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Detective Comics #15 - The Dirt Nap; Love in Bloom Review

4

The story of Penguin and Poison Ivy continues with some "Death of the Family" thrown in. And Clayface may never be the same after this.

The Good

It's always interesting when you see the villains fighting against each other. It adds a different feel to the story and changes it from the typical Batman vs. whoever. John Layman's take and portrayal of Poison Ivy is an interesting one. I've never seen her as being too multifaceted but here, you can't decided whether to root for or against her. It makes for an interesting read and you almost feel your emotions get battered back and forth. You want to like her as a character yet she's doing some pretty horrible things. The team up between Ivy and Clayface is strange but is all laid out here. Seeing Batman react to it is great.

There is more on Penguin and his battle against Ivy as well as a follow up from the back up story in BATMAN #14. I had been questioning where his story was going but there are some big seeds being planted here for what's to come.

Jason Fabok's art is a joy to look at. Seeing Poison Ivy confined to her fate in the beginning makes you immediately sympathize for her. Batman fighting Clayface is a grand sequence. Care needs to be taken when depicting him to make him look menacing without coming across as too cartoony.

The back up story here by Layman and Andy Clarke is an interesting look at Clayface. It has a pretty killer ending as well.

The Bad

This is a Death of the Family crossover. It just felt really forced. We've seen an interaction between Penguin and Joker in BATMAN #14 and maybe it's because we haven't seen Joker's angle for this unfolded completely but it doesn't feel natural. As wonderful as the crossover is, you can't help but wonder how the heck Joker is running around doing everything he's doing in all the Bat-titles. Joker is becoming the new Wolverine, having the ability to lay out intricate traps and plans of revenge against the entire Bat-Family. While he's doing this, he's able to avoid them all even though they are all on high alert.

I can't say I'm a fan of the design of the special suit Batman uses. Because we've seen he has other suits in the cave and the fact that there is a Bat-emblem on it suggests it could be one he has for this particular situation (he's Batman so he's always prepared, right?). I just found it odd to have the color scheme it had.

The Verdict

This issue was a roller coaster ride for many of the characters. We're seeing ups and downs for their plans and Layman is laying the groundwork for an upcoming story. His portrayal of Poison Ivy is great as you can't tell whether you should hate her or feel sorry for her. It's unfortunate that this is a Death of the Family crossover. It just felt really forced to have Penguin in the midst of his battle with Bruce Wayne and then Poison Ivy and now is immediately mixed up with Joker. We get some great art by Jason Fabok in the main feature as well as Andy Clarke in the back up. The art and ending make this issue shine a little brighter. It's great to see Clayface used and given a personality as part of the New 52 updates.

19 Comments
Edited by BatWatch

I agree completely with your scoring. This issue simply was not up to the level of the last couple of issues. Still good, but not as good.

I love Layman's portrayal of all these characters. I truly felt great sympathy for Clayface as well as Poison Ivy, and I think Ogilvy has the potential to be an interesting character. Unfortunately, I did not like the way Ogilvy came to power. It just seemed way too convenient. Layman has said in interviews that he had other plans for getting Ogilvy to power, but he scrapped them to use Joker instead since he had to incorporate the crossover. Personally, I would have preferred Joker just stay out of this story.

I am actually a fan of the Bat suit...even though it looked like an action figure. I was torn, but I came down on the side of enjoying it. Why not give Batman a little color?

The BatWatch Review is up.

Posted by The Stegman

Detective Comics has been a roller coaster ride since it started, some of the issues have been really great, some have been mediocre, alas, I shall stick by it.

Posted by longbowhunter

The orange suit made me laugh. Reminded me of the Legends of the Dark Knight action figure line. I guess in a way this issue validated some of those awful toys. I agree the DotF tie-in felt totally shoe horned. As do many of these Bat family books.

Edited by Stormbox

Yeah that bat-suit looked like an action figure lol

Otherwise this was a cool issue, much better than tony daniels crap writing

Posted by SmashBrawler

I think I liked this issue more than others because I've always had a soft spot for Clayface (or rather Basil Karlo) ever since the Mud Pack story. I always thought he was a character with untapped potential, so the fact that Layman finally gave some substance to his character is awesome to me.

But yeah, that special Bat-suit did look kind of goofy.

