Posts tagged ‘Dick Giordano’

Detective 555 – Batman vs Mirror Master and Captain Boomerang, and Green Arrow loses the rent

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Oh, my gosh, it’s the second half of a two-part story!  Who would ever have expected such a thing in Detective 555 (Oct. 85)?

Doug Moench and Gene Colan conclude the Mirror Master and Captain Boomerang’s crime spree in this issue.

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Despite the two Flash villains, it’s really Harvey Bullock who steals this story.  Right from the get-go, as he accidentally breaks the Bat-signal.

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Mirror Master uses a hypnotic lens on Bullock, and the villains take him with them as a hostage.

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But Bullock was only feigning, and when Batman and Robin show up, joins the fight against the bad guys, whipping Boomerang’s weapons back at him.

Technically, the next appearance of the villains is in Crisis on Infinite Earths 5, as this must happen before Mirror Master’s death.  But later continuity would make this the first outing of the second Mirror Master, Evan McCulloch, trying to pass himself off as the original.

 

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Elliot S Maggin, Dick Dillin and Dick Giordano contribute a Green Arrow story that looks and feels left over from the 70s, although not in a bad way.

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Heading out to pay his rent, Oliver Queen discovers that his money has been stolen.  Getting into Green Arrow gear, he finds some thieves, and stops them from getting away with their stolen goods – which does not include his money.

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To his good fortune, as he is booking the men he brought in, a policeman arrives with a pickpocket, who has Oliver’s stolen money.

Simple, fun, and effective.

 

Detective 530 – Batman climbs on Nocturna’s balloon

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A great cover for new villain Nocturna on Detective 530 (Sept.83).  Doug Moench, Gene Colan and Dick Giordano bring her introductory story to a close in this issue.

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Nocturna meets Jason Todd in this issue.  He is, indeed, running away to (re)join the circus, but encounters the mysterious alabaster lady and her night flying balloon in the misty forest.  She advises him to return home.

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Bruce is having more troubles trying to become the legal guardian of Jason Todd than he did with Dick Grayson.  It doesn’t help that he keeps running out to try to catch the Thief of Night and/or Nocturna, who work together.

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Once again, Colan’s art is simply perfect for this story.  Batman causes Nocturna’s balloon to crash, and haul both her and the Thief of Night away to jail.

But neither is done, both will be significant players over the next couple of years.

 

 

Detective 529 – the Thief of Night debuts, and Green Arrow makes Ozone explode

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In Detective 529 (Aug. 83), Doug Moench, Gene Colan and Dick Giordano introduce the Thief of Night, and Nocturna, both of whom will play major roles in this series over the next couple of years.

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The Thief of Night is garbed completely in black, not even his face is visible, and for this debut, we only see him unmasked on the last couple of pages.  He is better at eluding Batman than fighting him.

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Colan’s art is perfect for this character.  Jason Todd appears, eager to go into action, but told he will not be allowed to.  Bruce Wayne winds up ditching Vicki Vale in the middle of a date to pursue the Thief of Night, but doesn’t manage to catch him.

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On the last page, we see the Thief unmasked, and the white hand of Nocturna.  We also see a really pissed off Vicki Vale, and Jason Todd threatening to run away back to the circus.

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Joey Cavalieri, Paris Cullins and Frank Giacoia conclude the Ozone story in this issue.

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Rick reveals how much he knows about Z.Z.Z., the secret government science organization, and the destructive things they have created – such as Ozone’s weaponry.  He is the son of the founder of the group.

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Green Arrow defeats Ozone with a high pressure arrow that causes all of his spray cans to explode.  Remarkably, as they are hanging from his belt, this does not seriously maim, or kill him.  But Green Arrow has little trouble with him after that.

 

Detective 525 – round 2 for Batman and Croc, and Green Arrow smokes out Machiavelli

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Gerry Conway, Dan Jurgens and Dick Giordano combine on Detective 525 (April 1983), as Croc and Batman continue their war.

