Saturday, February 9, 2019

Detective Comics #651 (1992) Review

"A Bullet for Bullock"

Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artists: Graham Nolan, Scott Hanna, Glenn Whitmore
Cover Price: $1.25
Release Date: August 18, 1992

Review by Joey Casco of

Presented with Detective Noir-ish narration, Harvey Bullock asks for Batman's help to find whoever is trying to assassinate him. The two aren't each other's biggest fans, but they must work together to stop these attempted murders of one of Gotham's finest. The heat is on as blood will be shed and doughnuts will be dropped.

We open with Harvey walking through the streets of Gotham in the pouring rain. "Great night for a murder. MINE." he says as the narrator. A car pulls up and the driver sticks a gun out of the window and starts taking shots. Harvey dives behind a dumpster and returns fire.

"I know this isn't just a random drive-by. Nobody kills a cop for fun."

Harvey's been getting death threats and the threats have now turned into actual attempts at death. Bullock being Bullock, his narration makes him sound tougher than he is. He says he wants them to keep trying so he can catch them and nail them outside of the law.

"No rulebook. No paperwork. But I need to know who has it in for me. For that I'll need help."

It was Bullock who called for Batman, and after he finishes dissing Batman to his face he asks for his help in trying to find out who is trying to kill him. There's a lot of suspects as Bullock has pissed off a lot of people and put away a lot of criminals. He tells Batman that he can't go to the department for help because they might dig up something he doesn't want found. Batman asks him if he's "on the take", and Bullock denies it. "I just sometimes bend the rule a little. Stuff that's better buried. Stuff you'd understand."

Batman agrees to help Bullock because, even though they're not the same, they're on the same side. Bullock gives him floppy discs of cases going back five years for Batman to use to narrow down suspects. Then he goes home.

He goes upstairs to his rather filthy apartment and checks the rooms for intruders. "Place is clean. No boogeymen. That's a laugh. I got the boogeyman on my side this time." In the Batcave, Batman the boogeyman gives Robin the discs that Bullock gave him to look for possible suspects. Then he heads back out to the streets.

The next night, Bullock and Montoya are raiding the apartment of some perps who robbed an armored car, killing the driver and two bank guards. They bust in and one of the suspects starts shooting at them, but Montoya takes him out with a well placed shot. The other suspect escapes out of the window and Bullock follows him onto the roof.

Batman smashes the guy's head onto the brick wall, rendering him unconscious. Bullock is pissed, doing the whole "I can take care of myself" thing, and tells Bats to scram so he can do his job. Batman tells him he'll see him after his shift to ask some questions, and jumps off the building. Montoya finds Bullock on the roof. She's looking pretty happy for somebody who probably just killed a man, and she even tells Bullock that they have to be conscious when you read somebody their rights. Yeesh, Montoya!

Bullock gets back home and Batman is waiting for him in the dark. He shows him the death threat notes, one of them saying "GeT Out of ToWn BullOcK". Batman notices that they've gone more out of the way to scare him than they have trying to kill him, and wonders why they're only attacking him out on the street and not at home.

The next day they do go out of their way to try and kill him. While Bullock is waiting for the subway, somebody pushes him from behind onto the track. He's able to get out of the way in time but the doughnuts are finished and the man who shoved him is long gone.

That night, Batman meets him on the roof of the GCPD with a prime suspect. Vincent "The Shark" Starkey, who had threatened him in open court and was just released early on good behavior. Batman, being the word's greatest detective, knows where he is. They find Vincent and his goonies in the old Revere truck body plant and move in to take them down.

Batman punches some bad guys and Bullock chases Vincent. "Another chase. I hate this part of the job. I liked it when I was younger. That was a lot of doughnuts ago. But I still do all right."

They get nothing out of Vincent back at headquarters. Just a stupid look. So Bullock heads home, only to be confronted by the real guy! Wearing a ski mask and pointing a gun at Bullock, he tells him that he warned him and he should have listened. But Batman shows up and saves the day!

Look, gang! It's not a convict at all! It's old man Nivens! Damnit, it was the landlord the whole time! How the hell did I not see that coming?

Bits and Pieces

I really enjoyed this issue. It's a fun one-shot with a mystery coming from Bullock's point of view. The little exaggerations here and there to talk himself up were great. And it gives his character some development, as he learns to say "thank you". Twice.


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