Posts tagged ‘Klaus Janson’

Detective 553 – Batman vs Black Mask, and Black Canary gets burned

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It’s another middle chapter in Detective 553 (Aug. 85), as Doug Moench and Klaus Janson continue the first appearance of Black Mask.

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Roman Sionis is Black Mask, and runs a gang of criminals called the False Face Society.  Sionis places great importance on masks, and the freedom of action they allow.  As much as he is a gang leader, he is almost as much a cult leader, with the way he preaches to his men, and the sick, defacing things he has them do to themselves.

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Roman’s lover, Circe, is as much a victim of him as anyone else. I am fairly certain this relationship inspired the one between the Joker and Jerry Hall in the first Batman film, as he mars her face and makes her wear a mask, just as Sionis does with Circe.

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Even the style of mask he has her wear resembles the one from the film.

The story concludes in the next issue of Batman.

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The strip says Green Arrow, but this story belongs to Black Canary.  Cavalieri, Moore and Patterson give her a two-parter that leads to her very unpopular costume change.

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Black Canary is feeling really down on herself after losing a fight to Bonfire, an arsonist who produces her own flames.

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Green Arrow looks at the motivation behind the fires, suspecting that they have been arranged by the slumlords who own the buildings, to get the insurance.

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This half concludes with Dinah reviewing a scrapbook of her mother;’s achievements as Black Canary, and ends with her making a surprising discovery.

Detective 550 – a tale of woe, and a tale of vengeance

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Doug Moench and Pat Broederick venture into the background of a criminal in Detective 550 (May 1985).  This type of Batman story goes all the way back to the 40s, and are clearly cautionary tales for the kids reading the books.  Even still, when done right, they work.

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Many of the usual scenes are given, abusive and negligent parents, isolation, poverty.  But the story also pretty clearly shows that it is the boy’s choices, not just his situation, that has lead him down this dark path.

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Broederick’s art works well on Batman, particularly on the last two issues, which were more about gritty reality than evocative moods.

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The story does not shy away with it’s ending. The boy chooses to jump to his death, rather than be caught by Batman, and the story follows him to hell, which is inhabited by giant spiders, it seems, and represented on the cover, sans Batman.

I probably could have done without the giant hell spiders, but otherwise a good tale.

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Arrow-Man shoots Black Canary right at the top of the second half of Alan Moore and Klaus Janson’s story.

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Green Arrow gets her to a hospital, and then spends the rest of the story tracking, and catching, the shooter.  The Olympics metaphor in the narration doesn’t work quite as well as in the first half.

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The final scene is in the hospital with Dinah, although the mentally disturbed felon from the first story makes a funny cameo.  I’m glad Black Canary got some action in the first half, as the second reduces her to just the injured girlfriend.

Detective 549 – Harvey Bullock gets the spotlight, and Black Canary finally appears

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Detective 549 (April 1985) gives Harvey Bullock a starring role in a one issue tale by Doug Moench and Pat Broederick.

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Bullock is a fan of classic movies,he has his apartment decorated with posters of them.  He envisions himself as a tough guy hero,along the lines of Bogart.  He narrates the story in a reflection of this.

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He had been in minor confrontations with some punks who hung out on his street, but when he discovers that they broke into his place, and spray painted the walls, and the posters, he goes ballistic.

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Batman is drawn by the street fight, and helps Bullock.  It’s a nice male bonding moment for the two men, pounding the crap out of some kids.

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Alan Moore scripts a 2-part Green Arrow story, beginning in this issue, with art by Klaus Janson.  The narrative voice for the two issues compares the situations occurring to events in an Olympics. It’s a good story, but not one of Alan Moore’s greats.

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Green Arrow stops a thief who seems to have some major psychological problems, which keeps him busy.

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Black Canary, making her first appearance in Green Arrow’s series since it moved to Detective, isn’t even recognized by the men she takes down.

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The villain in the story isn’t named. But as he’s an obnoxious, treacherous, murdering bastard, who doesn’t want to be called Arrow-Man, I am going to call him Arrow-Man.

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The first part ends as he sets his sights on Green Arrow and Black Canary.

Detective 547 – Batman and Night Slayer trade costumes, and Onyx arrives in Star City

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Ok, first off, nothing even remotely like the image on the cover occurs in Detective 547 (Feb. 85).  Doug Moench, Pat Broederick and Klaus Janson tell a story that is very much just another chapter in Batman’s soap opera life.

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Julia has warmed up enough to Alfred now that she tells him she is changing her last name to Pennyworth.

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Nocturna and Robin are out on patrol together, and run into the Night Slayer, wearing Batman’s outfit.  Batman is running around in the Night Slayer costume.  That all happened in the pages of Batman.  Overall, it seems that, during this period, most things begin, end, or happen, in the pages of Batman, as Detective stories carry the plot from one event to another.

