Posts tagged ‘Detective Comics’

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.

 

Detective 566 – Know Your Foes, and a mystery villain in Green Arrow

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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Green Arrow and Black Canary’s series builds to its finale in this story by Joey Cavalieri and Jerome K Moore.

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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.

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Who is the mystery attacker?  That gets saved for the finale.

Detective 565 – Batman vs the Love Killer, and Steelclaw goes too far

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Moench and Colan put some strain on Batman and Catwoman’s relationship in Detective 565 (Aug. 86), as the horrific murders of the Love Killer grab their attention.

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Colan’s art is used to terrifying effect with this maniac who beheads women.

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As the hunt for him drags on, Batman finds Catwoman getting colder and more distant.  When he raises the subject with her, she finds a lot of excuses, but suggests that the two of them are basically loners anyway.

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Some of the dialogue seems to imply that Catwoman is about to go back to an old boyfriend, but all is made clear when she returns to her pet jaguar as the story ends.

The fight with the Love Killer concludes in the next issue of Batman.

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There’s action aplenty in this Green Arrow installment, by Cavalieri and Stan Woch.

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Steelclaw has pushed everything a bit too far.  His manipulations as the mayor have made the mob distrust Steelclaw, and his arrogance and demands in that position have won him no friends either.  The mob wind up turning on him and killing him.

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Green Arrow and Black Canary are left to take down the rest of the mob’s men, but all that they do with Steelclaw’s body is unmask it.

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And that boy that Onyx has been using in Star City for food, shelter and support finally starts showing some backbone and demanding some answers from her.

 

 

Detective 564 – Circe toys with Two-Face, and Onyx returns

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Detective 564 (July 1986) has the penultimate chapter of the Two-Face saga, by Moench and Colan.

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Circe convinces Two-Face that their mangled visages give them a bond, but it’s fairly clear that she is just using him.  Poor Harvey is too lost in his madness to see it.

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Catwoman is onto her game, though, and takes her place.  The mask being as useful to hide Circe’s scars as to conceal Catwoman’s identity.  Two-Face discovers this, and is not pleased to be played with this way.

The story concludes in the next issue of Batman.

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Cavalieri and Moore bring the Steelclaw story together in this chapter.

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Knowing that Steelclaw is the mayor, Green Arrow and Black Canary head to his estate.  He tries to use his power from both ends, as the mayor and as Steelclaw to have them taken down.

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Some excellent art by Jerome K Moore on this chapter.  The mafia and the heroes converge on the mayor’s mansion as the climax approaches.

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But wait! Look who is back as well!  Onyx!

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 562 – Batman and Catwoman vs the Film Freak, and the secret of Steelclaw

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It’s the middle chapter of the three-part introduction of the Film Freak in Detective 562 (May 1986).

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Moench and Colan pick up the story from it’s Batman cliffhanger, as Film Freak approached Julia Pennyworth, taking a shower, to re-enact Psycho.  A handy bottle of shampoo and some quick thinking get Julia to safety.

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Batman and Catwoman do some digging into the past of actor Burt Weston, and determine that his death was a hoax.

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As Film Freak, Weston kills another of his enemies.  The gorilla suit is less than King Kong scary, though.

The story concludes in the next issue of Batman.

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A very impressive outing for Black Canary, and some excellent art by Moore on Joey Cavalieri’s story in this issue.

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After being bound and thrown into the water, Canary manages to get free and take down the men who tried to kill her.

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Green Arrow seeks out the mayor, to complain about Champion and insist that action be taken against him. Oliver is not pleased by the mayor’s seeming lack of concern.

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But the mayor has much bigger fish to fry, as we discover that he is really Steelclaw, using the knowledge and power he gains from that position to further his control as mayor.

Detective 561 – Jason Todd, drugs and romance, and Green Arrow and Black Canary each encounter problems

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Detective 651 (April 1986) is a fairly blatant anti-drug story, but Moench and Colan manage to pull off a tale that has its own merits.

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Jason Todd is the star of this story, as it chronicles his interest in a girl at school named Rena.

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She wants to get Jason to get high with her after school.  She never has, but the “whole gang is doing it.”  But the story keeps it about the kids themselves, and Jason gets Rena fascinated with stories of his circus days.

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With Batman’s help he tracks the source of the drugs, as Rena had told him who was bringing them to school.  And as Robin he busts the big guys, and terrifies the student.

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And as Jason Todd, he gets the girl.  Dick Grayson never pulled off anything this smooth.

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Cavalieri and Moore do an excellent job balancing the roles of Black Canary and Green Arrow throughout this storyline.

