Doug Moench and Gene Colan provide a review of Batman’s major villains in this story, a lead-in to the big Batman 400. The bulk of it reads much like a Who’s Who, but that series, and its variants, were in the future, and there really had not been anything like this. It was much more appreciated at the time than such an issue would be now.
After receiving a mysterious letter saying “Know your foes,” Batman and Robin review them. All the big names are covered: Joker, Penguin, Two-Face, Riddler, Scarecrow, Ra’s Al Ghul and Talia. Killer Moth makes the cut into the big names, as does Black Mask, the newest addition to the line-up.
Curiously, this is the first time Poison Ivy makes it into a listing of Batman villains. She’d been a foe of his since the 60s, but rarely in his own books. Mad Hatter, Deadshot, Nocturna and the Night Slayer round out the ones who get full entries.
There is a curious mix on the “B-list” page. Cavalier and Tweedledee and Tweedledum are golden age holdovers, but Black Spider and Clayface III are supposedly dead. Mr. Freeze, Cat-Man and Croc could easily have made the cut to major villains at this time. And they included Crazy Quilt. Really?
Green Arrow and Black Canary’s series builds to its finale in this story by Joey Cavalieri and Jerome K Moore.
Onyx is giving a long, roundabout explanation to her wanna-be boyfriend about why she has come back to Star City, but it gets interrupted by a bad guy smashing right through the wall.
Who is the mystery attacker? That gets saved for the finale.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Green Arrow and Black Canary continue their struggle against Steelclaw and Champion in this story by Cavalieri and Moore.
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.
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.
It’s another middle chapter in Detective 553 (Aug. 85), as Doug Moench and Klaus Janson continue the first appearance of Black Mask.
Roman Sionis is Black Mask, and runs a gang of criminals called the False Face Society. Sionis places great importance on masks, and the freedom of action they allow. As much as he is a gang leader, he is almost as much a cult leader, with the way he preaches to his men, and the sick, defacing things he has them do to themselves.
Roman’s lover, Circe, is as much a victim of him as anyone else. I am fairly certain this relationship inspired the one between the Joker and Jerry Hall in the first Batman film, as he mars her face and makes her wear a mask, just as Sionis does with Circe.
Even the style of mask he has her wear resembles the one from the film.
The story concludes in the next issue of Batman.
The strip says Green Arrow, but this story belongs to Black Canary. Cavalieri, Moore and Patterson give her a two-parter that leads to her very unpopular costume change.
Black Canary is feeling really down on herself after losing a fight to Bonfire, an arsonist who produces her own flames.
Green Arrow looks at the motivation behind the fires, suspecting that they have been arranged by the slumlords who own the buildings, to get the insurance.
This half concludes with Dinah reviewing a scrapbook of her mother;’s achievements as Black Canary, and ends with her making a surprising discovery.