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Cavalieri, Moore and Patterson continue their story about Vengeance, the man who looks and acts just like Vigilante, in this Green Arrow story.

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Onyx arrives in Star City, and shows herself capable of surviving the streets of the big city.

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The “crime” that Vengeance is out to avenge deals with events back from the VietNam War, and a messed up, guilt-ridden vet is the target.  So we definitely side with Green Arrow.

Detective 528 – the Savage Skull returns, and Green Arrow v Ozone

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Doug Moench continues the return of the Savage Skull, the cop killer who had only appeared in Batman up to this point, in Detective 528 (July 1983), with art by Gene Colan and Klaus Janson.

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Mayor Hamilton Hill brought Harvey Bullock back onto the force in the last Batman, and Commissioner Gordon goes to complain to him in this story, not realizing that the reason the mayor brought Bullock in was to annoy Gordon.

Bullock is quite a bit different than his first appearance in these pages in the mid-70s.  While his anti-Batman attitude is intact, he is slovenly, and does not appear a completely honest cop.

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The mayor’s task is made easier when more dead police show up, despite Gordon, and Batman, insisting the Savage Skull was dead.  Harvey goes to track him on his own, and finds the killer.

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Harvey is almost killer by the Skull, but Gordon intervenes and saves him.  Gordon had not trusted Bullock, and had been following him.  Batman also shows up, on the trail on his own, and defeats the Savage Skull.

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Things seem patched up between Bullock and Gordon, until Bullock holds a press conference, lying about the capture of the Skull and denouncing Gordon.

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Green Arrow shoots his way out of this deadly situation with a rope arrow, thanks to Joey Cavalieri, Paris Cullins and Pablo Marcos.

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Green Arrow discovers that Ozone is somehow connected to a secret government science agency, Z.Z.Z.  Rick knows more about this organization than Oliver, although how much he is connected is not clear.

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Ozone continues on his merry way, stealing at will.

The story does continue.  Just in case you thought it ended that way.

 

Detective 512 – Batman vs a new Dr. Death

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There really isn’t anything that makes Detective 512 (March 1982) a “special” as such.  There is a decent Batman tale, by Conway, Colan and Janson, and a lame Batgirl story that I am not going to write up.  Instead of the normal letter column, there is a text history of Detective Comics, but nothing to put this on the same level as issue 500.

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The story is continued from this month’s issue of Batman, and for the next couple of years, this would become the standard pattern, with storylines running back and forth between the two books.

Vicki notices that Dala did not show up in the photos she took of her and Dick (in the previous Batman – last time I will say that).

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Batman is busy rescuing Robin from his deadly dangle from a bridge, left there by Dr.Death to delay Batman while the evil doctor prepares his super allergy to infect all of Gotham with.

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Rescue completed, Batman catches up with Dr. Hellfern.  He tries to get the antidote from him, but Hellfern is being a jerk, so Batman douses him with his own allergen, forcing him to reveal it’s cure.

Not a bad re-working of Dr. Death, but it wouldn’t grab much interest, and the character would go back into dormancy for another couple decades.

 

Detective 510 – The Mad Hatter returns, and Batgirl shows brains beat brawn

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Gene Colan and Klaus Janson take over the art as Gerry Conway brings back the Mad Hatter in Detective 510 (Jan. 82)

This is the first major appearance of the Mad Hatter in years, reverting to his original appearance, like the Tenniel illustrations from Alice in Wonderland.

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The mayoral race between Hamilton Hill and Arthur Reeves is heating up.  Reeves tries to publicly embarrass Batman, but it backfires on him.

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Lucius Fox is kidnapped by the Mad Hatter, who plans on using his knowledge and position to raid Wall St.

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Of course, the Hatter’s plans include Batman, and he lets Bruce Wayne know that he has taken Fox.

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At the time I was not happy with Gene Colan taking over the art, I preferred Don Newton.  But I have come to appreciate how moody Colan made this series.

The Mad Hatter proves a fairly easy victory.  He’s rusty after all these years.

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As the story ends, the bigger threat by far is Arthur Reeves.

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Cary Burkett, Jose Delbo and Joe Giella conclude their three-part team up of Batgirl and Supergirl in this issue.

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While Supergirl continues to battle the Anhilliator, Batgirl pays close attention to the effects that her various attacks are having.  Though the villain seems invulnerable, Batgirl has noticed some weakness.

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Batgirl gets Supergirl to freeze the villain once he has been weakened, which causes him to revert back to the scientist he once was.  Then they just don’t seem to care about him anymore.  They don’t take him to prison or anything, just go off their separate ways.

Supergirl and Batgirl’s next time together is int he pages of Crisis on Infinite Earths, a scene expanded on in a DC Comics Presents.

 

 

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