452 (Oct. 75) was my first issue of Detective Comics, and I would have just turned 10 years old when this came out. The story, and its cliffhanger ending, captivated me so much I actively hunted for the follow up issue, the first time I had done that, I think.
David V Reed, Ernie Chan and Mike Royer craft this 2 part story, in which a well organized criminal outfit provides contacts, clients and information for Gotham’s gangs. Batman captures one of the killers who work for them, impersonates him, and attempts to infiltrate the organization.
He gets exposed, surrounded, and challenged to defend himself with a gun. But Batman doesn’t use gun! What will he do? At 10 years old I had no idea and was deeply concerned until the next issue came out.
And at 10 years old I really hated the unusual Hawkman logo that was used for this story – and I still hate it now. The actual tale, by E Nelson Bridwell and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, is pretty good though. Hawkman has a lot of trouble against an evil magician and his thieving raven.
Shayera has a small role in this one, which also sees the return of Big Red, Hawkman’s bird sidekick, not seen since the mid 60s, in Hawkman’s old book. Hawkman realizes the magician is a distraction, the raven is the actual culprit, and Shayera informs him that Konrad Kaslak, one of their earliest enemies from back in Brave and the Bold, is out of prison.
Big Red swoops in for some bird on bird action, and Kaslak reverts to human form, and is simply no match for Hawkman.
This is the last appearance of Konrad Kaslak until the Hawkworld series in the 90s. Big Red returns in Super Friends a few years down the road.