Posts tagged ‘League of Assassins’

Detective 411 – Talia Al Ghul debuts, and Batgirl avoids becoming a blouse

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Denny O’Neil is joined by Bob Brown and Dick Giordano for this chapter of the League of Assassins tale, though the cover at least is by Neal Adams.

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Having failed to kill Batman, Dr. Darrk has been marked for death by the League of Assassins.  Batman tracks him to China, and the story takes place on a train as they cross territory that is friendly to neither, but where Batman is in more danger.  Darrk travels with a mysterious woman.  She is silent for much of the story, and her identity only clear about halfway through.

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It’s a well-written story, making the most of the train, and the variety of locales and people they meet along the way.

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After Batman gets injured, the woman tends to him, and we learn that she is Talia Al Ghul, the daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul.  Ra’s has not yet appeared, this mention is the first reference to him in the comics.  All part of the gradual build of the menace and scope of the League.  Dr. Darrk has taken her captive as protection against the League.

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The story comes to a surprising conclusion as Talia shoot and kills Darrk.  Up to that point, she had seemed a weak and helpless victim.  Even still, her facial expression during the shooting does not match the woman we would come to know.  One is left to assume, given the events in later stories, that Talia was playing helpless throughout this entire story, lulling Darrk into a sense of security.  Was she doing this anyway, before Batman became involved?  Or was her being taken captive by Darrk simply a way of ensuring she would get to meet Batman in person?  I believe it’s the latter, and Darrk was unwittingly a pawn in her, and her father’s, interest in Batman.

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Even Dick Girodano’s inks cannot save this Frank Robbins/Don Heck story.  Batgirl manages to escape from the dress cutting machine, so the criminals go after the designer herself, injured in a skiing accident in Europe.

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Batgirl saves the designed from being murdered, and captures the killers.  In the end, all the pundits are routed, as the designed bases her new wardrobe on Batgirl’s outfit.

Yeah, ugh.

This story is followed by a 2-parter dealing with wigs.  Killer wigs that crack open the skulls of women too dumb to take the crushing wigs off of their heads before they die.  These two tales are definitely the low-point of her series, but Heck’s art continues for the duration of her run, making even her passable stories unappealing.

 

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Detective 406 – Batman vs Dr. Darrk

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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The story continues in the following issue.

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

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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.

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