Posts tagged ‘Irv Novick’

Detective 525 – round 2 for Batman and Croc, and Green Arrow smokes out Machiavelli

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Gerry Conway, Dan Jurgens and Dick Giordano combine on Detective 525 (April 1983), as Croc and Batman continue their war.

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Bruce and Vicki find time in their schedules for a date, and all goes well until Bruce tells Vicki how great it is that she is not demanding or dependent, like Selina was, and how he can’t stop thinking about her.  Vicki acts about as well as any woman would in that situation, barking and Bruce and storming off.

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Robin is back at the circus with the Todds, where he has the brilliant notion to enlist Joseph and Trina Todd in Batman’s battle with Croc.  Because two circus trapeze artists are likely to make a big difference.  Jason Todd is totally cool with it as well. Perhaps someone told him this was part of his origin story.

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Batman tracks Croc down into the sewers, where they fight.  Croc beats Batman for the second time.

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This storyline has been moving back and forth between Batman and Detective, but comes to a conclusion in the next issue of this book.

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Cavalieri, Novick and Randall conclude Green Arrow’s battle against Machiavelli in this story.

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It’s an abrupt and odd finale.  As Machiavelli continues to convince the people of the wonders of openly being selfish and criminal, a fire breaks out in the building.

Now, in most cases that leads people into a panic, trampling each other to get out.  But Green Arrow tells everyone to be calm and work together, and they do.  And in doing so, realize the benefits of community, and turn against Machiavelli.

Of, and there was no fire, just a smoke arrow.

I really wish they had brought this character back. There seems to have been a lot more they could have done with him, particularly considering how political Green Arrow is.

Detective 524 – Batman vs the Squid, and Green Arrow vs Machiavelli

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Croc’s rise continues with Detective 524 (March 1983)  by Gerry Conway, with art by Newton and Giordano.

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Croc is still working for the Squid when this story begins.  And at the opening of the story, the Squid looks to be in a good position, having thrown Batman into a tank of his namesakes.

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But Croc and the Squid do not see eye to eye.  Croc’s hat comes off, and this is the first time we see his face.  Croc walks out, and the Squid vows vengeance on him.

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Meanwhile, back at Wayne Manor, a party is in progress, although the guests (expecially Vicki Vale) are still waiting for Bruce.  Dick Grayson brings along the Todd family, circus performers he met recently in the pages of Batman.  Joseph and Trina Todd are the parents of young Jason, and the whole family are aerialists, so it’s easy to see why Dick has bonded with them.  Barbara Gordon is there as well, along with her father, recently re-instated, so he’s back to being Commissioner Gordon.

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Batman escapes from the squid tank, and makes it back to the mansion.  Alfred is tending his wounds, but no one thinks to close the door or separate themselves from the rest of the party, so Trina Todd just comes walking right into the room, seeing the Batman costume and everything.

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Fixed up, Batman resumes his attack on the Squid.

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But it’s Croc who wins, shooting the Squid with a sniper rifle, just as the Squid was about to shoot Batman.

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Green Arrow squares off against the Executrix in this story by Cavalieri, Novick and Randall.

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Machiavelli continues to promote his unusual brand of libertarianism, but finds people willing to listen, and begins to make a splash in Star City politics.

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He is on the verge of being swept into office as mayor by the time Green Arrow defeats Executrix and makes it back to him.

 

Detective 523 – Batman vs Solomon Grundy, and Machiavelli comes to Star City

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Detective 523 (Feb. 83) sees Batman pitted against Solomon Grundy, in a story by Gerry Conway, with art by Gene Colan and Tony deZuniga.

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The story is part of the rise of Croc, who makes a shadowy debut in this tale.  We see his green hand in one panel, above, but otherwise he is in a trenchcoat and large hat.  His gang has adopted Grundy, but Croc feels that this will not bode well for them, and takes off.

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The story makes a point of tying this Grundy to the ones created in DC Comics Presents, and it shows him as childlike to the extreme, when not angered.

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That doesn’t make this Grundy any less deadly when angered.  As Croc thought, his destructive nature brings Batman down on the entire gang.

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Irv Novick and Ron Randall take over the art on Joey Cavalieri’s Green Arrow story in this issue. It opens with Arrow and Hi Tek (we learn that his first name is really Rich), as the boy becomes Oliver’s computer brain.

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Green Arrow goes into action when a demonstration turns violent, but follows the troublemakers, and finds them working with the big wigs, supposedly on the other side.

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And indeed, the riot was part of a plan by the elites of Star City to extend their control, both legal and illegal. Machiavelli is introduced.  I do like the idea for this character, a brilliant and ruthless manipulator, but its a shame they had him dress Renaissance.

