Posts tagged ‘Doug Moench’

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.

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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.

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