Posts tagged ‘Elliot S Maggin’

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


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.


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.


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


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.



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.


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.


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 458 – Batman and a tattooed victim, and Man-Bat begins


Detective 458 (April 1976) is one of those issues that I loved as a kid, but that really don’t stand up well.


Elliot S! Maggin and Ernie Chan tell this story, in which a policeman, dressed as Batman for a policeman’s ball, is murdered, with a tattoo on his forehead warning Batman.  Bruce Wayne happens to be at the ball, and Commissioner Gordon fills him in on everything.  Gordon also leaves it up to Batman to contact the widow.  Coward.


There is a bit of a mystery as to which tattoo artist is behind it, but most of the story is Batman chasing people and beating them up for information.


I do like the art at the story’s climax, the terrified face of the gunman as Batman approaches him.


Man-Bat begins a two-part story, crafted out of the unpublished third issue of his own, quickly cancelled, series, by Marty Pasko, Pablo Marcos and Tex Blaisdel.


The story has Kirk explaining his origin to his sister, as part of explaining why he has tied Francine to a bed.  She has fallen under the spell of an evil magician, who is forcing her to transform into She-Bat.


Kirk changes to Man-Bat and follows Francine, and discovers that she has been turned into a stone gargoyle.  Oh no!

The story concludes next issue.

Detective 456 – Batman gets the kiss of death, and Elongated Man shrinks


Elliot S! Maggin and Ernie Chan relate this story, which might have been suspenseful, had not the cover to Detective 456 (Feb. 76) given away the twist.


The story begins with Bruce Wayne on a hot date, although he ditches her to go off and be Batman. Fairly soon in, he begins to feel ill, and realizes he has been poisoned.


He spends a while trying to determine who is trying to kill him as Batman, before realizing the poison was intended for Bruce Wayne, and his date gave him a death kiss.


And so, while desperately trying to conceal his poisoned state, he hunts down the woman, and learns she was working with a business rival.  He manages to get the antidote just in time.  Not bad.


A number of minor details about the Elongated Man and his wife come out in this Bob Rozakis story, with art by Kurt Schaffenberger.  We discover he has to continue drinking the gingold daily to maintain his powers, and also that Sue is allergic to it.  We also discover that, in her debutante days, Sue frequently made the lists of best dressed women, and is unhappy to no longer be a player in that world.


Ralph spots a fur robbery on the roof of a neighbouring building, but when he goes to stop it, his powers vanish, as he has not had his gingold for the day.


The criminals take him captive.  The story concludes next issue.

Detective 455 – Batman battles a vampire


Mike Grell’s art is the real star of Detective 455 (Jan. 76), and Elliot S! Maggin’s story is serviceable enough to let it fly.


Bruce Wayne and Alfred are travelling through the countryside when their car breaks down near a crumbling old mansion.  Investigating, they immediately find a coffin.


The vampire then shows up, announcing exactly what he is, allowing the rest of the story to be the battle.  The vampire in this story bears more than a passing resemblance to Christopher Lee’s Dracula from the Hammer horror films.


Batman figures out that this is a special vampire, whose back story he just happens to know, who hid his heart so he cannot be destroyed.


Lots of fighting between the two men, but it all looks just great.


Batman correctly guesses that the vampire’s heart is hidden in the ridiculously loud grandfather clock, and fires an arrow into it, killing the vampire.

Detective 450 – Batman gets waxed, and Robin chases the Parking Lot Bandit


There is one really great moment in the Batman story from Detective 450 (Aug. 75), but despite Walt Simonson’s art, Elliot S! Maggin’s story is not structured as well as it might be.


A professional hit men gets hired to acquire Batman’s cape and cowl, not to kill him, and we follow how he lures Batman to a wax museum and into a pouring chamber.


He explains to Batman that he has no interest in Batman’s identity, he simply wants the cape and cowl and will allow him to leave safely.  Remarkably, he gets the garb he wants.


Bringing it back to the man who hired him, he asks what the man wants it for.  The man insists he will trade for that, demanding to know how the hit man pulled off a recent murder.  After that, we discover, in the best moment of the tale, that Batman was the one who hired the hit man to get his cape and cowl, it was all a big set-up.

But then the story has a few more pages of them fighting, which seems extraneous.  The revelation scene was strong enough to be the ending to the story.


Dick Grayson’s girlfriend, Lori Elton, is introduced in this story about a serial thief who prays on people in parking lots, stealing their keys and then robbing their homes.


Bob Rozakis, Al Milgrom and Terry Austin are the creative team on this story, which takes an interesting twist.  Robin is working with police chief Frank McDonald on the case, and almost captures the thief, when his wig falls off.


Because the thief was not wearing a wig in an earlier encounter, Robin is inclined to believe the note he receives at the end of the story, from the Parking Lot Bandit, insisting he is being framed for a robbery he did not commit.

The story concludes next issue.

