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Marty Pasko and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez craft a decent whodunnit in Detective 459 (May 1976), but unfortunately it really has little connection to Ernie Chan’s cover.

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The story deals with a successful mystery novelist, whose books always have a trademark “clue before dying.”  He is wealthy, successful arrogant, hated, and fairly obviously going to be the victim.

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His body is found, along with a clue left before dying.  But was the clue really his, or a distraction by the killer?

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Some good action scenes, and a solid mystery that plays fair.

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The concluding half of the Man-Bat story, also by Pasko, with art by Pablo Marcos, has the villain trying to draw supernatural energy off of Man-Bat and She-Bat.  Up to now, there had never been anything supernatural ascribed to them, and though by and large the Man-Bat stories would stay in the realm of the scientific, occasionally he would be portrayed as something magical.

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Much of this story has Kirk fighting the bad guy, both in human form, and as a demon.  It’s not clear which of the two forms is the villains true nature.

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Kirk manages to defeat him, and frees Francine, restoring her to human form.  The Langstroms return a year down the road, when Man-Bat gets a series in Batman Family.

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