Graphic Novel Reviews: Detective Comics 020

The Story
Batman discovers that Ogilvy has been behind everything and goes to face him. But the mutagen enhanced Ogilvy makes short work of Batman. Thanks to a rescue by Penguin, Batman is given a chance at a rematch and he takes the crime boss down. In Blackgate Ogilvy takes out “The Boss” and further enhances his reputation.

The Review
Well, this was a disappointment. I’d been enjoying the Emperor Penguin story quite a bit, he had the makings of being a long term antagonist for Batman. But instead of that happening, Ogilvy is taken out in a single issue, and his final plan isn’t even close to interesting.

So he taunts Batman, draws him in, and uses his new strength to take Batman out. But, as Batman is wont to do, he comes back and takes Ogilvy out the way he takes out all of his enemies, by adapting to their skills and finding a counter for them. But the counters aren’t even given any kind of focus. He just stops using his fists and starts using his equipment. Which really he should have done the moment he realized Ogilvy was stronger than him. It’s not like he needed to do research or planning, all it took to take Ogilvy down were Batman’s random, undefined weapons. It’s a take on the classic trope, but its written in such a way that assumes the reader is familiar with the trope. The important details to make it work are skipped, leading to a reading experience that would be highly unsatisfying for new readers.

And after all that buildup, the otherwise excellent storytelling, and all Ogilvy does is bulk up and fight Batman one on one. What happened to working from the shadows? How do his methods align with his stated goal. Ogilvy didn’t care how long his rule was, as long as he ruled for a bit. By that logic why bother taking so long with his plans? Why not just go all out, take out the penguin by brute force, and then say he ruled for the few seconds it took for Penguin’s goons to ice him. If he’s going to play the long game, he needs a long term goal, not the most underwhelming interpretation of what it means to be on top. He didn’t even inconvenience Batman for very long. When Bane took him out the first time he left Batman paralyzed. For all his initial internal monologue about how dangerous Ogilvy is, Batman really didn’t let himself get held up for very long.

While I feel that Ogilvy getting super powers was disappointing, I kind of like his new design. He has a vampire/Nightcrawler look going on. It isn’t the most original look around, but it certainly looks kind of cool. And the backup/epilogue sets him up as a character that could certainly come back. Since the rest of his story has been good, I think I can overlook the disappointing finale to this story in the hopes that future stories will improve upon the groundwork here.

Ogilvy’s backstory was an interesting twist on Batman’s own backstory. Same basic premise, but the difference in background takes Ogilvy in a different direction. The parallels between him and Batman are interesting, and I hope they get explored further. Though, who was “The Boss” exactly? Has he shown up before? I’ve never seen him in any other Batman story I’ve read.

Ultimately this was not a good issue. The entire package wasn’t terrible, but the main story was pretty bad. It has potential, but I can’t grade an issue on potential alone. Based on pure enjoyment of this individual issue I can’t grade it any higher than I have. Definitely worth picking up if you’ve been following this story, but you will be disappointed, so consider saving your money this month.

The Grade

2/5

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