Two issues this week: Intelligence concludes in Detective Comics #962 and high fantasy Rose continues to enthrall in issue #5.
Detective Comics 962: Intelligence (Part Four)
The fourth part of Intelligence concludes the arc, sort of, and although I suspect fans of Azrael will be satisfied with the conclusion, I’m just glad it’s over. It’s not that it’s a poor story (except in one way, which I’ll get to in a moment), I just don’t really connect with the whole AI battling AI for the human soul. Although I will admit, the Batman AI was a pretty neat idea: “like Batman if he’d been designed by someone much cooler than Batman” is the way Luke immodestly describes his creation.
I think what bugs me is how late Batman (the real one, not the AI) comes to the fight. As much as, for me, the young Bruce/young Zatana and Batman/Zatana scenes have been the most engaging of this arc, it also feels very wrong that Batman is on the rooftops trying to persuade an old friend to share forbidden magics with him while, only a short distance away, his friends are in deadly danger. Nevertheless, they arrive in time for the final battle against Ascalon, though too late to prevent one more death.
The conclusion is interesting: does knowing the future, knowing for sure, in detail, trap you in that future, cutting out free will? Our heroes can live in a world where uncertainty prevails. Dare I hope this lesson will have some relevance later?
Oh, Rose, your cliffhangers are killing me! Each issue is a tiny taster of a huge story and it’s just not enough. This is a story I want to devour in one long sitting.
But the story is approaching a climax. As Evil Queen Druscilla’s army, led by Drucilla herself, prepares to attack the village of Millhaven, the rebels hiding with are ready for what seems to be a hopeless fight. Meanwhile Drucilla’s zombie horde battles her living soldiers for custody of Rose, taken prisoner in the previous issue. While they are distracted, Rose finally joins forces with Thorne, her khat.
I’m not sure about Drucilla. Like many high fantasy villains, it’s hard to see exactly why everyone is so scared of her. I mean, yes, her soldiers have done awful things, but what about her? We haven’t really seen it. Similarly, it’s not yet clear how powerful Rose and Thorne are supposed to be. This, I think, is probably coming and I don’t mind waiting. It’s neat that just the sight of them joined together scared the soldiers away even though Thorne was chained and Rose has no idea how to use her power. It suggests something big is coming…and I hope the wait is worth it!