Posts tagged ‘Alfredo Alcala’

Detective 544 – Nocturna makes an offer

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Doug Moench, Gene Colan and Alfredo Alcala continue the twisted romance tale that Detective Comics has become with issue 544 (Sept. 84).  The Night Slayer does appear in it, attacking Batman because of Nocturna’s interest in him, but he is not the focus of the issue, just the cover.

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Nocturna continues her play for Bruce Wayne, now knowing that he is Batman.  She offers to be his partner in both guises, still holding Jason Todd out as the cherry on the cake.

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This issue does have a bit more action, when the romance needs a breather, but it’s still more soap opera than super-heroics.

Part of that means that things are moving slowly, and with the story jumping back and forth between books, it repeats itself, almost to the point of tedium.

This is not my favourite era for Batman.

 

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Detective 543 – Nocturna needs a new guy

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Moench and Colan are joined by Alfredo Alcala on Detective 543 (Oct. 84), and though the cover doesn’t convey it, love is in the air throughout Gotham.

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The Thief of Night has escaped prison, and made it back to Nocturna, only to discover her with another man, Hellstrom, who has been stealing to provide for her.

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Angered, the Thief takes off.  His real name is Anton Knight, and by the following issue of Detective, his rage has lead him to murder, and his code name changes from the Thief of Night, to the Night Slayer.

Meanwhile, Hellstrom has also taken off, feeling that Nocturna is using him. Which, you know, she is.  So she decides she needs a new man to support her, and sets her sights on Bruce Wayne.

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She goes to visit Jason Todd at the orphanage as well, playing with the boys affections as part of her larger scheme.

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Julia takes advantage of Vicki Vale’s busy schedule, scoring a date with Bruce.  There is mutual attraction, but Bruce avoids taking things further.

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If anyone is the major villain in this issue, it’s Hamilton Hill, the mayor.  Furious that his sniper has been caught, he nonetheless doubles down, ordering that Bruce Wayne’s adoption of Jason Todd be halted by any means.

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There is a little bit of action, Batman tracking and capturing the hapless Hellstrom.

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Nocturna’s plan becomes apparent on the final page.  She applies to be Jason Todd’s legal guardian, and informs Bruce Wayne that he can continue to raise Jason, as long as he marries her.

 

 

Detective 534 – Poison Ivy’s plant men

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Poison Ivy makes her first appearance in this book in Detective 534 (Jan. 84), nearly 20 years after the character was introduced.

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Doug Moench, Gene Colan and Alfredo Alcala helm this tale, continued from the pages of Batman, that sees Ivy kidnap a number of men, using them to power her hybrid plant men.

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Alfredo Alcala, who does the inks on this story, also was one of the artists on Swamp Thing from this period, so the plant men look as good as they should, reminiscent of the swamp creature, but different.

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Jason Todd is allowed to join Batman in battle in this story, and as Batman holds off the plant men, Jason takes down Ivy.

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The story ends with a cute scene as Bruce and Jason try to come up with a code name for him.  Until Dick adopted the name Nightwing, Jason was stuck being almost-Robin-but-not-quite.

Detective 531 – Chimera at the circus

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There are costumes galore in Detective 531 (Oct. 83), as Doug Meonch, Gene Colan and Alfredo Alcala send Jason Todd back to the circus, along with a murderous master of disguise.

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Jason realizes there is something wrong when his good friend, the clown Waldo, gets all violent and murderous for no reason.  It’s not Waldo (where’s Waldo?), it’s the Chimera.

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Jason remains largely oblivious, but on guard, as the Chimera impersonates Batman, while Batman impersonates Waldo.

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But the story does have one positive result for Jason.  He has proven his merit to Batman, who decides to allow him to be his partner.

 

Detective 526 – Jason Todd dons the costume

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Celebrating Batman’s 500th appearance, Detective 526 (May 1983) is a forgotten, but worthy, anniversary issue.  Crisis on Infinite Earths would remove this story from continuity, and the origin of Jason Todd radically changed, but this work by Gerry Conway, Don Newton and Alfredo Alcala stands on its own merit.

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The Joker calls together a mass assembly of Batman’s enemies.  Croc is out to kill Batman, but he’s a newbie, and not worthy of the honour, the Joker insists.  So he lays out a plan that will give them all chances of killing Batman that night.

