Posts tagged ‘Dr Death’

Detective 512 – Batman vs a new Dr. Death

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There really isn’t anything that makes Detective 512 (March 1982) a “special” as such.  There is a decent Batman tale, by Conway, Colan and Janson, and a lame Batgirl story that I am not going to write up.  Instead of the normal letter column, there is a text history of Detective Comics, but nothing to put this on the same level as issue 500.

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The story is continued from this month’s issue of Batman, and for the next couple of years, this would become the standard pattern, with storylines running back and forth between the two books.

Vicki notices that Dala did not show up in the photos she took of her and Dick (in the previous Batman – last time I will say that).

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Batman is busy rescuing Robin from his deadly dangle from a bridge, left there by Dr.Death to delay Batman while the evil doctor prepares his super allergy to infect all of Gotham with.

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Rescue completed, Batman catches up with Dr. Hellfern.  He tries to get the antidote from him, but Hellfern is being a jerk, so Batman douses him with his own allergen, forcing him to reveal it’s cure.

Not a bad re-working of Dr. Death, but it wouldn’t grab much interest, and the character would go back into dormancy for another couple decades.

 

Detective 30 – Dr. Death returns, mind-control in Spy, and bad art in Speed Saunders

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No appearance, but again Batman is mentioned on the cover of Detective 30 (Aug 39).

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Bill Finger and Bob Kane pick up the story immediately after the ending of the first, and then jump ahead slightly.  Batman suspects Dr. Death is back, although this story deals more with a jewel theft than with murder.

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Bruce still is keeping the costume in his living room.

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While this is by no means a Batmobile, it is the first indication that his car is “special.”

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Dr. Death returns, shrouded in bandages, with a new foreign henchman.  The story mirrors the previous one a bit, as Batman deals with the henchman first, and then confronts Dr. Death at the end.

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This specific Dr. Death never appears again, but a similar version appears in the 80s, and then another in more recent years.

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Jerry Siegel continues to script Spy, but the art is in lesser hands, as a scientist plots to take over the United States using a hypnosis ray, and starts by taking over the minds of senators, having them promote suspending democracy and instituting a dictatorship.  He then starts using the ray on agents, and both Jack Steele and the Chief fall prey to it.  He really ought to have used it on Bart, as Bart shoots the machine and frees everyone from his control.

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Jack is not seen again after this story.  Makes me wonder if he really was under the scientists control, or if he turned traitor.

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An overly complex story and some really poor art by Guardineer on the Speed Saunders story in this issue.  The crossbow in the forehead of the victim on the first page made me laugh, which is clearly not the intent.

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There is also a black honeycomb, referred to as coal, that a policeman hides in later in the tale.

Detective 29 – Batman vs Dr. Death, Crimson Avenger takes a break, Cosmo vs the Avenger, and Slam Bradley goes to Hawaii

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Batman gets his second cover appearance in Detective 29 (July 1939), and the story even matches the picture!

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Batman is given his first recurring villain, Dr. Death, in this story by Bill Finger and Bob Kane.  He has a stylish monocle, an murderous servant, and a taste for killing people.

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There is no notion of a Batcave yet.  Bruce Wayne appears to keep his gear in a trunk in the living room at this point.  We see the utility belt for the first time, and it gets used later in the story.

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Even in this early, and rough, form, Batman still makes for dynamic reading.  And seems to need exotic villains to balance the extreme look of the character.

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Batman strangles the servant, and Dr. Death appears to die in a fire, but in fact returns in the following issue.

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The Crimson Avenger’s series ends with this story, although it returns in early 1940.  After a kidnapping, Lee Travis learns the details of the sounds the victim heard while captive, and uses those to track the bad guys.

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Wing gets a small role in this one, helping the Crimson Avenger escape the burning building at the end.  The final panel announces more adventures for the hero, and I suspect the series was put on hold because it was felt too similar to Batman; and that the boom in heroes was the cause of it’s return.

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Cosmo is pitted against the Avenger, a mad scientist who has developed a weapon that causes a bell tower to collapse, a ship to sink, a dam to burst, and airplanes to fall from the sky.  Cosmo tracks down the scientist, and claims to be an “electric meter inspector” when he approaches him, but does not disguise himself for that, which turns out to be a bad move, as Cosmo is famous enough that the crazed Professor Salvini recognizes him immediately, and almost kills him.

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In fact, if it were not for a stray bullet causing Salvini’s weapon to explode and kill him, Cosmo would have certainly fallen victim to the Avenger.

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Siegel and Shuster are still credited with this Slam Bradley story, but again it looks unusual to me, art-wise.

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Slam receives a note warning him to stay away from Hawaii, which he takes as a challenge.  He and Shorty head there, and meet Betty Clark, whose uncle has disappeared.  She sent the letter, figuring that he would take it as a challenge and come.

Must be an easier way to hire someone.  Like, offer to hire them.

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They get caught up with foreign spies trying incite native revolts, and creepy looking green lepers.

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It’s also worth noting that Slam and Shorty share a bed in this story.  It’s not the first time we have seen this, either.

 

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