Posts tagged ‘Frank Giacoia’

Detective 529 – the Thief of Night debuts, and Green Arrow makes Ozone explode


In Detective 529 (Aug. 83), Doug Moench, Gene Colan and Dick Giordano introduce the Thief of Night, and Nocturna, both of whom will play major roles in this series over the next couple of years.


The Thief of Night is garbed completely in black, not even his face is visible, and for this debut, we only see him unmasked on the last couple of pages.  He is better at eluding Batman than fighting him.


Colan’s art is perfect for this character.  Jason Todd appears, eager to go into action, but told he will not be allowed to.  Bruce Wayne winds up ditching Vicki Vale in the middle of a date to pursue the Thief of Night, but doesn’t manage to catch him.


On the last page, we see the Thief unmasked, and the white hand of Nocturna.  We also see a really pissed off Vicki Vale, and Jason Todd threatening to run away back to the circus.


Joey Cavalieri, Paris Cullins and Frank Giacoia conclude the Ozone story in this issue.


Rick reveals how much he knows about Z.Z.Z., the secret government science organization, and the destructive things they have created – such as Ozone’s weaponry.  He is the son of the founder of the group.


Green Arrow defeats Ozone with a high pressure arrow that causes all of his spray cans to explode.  Remarkably, as they are hanging from his belt, this does not seriously maim, or kill him.  But Green Arrow has little trouble with him after that.


Detective 465 – Commissioner Gordon gets kidnapped, and the Calculator vs the Elongated Man


David V Reed gives some interesting details on how Batman operates in his story from Detective 465 (Nov. 76), with art by Ernie Chan and Frank Giacoia.


We discover that, a long time earlier, Batman had established a fake identity, and provided him with a home, office and secretary.  This identity would exist solely to be given by Commissioner Gordon is he were ever to be captured and forced to reveal Batman’s identity.  So when someone show up at the office asking questions, Bruce realizes Gordon has been kidnapped.


We also see part of Batman’s intelligence gathering network.  In disguises, he leaves and retrieves coded messages on grocery story bulletin boards.


The latter part of the story is not as interesting, as Batman beats people up and fights his way to Gordon and the kidnappers.


The Calculator stays in Star City, awaiting the Elongated Man, as he and Sue are scheduled to attend a comic book convention in this story, by Bob Rozakis, Ernie Chan and Terry Austin.


This one is all about stealing Ralph’s day.  His initial attack is passed off as the actions of a cosplayer, and Ralph is completely unprepared as he enters the hall, and causes everyone around his to stretch uncontrollably.  Of course he gets blamed.  The Calculator is on hand, but remaining perfectly still, and Ralph realizes that it’s movement that sets off the stretching.


And thus we get the only story in which Ralph Dibny tortures a villain into giving up, simply by squeezing him.  And though he doesn’t realize it, he even presses the Calculator’s special button.


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 406 – Batman vs Dr. Darrk


The League of Asssassins returns in Detective 406 (Dec. 70), in a story by Denny O’Neil, Bob Brown and Frank Giacoia.


Dr. Darrk, who had been referred to in the previous League of Assassins story, makes his bow in this tale.  Although he has been set-up as more important member of the League than the previous assassin, he doesn’t seem nearly as capable.


The murders of shipping tycoons has continued, and Batman is still on the trail, which beings him into contact with Darrk and his operative Maya Thursday.


Batman gets captured and bound to a Poe-type deathtrap, but a statue of an angel conveniently (or supernaturally) falls to free him.


Batman thinks he has captured Darrk at story’s end, but it’s really just Maya.  Dr. Darrk returns a few months down the road, and the League returns even sooner.  Of all the early stories of the Assassins, this is probably the weakest, simply because Darrk fails to be impressive.

Detective 405 – the League of Assassins debuts, and Batgirl gets statuesque


The League of Assassins are first referred to in Detective 405 (Nov. 70).  I don’t want to say “they” appear, as only one member is in this Denny O’Neil/Bob Brown/Frank Giacoia tale.


A number of shipping tycoons around the world have been murdered, and Commissioner Gordon requests, on behalf of Interpol, that Batman stay near one who is in Gotham.  Batman does, and they sail off.  The ship gets bombed by dolphins, and they wind up on a island of deadly traps.


All of this is the work of Tejja, of the League of Assassins.


The story does a good job of building the menace of this organization, even though Batman manages to defeat the martial artist.


The story continues in the following issue.


The Batgirl story by Robbins, Kane and Giacoia ends this issue.


The crazy actress who framed Jason does her best to turn Batgirl into a statue in this story, but she fights her way free.

In a nicely ironic touch, the huge head of Billy Warlock has cameras in the eyes, which record the bragging confession of the actress.

