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May 26, 2011 / MojosWork

Detective Comics #877

Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis: Dick Grayson/Batman makes a new friend in Bixby Rhoades, “The Roadrunner,” described as “a high-end weapons smuggler.” (Don’t ask what’s in his bum!) Then he meets a girl (awww), mobster Tony Zucco’s estranged daughter, Sonia Branch, who has gone out of her way to avoid her family’s dark side. One brief powwow later, Batman is hunting for a man named Tiger Shark, the same guy who presumably left a dead whale in Branch’s bank last issue. Yeah. A dead whale.

Writer: Scott Snyder

Artist: Jock

Cover Price: $2.99 (Oh yeah!)

In simplest terms, Detective Comics #877 is my BOOK OF THE WEEK, not just because I’m convinced the cover depicts Batman swimming through Lady Gaga’s outstretched torso down into her uterus.

I don’t remember where I read the it, but at the advent of Grant Morrison’s Batman & Robin, he stated it was time to expand the rogue’s gallery. It looks like Scott Snyder is following suit, introducing us to The Roadrunner and foreshadowing the first appearance of Tiger Shark. I don’t think either of the names are imposing in anyway, since one is a WB cartoon (yes, there are the obligatory lame jokes included here) and the other is a moniker my brother went by when we fought basement wrestling matches as kids; I was a lot bigger than him, so Tiger Shark always took an ass-whipping.

Anyway, that doesn’t really matter to a hero whose foes include such terrifying (note the sarcasm) names as Joker, Penguin, Riddler and Two-Face. They’re all cool villains, and the scumbag Roadrunner, whose names derives both from his smuggling operation and probably his metallic legs, quickly makes a strong impression as a formidable foil for Dick Grayson/Batman. The guy already almost offed the Caped Crusader in a car compactor, which Dick escaped by hotwiring a vehicle and jamming a KNIFE THROUGH THE GAS PEDAL to make it speed into the compactor wall along with a… I don’t know, I guess you;d call it a Bat-Bomb. The ensuing explosion hurls Batman across the parking lot and into the passenger side of a Mercedes. This sequence NEEDS to be recreated on film, just to see a flaming body slowly stagger to its feet at the shattered-glass-covered pavement with the incessant piercing of an alarm in the background.

That alpha male scene alone would have made this BOOK OF THE WEEK, but Snyder and artist Jock weren’t done. The art throughout is fantastic, perfect for a book with a dark, noirish vibe, particularly in the rain-soaked rooftop scene in which Batman and Sonia Branch meet.

I saw this spread and honestly, the first thing I thought was, Thank God I'm not blind.

Then of course there’s the bat-shit crazy fantittytastic Bat-Boat.

Seriously happy I'm not blind.

Oh, and because it’s not all doom and gloom, Snyder pens a hilarious page where Red Robin, via “cell phone,” calls Dick out for having the hots for Sonia. Grayson denies it and plays the old, “You’re breaking up on me,” gag I’ve used on every girl I ever dated. Before Red Robin can argue that their tech is so advanced there is no way the signal could be disrup– CLICK. It’s a great rib on both the seemingly futuristic technology at Batman’s disposal and the personification of Batman himself, which has been turned on its ear since Dick donned the cowl.

Hilarious bit here. Dick Grayson puts a great spin on being Batman. Some purists hate it, but I find it refreshing.

Oh, and did I mention where Bats finds where this mysterious Tiger Shark is hiding? It’s a gun-crazy submarine with… killer whales inside?!?!? Well, I can pretty much rule out my little brother as this new villain.

My only complaint is that Detective Comics #878 is not out yet.


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