The line-up includes the regulars: Penguin, Riddler, Two-Face, and Scarecrow.  Cat-Man, Killer Moth, Mr. Freeze, the Mad Hatter, and Matt Hagen as Clayface had all appeared within the last few years.  The Cavalier had not been seen since an issue of Batman Family in the late 70s.  Tweedledum and Tweedledee had not been seen since the 1940s!  Technically, this is the first appearance of the Earth-1 versions of the characters, but with Crisis looming that scarcely matters.

Some of the newer villains are included as well: Black Spider, Captain Stingaree and the Spook.  Talia is there, without her father being involved in the story, which is rare.

The Gentleman Ghost is a Hawkman villain, but had fought Batman twice in his own book.  This is the only time he appears in a line-up of Batman villains.

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Catwoman watches, but takes no part in the meeting.  Talia also has no interest in killing Batman, but has to fight her way out.

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Both Catwoman and Talia head to the Batcave to warn Batman of the plans against him, but get involved in a cat fight of their own.

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Meanwhile, things aren’t going so well for Dick Grayson.  His great plan to use the Todds against Croc simply put them into his hands, and he has Jason driven to Wayne Manor to keep him safe.

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Barbara accompanies her father as Commissioner Gordon checks out the abandoned theatre where the villains met, and finds evidence pointing to a gathering of their enemies.

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Barbara goes to find Dick, and they suit up as Batgirl and Robin and head out to fight the villains, as Batman does the same, with Talia and Catwoman as back-up.  No one is at home, so Jason is left to explore Wayne Manor, and guess where he winds up?

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The Spook manages to get the drop on Talia, if only for a moment.  But with so many fighting against them, the two women and Batman get taken.

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Robin is the one to find the remains of the Todds, fed to his namesakes by Croc.

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Jason, unawares, has found an alternate Robin costume in the cave, and suited up.  He heads out to join the rest of the heroes.

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Batgirl and Robin fight well together. There is no hint of romance, as there had been in their Batman Family team-ups.  Robin is in a budding romance with Starfire in the pages of New Teen Titans, but their ease with each other reminds one of the bond between them, the best duo of Batman’s supporting cast.

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Jason happens upon  a group of the villains, which gives him the information he needs to find out where everyone else is.

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Finally the big climax, as the Joker gloats over his captured foes.

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Croc had been working behind the scenes with the Joker, using all the other villains to wear Batman down.  He makes his move, but Batman manages to duck at the right time, and Croc takes down the Joker.

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Jason Todd arrives just as Batman has beaten Croc into submission, and delivers the final blow.  Only afterwards does he discover his parents bodies.

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The epilogue sees Bruce sending Catwoman and Talia off together in a car.  Where is he sending them?  Why did he stick these two women in the same car together?  How far did they get before their fight forced the car off the road and into a ditch?

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The issue ends with Bruce and Jason Todd, who is looking relatively ok for a boy whose parents were horribly murdered the night before.  But he is to be the new Robin, and there is a sense of hope.

Which is all kind of weird now, because Jason Todd was given such a different origin, and made such a different character, in the post-Crisis reality.

But for a couple of years, this was the origin of Jason Todd, Robin.

Detective 520 – Boss Thorne hires Dr 13, and a Catwoman solo story

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Gerry Conway and Don Newton art joined by inker Alfredo Alcala on Detective 520 (Nov. 82).

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Batman meets with Jim Gordon and Jason Bard, as well as Vickie Vale.  Her editor committed suicide, and they know he gave Vicki’s pictures to Boss Thorne.  They are trying to tie Thorne to Hamilton Hill.

Batman breaks into a prison, and breaks Deadshot out, to get the name of who hired him.  Floyd Lawton has no problems giving up Thorne’s name, but is surprised when Batman knocks him out and sends him back.

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Meanwhile, Boss Thorne is more concerned with the hauntings of Hugo Strange’s ghost than with the detectives, and has hired Dr. 13 to find out if the ghost is real.  Dr.13 was last seen a little over a year earlier, investigating the ghost of Wayne Manor.

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Dr. 13 goes to Greytowers, the phony hospital run by Hugo Strange, and his ghost materializes.  And Alfred dusts the Batcave.

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Catwoman’s solo tales had been running periodically in the back pages of Batman for the last few years.  This issue marks her only solo story in Detective, by Bob Rozakis and Gil Kane.

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Selina Kyle bumps into a former henchman of hers, and, sensing that he is lying to her about his plans, decides to follow him. Catwoman is on the good side of the law these days.

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It’s a soft story with a happy ending, as the guy has gone straight as well, and was hoping Catwoman would follow him and be his back up as he exposed some thieves.

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