Posts tagged ‘Doug Moench’

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.

 

Detective 557 – Batman sits in a hospital room, and Green Arrow helps defend the temple

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Detective 557 (Dec. 85) follows the big battle between Catwoman and Nocturna, in a story by Moench and Colan.

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And though Nocturna and the Night Slayer are still on the loose, Batman spends this story sitting by Selina’s bedside in the hospital.

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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.

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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.

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Cavalieri, Moore and Patterson conclude Green Arrow’s team-up with Onyx in this issue.

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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.

 

Detective 556 – Nocturna makes her move, and Green Arrow teams with Onyx

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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 553 – Batman vs Black Mask, and Black Canary gets burned

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It’s another middle chapter in Detective 553 (Aug. 85), as Doug Moench and Klaus Janson continue the first appearance of Black Mask.

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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.

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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.

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Even the style of mask he has her wear resembles the one from the film.

The story concludes in the next issue of Batman.

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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.

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Black Canary is feeling really down on herself after losing a fight to Bonfire, an arsonist who produces her own flames.

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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.

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This half concludes with Dinah reviewing a scrapbook of her mother;’s achievements as Black Canary, and ends with her making a surprising discovery.

Detective 552 – Julia writes a story, and Dinah organizes a prison break

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Oliver Queen sits in a camp with illegal immigrants as this Green Arrow chapter opens, by Cavalieri, Moore and Patterson.

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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.

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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.

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