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Certainly Machiavelli has no trouble with hiring people who are not in historical garb, as his muscle is a lycra-clad Executrix.

Detective 522 – Batman chases the Snowman, and Hi Tek toys with Green Arrow

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Gerry Conway, Irv Novick and Pablo Marcos bring back the Snowman, Klaus Krispin, in Detective 522 (Jan. 83).

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Krispin had appeared in an issue of Batman a couple of years earlier. Batman believed him dead, but Bruce sees a picture of him in the Himilayas, while visiting Vicki Vale at her new job as editor at Picture News.

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Batman is on his trail, but so are others.  And to Batman’s surprise, Krispin not only shows no interest in trying to kill him, he actually saves Batman’s life at one point.  Still, Batman keeps on his trail.

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It’s only in the last few pages that Krispin changes into his Snowman form, and battles Batman.  He is heading home to die, and will not let Batman stop that.

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A sad story, but good to see the character brought back, if only to be killed off.

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Some excellent art by Trevor Von Eeden on Joey Cavalieri’s Green Arrow story in this issue.

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Hi Tek has Green Arrow running rampant, but although the villain seems immensely powerful, he doesn’t seem to have any clearly defined goals.

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Tracing his signal back, Green Arrow discovers that Hi Tek is actually a 15 year old boy.  He’s more of a wanna be do gooder with a sense of fun than a villainous hacker, and Arrow immediately takes to the boy.

Detective 521 – Catwoman vs Vicki Vale, and Green Arrow begins

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Green Arrow’s series moves from World’s Finest to Detective with issue 521 (Dec. 82).  Along with Aquaman, Green Arrow had series in five of the earliest DC books: More Fun, Adventure, Detective, Action and World’s Finest.

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After her happy, good girl story last issue, Catwoman’s violent attack on Vicki Vale is not the way one would expect this story, by Gerry Conway, Irv Novick and Sal Trapani, to begin.  It turns out to be a dream, and leaves Selina Kyle shaky and upset.

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While the story largely follows Catwoman, Batman is busy tracking and apprehending a gang of hoods who prowl the subway system.

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Catwoman does break into Vicki’s apartment while she is sleeping, and demands that she leave Bruce Wayne to her, but does not physically attack her.

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Spying on them, Catwoman overhears Bruce tell Vicki that Selina is part of his past, and the two embrace, unaware of the angry woman watching.

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Green Arrow’s series brings writer Joey Cavalieri and artist Trevor Von Eeden along with it. Oliver Queen is, at this point in the strip, working as a columnist for George Taylor at Star City’s newspaper, the Daily Star.

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His computer gets taken over by a hacker, called Hi Tek, who demands Oliver break into a computer company.

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He does this as Green Arrow, because he never puts much work into his secret identity.  But Hi Tek shows up on the company’s computers, and uses them to attack him, and alert the police to his break in.

 

Detective 489 – Batman fights a vampire, Commissioner Gordon in a prison riot, Robin and Batgirl team-up, the Atom meets the Dharlu, Alfred and the evil butlers, and Batman finds Bronze Tiger

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Batman has two stories, book-ending Detective 489 (April 1980).  The first, by Jean-Marc deMatteis, Irv Novick and Vince Colletta has a rash of murders, seemingly committed by a vampire.

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A vampire hunter has also come to town, informing Batman that he and his assistant have been chasing this creature from city to city.  Batman insists there must be some other explanation for the deaths.

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The story looks like it is going the obvious direction, that the vampire hunter is really the vampire, but it doesn’t quite go that way.

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In fact, the vampire hunter is the killer, but with a split personality that thinks he is a vampire.  His assistant explains it all – then turns into a bat and flies away.

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Commissioner Gordon stars in this chapter of Tales of Gotham City, by Paul Kupperberg, Irv Novick and Steve Mitchell.

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A riot breaks out at Gotham penitentiary, and they prisoners demand Gordon be the negotiator, but when he arrives, he discovers they simply intend to kill him.

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This is possibly the most bad-ass story Gordon gets, as he takes down the men about to kill him, fakes a deal with others to get the prisoners back in their cells, and then takes down the other leaders of the riot, all by himself.

This could be a kick-ass action movie.

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Robin and Batgirl, whose team-ups made Batman Family a success, have the last one for many years, and it’s awful.  In so very many ways.  Jack C Harris, Don Heck and Vince Colletta are all to blame.

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I never like Don Heck’s art, but in this issue it descends to new lows.

