Posts tagged ‘Alfred’

Detective 567 – Batman by Harlan Ellison, Green Arrow ends, and so does this blog

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Acclaimed science-fiction writer Harlan Ellison scripts the Gene Colan Batman story in Detective 567 (Oct. 86), the final issue to deal with the pre-Crisis Batman.

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It’s a hilarious read.  We follow Batman on an untypical night.  A night in which shopkeepers and old ladies are able to defend themselves.  A night where a potential mugging in a park is really just some kids running around after a concert.

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Every “crime” Batman spots turns out to be something else, and the most use he proves during the evening is holding a flashlight for a repairman.

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What I find very interesting, though, is his comment to Alfred on the last page about it being a bad night.  Usually Batman defends his eternal mission by saying that he is trying to being peace to Gotham.  But in this story, when he is not needed to do that, instead of rejoicing, relaxing or celebrating, he is miserable and depressed.

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Joey Cavalieri and Stan Woch bring Green Arrow’s series to a conclusion in this issue, as the mystery villain unmasks.  His identity is no clearer for that, but he does look scary.

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Understanding that his skull is not instantly recognizable, he helpfully explains that he was the one behind the assault on the temple, who seemingly died when he found the Book of Ages.

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But he didn’t die. He’s back.  And he’s calling himself Barricade now, for no particular reason.  Who cares, he looks cool and this final story is a big fight scene, as he takes on Green Arrow, Black Canary and Onyx.

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And that kid who had been putting up with Onyx for far too long finally looks about to get some action out of it.  Although it is odd that the series ends on these two, instead of on Oliver and Dinah.

Of the three, Black Canary is the next to appear, almost immediately, in the pages of the crossover miniseries Legends, which leads into the new Justice League.

Green Arrow does not appear at all for almost a year.  A future version of him shows up in Batman – The Dark Knight Returns, and a few months later he gets his own miniseries, the Longbow Hunters, which launches his own book.

Onyx does return as well, but not for an awfully long time.  I’m not 100% sure where and when she does return, though I will find it, but by the time of War Games, she is part of the Batman universe, working with Orpheus.

And that ends this blog!  Not that it ends me writing about DC Comics, but the media library is 97% full.

I chose to cut it off here as the next issue is a Legends crossover, and part of the post-Crisis universe.  This story falls sort of between the pre- and post- Crisis worlds, but contained the end of the Green Arrow run.

So I am starting a new blog, Babblings about DC Comics 2.  I will finish off covering Detective, and then move on to Action Comics. That had even more issues than Detective, so I am not certain I will get all the way through it in the second blog, but I’m hoping to.

 

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Detective 563 – Two-Face is lonely, and Green Arrow sets up Champion

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Doug Moench and Gene Colan begin a 4part Two-Face story in Detective 563 (June 1986) that weaves back and forth between this book and Batman.

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Jason Todd brings Rena back to Wayne Manor, and in his quest to impress her, he almost reveals his Robin outfit.  Or at least, that’s what Alfred thinks he is going to do, just before he stops Jason.  Was he going to?  Jason says no, but teen hormones do overpower judgement.

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Batman and Catwoman are still trying to round up the last members of Black Mask’s False Face Society.  Batman breaks into the Sionis family tomb, which he was using as a base.  But all they discover is that someone else is trailing them.

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As for Two-Face, the length of the four part story means that this issue serves to re-introduce him, and he reflects on his origin.  Circe is also re-introduced, the former girlfriend of Black Mask, horribly mutilated by him.

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Green Arrow and Black Canary continue their struggle against Steelclaw and Champion in this story by Cavalieri and Moore.

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Green Arrow has noticed that all the things Champion has saved had been insured by the same company.  He figures that Champion is actually causing the disasters he saves things from, and sets him up.  Entertainingly, Green Arrow uses an art exhibit by Ozone as bait, which Champion shows up to set fire to.

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Black Canary doesn’t have a lot to do in this one, but does make the vital connection, through the use of the nickname “Brucie,” realizing that Steelclaw is really the mayor.

 

 

Detective 552 – Julia writes a story, and Dinah organizes a prison break

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Alfred is pleased as punch when Julia gets a front page story published in the newspaper, and Detective 552 (July 1985) shares her piece at length, courtesy of Doug Moench and Pat Broederick.

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It begins with a huge old tree being cut down so that a highrise can be constructed.  Julia’s investigation uncovers corruption within the construction firm behind the development.

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The story is a pretty basic one at it’s core, but the conceit of it being a newspaper article works well, and Broederick takes some dynamic risks with the art.  The fight in the cemetery works very well.

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And you have to smile at the end.  The construction project is called off after Batman busts the bad guys, and though the tree is already gone, the stump is sprouting new life.

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Oliver Queen sits in a camp with illegal immigrants as this Green Arrow chapter opens, by Cavalieri, Moore and Patterson.

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It’s a more impressive outing for Dinah Lance, actually, as she pretends to be his lawyer, smuggles in some rudimentary equipment in her clothes, and then provides the getaway vehicle.  Oliver’s driving skills seem to show that she should have been behind the wheel as well, but they get away.

The sad thing is, they really don’t achieve anything positive for the immigrants they were trying to help.

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We discover that Onyx has been trailing Oliver Queen, and his figured out that he is Green Arrow.  Because she is not a blind idiot.  People mock Clark Kent’s glasses, but Green Arrow’s beard pretty much defies the concept of a secret identity.

