Friday, August 29, 2014

Pretty Bird: DETECTIVE COMICS #567

Previously in Detective Comics...

Detective Comics #567 starred Batman a story by renowned Harlan Ellison with art by Gene Colan, and one of my favorite Batman covers drawn by Klaus Janson.  Green Arrow and Black Canary teamed up in their final Detective Comics backup strip titled "The Face of Barricade" written by Joey Cavalieri and pencilled by Stan Woch.

The story begins with ohmygod!!!

Skeletor Barricade looms over Green Arrow, kicking him and tormenting him with vague clues about his real identity.  He recalls the story of how Green Arrow brought about the ruin of his life, revealing to readers that Barricade is actually Lars from Detective Comics #556-557.

Lars' loyal followers at the monastery restored the Book of Ages using some alchemical tricks; this brought Lars back to life... sort of.  Lars, despite looking like death, will live as long as he remains in physical contact with the book.  His humanity will be restored once he gets the Wisdom Key which is hidden in Onyx's tiara.

Onyx brandishes the tiara in front of Barricade so he'll leave Green Arrow alone, but her whip does nothing to keep the villain at bay.  He lifts up Onyx threatening to snap her neck.  Ollie, meanwhile, grabs his bow and arrow and takes aim.  He heard Barricade say he had to remain in contact with the book, so he fires at one of Barricade's leg cuffs, hoping that's where the book is secreted.  Sadly, he guesses wrong, so he fires at one of Barricade's wrist gauntlets.  That, too, proves futile.

Before Black Canary can get away with the tiara, Barricade slams a heavy fist into the wall, shaking the building's foundation and causing Black Canary to fall into the room.  Barricade tries to get the tiara from Dinah, but Ollie fires one more arrow that rips open the back of Barricade's costume, exposing the Book of Ages hidden at the small of his back.

As the book falls loose, Lars dies again.

As the heroes realize the Wisdom Key isn't with the tiara, they realize that Onyx has slipped away.  We find her again in the park meeting with Tommie, the friend she hurried out of the music store.  Only, Tommie isn't feeling very friendly at the moment.  She gave him the Wisdom Key and pushed him away to maybe keep him safe, but he sees it as making him a target for some nasty villain like Barricade.  The story ends with Onyx walking away unhappily.

Even though Crisis on Infinite Earths ended about a year before this issue came out, this story is considered Black Canary's last pre-Crisis appearance.  The next time we see her is in the fourth chapter of the Justice League reboot miniseries, Legends, which I'll be reviewing soon.  As a finale to her pre-Crisis period, though, this story is pretty anticlimactic.  I enjoyed seeing Onyx revisited and this two-parter was a nice follow-up to the Green Arrow and Onyx's side-adventure ten issues earlier, but I would have rather seen more out of the Steelclaw story and more development of Dinah's voice-based mind control powers that Joey Cavalieri built up over the past year.

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