I should have mentioned last issue that, with this story, Batgirl’s series becomes the sole back-up feature in Detective.

Detective 404 – Batman vs Enemy Ace, and Jason Bard is framed for murder


Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano craft a really clever variation of a team-up story in Detective 404 (Oct. 70), as Batman gets involved with a film crew making a biopic of Enemy Ace.


Bruce Wayne is one of the producers of the film, and he views the story of Hans Von Hammer as that of a man trying to maintain nobility in the madness of World War I.  There is also a lookalike descendant of Hans who disagrees completely with the way the film portrays Hans, and thinks it demeans him.


Someone keeps sabotaging the film production, and it’s not difficult to guess who.  But that’s all just a set-up for the big finale, as Franz dresses as Enemy Ace, and challenges Batman to a dogfight.


Who cares if it’s not really practical, it brings Enemy Ace fully into the story, even if it’s a different man in a different time.


Franz dies when his scarf gets caught in the rotor, but it’s given a hint of a supernatural feel, as if his ghostly ancestor denied him.

There is a follow-up story, of sorts, a few years down the road.


Batgirl investigates the murder of underground film director Billy Warlock in this story by Frank Robbins, Gil Kane and Frank Giacoia.

Jason Bard was arrested for the crime after being seen by witnesses, but he was on a job, and ordered to dress a certain way.  It doesn’t take Barbara long to figure out he was set up, despite the damning evidence against him.  Commissioner Gordon gets a brief scene.


Batgirl follows the trail to two of Warlocks stars, who freely admit to their crime, as they work to turn Batgirl into a statue.



Detective 403 – another Victims, Incorporated client, and Robin ends


A really beautiful gothic cover to Detective 403 (Sept. 70), but the story, by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Frank Giacoia, makes some attempt to hit these visuals, but misses the mood entirely.


It plays out like a film noir thriller, not the gothic tale the cover promised.  A mysterious woman comes to see Bruce Wayne at Victims, Incorporated, announcing that her husband will be murdered the following day.


Batman jumps into the mystery, and it’s a story of identical twin sisters and carriages being robbed in the park.  There is even a big spooky house, but it just never comes together.


Robin’s series in Detective comes to an end with this Mke Freidrich/Gil Kane/Vince Colletta story that brings back the troubled kids from the previous issue.


After trouble on campus, Robin goes to spy on them, and sees the boys working with guns.  He attacks, jumping to the wrong conclusions.


The boys were being recruited by a gangster, but had rejected him on their own.

Robin’s series moves over to the back pages of Batman, and improves a lot.


Detective 206 – Batman vs the Trapper, and Sierra Smith


The Trapper, who makes his only appearance in Detective 206 (April 1954), is important only because of his name, which he shares with a later member of the Batman family, Jason Bard.


This version is a fairly psychotic looking hunter, with a penchant for building huge, elaborate, and not entirely practical-looking traps.  The story is by Bill Finger, with Sheldon Moldoff art.


The Trapper tries to lure Batman into his house, filled with massive traps, but Batman triumphs, and catches the Trapper, blocking exit routes.


This issue also sees the only appearance of Sierra Smith in Detective Comics.  He was a western private eye, and his series ran in the interior pages of Dale Evans’ comic.  This story, with art by Frank Giacoia, likely had been left over when that book ended its run.


It’s a pretty good story.  Sierra can’t stay awake on his case, unlike a young new detective in town.


And that’s because the new guy was drugging his coffee, and using his public persona to shield his criminal activities.

Adventure 496 – The Challengers figure things out


The Challengers of the Unknown story has its penultimate chapter in Adventure 496 (Feb 83), by Bob Rozakis, Alex Toth and Frank Giacoia.


Investingating Professor Haley’s story, they discover that the dead uncle is really still alive.  He had faked his death, but then dies anyway.


Red Ryan gets confronted by a casino owner he is in debt to.  The man is accused of plotting the murder, but defends himself by pointing out that with Red dead, he would never get the money he is owed.

The story concludes next issue.


Adventure 495 – The Challengers try to figure things out


The Challengers of the Unknown story in Adventure 495 (Jan 83), by Bob Rozakis, Alex Toth and Frank Giacoia, has better art than the previous chapters, but not much of a story.


After dismissing Rocky’s gambling enemies as suspects last issue, they discuss possible enemies of the other three men.  Ace Morgan wound up earning the ire of some Inuit after discovering gold on their land, and Red Ryan ran afoul of Central American revolutionaries.


Professor Haley talks of being disinherited by his uncle before his death, in favour of his cousin, and the story has so little to it that it almost begs to be the important one.



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