Detective 551 – Calendar Man aims to kill Robin, and Green Arrow gets rounded up

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Moench and Broederick contribute the middle chapter to a very good Calendar Man story in Detective 551 (June 1985).

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The Calendar Man is made a far more serious villain in this story than he had been in either of his previous ones. He has been hired, through the Monitor, to kill Robin, but is making that the climax of a series of holiday-themed crimes.

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Batman plays a nice, interactive game with Alfred and Jason, working with them to figure out what the holidays might be that Calendar Man is going to base his crimes on, but he refuses to let Jason accompany him as Robin when they go out, insisting it is simply too dangerous.

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As always, Calendar Man alters his costume and weaponry to match his crime, leaving Batman always unprepared for what the villain will throw at him.

The story concludes in the following issue of Batman.

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No costume, but at least Dinah Lance gets a supporting role in this Green Arrow story by Cavalieri, Moore and Patterson.

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The story deals withe plight of illegal immigrants from Mexico, which seems a timeless issue in the US.  They are being hidden in the basement of a church in this story, and Oliver Queen goes to help, and write about, them.  But as it turns out, that just means he gets rounded up with the rest of them when the border police come.

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Meanwhile, Onyx wonders if she can trust the guy who has been bringing her food, and hiding her and keeping her safe.  This woman has issues.

 

Detective 547 – Batman and Night Slayer trade costumes, and Onyx arrives in Star City

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Ok, first off, nothing even remotely like the image on the cover occurs in Detective 547 (Feb. 85).  Doug Moench, Pat Broederick and Klaus Janson tell a story that is very much just another chapter in Batman’s soap opera life.

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Julia has warmed up enough to Alfred now that she tells him she is changing her last name to Pennyworth.

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Nocturna and Robin are out on patrol together, and run into the Night Slayer, wearing Batman’s outfit.  Batman is running around in the Night Slayer costume.  That all happened in the pages of Batman.  Overall, it seems that, during this period, most things begin, end, or happen, in the pages of Batman, as Detective stories carry the plot from one event to another.

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Cavalieri, Moore and Patterson continue their story about Vengeance, the man who looks and acts just like Vigilante, in this Green Arrow story.

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Onyx arrives in Star City, and shows herself capable of surviving the streets of the big city.

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The “crime” that Vengeance is out to avenge deals with events back from the VietNam War, and a messed up, guilt-ridden vet is the target.  So we definitely side with Green Arrow.

Detective 541 – Batman chases the Penguin to the north pole, and Green Arrow gets trapped by the Death Dealer

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It’s yet another second half by Moench and Colan in Detective 541 (Aug. 84), as Batman pursues the Penguin, who has stolen plans for an advance warning system in the arctic (early bird), and plans to sell them to the Russians.

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Batman’s chase after the Penguin has negative repercussions he is unaware of at the time.  The child welfare agency tries to call Bruce Wayne that night, and even though Alfred explains that he is taking care of Jason, the powers that be are not impressed.

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I do like Colan’s rendition of the Penguin.  And you gotta like any story in which he uses real penguins to delay Batman.

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In the end, this story has more deception than one would think possible.  The Penguin had fake plans to sell, he had no intention of betraying his country.  But the”real” plans the Penguin stole were fakes as well, disinformation leaked by the government.

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Green Arrow begins a 2-part story pitting him against a hit man with a card fetish, the Death Dealer, in this story by Joey Cavalieri and Shawn McManus.

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The Death Dealer is hunting down a man in the witness protection program, currently working as a radio dj, and not overly concerned about hiding his real identity.  Cause that’s why they spent millions to give you a new id.  So you could not care.

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Oliver Queen goes to check on the dj at the radio station, and discovers that the Dealer has locked them both in, and set fire to the place.

 

Detective 538 – is the Cat-Man costume magic?, and Green Arrow, three years ago

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Doug Moench and Gene Colan take the second half of this Cat-Man 2-parter in an interesting direction in Detective 538 (May 1984).

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Thomas Blake, the Cat-Man was defeated by Batman in the first half of this story, but the news was spread that he had won, because of his costume.  This is all done in order to get a fellow con to lead Batman to where he stored his loot.

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Thomas Blake has a small role, in protective custody with Harvey Bullock, but the man in cat suit for this story is Collins.

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With Batman tailing, Collins breaks into Blake’s apartment, steals the suit, and heads out for his loot.  he takes crazy risks, because he believes in the suit’s magic, and Batman has to save his life, repeatedly, without being spotted, to keep the con going.

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Collins leads Batman to his loot, in a cave, but a collapse opens a tunnel and Collins winds up in the Batcave.  He and Batman fight on the dinosaur and giant penny, as Alfred tries to explain the sounds to Julia, who has recently moved into Wayne Manor.

Collins is captured, and Batman explains the con, but Collins still believes it was the suit that saved his life, and lead him to the Batcave.

Thomas Blake returns as Cat-Man in a couple of years.  Collins is not seen again, doubtlessly shanked in prison by Blake.

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Shawn McManus is now on the pencils for Green Arrow, with Pablo Marcos doing inks, and just in time as Joey Cavalieri tells a poignant story, reflecting back on a dead friend of Oliver Queen.

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The story is split on each page, with the present, as Green Arrow hunts and captures gun runners, on the top.  On the bottom is the story of Oliver and his pop star musician friend.

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When I first read this, when it came out, I couldn’t see any connection at all between the two stories, and it sort of irritated me, until I hit the page above, and realized that the pop star was meant to be John Lennon, and the upper story about the ease with which illegal guns are available in the US.

 

 

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