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Comic Book Review: "Detective Comics #9: The Owls Takes Arkham"
The "Night Of The Owls” unfolds in the pages of DC Comics namesake title, “Detective Comics”. The Court of Owls has released their undead assassins, The Talons, onto the city of Gotham to eliminate any and all persons of importance, both private and public. In Detective Comics #9, “The Owls Take Arkham”, they set their sights on the head of Arkham Asylum, Doctor Jeremiah Arkham. With story and art by Tony Daniel, Sandu Florea, and Szymon Kudranski the issue revolves around the island institution being on lockdown just as The Talons arrive and wreak untold calamity inside it walls. Only Batman can defeat the assassins and deal with the crazed inmates and a megalomaniac doctor.
“Night Of The Owls: The Owls Take Arkham” begins at Arkham Island at 8:26 p.m. The bridge off of the island is up and all the guards have been told the place is on lockdown. As they sit in the car trying to keep warm, a very heavy object bounces off of the hood of their car.
Inside, Dr. Jeremiah Arkham believes the asylum is the safest place in the city and maybe the country. Aaron Cash tells him that they still need to protect him, regardless of his self-assurance. There are a huge number of assassins coming to kill him and they need to protect him. He says that the island is fine, and there is nothing to fear, because nothing can get in or out of the place. He is completely safe.
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He has patients that need him. He understands their pain. Like Steel Jacket, Fright, Clayface and Nocturna. Cash informs him that Roman Sionis (Black Mask) wants to talk to him; he’s ready to stop his hunger strike. He wants his “partner” back. Arkham tells him no, and the lights go out. Behind him a Talon appears, but Arkham used a Taser on him and runs away. Another Talon appears and knocks him down. He tells Arkham that The Court of Owls has called for his death.
At 8:51 p.m. Batman arrives to protect Dr. Arkham, fighting off the Talons. He tells Jeremiah to run to any of the many secret passages through the asylum. Arkham runs off as a horde of Talons chase after him. He escapes into one passage and decides that Black Mask can help him. He gives Roman his “Partner” (his black mask) back, promising him that he will give him anything he wants in return for protecting him.
Batman is being choked by one of the Talons. The cell behind him opens and Clayface jumps out. The entire cell block is suddenly released and all the inmates start attacking the Talons. Batman escapes to a room with Black Mask. Roman tries mind control on Batman, but it doesn’t work; Batman demand to know where Arkham is.
Arkham is in his office watching the monitors. His plan has worked perfectly: Black Mask used his mind control to get the inmates to attack the Talons and Batman has managed to contain them all in one place. Now he can use sleeping gas on all of them.
Outside his huge metal door, a lone Talon is banging is trying to get in. Suddenly the door flies off its hinges and the assailant falls to the ground in front of Batman. The Dark Knight informs the good doctor at he’s coming with him and punches him out and carries him away.
The power comes back on and police finally show up. Batman jumps the bridge in the Batmobile to escape the island.
At 9:49 p.m. Batman is driving through Gotham City with Arkham. He gets a call from Nightwing. He offers to take the good doctor off his hands, so Batman can find the Birds of Prey and Lincoln March.
In the back up story, “Two-Face in 50/50” Harvey Dent (Two-Face) is meeting Dominic Sterano at the Gotham City lower east parking garage. Sterano wants to make a deal: If Harvey can deal with Freakshow Tommy, the person trying to blackmail Sterano, Sterano can see to it that all of Harvey past crimes are overlooked and he can get his job as Gotham District Attorney back. He agrees and goes to The Sand Tavern to talk to Maurice to find Freakshow Tommy. Maurice doesn’t tell him at first. The people at the bar are silently and quickly being killed by unknown assassins and Maurice runs off. Harvey follows him to the roof top where he finds Maurice severed arm. A group of masked man with swords tell Harvey that he’s been chosen by their leader. Then, one of them knocks out Two-Face.
Detective Comics #9, “The Owls Take Arkham”, is one of the first issues released of the "Night Of The Owls” major crossover in the Bat-titles. It’s a fascinating story dealing with the mind of Dr. Jeremiah Arkham. He’s sense of self-importance and his almost god-like power (through medication) to heal, hurt, fix, and control. He even believes that The Talons and Batman stepping foot inside the asylum means that they want to be there for his treatments and medical care. He uses everyone around to (or attempt to) completely control the situation inside his precious hospital home. He uses Black Mask to control the inmates, the inmates to control the Talons and Batman to control Black Mask. This issue seems to be a transition issue to be picked up in the pages of Nightwing and Birds of Prey. It’s a quick story as the rest of the Bat-family is running around Gotham City dealing with the Talons. As with any night for Batman, this night is young and the Talons are in flight. It will be a long and busy evening for the Dark Knight.