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Barbara Gordon goes missing, and then show uup with no memory. Commissioner Gordon calls on Robin, informing him that his daughter is Batgirl.  Robin already knows this, he and Batgirl discovered each others identities back in Batman Family, but Gordon doesn’t know this.

One has to wonder why he goes to Robin, though, instead of Batman.

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Anyway, Robin tracks her down, and convinces her to get into her Batgirl costume, although she still remembers nothing.  Conveniently, they promptly run into the guy who stole all her memories.

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So they beat him up, and discover the stolen memories are all on cassette tapes.  Robin plays them and restores Barbara’s memories, but then leaves the last tape, which apparently contains nothing but the secret identities of Batman and Robin, and gives her a bit of a guilt trip, asking her not to listen to it.

And she burns the tape!

The whole reason for this story was to make it so that she no longer knew their identities.  Why not?  Just stupid.  Poorly drawn, poorly written, and a bad idea for a story in the first place.

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Bob Rozakis, Alex Saviuk and Vince Colletta give the Atom an adventure on the JLA satellite.  The Atom’s last solo story was in Five Star Spectacular, but he was soon to get a rotating series in Action Comics.

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The story deals with the Dharlu, a comatose alien that resides in the JLA satellite computer, and has to be there in order for the computer to work.  I never understood that story.  Anyway, investigating some computer problems, the Atom discovers a while bunch of tiny Dharlu’s loose in the computer.  Her kids, one would guess.

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The Atom sends the little Dharlu’s shooting out into the vacuum of space, so they can “find their destinies,” unless they all just die out there.  And he doesn’t even try to take the original one out of the computer prison they keep it in.

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Ok, here’s a story I won’t attack.  Alfred sees a picture of himself in the paper, part of a phony Butler ring being broken up by Batman in this story by Bob Rozakis and Jose Delbo.

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Curious, he goes to investigate, and finds the bad butlers, who mistake him for part of their crew.  Alfred clues in that he was being impersonated to infiltrate the group.

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It’s all a bit convoluted, and Alfred only pretends to have figured it all out beforehand.  Robin cameos, having been the one who had impersonated him before.

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The second Batman story in the issue, by Denny O’Neil and Don Newton, picks up the League of Assassins storyline.  Both the League and Batman have tracked Bronze Tiger to the hospital where he is recovering.  How they did this is not explained, but its been a few months since the last part of this story, so they had time.

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Bronze Tiger defends himself from the League killers, although Batman was there to step in if needed.  Tiger does not recall his time with the League completely, but does remember enough to send Batman to an amusement park they were using.

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There he fights a bunch of the League, but does not find any of the big players – but does find a seismologist being held captive.

And with that unusual detail, the story is set up for its big finale next issue.

 

 

Detective 435 – Batman vs the Spook, and Jason Bard ends

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The concluding half of the Spook’s introduction is featured in Detective 435 (June/July 1973), by Frank Robbins, Irv Novick and Dick Giordano, who also did the cover.

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Batman’s attempt to draw out the Spook fails, and he realizes that the Spook must have multiple bugs on the hoods he ensures, and was getting a duplicate signal, clueing him in that the Big Turk in prison was a phony.  And Batman is dead on with all of that.

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He then, finally checks out the scene where the Batmobile was stolen, and figures out how that was done – a huge trick that relied on Batman driving onto one exact street – although the Spook more or less implies that there are similar set-ups around Gotham.  So he must employ a road works crew.

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So Batman follows the tunnel and confronts the Spook, but finds it all but impossible to actually tale hold of the man, between his tricks and flexibility.  He finally plays on his ego and goads him into a position where Batman can grab his controls and neutralize them.

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The story has a surprising twist at the end, as it’s revealed that the Spook is Val Kaliban, a man executed 10 years earlier.

The Spook returns in a couple of months in the pages of Batman.

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Jason Bard has his final outing in Detective done by Frank Robbins.  It’s better than his Don Heck stories, but it bothers me in a different way.  Jason is on hand when a man dies while group parachuting, by being stabbed in the back.  As can be seen in that very first page, they all go down together as a unit.

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When the man hits the ground, he has a knife in his back.  Jason ponders which of the other skydivers could have done this.  And has so much trouble figuring t out he goes up in a plane with them to re-enact it.

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Only then does he realize that the killer had to be the one standing behind the dead man when they jumped.  The only possible person.  AND, Jason, with his bad leg, is going to sky dive?  REALLY?  Because he wants to be even more crippled?

So that’s the end of Jason Bard’s less than impressive run in Detective.  He would remain a supporting character and pop up all over the Batman books as the years pass.  He would even get a back-up series again in Detective, part of One Year Later.

 

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