Posts tagged ‘Jack Ryder’

Detective 448 – Bat-Murderer concludes

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Len Wein, Ernie Chan and Dick Giordano bring the Bat-Murderer saga to a spectacular finale in Detective 448 (June 1975), in a full-length story.

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Batman gets Jack Ryder to do some legwork for him, and he informs Batman that he has traced a connection between the League’s shooter, from the last issue, and a circus just outside Gotham. He offers to help Batman investigate the circus, but Batman insists he will handle it on his own.

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In disguise, Batman goes to check out the circus.  It’s not too hard to guess that the snake charmer woman might be Talia, but there is another, subtle yet effective, clue on this page.

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Batman sticks around after the circus closes.  Sure enough, the snake charmer turns out to be Talia, who explains that the reason for framing him was to destroy his Gotham life, as they still wish him to join the League.

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Batman is no more inclined to join them than last time, and as the fight ensues, the clown reveals himself to also be in disguise.  It’s the Creeper, who figured Batman needed help whether he wanted it or not.  And though the Creeper believes the ringmaster to be Ra’s Al Ghul, Batman has spotted the discrepancy in the midget strongman’s shadow, and has figured out that he is really Al Ghul.

By all means, scroll back up and check out that page again for the shadow clue.

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As Commissioner Gordon and the police arrive, the Creeper runs off.  Batman tries to leave as well, but Gordon picks up a gun and shoots Batman in the back.

The only real drawback to this story is the resolution and explanation, with the gun that points and shoots itself, and burns out the mechanism that causes this.  The faking of the death certificates is well with the League’s normal range of abilities, but the gun is a bit much.

The Creeper next appears, in a couple of months, in the Joker’s short lived comic.  Talia pops up a few months later in the pages of Black Lightning, but Ra’s Al Ghul has to wait until a couple more years, returning as the judge in the “Where Were You the Night Batman Was Killed?” storyline in Batman.  The next big plot they are involved in is not until the 80s.

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Detective 447 – The Creeper hunts Batman

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Len Wein’s Bat-Murderer tale reaches its penultimate chapter in Detective 447 (May 1975), but the art chores shift to Ernie Chan and Dick Giordano.

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Alfred finishes his detailed examination of the gun, and discovers two things.  One is that, despite being made to look machine-crafted, the gun is actually a unique, hand-made construction.  The other, the hair of a lion in the barrel.  Batman figures that is worth a trip to the Gotham Zoo.  To hunt for clues, not as a reward for Alfred.

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Meanwhile, Jack Ryder has continued to broadcast news reports about Batman, and, fearing that perhaps the hero has lost his mind, decides to hunt him down, in the hopes of helping him the way that Batman had helped the Creeper.

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Of course, since Batman has not lost his mind, things do not go so easily for the Creeper, and the two heroes wind up locked in battle in the lion’s cage.  When a member of the League of Assassins tries to kill Batman as the heroes fight, the Creeper realizes that Batman must be telling the truth, and decides to help him instead of bring him in.

 

Detective 445 – Bat-Murderer continues, and Robin begins, again

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Len Wein and Jim Aparo’s Bat-Murderer saga has its second chapter in Detective 445 (Feb./March 1975).

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Jack Ryder cameos, recapping the previous issue’s events, and setting up his larger role to come next issue.  Alfred actually asks Batman if he did it, but really we can excuse that lack of faith as the necessary set-up to hear Batman’s side of the “murder.”

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Batman figures that Ra’s Al Ghul must have some knowledge of what is going on, or possible be behind it, and breaks into Gotham prison to question him.  Ra’s openly admits to being behind his daughter’s death, and then promptly pulls out a gun and kills himself.

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In a really nice touch, Batman escapes the prison using one of the Spook’s passages.  But now he is wanted for two murders.

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Robin’s series moves back into Detective from Batman, after a year with no solo tales, in this story by Bob Rozakis and Mike Grell.  Robin joins the rotating back-up slot.

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Robin is still at Hudson University, but his previous supporting cast and campus issue based stories are done.  This tale deals with vandalism of a football from a historic game, and a long held grudge leading to a murder attempt.

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The story isn’t bad, and Grell’s art is a treat.  Police captain Frank McDonald is introduced, and will be a part of the Robin series for the next few years.

Detective 418 – Batman hunts the Creeper

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The Creeper makes his first appearance in Detective, but not his last, in issue 418 (Dec. 71), in a story by Denny O’Neil, Irv Novick and Dick Giordano, with a Neal Adams cover.  This was the second appearance of the character following the cancellation of his own comic, and his outing in Justice League of America.

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The story has the Creeper on a rampage in Gotham City, serving as a decoy while other men steal.  Jack Ryder has been searching for a cure for his condition, but is being played by a scientist.

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The story has his mental instability as the Creeper high-lighted, and having driven him to such desperation that he has no suspicions about the man supposedly curing him, but actually working to extract and duplicate the serum that gave him his powers.

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This could very easily have been an issue of the Brave and the Bold, as Batman and the Creeper each have about the same amount of page time.  The scientist injects himself with the Creeper serum, which does give him powers, but also fries his brain, making it not too hard for Batman to defeat him.  He also gives Creeper the cure the scientist had denied him, reverting him to Jack Ryder at story’s end.

The Creeper returns a couple years down the road in the pages of Detective.

 

 

Adventure 446 – Aquagirl returns, and the Creeper fights a robot

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Adventure 446 (Aug 76) was the first issue of Adventure Comics I ever bought.  Curiously, one the main reasons was the cover, which I now find overly busy.  But at 11 years old I loved Aquaman riding the giant seahorse, and the whole Aqua-Family on the banner, as well as the Creeper, whose story in Super-Team Family 2 I had really enjoyed.

Not being familiar with the characters, I thought Topo was an evil monster in the opening sequence, when it grabs Aquababy, rather than simply the boy’s babysitter.  To be fair, the previous issue sets it up to look like an attack as well.

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Robin has a cameo, as Aquaman tries to get information to Aqualad about Karshon being the new king of Atlantis. The story, by Paul Levitz and Marty Pasko, with art by Jim Aparo, uses that to transition to Aqualad and Tula, Aquagirl, on board a ship tracking down Black Manta.

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Tula had not appeared since the final issue of the Aquaman comic, and I had never seen her before, so I was genuinely concerned when she got tied up with an anchor and thrown overboard.  Of course, being an Atlantean that merely causes her some difficulty, not death.

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Aquaman joins the fray, and all three heroes take on Black Manta, who does the wise thing and flees, leaving behind the cargo of guns he was smuggling.  Aquaman is left to ponder the connection between Manta’s gun-running, and Karshon’s take-over of Atlantis.

And I just loved it.  I bought every issue for the duration of Aquman’s run in this book.

 

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On the other hand, I was not too impressed with the Creeper story, by Marty Pasko, with Pic Estrada and Joe Staton art.  Never cared for Joe Staton.  And it didn’t help that I hadn’t read the first part of the story.

The Creeper flees from the cops, and figures out a connection between the robots and a telekintic scientist, Maddox.  Just as it starts to pick up, with the physiotherapist being forced telekinetically to walk off her balcony while the Creeper is stuck fighting the robots, it ends.

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But as it concluded the following issue, I was not too distressed.

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