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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

BATMAN: THE DESTROYER: Batman 474 Legends of the Dark Knight 27 Detective 641

RATING 3.5 out 5

I was doing a little research into Solomon Wayne, and pulled these three issues out of my boxes.  Some interesting points are in these issues to be made about Solomon Wayne AND the buildings of Gotham City, so I decided to share my findings.  They were written by Alan Grant and Dennis O'Nell, who made a entertaining and interesting story.

Grant Morrison may have gotten the ideal for the panels on the right from these issues. These panels are part of the RIP storyline where Batman fights the devil.
Batman 679 (Batman/Zur-en-arrh hallucinating and seeing Gotham City as a grid that created Batman, the talking gargoyles were a nice touch)

This is not a review as munch pointing out some interesting points in the story.

There are SPOILERS for the story "The Destroyer"

PART 1: Batman 474: Title: A Tale of Two Cities
This first issue is setup for the rest of the story, with Batman's, Bruce Wayne's, detective work on what is happening.

After solving the crime of a Art forgery, Batman finds the answers to another crime in which someone is expertly demolishing whole buildings.  He sees that the old architecture of older buildings are revealed after the more modern yet run down buildings are demolished. He comes to the improbable conclusion that the crime was being done for Art.

Looking at the background of the overs you can see some of the architecture that was revealed.

Batman goes to the Wayne Foundation to look up the architectural histories that are too old to be in any computer records. 

PART  2: Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight 27: Title: Solomon
This issue is where most of the background information on Solomon and the buildings of Gotham is contained.

At the Wayne Foundation, Batman finds files that show the beginnings of  Gotham into a City, back during the Civil War Era.

Batman says;
"Judge Solomon Z Wayne, my great great grandfather...with a Harvard degree, and appointment of the judgeship and a reputation for cussedness."

Judge Solomon Wayne carried a Law book in one hand and a Bible in another. See the page below, and you can get a taste of  Solomon's nature.

Solomon was a true ...Bible Thumper... and a Whumper.
Solomon said,  "The bible and the Laws of the land--Between them, they leave no problem unsolved."  

Solomon  meets Cyrus Pinkney, the guy in glasses.  Cyrus is a architect and Solomon asks him about his sketches.  After seeing the sketches, Solomon sees them as his life's calling to bring Gotham up to parallel other great cities.

Solomon  makes a speech to the property holder's association;
"For what is a city, gentlemen? A Sanctuary! A stronghold! A fortress! A bulwark against the godlessness of the wilds..."

Most of others who looked at the sketches saw the architecture as ugly, and once it was built, the world agreed that they were ugly.

After returning to the Batcave, Bruce uses the Bat-computer to access private military records, while commenting that "Solomon Wayne would have me Hung" for doing something illegal.
Batman finds a ex- navy seal, Andre Sinclair, to be the likely suspect.

This issue shows Andre Sinclair looking at a modern building.   Captions  read; "Evil. A Devil's Building,"  because it is blocking one of Pinkney's designs.

Bruce visits Dean Freeberg of the Gotham State institute of Architecture and asks him about Sinclair.
Dean Freeberg said, "...he had some kind of mystical experience while he was with the military in asia. Says he realized that, the buildings, are what keep the demons at bay..."

There is an extra chapter in the back of part 2:Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight 27:
Handcarts and Hellholes: A Brief History of Gotham City by Dennis O'Nell.
This mentions that Judge Solomon Zebediah Wayne started a dozen businesses including Gotham Buggy Whip Works. He became Gotham's leading citizen and its most Prosperous, and died at 104 years old.

He writes to a uncle in Boston,  "...Indeed, at times I feel that Evil seeps into our precincts from the areas of Godless Nature which surround us, That the Dark One rides the winds that waft through our lanes from the corruption of the woodlands, depositing lodes of Malice in our eaves and crannies."

On his death bed Solomon said, "I wished to lock evil out of men's neighborhoods and hearts. I fear that instead I have given it the means to be locked in."

 Part 3: Detective 641: Title: A Dream Is Forever

The building that Sinclair was looking at was the Gotham Police Department. It is not a abandoned building like the others that were demolished.  It is packed with people. Who can save the day?!

Anyway... back to Pinkney.
Sinclair finds Pinkney's original notes.
Sinclair says;
"Pinkney was inspired by his religious beliefs. He saw Gotham as a organic whole-- Almost as a living being that would itself fight against Evil" 

 Below is the splash page at the end of the issue.
The captions read:
Cyrus Pinkney's Gotham... Gargolyes to frighten people onto the path of righteousness.  Rounded Edges to Confuse the malevolent beings. Thick walls to lock in virtue.

I don't believe that these are collected  in a TPB, as yet.

Part 1: Batman 474: Title: A Tale of Two Cities
Script: Alan Grant
Art:Norm Breyfogle
Colors:Adriene Roy
Leters: Todd Klein
Editor: Dennis O'Neal
Published: Feb 1992

Part 2: Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight 27: Title: Solomon
Writer: Denny O'Neil
Pencils: Chris Sprouse
Inks: Bruce Patterson
Letters: John Costanza
Colors: Steve Oliff
Editor: Archie Goodwin
Pinkey Buildings Design: Anton Furst
Published: Feb 1992

Part 3: Detective 641: Title: A Dream Is Forever
Writter: Alan Grant
Pencils: Jim Aparo
Inks: Mike Decarlo
Colors: Adrienne Roy
Letters: John Costanza
Editor: Dennis O'Nell
Published: Feb 1992

Publisher: DC Comics


  1. The whole point was to incorporate Anton Furst's designs for Gotham from the Tim Burton films into the comic book in an interesting way - before that, Gotham always had a generic skyline. Now if only Grant Morrison could explain his ideas in a way that doesn't feel like a DVD easter egg...

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