir

  @Fantasgasmic:
He's a new character, and I believe he's called NIghtrunner because he's into parkour   

Edited by Sambobo

Great review. I felt this was a MUCH NEEDED issue in the batman inc. series. This issue began to address many of the concerns that Babs and Gman brought up in their Batman Inc. Video web log. The dynamic between france and batman was fantastic and explained some of Batman's marketing plans for Inc.! 

Posted by Sambobo

Just realized that Babs wrote this review!

Posted by No_Name_
@Fantasgasmic said:
" Ok, I consider myself a pretty big Batman fan, and I know a fair amount about the characters he tends to interact with (thanks, ComicVine) but who the EFF is Nightrunner?! On a related note, worst name EVER! "
He appears in the first story. Did you read the issue? Night Runner's story was better than the Batman story in this issue. 
 
 
@Emperor Gonzo Noir said:
"   @Fantasgasmic: He's a new character, and I believe he's called NIghtrunner because he's into parkour    "
You got it!
Posted by Fantasgasmic
@Babs said:

" @Fantasgasmic said:

" Ok, I consider myself a pretty big Batman fan, and I know a fair amount about the characters he tends to interact with (thanks, ComicVine) but who the EFF is Nightrunner?! On a related note, worst name EVER! "
He appears in the first story. Did you read the issue? Night Runner's story was better than the Batman story in this issue. 
 
 
@Emperor Gonzo Noir said:
"   @Fantasgasmic: He's a new character, and I believe he's called NIghtrunner because he's into parkour    "
You got it! "
I hadn't read the comic at the time, but have since borrowed it from a friend. It seems kinda weird to me that they'd introduce a new character, and write his name on the cover as if he was an established character. Editorial oversight IMO. "Also featuring The Question, and the origin of Nightrunner" might've been a bit more clear. 
 
After reading it, i agree that I liked his origin, but the name STILL seems lame. Heck, "Parkour" is cooler sounding to me, or "Traceur" which wikipedia tells me is the french term for a practitioner of parkour. Oh well.
Posted by Jake Fury

I can't wait to read this tonight.
Online
Posted by Mainline

I really liked the attempt at geopolitical flair and how, at least in principle, Batman Inc opens up the richness of the real-world to the Batman... we get religious conflict, class issues, terrorism, international culture, etc. but I'm still struggling with the whole announcement aspect of the concept. 
 
Wayne essentially strong-armed, spied, and manipulated his way into getting carte blanche, but all the actual on-panel action didn't require the authority, cooperation, or assistance of the French!  There are only two points where the police "help" and that's in: 1) handing over the first message and; 2) publishing the lyrics so the songwriter could come forwards to be interrogated... but the first circumstance could have easily been written as resolved by ninja-ing the room / relying on your spy / an Oracle hack; and the second, via Oracle or Batman's general detective / Sherlock-like omniscience ("Hm, the words are written in a meter which matches a musical movement in Paris... Oracle, cross reference this with-..." etc, etc).  If the issue is carte blanche, then going in completely unauthorized / covertly you'd have de facto carte blanche since you'd be accountable to no one! 
 
It's not like Batman Inc was crossing wires with the police (chasing them across the rooftops, shooting at Nightrunner, or stopping them from trying to save the assassination victim), there's no obvious police presence or resistance or acknowledgment ("Let him through, he's working with us!")... so why was Wayne's role necessary?  Why couldn't Batman just shown up and do good? 
 
The rationality of the announcement still isn't convincing, but it does take a step forward... Wayne's announcement was less to the criminal element and world at large than it was to law enforcement he hopes to work with... but, under a microscope, there's still a bunch of holes:  They couldn't find another / better face to do negotiations?  They couldn't do legitimate negotiations and instead had to resort to literally illegal means (hacking, espionage, vigilantism, etc) to secure cooperation?  France doesn't have extradition to the United States?  Or is the US on board with Batman Inc somehow?  It doesn't make the story bad, but it does mean I'll have to read more to see either what the vision is or just move past it.
  
I did like that it allowed for Batman's methods to be called out as, "Adolescent" rather than the Parisian cop falling all over himself fawning at the idea of Batman helping out.  It was a little odd that the Batmen gave Nightrunner flak for doing exactly what they were doing... "How dare you skulk amongst the rooftops wearing a mask looking to protect someone?!"  It kind of just highlights how Batman Inc could be doing exactly what they've been doing without police sanction or public accountability. 
 
Anyways, intrigued and looking forward to the other annual.  I don't know that I'd keep going if I were buying this series, but so long as my fiancée buys every bat-book under the sun for herself, I'll keep reading them!

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