Detective Comics #678 from September 1994 is probably one of the more noir books of the rather noir Batman books by DC Comics. In fact, if I was making a list of most-noir things, this one would be on there. Its also one of my favorite Batman books. The trouble is that it was slapped in the middle of the Zero Hour DC event which really…. was a big zero, anyway. Zero Hour is a perplexing array of science-fiction events that the superheroes of the DC universe are rapidly spun through. And it was basically all rearranged for Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis, and Final Crisis. (DC is always in crisis………) What do you need to know about Zero Hour in order to enjoy this Detective Comic?
- Time is out of joynt. People and places from the past, present, future are colliding. Its messy.
- Batman is one of the first to notice the chrono-craziness when he runs into Batgirl.
The story starts off with Bruce downstairs in the cave. He hears voices upstairs and crawls up there to find his parents coming in the door with the police. They are upset. Their son has been shot in an alley.
Now, Bruce is well aware of the chrono-crap happening, so he’s obviously not too confused that this is reality. Nevertheless, he chases off to beat the snot out of Joe Chill. Turns out, in this reality, Joe was rotting in some dingy apartment getting stoned for days. He didn’t kill… well.. Bruce (in this case). And this causes Batman to wonder if in his own reality he really avenged his parents death. What if Joe Chill hadn’t killed his parents in that reality?
Batman races to the mansion….. hoping to spend a moment or two with these parents of his, but when he returns, the mansion is back to its typical state in the reality that Batman is used to. He is emotionally crushed.
I have to give this issue 5 stars because the story and art are excellent – even outside of reading along in the Zero Hour event. The issue, while connected to that event, can also be read on its own without the reader being left-behind.