Posts tagged ‘Lucius Fox’

Detective 542 – Jason gets taken, and Green Arrow cons a killer

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The Batman titles really become pure soap opera at this time.  Villains become secondary to Bruce Wayne’s relationships, and his difficulties in getting guardianship of Jason.

The stories are not awful, it’s still Moench and Colan, but it feels a bit more like Dallas than Batman.

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Harvey Bullock accompanies the woman from child welfare, as she comes to take Jason away from Bruce.  I don’t know if they were expecting Bruce to pull out a gun or something, bringing Bullock seems excessive, especially as all Jason does is cry.

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Bruce calls a meeting of the Wayne Foundation board – which means Lucius Fox and some unnamed others – and gives them a big speech about how getting Jason Todd back must be the main focus of the company.  They all look stunned, as they well might.

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Jason, in an orphanage, sees the Bat-signal, and goes into action as Robin.  He catches up with Harvey Bullock, just in time to save him from a sniper.  Hamilton Hill, upset that Bullock became friends with Gordon rather than driving him out of the force, has hired a hit man to get rid of Harvey.

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Batman is late to join the party, but he captures the sniper.  Jason tells him that they might split up him and Bruce, but no one can break up Batman and Robin.

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Joey Cavalieri and Shawn McManus bring the Death Dealer story to a clever resolution in this issue.

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Oliver gets the dj to start playing a pre-recorded show of his, and that makes the Death Dealer think that they put out the fire.  He returns to the studio, and when he opens it to enter, sees Green Arrow, who he believes managed to enter somehow.  Thanks to the recording, and the Dealer’s confusion, his surprise at seeing Green Arrow,and not connecting him to Oliver Queen, is actually plausible.

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The explanation to the events is a bit lame though.  The dj in the witness protection program happened to work at a station run by ANOTHER guy in the witness protection program, who blamed the dj for him having to go through that.  And though the one recognized the other, neither was, apparently, being monitored in any way at all, to prevent them coming into contact.

Detective 511 – Batman battles Mirage

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Gerry Conway, Don Newton and Frank Chiaramonte provide a full-length story in Detective 511 (Feb. 82), introducing a new villain, Mirage.

The story takes place in the immediate aftermath of the mayoral election. Hamilton Hill won, after Arthur Reeves faked photos of Batman were exposed.

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Mirage is a thief, armed with some wrist weaponry that causes hallucinations in any who look at him. He can affect individuals, or large crowds.

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Vicki Vale is at a racetrack he robs, and takes photos of him.  His effects do not show up in the pictures, an important clue for Batman to protect himself from Mirage’s powers.

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Robin is a supporting character again, giving university another shot as Dick Grayson.  But classes fail to be as interesting as the exotic woman he runs into, Dala.

Fans may recognize this name as the female accomplice/victim of the Monk back in very early Batman stories.  A number of early villains would be re-introduced in the next year.

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Arthur Reeves, upset about losing, goes to the man who backed his campaign and gave him the fake photos – Boss Thorne, recently released from Arkham.  Thorne also reveals that he leaked the undoctored photos to Olivia Ortega, which ruined Reeves’ run for mayor.  Thorne has his own game, and everyone else is just a pawn.

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Batman manages to break Mirage’s spell, and brings him down.  When I read this as a kid, I just loved this villain and eagerly awaited his return. Now, I’m not so sure what I liked, aside from the unusual costume.  Mirage would appear again from time to time, usually in groups with other villains.

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The issue ends with Bruce Wayne stepping down as the head of the Wayne Foundation, and appointing Lucius Fox to take his place. That had more or less been being built up since the moment Fox was introduced, and the position has fit him like a glove ever since.

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.

 

 

Detective 502 – big news for Alfred, and Batgirl vs Dr Voodoo

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Gerry Conway and Don Newton conclude their revelatory story in Detective 502 (May 1981), as we learn what really happened to Mademoiselle Marie.

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Batman discovers a woman who nursed Marie after she got shot, and we learn that Julia is her daughter, she was pregnant by some mysterious man.  But as she lay in her stupor, she kept repeating Alfred’s name.

And that has been used by a man Julia knew since childhood as proof that Alfred was the one who betrayed Marie.

What?  I mean, really?  I can think of a far different reason Marie would be saying his name, but I guess we are meant to understand that Julia has been told this her entire life.

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Anyway, once the cat is out of the bag, Batman has little trouble convincing Julia that she has been lied to, and that that the traitor was the man who told her Alfred was guilty.

Lucius stands around a lot in this one, largely irrelevant as the story played out.

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And Julia is left wondering why Marie kept calling Alfred’s name.  Sigh.  Alfred clearly knows.  Batman knows.  I know.  YOU’RE HIS DAUGHTER!.

Geez.