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Bruce and Vicki find time in their schedules for a date, and all goes well until Bruce tells Vicki how great it is that she is not demanding or dependent, like Selina was, and how he can’t stop thinking about her.  Vicki acts about as well as any woman would in that situation, barking and Bruce and storming off.

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Robin is back at the circus with the Todds, where he has the brilliant notion to enlist Joseph and Trina Todd in Batman’s battle with Croc.  Because two circus trapeze artists are likely to make a big difference.  Jason Todd is totally cool with it as well. Perhaps someone told him this was part of his origin story.

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Batman tracks Croc down into the sewers, where they fight.  Croc beats Batman for the second time.

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This storyline has been moving back and forth between Batman and Detective, but comes to a conclusion in the next issue of this book.

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Cavalieri, Novick and Randall conclude Green Arrow’s battle against Machiavelli in this story.

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It’s an abrupt and odd finale.  As Machiavelli continues to convince the people of the wonders of openly being selfish and criminal, a fire breaks out in the building.

Now, in most cases that leads people into a panic, trampling each other to get out.  But Green Arrow tells everyone to be calm and work together, and they do.  And in doing so, realize the benefits of community, and turn against Machiavelli.

Of, and there was no fire, just a smoke arrow.

I really wish they had brought this character back. There seems to have been a lot more they could have done with him, particularly considering how political Green Arrow is.

Detective 524 – Batman vs the Squid, and Green Arrow vs Machiavelli

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Croc’s rise continues with Detective 524 (March 1983)  by Gerry Conway, with art by Newton and Giordano.

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Croc is still working for the Squid when this story begins.  And at the opening of the story, the Squid looks to be in a good position, having thrown Batman into a tank of his namesakes.

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But Croc and the Squid do not see eye to eye.  Croc’s hat comes off, and this is the first time we see his face.  Croc walks out, and the Squid vows vengeance on him.

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Meanwhile, back at Wayne Manor, a party is in progress, although the guests (expecially Vicki Vale) are still waiting for Bruce.  Dick Grayson brings along the Todd family, circus performers he met recently in the pages of Batman.  Joseph and Trina Todd are the parents of young Jason, and the whole family are aerialists, so it’s easy to see why Dick has bonded with them.  Barbara Gordon is there as well, along with her father, recently re-instated, so he’s back to being Commissioner Gordon.

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Batman escapes from the squid tank, and makes it back to the mansion.  Alfred is tending his wounds, but no one thinks to close the door or separate themselves from the rest of the party, so Trina Todd just comes walking right into the room, seeing the Batman costume and everything.

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Fixed up, Batman resumes his attack on the Squid.

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But it’s Croc who wins, shooting the Squid with a sniper rifle, just as the Squid was about to shoot Batman.

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Green Arrow squares off against the Executrix in this story by Cavalieri, Novick and Randall.

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Machiavelli continues to promote his unusual brand of libertarianism, but finds people willing to listen, and begins to make a splash in Star City politics.

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He is on the verge of being swept into office as mayor by the time Green Arrow defeats Executrix and makes it back to him.

 

Detective 500 – 4 Batman stories, two of them team-ups, scads of detectives, and Elongated Man and Hawkman end

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Many anniversary issue build themselves up as being something really special, but few live up to their promise.  Detective 500 (March 1981) is one of the rare ones.  It’s not all gold, but enough of it is.

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The first story, by Alan Brennert and Dick Giordano, bring us to a parallel world, where a new Batman is about to be born.

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The Phantom Stranger brings Batman and Robin to this world, seemingly so that Bruce will have the opportunity to prevent his parents’ deaths.

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They find this world similar, but different.  James Gordon is still just a lieutenant, and Barbara , though a librabrian, is his fiancee, not his daughter.  Bruce is hunting for information on Joe Chill, while Dick discovers that this is a world with no heroic legends, no caped heroes, nothing to inspire heroism.

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Observing the Waynes, we see that Bruce is hardly a baby hero, more like a rich spoiled brat, but Batman is blind to this.

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Batman’s pursuit of Joe Chill, who on this world is not even from Gotham, and just arriving in the city, brings him into conflict with Gordon, but Batman manages to convince him that they are friends on another world.

