GRAPHIC NOVEL
Batman
Dark Detective

Author: Steve Englehart
Artist: Marshall Rogers
Titan Books
RRP 8.99
ISBN 1 84576 325 4
Available 23 June 2006


When the maniacal Joker enters a gubernatorial election, the Dark Knight takes action. But Batman discovers he's in way over his head when the unexpected return of former girlfriend Silver St. Cloud leaves him torn between love and duty. With adversaries like the Clown Prince of Crime, Two-Face, Scarecrow, and others to contend with, Batman must make a choice between his quest for justice and his affections for Silver. But will his indecision cost him everything...?

Dark Detective features a rare event in the Batman universe - Bruce Wayne/Batman falling in love. But will this mean that he turns his back on his promise to avenge his parent's murderer by stamping out crime wherever it raises it's ugly head? And how will the love of his life cope with his dual identity this time?

While the love angle is something refreshingly new, what makes this collection a real hit is the reappearance of an old foe - the Joker. If you thought you'd seen every trick in his repertoire, then think again. This time the mental clown is running for governor. And, if people don't vote for him, he's promised to kill them. The Joker's only real threat is senator Evan Gregory, who is favourite to take the position of governor. The twist? It's Gregory's fiancee that the Batman has fallen in love with.

Years ago Wayne and Silver St. Cloud fell in love, but their relationship ended when she realised that she couldn't cope with Wayne's dangerous double life - but seeing him again, she realises that maybe she could have coped after all.

Two-Face and Scarecrow also make important appearances - with the Scarecrow sending Batman on another gas fuelled trip to his past, while Two-Face is over the moon that an undamaged clone of himself has been created.

For me, the highlight of this collection was the madhouse that was the Joker's home - like a sick house of fun, where death lurks around every corner.

If you are a serious Bat nut, then you'll want to add this to your collection. It's beautiful on so many levels.

Nick Smithson

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