Detective 557 (Dec. 85) follows the big battle between Catwoman and Nocturna, in a story by Moench and Colan.
And though Nocturna and the Night Slayer are still on the loose, Batman spends this story sitting by Selina’s bedside in the hospital.
Robin returns to the cave, and in a slight allusion to the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Justice League try to contact Batman. The Martian Manhunter, Elongated Man and Zatanna cameo.
The Night Slayer is left pretty much free to keep killing the former members of Nocturna’s gang, and still aims to kill Nocturna herself. Batman and Catwoman are too busy professing their love for each other to care.
Cavalieri, Moore and Patterson conclude Green Arrow’s team-up with Onyx in this issue.
Although I really love the art on this story, the tale itself just doesn’t warrant the length, to me. But there are great scenes along the way, as Arrow and Onyx defend the temple.
The cover for Detective 556 (Nov. 85) just incensed me when it came out. What was Batman doing killing Nocturna? It’s Catwoman and Talia that he loves!
But the story, by Moench and Colan, did not anger me. Rather, I was excited, for although the Crisis on Infinite Earths is not mentioned, the red rains that are falling clearly place this tale during that mini-series. In fact, this and the next two issues of Detective must all take place during the first issue of Crisis.
With Black Mask out of the way, but his men still around, Nocturna makes her play to become their new leader, and control Gotham’s criminal element. Bullock, meanwhile, shows he has the proper observational skills to be a cop, as he figures out that the current Robin is not the original one. Although his guess at him being Nocturna’s son misses the bulls-eye.
With Robin and the gangs under her spell, she concludes the story by going after Batman, and he doesn’t seem to have any resistance left.
Green Arrow joins Onyx, as she brings him back to the retreat where she was trained, in this story by Joey Cavalieri, Jerome K Moore and Bruce Patterson.
Onyx was a good character to introduce. A strong female, a capable fighter. It just makes you wonder why Black Canary wasn’t treated as well in the same strip.
It turns out Oliver knows the place well. It was the same place he went to after accidentally killing a child, a few years back. So technically, Connor Hawke could be in this story, if I can spot any young kids with mixed race skin and blond hair.
Detective 554 (Sept. 85) features a cover based on the one that introduced the original Black Canary back in 1940s in Flash Comics, which was in turn based on the cover of Detective that introduced Robin, this time debuting a new costume for Black Canary
And not much is missed by not featuring the Batman story on the cover. It’s a run of the mill piece, dealing with smugglers.
Joey Cavalieri, Jerome K Moore and Burce Patterson even give Black canary top billing in this story. She deserves it, but it’s still a shock, considering that she often gets no billing for her appearances in Green Arrow.
In perusing her mothers notes on her cases, Dinah realizes that her reaction to Bonfire was based on her mother’s reaction in a similar case, and that the imprinting of her mother’s memories onto her had been controlling her choices and actions.
This pertains to the recent revelation in Justice League that Dinah was the daughter of the Earth-2 Black Canary, not the same woman, as she had believed since coming to Earth-1 in JLA 75.
To help distinguish herself from her mother she adopts a new costume. Not a bad idea, and the costume does look much better in the issue itself than on the cover, but it sure became unpopular very fast.
No longer feeling hampered by her mother’s past, Dinah seeks out Bonfire, and defeats her using her sonic cry, her own personal power, one that her mother never had.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Oliver Queen sits in a camp with illegal immigrants as this Green Arrow chapter opens, by Cavalieri, Moore and Patterson.
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.
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.
Moench and Broederick contribute the middle chapter to a very good Calendar Man story in Detective 551 (June 1985).
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.
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.
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.
No costume, but at least Dinah Lance gets a supporting role in this Green Arrow story by Cavalieri, Moore and Patterson.
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.
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.
Doug Moench and Pat Broederick have a lot of animals roaming Gotham in Detective 548 (March 1985).
Batman is dealing with a political kidnapper, Darkwolf, but the far more interesting plot line in this issue sees Vicki Vale and Julia Pennyworth out looking for a big panther seen wandering the streets of the city.
Batman isn’t much impressed by Darkwolf, and it pretty clear he’s a one shot bad guy, put in to give Batman something to do between scenes with the women.
It takes Julia and Vicki a while before they realize the panther is trained, and therefore a pet. And once they know that, it’s no big surprise when Catwoman shows up on the last page.
Green Arrow’s battle with Vengeance concludes in this issue, thanks to Joey Cavalieri, Jerome K Moore, and Bruce Patterson.
It’s the heavy action part of the story, and the art does it justice. But it’s just so hard to look at that costume and pretend it’s not the same as
Onyx, at any rate, doesn’t look like a carbon copy, and shows that she learned an awful lot about how to play guys in her retreat.