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His search for Chill has raised such flags that the man is murdered by the Gotham mobs.  Batman learns that the planned murder of the Waynes is happening sooner than he expected – he had not counted the extra days from leap years.

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Robin, who has been watching the Waynes, sees the murder about to occur, and struggles within himself, thinking that is might be meant to be; but Batman swoops in saves the day, his parents, and himself.

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The Phantom Stranger takes the heroes back to their own world, and they are left to wonder what will become of Bruce, but the reader gets to see the impact the attempted murder had, and that even with his parents alive, young Bruce is on the road to becoming Batman.

Sadly, this is not a parallel world we ever visit again.

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Slam Bradley gets the billing, but this story, a re-write of a Batman tale from the 40s, by Len Wein and Jim Aparo, is pretty much a free for all with a vast line-up of detectives.

They are all at a celebration for an older detective, who gets murdered in front of them.

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The original version of this story has Batman working with a number of detective based on famous fictional ones from the era.  This story brings Slam Bradley, Jason Bard, Captain Compass, Mysto, Pow-Wow Smith, the Human Target and Roy Raymond together on the case.

For Captain Compass, Mysto, Pow-Wow Smith and Slam Bradley, this the first time the character appeared since the end of their own series.

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There are leads in a number of directions, which allow the detectives to split up and pursue them in smaller groups.  The story gives everyone at least one moment to shine, and they wind up stopping a number of bad guys.

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Slam suspects there is more to the case, and it’s Roy Raymond who provides the real solution, that this was an elaborate suicide, designed to prompt the men to tidy up some hanging cases of his.

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Jason Bard and the Human Target both return in the pages of Detective within the next couple of years, while Roy Raymond pops up in DC Comics Presents.  Many of the rest have their next, and final, appearances in Crisis on Infinite Earths.  Slam Bradley returns a little after Crisis, returning to the pages of Detective for one story.

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The next story in the issue is a wonderful 2-pager, by Len Wein and Walt Simonson, that uses Snoopy’s “It was a dark and stormy night…” as it’s text.  Clever, and visually gorgeous.

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The Elongated Man gets his final solo story in this book, by Mike W Barr and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez.  As well as being a decent mystery story on its own, it delves into the facts around the death of Edgar Allen Poe.

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Chiefly, the identity of the mysterious “Reynolds” that Poe called out for shortly before dying.  The story has to do with a letter explaining who Reynolds was, and leading to an unpublished magazine by Poe.

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Garcia-Lopez’s art is great, and Ralph and Sue are always fun to read about.

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One of his best mysteries, this is also the Elongated Man’s last solo story until his miniseries in the 90s.

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On the downside of the issue, there is this text story by Walter Gibson, with some scattered art by Tom Yeates.  I recall reading this as a kid, but not finding it particularly memorable.  And I dislike text stories like this in comics.  If I’m going to read a book, I’ll read a book.  I read comics for the visuals.

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Hawkman also has his last solo story in Detective in this issue.  Well, kind of a solo, really he and Hawkgirl get equal roles.

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Paul Levitz and Joe Kubert helm this tale, that sees Katar and Shayera trying to solve the mystery of the death of a scientist many years earlier.

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There’s some great Kubert art, and the story itself is not bad, but it’s a bit of a tease.

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At the end, Hawkman reveals that the scientist whose death they were investigating was Dr. Erdel, who had died after bringing the Martian Manhunter to Earth.  J’onn had blamed himself, and Hawkman wanted proof that it was not J’onn’s fault.

Hawkman’s next solo outing is the Shadow War of Hawkman miniseries.

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The final story in this issue was also a let-down to me.  Even moreso, as it’s a Batman/Deadman team-up, and those had been above average stories, on the whole.  But Carmine Infantino’s art is not what it was, and Cary Bates’ story doesn’t help much either.

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Pursuing some criminals, Batman gets killed.  Sort of.  Almost dead.  Robin is really stressed, but Deadman shows up and decides to inhabit Batman’s body to bring his killers to justice.