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Batgirl’s fight with Dr. Voodoo concludes in this story by Cary Burkett, Jose Delbo and Joe Giella.

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Batgirl gets free from Dr. Voodoo’s trap, but his men have kidnapped Tracy (hostage girl, as I like to call her).  Batgirl has to find Voodoo’s lair.  Which isn’t too hard.

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And she does, and whups Voodoo, and frees Tracy, who is so used to this now she wasn’t even scared.

I recall lamenting as a teen that of all the Batman Family series, this was the one that got kept when Detective shrank back to normal size.

 

Detective 501 – the shared secrets of Alfred and Lucius Fox, and Dr. Voodoo returns

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When I first saw the cover for Detective 501 (April 1981), I thought it was silly.  Alfred had been around forever, Lucius Fox had only been introduced a year earlier.  But Gerry Conway and Don Newton took the story somewhere I never expected.

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Both men receive letters that leave them shocked – and both when Bruce Wayne is there to see it. Making lame excuses, both men leave and fly off to France, with Batman following.

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We discover that both Alfred and Lucius were involved with the French underground, Alfred through British intelligence, and Lucius as an American soldier.  They both worked with Mademoiselle Marie.

A French resistance fighter, Mademoiselle Marie had  had a short-lived series in Star-Spangled War Stories in the late 50s, and from then on was a regular guest star in the various DC war books.

Marie had died towards the end of the war, betrayed to the Germans.

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Julia Remarque leads the group of aging fighters and their children, who accuse Alfred of being the traitor.

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Dr. Voodoo returns in this Cary Burkett/Jose Delbo/Joe Giella tale, and it’s much better than his first outing against Batgirl.

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Dr. Voodoo is out for revenge against Batgirl, and uses magic, as well as physical violence, to mess with those close to her.  He blows up (but does not kill) poor Jeff from the garage where she stores her bike.

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He also uses his magic to make Jim be difficult and insulting to Barbara on the phone.  Finally, after stressing her to the max, Voodoo attacks Batgirl.

Detective 493 – Batman vs the Riddler in Texas, the Red Tornado’s first solo story, Robin confronts the man in black, the Human Target becomes a trucker, and Batgirl braves the fire

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Good gosh, the Batman Family are really happy about Detective 493 (Aug. 80).  Smiles a mile wild. The Human Target is less happy, falling out of his awkwardly shaped spot, but the clear star to the cover is the Red Tornado, never before or since considered either a member of the Batman Family, or a detective.

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Batman faces off against the Riddler in this story by Cary Burkett and Don Newton, which also introduces a new hero, the Swashbuckler.

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As usual, the Riddler sends a clue before he begins his spree, but it’s Alfred who notices that it is not a real riddle, but a snatch of lyrics from a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta.

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That was all Batman needed, and he is on the trail of the Riddler, following him to Texas.  The story winds up taking place in Houston, using actual locations.

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Batman runs into a local hero, the Swashbuckler, who claims to be the nephew of Greg Saunders, the Vigilante.  He’s not a bad character, though the mask seems a bit excessive.

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The amusement park next to the Astrodome is one of the locations the Riddler leads the heroes to.  His big crime is teased by him saying he was going after the only person who is a bigger riddler than he is.

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Batman and Swashbuckler ponder possible crimes, but Batman figures out he is going after a man named Noone, as “no one” was a bigger riddler in the villains eyes.

Sadly, so far as I know and recall, the Swashbuckler never appeared again.

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Ok, so first of all let me say I like the Red Tornado as a character, I like Tales of Gotham City as a series, and I like Jean-Marc deMatteis as a writer.  Jose Delbo and Vince Colletta aren’t the top of my list, but I don’t hate them.

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But why is Red Tornado starring in a Gotham City story when the character has never been a part of this milieu?  And why, for his first story, is he in the middle of the city’s black ghetto, in the midst of a tale of religious faith and community standing up to drug dealers and the like?

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I guess this was a try-out for his upcoming series in World’s Finest Comics, but I never liked it.  The tear in the android’s eye in the final panel just makes me gag.

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Robin resolves the man in black plot in this issue, by Jack C Harris, Charles Nicholas and Vince Colletta.

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The pressures of being Robin, academic life, his relationship with Jennifer, and his job on the university paper get to be too much for him.  We haven’t even seen him at the paper since his run in Detective began.  Stressed, Dick leaves and heads for Gotham.

Neither Bruce nor Alfred are at the penthouse, but he does run in to Lucius Fox.  Dick heads back to the old Batcave.

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Changing to Robin, he leaves, and runs into the man in black.  Confronting him, he discovers that the man is actually a bodyguard hired to protect Dick Grayson, at Lucius Fox’s orders.  Dick gets that taken care of.

It’s worth noting that this is the same month that the New Teen Titans launched, and Dick’s inability to cope with university would lead into that series.