Posted by cacarl

This is the only series I'll not buy of this mini event.

Posted by SupBatz

Death of the Family definitely feels tacked on.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed everything else about the issue. Layman delivers some really great characterizations for the villains. Finally somebody has written Clayface as an actual character and not just a plot device for Batman to punch around. In the hierarchy of Bat books, I'd place Detective Comics towards the top (below Batwoman and Batman but above most others).

The Bat suit didn't bother me - truth be told, I didn't even notice it until I read this review.

Posted by iaconpoint

I'm already kinda sick of crossovers that aren't supposed to be crossovers. Just let each creative team tell their own stories. Are we going to be subjected to this every six months? This is why some of us don't read Marvel.

Edited by Booster_Bronze

I too was confused by the tie-in, especially the scene where Joker is just standing next to Penguin in his office and Ogilvy doesn't seem to notice or remark on it; Then, Penguin leaves the office and Ogilvy alone with Joker and the scene ends abruptly. Made me wonder if Joker was actually there at all or was just a hallucination to the Penguin of his stress over having been blackmailed Weird scene.

Edited by bob808

The Joker was only in one comic panel. I would not consider this a "Death of the Family" tie-in

Posted by namtabmi

The only problem I had with it was that it was tagged as a DotF crossover...which I guess it did "expand" on the penguin-joker plot -- Not as much as I'd have liked though.

Thought the special bat-suit was cool...nice to see batman utilising specialist equipment against an opponent.

Posted by BIGALWILLIAMS

Disappointed with the outcome of this book.The Joker was shown partially in a single panel and that's it.The Penguin is a villain that bores the crap out of me.I'm dropping Detective until this arc is done.

Posted by dreamfall31

As good as Death of the Family is, if Snyder isn't writing it, then it probably wont be as good. I'll only get Batman and Redhood as I alread picked those up every month. But I'm not going to fall into buing every issue of every series as none of it will be as quality as Snyder's!

Posted by entropy_aegis

It was an alright issue,the things I didn't like were

Ogivly's sudden rise to power,I was kinda hoping for it to be a slow process,one spread throughout an arc or 2.

Joker was pointless and Ogivly wasn't even remotely bothered.

Orange suit

Batman punching and kicking Clayface...um WTF was up with that.

Posted by ccraft

@SmashBrawler: good point, Clayface was one of those cool characters that need a personality.

Posted by ccraft

@Booster_Bronze: My thoughts exactly, I wish Tony would have commented about that.

Posted by G-Man

@ccraft said:

@Booster_Bronze: My thoughts exactly, I wish Tony would have commented about that.

It was weird. I just didn't want to get too nit-picky. I was also confused by it. If he was hiding in the shadows, yeah, that would've been cool. But clearly he wasn't. Guess if you work for the Penguin, you just expect the unexpected. And he did know Joker was in town even though Penguin just said he had to help a friend at Arkham.

Staff
Posted by doordoor123

I love this issue (maybe because I didn't read too much into the Joker stuff), but the Ivy/Clayface stuff is great. And then we have Ogilvy who is just damned awesome.

What I love and have always loved about Layman's writing is the layers of story he can fit into a book. It makes it that much exciting when it all comes together. There is clearly stuff going on with the Penguin and Bruce, Penguin and Ogilvy, Clayface and Ivy, and Batman vs all of these people.

This is probably my favorite Bat-book out right now. Don't get me wrong, I like Snyder's Batman a lot, but I just don't like the way he writes Bruce. To me, it doesn't feel like the same distant, cold, brilliant detective that I've come to know and love. Sure, Layman hasn't really captured Damian, but I would pick his Bruce of Snyder's Bruce any day of the week. That also doesn't go to say, I wouldn't also give Batman five stars. Bruce doesn't even need to be depicted well for that book -- the story is good as it is.

Posted by Dud317

I had the same thought about the bat suit looking like an action figure, like it would be called "Distressed Foliage" Batman or something. I've been looking forward to the Death in the Family story, so when I read this I was pretty disappointed to find such a loose tie-in. If they hadn't advertised it as a tie-in and changed nothing, I probably would've enjoyed the story more. This led me to expect more Joker involvement, but from the looks of it, I wasn't the only one expecting more.