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Oops, someone spilled a plate of scrambled eggs on the comic.  Oh, wait, that’s Infantino’s art for showing Batman and Deadman conversing on the astral plane.

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Deadman moves Batman around and catches the bad guys, and doing so ignites the spark that brings him back to life.  A shame this story closed the issue.  It would have done less damage buried in the middle.

Detective 493 – Batman vs the Riddler in Texas, the Red Tornado’s first solo story, Robin confronts the man in black, the Human Target becomes a trucker, and Batgirl braves the fire

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Good gosh, the Batman Family are really happy about Detective 493 (Aug. 80).  Smiles a mile wild. The Human Target is less happy, falling out of his awkwardly shaped spot, but the clear star to the cover is the Red Tornado, never before or since considered either a member of the Batman Family, or a detective.

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Batman faces off against the Riddler in this story by Cary Burkett and Don Newton, which also introduces a new hero, the Swashbuckler.

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As usual, the Riddler sends a clue before he begins his spree, but it’s Alfred who notices that it is not a real riddle, but a snatch of lyrics from a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta.

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That was all Batman needed, and he is on the trail of the Riddler, following him to Texas.  The story winds up taking place in Houston, using actual locations.

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Batman runs into a local hero, the Swashbuckler, who claims to be the nephew of Greg Saunders, the Vigilante.  He’s not a bad character, though the mask seems a bit excessive.

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The amusement park next to the Astrodome is one of the locations the Riddler leads the heroes to.  His big crime is teased by him saying he was going after the only person who is a bigger riddler than he is.

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Batman and Swashbuckler ponder possible crimes, but Batman figures out he is going after a man named Noone, as “no one” was a bigger riddler in the villains eyes.

Sadly, so far as I know and recall, the Swashbuckler never appeared again.

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Ok, so first of all let me say I like the Red Tornado as a character, I like Tales of Gotham City as a series, and I like Jean-Marc deMatteis as a writer.  Jose Delbo and Vince Colletta aren’t the top of my list, but I don’t hate them.

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But why is Red Tornado starring in a Gotham City story when the character has never been a part of this milieu?  And why, for his first story, is he in the middle of the city’s black ghetto, in the midst of a tale of religious faith and community standing up to drug dealers and the like?

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I guess this was a try-out for his upcoming series in World’s Finest Comics, but I never liked it.  The tear in the android’s eye in the final panel just makes me gag.

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Robin resolves the man in black plot in this issue, by Jack C Harris, Charles Nicholas and Vince Colletta.

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The pressures of being Robin, academic life, his relationship with Jennifer, and his job on the university paper get to be too much for him.  We haven’t even seen him at the paper since his run in Detective began.  Stressed, Dick leaves and heads for Gotham.

Neither Bruce nor Alfred are at the penthouse, but he does run in to Lucius Fox.  Dick heads back to the old Batcave.

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Changing to Robin, he leaves, and runs into the man in black.  Confronting him, he discovers that the man is actually a bodyguard hired to protect Dick Grayson, at Lucius Fox’s orders.  Dick gets that taken care of.

It’s worth noting that this is the same month that the New Teen Titans launched, and Dick’s inability to cope with university would lead into that series.

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The Human Target gets his last solo story in Detective, although he makes a few more appearances in the book.  As usual, Len Wein and Dick Giordano helm this tale of a murdered trucker.

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The man’s body was completely charred, but his vengeful widow hires Christopher Chance to impersonate him, pretending that he survived the murder attempt, to draw out the killer.

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It works, but the victory is not all the widow hoped for, as she learns that the hired killer was just doing it for the money, hired by a rival trucking firm, and there was nothing personal in any of it.

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Batgirl has the first chapter of a longer story, by Cary Burkett, Jose Delbo and Joe Giella.

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It begins with a spat between her and Roger Barton over rival housing development plans.  Barbara goes to inspect the site of the theatre in question, and is surprised to find the protestors not interested in the theatre at all.

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Her attention gets drawn by a nearby fire, and she changes to Batgirl, and winds up saving the little girl who had been held hostage by Cormorant, and was still living in fear.

 

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