tec_395

With Detective 395 (Jan. 70) Batman took another step towards the dark knight, thanks to Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano.  While the stories by Frank Robbins had enmeshed Batman in a world of real street crime, this story moved the character to the verge of the supernatural, taking advantage of the gothic craze from the early 70s, and adding a new darkness to the character.

tec_395_001

The story takes Bruce Wayne to Mexico, where he meets the reclusive Juan and Dolores Muerto.  Although the couple seems open and friendly, Batman has already spotted the violence occurring on their estate.

tec_395_002

One of the other party guests turns out to be a government agent.  The Muertos own a ruined monastery, in which grow hundreds of “sibyl” plants, which give immortality, but at the cost of madness.  The plants are illegal, and the agent is out to get the Muertos, but they get him first.

tec_395_006

Batman doesn’t fare too much better than the Mexican cop, getting caught and thrown into the monastery, where he is subject to the effects of the flowers, and of Neal Adams love for psychedelic panels.

tec_395_003

Batman sets fire to the monastery and the flowers, and the story comes to a pure horror comic conclusion, with the Muertos rapidly aging and falling into their pre-dug graves.

While Detective Comics would stay largely within the realm of realistic crimes for the next few years, the supernatural element from this story would play big time in early 70s Batman.

tec_395_004

Robin’s story, by Robbins, Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson, concludes in this issue.  Robin confronts Fire-Brand Fran and Jonah about being in league with the phony cops.

tec_395_005

It then turns out that the student radicals are really foreign agents trying to destroy the US.   That’s a kind of shocking dismissal of the issues that were being protested on US college campuses at the time, and later Robin stories would deal with those issues in a much more intelligent way.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: