Thursday, September 13, 2007

Detective Comics #714-715 (Oct.-Nov.'97)

John Jones paid a visit to Gotham in two Chuck Dixon scripted issues of 'Tec. "American Secrets" penciller Ed Barreto inked over series artist Graham Nolan, but made the book very much his own.

Harvey Bullock, Rene Montoya, and geeky Wiley Dalbert waited atop a parking garage for a nighttime meet. The GCPD officers were there to place Dalbert into the custody of Special Federal Agents Reilly and Felder (or Scully and Mulder, if you read between the lines.) "This guy gets picked up on a drunk driving beef and a federal warrant pops up. What'd he do? Steal a paper clip from the White House?" Wanted for trafficking in national security secrets, Suddenly, a blinding light bathed the area, into which Dalbert strolled away. Batman and Robin were brought in to investigate. The Dark Knight knew there had to be an explanation, to which his sidekick chided, "You mean one that doesn't involve close encounters? Who was this guy selling secrets to?"

Dalbert popped up in a seedy Gotham hotel, flashing a wad of bills. "I was told I could find accomodations here. I was told that you allowed your guest a certain level of... privacy." The dump was still full of bodies, so the landlord tried to evict resident Batman foe Firefly. "You have an interest in pyrotechnics and thermal dynamics, Mr. Lynns?" Dalbert decided an arsonist might come in handy in the near future. Wiley was looking to do some... traveling, and needed jewels more than cash. Somehow, all of his current currency was dated two years from the present, yet wasn't counterfeit. A heist was planned.

Meanwhile, P.I. John Jones introduced himself to Harvey Bullock as working the case as an assistant to Denver P.D. Along with Renee Montoya, they tracked Dalbert to "some kind of hostel for wanted criminals," but he again disappeared. "Last time, this Dalbert disappeared like a flying saucer snagged him. You believe in little green men, Jones?"

"Not little ones." Jones plowed through a door to follow Dalbert, but found instead a room on fire. Severely burnt, Jones realized Firefly would complicate his case, which only made him more determined. "He just got crisped and he's still keepin' on. What a cop." Still, the fire overcame Jones, and Harvey had to carry him out. Montoya was less impressed. "What a nutjob."

Bullock and Montoya figured he was off the case, considering he had burns over 50% of his body. Jones' opinion differed, feeling fine, but did request that Harvey not light up a cigar in his presence. When Jones learned Jim Gordon was with Batman discussing the case, the two friends finally teamed-up. "Nobody told me you were in Gotham, John... Wherever he is, I think the Firefly will follow. Now I understand why you're looking for my help," said Batman. The pair of uncommon detectives headed out, leaving Gordon talking to himself. "I can't believe someone else can do it, too."

"I appreciate you keeping a low profile while you're in my town." "I have no desire to overshadow you, Batman... After this robbery he will escape to a place where we can never find him." "Nobody can disappear forever." "I can assure you we won't be seeing this man again for a long, long time." "Sometimes I forget your talent for speaking in enigmas, John. But I respect your need for secrecy"

Jones caught Dalbert inside a bank vault, much to Wiley's shock. "I've been here for hours. You're not the only one with a mystery about him." Dalbert still seemed to know the future, like the fact that Firefly was about to enter the vault as well. Jones went down after a blast of fire struck, but Batman covered him with an extinguisher from his flame-retardant suit. Still, Dalbert escaped. John explained that Dalbert was a scientist from the future, working backwards through time. He wanted to live in a simpler time, and escaped to become a philanthropist in the 1800's.

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