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The Human Target gets his last solo story in Detective, although he makes a few more appearances in the book.  As usual, Len Wein and Dick Giordano helm this tale of a murdered trucker.

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The man’s body was completely charred, but his vengeful widow hires Christopher Chance to impersonate him, pretending that he survived the murder attempt, to draw out the killer.

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It works, but the victory is not all the widow hoped for, as she learns that the hired killer was just doing it for the money, hired by a rival trucking firm, and there was nothing personal in any of it.

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Batgirl has the first chapter of a longer story, by Cary Burkett, Jose Delbo and Joe Giella.

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It begins with a spat between her and Roger Barton over rival housing development plans.  Barbara goes to inspect the site of the theatre in question, and is surprised to find the protestors not interested in the theatre at all.

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Her attention gets drawn by a nearby fire, and she changes to Batgirl, and winds up saving the little girl who had been held hostage by Cormorant, and was still living in fear.

 

Detective 488 – The Spook sends Batman to death row, Tales of Gotham City begins, Batgirl comes home, the Elongated Man looks for a car, and Robin gets a new girlfriend

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Detective 488 (Feb./March 1980) sees the Spook return.  He had last appeared in an issue of Batman two years earlier.  Cary Burkett scripts, with Don Newton on the art.

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The story also sees Selina Kyle appear, in her budding romance with Bruce Wayne, which had been happening in the pages of Batman.  She, along with much of Gotham, has been reading a runaway best-seller by a man on death row.  His agent and publisher both talk about how much money they could make off a sequel, but of course the author is due to be executed.

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The Spook gets hired to break the man out of prison, and the story adds a mystery element by keeping the identity of the man behind it a secret.

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Lucius Fox, who had been introduced months earlier in Batman, also makes an appearance in this story. giving more background information on the writer.

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The Spook lures Batman to the prison, and uses some special who knows what to make everyone see Batman as the man on death row.  So the Spook breaks the writer out of prison, but no one realizes it, and Batman is due to be executed in his place.

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The Spook even shows up to taunt Batman.  Of course, he manages to escape and catch the writer, the man who hired the Spook, and the big name villain as well.

This was pretty much the last appearance of the Spook, so far as I recall, aside from a couple of stories in the next few years that feature huge line-ups of Batman villains.

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Denny O’Neil scripts the first installment of a new series, Tales of Gotham City.  Some of the stories would feature known characters, but the best of these stories dealt with the every day people of Gotham.

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The first story deals with a cop on his last day before retirement.  He was proud of his record, that he had never had to pull his gun during his time on the force.

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He winds up on a subway car with an escaped convict disguised as a woman, who disappears during the moments the train blacks out in a tunnel.

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It’s a good mystery, for its brevity, and comes to a warm and fuzzy conclusion as the cop subdues the convict without needing to pull his gun and break his perfect record.

True, this is not the dark and seedy Gotham we have come to know and love, but the series would move there.

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Batgirl returns to Gotham in this story by Jack C Harris, with art by Jose Delbo and Frank Chiaramonte.

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The main part of the story deals with rival gang on the verge of a war after the leader of one is murdered, but the better scenes are between Barbara and her father, as they discuss her loss in the recent election.  What caused it, what lessons to take, and where to go from here.

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She averts the gang war, proving that the leader was killed by one of his own gang.

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The final scene shows the exterior of Commissioner Gordon’s house, not something often seen.  He sure seems to make a lot of money as a police commissioner.  I don’t think there is any other story showing him living in such a massive house.

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The Elongated Man is back, with a mysterious car theft in front of a huge crowd, told by Mike W Barr, with art by Eduardo Barreto and Joe Giella.  I don’t know if it’s because this is very early Barreto, or it’s Giella’s inks, but it looks absolutely nothing like his later work.

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The mystery is good enough.  The car simply vanishes, leaving no trace, and Ralph is puzzled until a chance remark by Sue makes him realize the car the crowd saw was just a collapsable shell, not a real car at all.

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Robin’s story, by Jack C Harris, with art by Schaffenberger and Colletta, has a number of wealthy students get kidnapped the first day of the semester.

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One of those grabbed is Jennifer Anne, a pretty blonde that Dick Grayson has been scoping.  So of course he gets into Robin gear to go rescue her.

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The kidnappings turn out to be more extensive than he thought, and Dick learns that he was an intended victim as well.  But knowing that he was meant to be grabbed makes him realize the poor kid, who was handing out assignments to help pay his tuition, is one of the bad guys.

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Robin rescues Jennifer, but Dick gets to make out with her.  There is a “funny” ending, as Alfred gets the ransom note just as Bruce gets Dick’s call about the situation.

But it bothers me that the message seems to be to not trust kids who have to work to pay their tuition.

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