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Doug Moench and Pat Broederick venture into the background of a criminal in Detective 550 (May 1985).  This type of Batman story goes all the way back to the 40s, and are clearly cautionary tales for the kids reading the books.  Even still, when done right, they work.

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Many of the usual scenes are given, abusive and negligent parents, isolation, poverty.  But the story also pretty clearly shows that it is the boy’s choices, not just his situation, that has lead him down this dark path.

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Broederick’s art works well on Batman, particularly on the last two issues, which were more about gritty reality than evocative moods.

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The story does not shy away with it’s ending. The boy chooses to jump to his death, rather than be caught by Batman, and the story follows him to hell, which is inhabited by giant spiders, it seems, and represented on the cover, sans Batman.

I probably could have done without the giant hell spiders, but otherwise a good tale.

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Arrow-Man shoots Black Canary right at the top of the second half of Alan Moore and Klaus Janson’s story.

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Green Arrow gets her to a hospital, and then spends the rest of the story tracking, and catching, the shooter.  The Olympics metaphor in the narration doesn’t work quite as well as in the first half.

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The final scene is in the hospital with Dinah, although the mentally disturbed felon from the first story makes a funny cameo.  I’m glad Black Canary got some action in the first half, as the second reduces her to just the injured girlfriend.

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