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Black Canary is cracking down on some drug smugglers down at the docks, and is doing pretty well until Steelclaw shows up and knocks her out.

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Green Arrow and Champion cross paths at a collapsing construction site. Champion saves an experimental antenna while Green Arrow saves humans, and he is not pleased about that.

Detective 560 – Robin and Catwoman answer the call, and Green Arrow and Black Canary eat lunch

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A very moody cover for Detective 660 (March 1986), and I was expecting a Batman solo story, but Moench and Colan go a different way.

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Batman does, indeed, go off to sit by himself in a cave and brood, reflect on his origin and training, and look all solemn, sad and spooky. But he sets things up with Harvey Bullock to make Catwoman a true member of his team.

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It’s also to force Robin to have to work with Catwoman, which Jason Todd is reluctant to do, feeling that he is betraying Nocturna.  But they track down some cop killing Savage Skulls, and bond.

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The only problem is that Catwoman has been softened to such an open and accepting person that it hardly feels like it’s really her.

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Black Canary shares the billing with Green Arrow on this excellent story lead off by Cavalieri and Moore.  The phrase, “does that make me a bad guy?” ends three different scenes in the tale, playing differently each time.

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We meet Champion, who uses his powerful costume to help those who can pay for his services.  He compares himself to any other trained professional, arguing that he is not required to do heroics for free.

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Dinah argues with Oliver over her idea to go undercover and fight crime from the inside, the way her mother had originally.  An odd way to go about breaking out of her mother’s shadow, but whatever.  The landlord comes by to raise the rent, and basic economics are the root of the second time the question is asked.

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And finally, Steelclaw introduced, a powerful villain being hired by the mob, who turns the tables on them and demands a cut of the action.  He is definitely a bad guy.

Detective 559 – Bruce and Selina and Oliver and Dinah

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It’s mixed doubles in Detective 559 (Feb. 86), as Moench and Colan bring together Batman, Catwoman, Green Arrow and Black Canary in a story about corporate malfeasance and sabotage.

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It begins as Green Arrow stops Batman from apprehending a thief.  Green Arrow knows the man, and his beef against the Kremson corporation, and sympathizes with his struggle against them, while Batman is furious that Arrow would flout the laws in Gotham.

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Black Canary steps in to try to play peacemaker, but the guys continue their fight.

The best thing about this story is also the worst thing.  The arguments between Batman and Green Arrow are excellent, thought-provoking and entertaining, as each have valid points.  But the story consists largely of panels of the two of them talking.

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Catwoman gets enlisted by Batman to go undercover at Kremson and find out more about what is going on.  Her cover gets busted right away though, so we do get to see all four in costume by the end.

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While Batman and Green Arrow are given some conflict, Black Canary and Catwoman just relax and get along with each other.  It works, but it’s a bit of a cop out.  I cannot think of another story that has them happily clinking coffee mugs together.

 

 

 

Detective 558 – Nocturna’s deadly spell, and Green Arrow gets dumped on by an angry parent

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The red rains buffet Gotham in Detective 558 (Jan. 86), as the Crisis stories come to a close, and a number of people hunt for Nocturna.

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Batman brings the Night Slayer’s reign of terror to a close, finally.

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But Moench and Colan spend far more of this story on the night watchman seduced away from his wife by Nocturna, who roams the city searching for her, as does Robin.  Harvey Bullock is also on the hunt, though the watchman himself is Harvey’s goal, after meeting his tormented wife.

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Seeing Nocturna’s damaged balloon hanging from the spire of Gotham’s version of the Chrysler building, he climbs to the top and sends it flying away.  Although Batman and Robin try to save him, he falls and disappears into the red rains, and Bullock is left to try to explain things to the man’s wife.

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The story ends with Batman being called by Commissioner Gordon about the Joker’s escape from Arkham, which leads Batman into the pages of Crisis on Infinite Earths 2.  But not before he and Catwoman profess their love again.

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Dean Traven and Trevor Von Eeden helm this entertaining little story.

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Green Arrow hears the words of a wounded man just before he passes out, and, interpreting them as a clue, seeks out those who attacked him.

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By far the best page of the story is a bit of a digression.  Olive spills a child’s ice cream, and when he tries to pay for it, is attacked by the boy’s mother as a molestor.  The page almost feels like Giffen, and the Ambush Bug reference makes me certain that was the intent.

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The ending brings a laugh as well.  Green Arrow visits in the man in the hospital, explaining his mistaken interpretation of his words, and how he really found the attacker, all the while devouring the man’s candy.

 

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