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Batman: Dark Detective Paperback – April 12, 2006

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Englehart and Rogers' mid-1970s stint on Batman was the basis for the 1989 film Batman, the one with Jack Nicholson, and is fondly remembered by fans. They reunite for a new story, reprising what made their fan favorite so popular: an updating of primal elements of the Batman legend. They revisit the tragic murder of young Bruce Wayne's parents; field revitalized versions of Joker, Two-Face, and Scarecrow; and revive Silver St. Cloud, the most memorable of Wayne's many girlfriends. As the new story opens, Silver is engaged to a gubernatorial candidate whose campaign is derailed by a sudden dark horse: Joker, whose slogan is "Vote for me or I'll kill you." The Englehart-(Marshall) Rogers approach hasn't changed much. Writer Englehart presents a more human version of the Dark Knight than has been seen recently, and Rogers' architecturally precise illustration style has loosened up a bit. Their now old-school version is refreshing after the morbidly grim realizations of Batman during the years since their first go-round with him. Gordon Flagg
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics (April 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401208983
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401208981
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,147,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Babytoxie on April 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
In DETECTIVE COMICS #469 - 479, the writer/artist team of Steve Englehart and Marshal Rogers (with inker Terry Austin) made a big impression with a handfull of Batman stories that were considered instant classics; indeed, those stories, collected in the trade paperback BATMAN: STRANGE APPARITIONS, are for many readers the definitve Batman. These creators obviously understood the classic appeal of Batman, redefining his style and look for the late '70s and returning him to his roots as the dark detective of Gotham City. The problem was, the team of Englehart & Rogers arrived with guns blazing, amazed everyone, and then bolted from the scene before many folks even knew what was going on! After those superb 11 issues, Batman just didn't seem as enjoyable anymore.

Well, 25 years later, and here they come again! BATMAN: DARK DETECTIVE reunites that amazing creative team, reprinting the 6-issue miniseries which features Batman battling the Joker, Two-Face, and Scarecrow, and all while having to deal with the return of his old flame Silver St. Cloud. Silver is now the fiancee of Evan Gregory, a US senator now compaigning for governor. But even though she once left Bruce, due to her not being able to handle his dual identity, the attraction is still there, and it gets her up to her neck in the Joker's deathtraps.

It's great to see that these guys are at the top of their game, maybe even better than they were on the original stories. Englehart's writing portrays Batman as an even-tempered super sleuth, instead of the arrogant, belligerent sociopath with whom we've had to suffer for the past 20-odd years. And his Joker is not just a deadly criminal, but a true madman - he's seldom written better.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By C. Karam on September 17, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There has been some criticism here about the storytelling here - that it's old school, etc. It's SUPPOSED to be that way. This is a sequel to Englehart and Rogers' classic run on DC's Detective Comics from the late '70s.

One criticism was that the lettering was done by hand. Well, back in those days, it was done that way. You could tell back then just by looking at a word balloon or caption who did the lettering. It was distinctive, unlike generic lettering done by computer.

If you liked the classic stories from the '70s, this is a fine reprise of that period's storytelling conventions (thought balloons, expository captions, etc). If you are looking for a modern approach to the Batman, there are several alternatives that can be found here.

Enjoy this story for what is - a fun, colorful revival of a great period in comics storytelling by the people who were there in the first place.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tim Janson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
Batman: Dark Detective re-teams the trio of writer Steve Englehart, penciller Marshall Rogers, and inker Terry Austin on Batman where they made their mark with a memorable run on Detective Comics nearly 30 years ago (God! Has it been that long?) on issues 469 through 476. This trade paperback collects the 6 issue Dark Detective mini-series and shows just how good sequential comic book work can be if placed in the right hands. The first that stands out that there are honest to goodness panels of art. Not just two or three per page, but several. This is nearly a lost art with today's younger, splash page obsessed artists. What a concept! Englehart was always one of my favorite writers of the 70's and this book not only shows he can still tell a good story, but it's also a tribute to that era as Englehart drops several names throughout the story that old-timers will recognize like (Joe) Giella, (Irv)Novick, (Mike Friedrich) and (Frank) Robbins. Nice touch, Steve...

Dark Detective concerns the Joker's decision to run for Governor with a slogan of "Vote for me or I'll Kill You!" I'd say that was pretty convincing. Furthermore he makes his announcement at a fund raiser for another candidate, Evan Gregory, and demands one million dollars from the attendees. When a couple of them turn up very dead, we know the Joker is serious. Gregory's fiancée just happens to be Batman's old flame Silver St. Cloud and this event brings the two back together again.

Not everyone is happy about the Joker's campaign bid, however. Harvey Dent, AKA Two-Face, maintaining a strange sense of honor, thinks the Jokers bid is not a good idea and tells him so.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By MW on January 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
As a huge fan of the original Rogers/Austin run, with its clean, meticulous detail and sophisticated style, I was shocked at the poor quality of the artwork in this collection. Hints of the old flair are very few and far between, and most of the book is simply unattractive. Additionally, the lettering is atrocious. Once the disappointment wears off, you've got a halfway decent story to enjoy.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brian Glass on July 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
I just happened to see this in a local bookstore while browsing the other day and my first thought was, when did this come out? At first I thought it was a collection of old books. I was pretty excited to see that it was new however. Like the other reviewers I was a fan of the Englehart/Rogers Batman and just a huge fan of Marshall Rogers period. I loved his deceptively simple, elegant artwork and it remains a pleasure to the eyes still. I am really happy to see Terry Austin return as well. He was one of the first inkers I really started to notice when I was a kid. As a young boy you tend to pay more attention to the artist than the inker but Terry always brought something extra to the titles he worked on. So it goes without saying, although I will that the art is satisfying on this title. It's a little uneven at times but it takes me back and has a classic feel to it. And it looks like Geoff Darrow may have been influenced a little by Marshall.

Where I have some trouble is the story. Steve Englehart was a writer I always enjoyed when I was younger but I also wasn't very discriminating as a child either. I was reading any comic I could get my hands on but I do remember his name being on several titles I liked back than. The story itself is a mixed bag I guess. I like the classic feel of Batman here. He's not as brooding as when he's at his grim worst. The theme seems to be more Batman: Year One then The Dark Knight Returns which I like. I don't think the story offers anything new however. We are presented with the same rouges gallery we always get. It seems like there are too many villains stuffed in here. It makes for a "classic" tale while at the same time giving us the same old thing. I got a chuckle out of some of the Joker's rants but at the same time felt some of the dialog was stilted and a little awkward.

I would say it's not as good as some of the best Batman trades out but it's better than the majority of stuff out.
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