Detective 449 – Batman herds cattle, and Elongated Man chases a man who walks on air


Detective 449 (July 1975) features an unusual tale by Elliot S! Maggin, with art by Ernie Chan and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, which climaxes with Batman on horseback, leading a cattle drive through Gotham City.


The story begins as Batman brings in a man named Tad Wolfe for attempted murder.  Although he witnessed it, something about the situation feels wrong to Batman, and he continues to ponder it.


Meanwhile, he gets entangled in the cattle rustling plot.  Chan is always great on background details, and his panels of the cattle on the loose look great.


Batman, as well as other Gotham cops, round up the herds and keep control of the situation.


The story concludes back with the Tad Wolfe plot line, as Batman has realized that Wolfe prevented his gun from firing, and was taking the heat for his criminal brother.  Wolfe returns a few issues down the road.


Mary Skrenes and Dick Giordano relate this issue’s Elongated Man story, which opens with Sue informing Ralph that there is a man outside their window – of their high rise hotel.


Ralph is on the case immediately, following the mysterious man as he rushes away, and shows he can swim as fast as he can fly.


After the man disappears when cornered in an alley, Ralph deduces it must be the Flash, and indeed, this is another birthday mystery devised by Sue.  What really sells the story, though, is when Ralph explains his deductions, about the Flash vibrating through a wall, and the Flash informs him that he didn’t do that at all, he jumped over Ralph.

“Uhhh, whatever.  I figured it out, didn’t I?

Pure Ralph.

Detective 436 – Batman gets scared, and the Elongated Man needs a clue


A very creepy cover by Nick Cardy for Detective 436 (Aug,/Sept. 73), as Shotgun Smith returns in a story by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Frank Giacoia.


Bruce Wayne returns from a vacation, and Shotgun Smith is now working customs, checking for drugs.  Alfred is quite surprised to find some in Bruce’s luggage.  Bruce examines the powder, just before Shotgun comes bursting in to arrest him.


Batman finds himself suffering a crippling fear of the dark – a side effect of exposure to the powder, but still has presence of mind to demand a warrant from Shotgun, which he does not have.


Batman realizes that only Shotgun and the stewardess could have planted the drugs on him, and follows him, finding the two together.  But he has also been alert enough to spot that this is not the real Shotgun Smith, but someone impersonating him, and using his position, in league with the stewardess, to smuggle drugs on unsuspecting passengers.

Not a bad story, but it’s unfortunate that Shotgun isn’t really himself in his second appearance.


Sue gets kidnapped in this Elongated Man story, by Elliot S! Maggin and Dick Giordano.


The kidnappers lure Ralph to them, with an invisible dog trick. I love the panel of Ralph stuck in the glass jar.


They show Ralph a live video feed of Sue, who flashes two fingers at him.  Ralph pays little attention to their demands – they want him to use his powers to their benefit – instead trying to figure out Sue’s clue as to her location.


He does so, and captures the bad guys (booga booga), but the story ends on the wonderful twist, as Ralph explains how he figured out Sue’s clue, and Sue replies that she never intended it as a clue, she was just telling him to save her before 2 o’clock.



Detective 432 – Batman and the torn up money, and the Atom begins


Dick Giordano does the cover art for Detective 432 (Feb. 73), while Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Murphy Anderson tell the tale of a distinct lack of trust among thieves.  I am tempted to say this story is inspired by the opening half hour or so of “Diamonds are Forever,” as the plots are almost the same.


After a man is murdered during a mugging, Batman discovers that the briefcase the man was carrying contains a million dollars in bills torn in half.  With Commissioner Gordon, they deduce that this is the loot from a major robbery, committed by an entire gang.  Batman impersonates the dead man, taking the torn money to follow the trail.


Batman avoids the exploding rental car the man was meant to die in, and follows the girl who set him up, after she grabs the money.  But she gets taken out next, and Batman continues to follow the new killer.


The gang had torn the loot so that no one could run off with it, but their continued distrust of each other turned them against each other, so in the end Batman simply has to nab the sole survivor.  They made it easy on him, really.


The Atom story in this issue, by Elliot S! Maggin and Murphy Anderson, was meant to begin a rotating position in Detective, as with Jason Bard, Elongated Man and Hawkman, but the suspension of the rotating back-ups a few months down the road meant that this was his only tale in Detective at this time.  A few years down the road, the Atom would return to Detective, but his solo series ran more often in Action Comics in the 70s and 80s.


Jean Loring’s client announces on the witness stand that he will vanish, and promptly does so. Ray Palmer recognizes the lights that accompanied his disappearance as those from the Time Pool, and goes to see Profesor Hyatt, who tells him of its unusual behaviour.  As the Atom, Ray descends into the Time Pool on the track of the vanishing thief.


He winds up in Chicago, just minutes before the outbreak of the Great Fire, and though he finds the man, the time trip has driven him insane.  He winds up dying in the past, so although Ray solves the mystery, he has nothing to show for it.  Still, the story is entertaining and the art, particularly the splash page, is top drawer.

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