Cary Burkett and Don Newton lead off Detective 492 (July 1980) with a Batman/Batgirl team up, divided into two chapters. Often the structure of something like this gets in the way of the storytelling, but in this case, it works to an advantage.
Batman sees the news reports about Batgirl being killed, and heads to see Commissioner Gordon, discovering that Batgirl is at home, alive. She explains how she used the dummy as a decoy for Cormorant.
She tells the men she has decided to give up being Batgirl. Batman argues with her, not to give up the good fight. He looks to Gordon to back him up, but he is more than happy to not have his daughter out risking her life.
Batman goes in pursuit of General Scarr, working his way up through the man’s ranks of hoods. These fight scenes are really nicely intercut with a long conversation between Gordon and Barbara about being a hero, what things are worth the risk, and how Batman can be the way he is.
Batman reaches Scarr, only to discover that he has fought his way into a trap. He was the intended target all along.
So then, he was lying to his men in the previous issue when he talked about Batgirl being a threat? Why? He had to have informed them about the trap, so they had to know they were luring Batman.
It’s a minor point, but it bugged me as a kid.
The story moves to the Batgirl half, as she discovers Batman has gone missing, and goes in search of him. She faces Cormorant, and finds that he is far more frightened of her than she of him, because he thinks she has come back from the dead.
Cormorant returns in a Batgirl Special in the late 80s, but no long thinks she is a ghost.
She finds Batman, and though he has already broken his bonds and is taking out Scarr;s men, she still manages to rescue him.
The story ends as if her trauma is cured, but in reality, this event would leave deep scars.
Bob Haney and Bob Oskner craft this installment of Tales of Gotham City. There is some excellently vertiginous art as we read about a bridge, and the people on it one afternoon.
The story is told from the point of view of a man who works on the bridge every day. There is a little old man he sees walking the bridge daily. Today is special, though, as there is a really dramatic guy threatening to jump because a girl doesn’t like him, and felons speeding towards the bridge, with police in pursuit.
The storyline all come together, and the boy does little to save the girl he claims to love, when she gets grabbed by the felons. It’s the old man who sacrifices his life for her.
He gets the girl anyway, as she realizes suicidal cowards are hot. The old man turns out to be the one who built the bridge many years earlier. Corny, but I enjoyed it, and the art really carries it.
Man-Bat has his final story, by Bob Rozakis, Romeo Tanghal and Vince Colletta.
Kirk returns home to find Francine and the baby gone, long overdue from a shopping trip. He discovers that they are on a subway car, mysteriously trapped in its tunnel.
He finds the car, and the giant rat that has caused it to stop. My only complaint with this tale is that there is not enough Man-Bat vs giant rat action, as he drives it away with a torch.
His series ends on an appopriately “can’t win for losing” note, as Kirk’s help in the situation is dismissed by the authorities, who refuse to take him seriously.
Man-Bat next appears, along with Francine, the baby, and Jason Bard, in Barve and the Bold the following month, in a coda to his series.
Robin’s story,by Jack C Harris, Charles Nicholas and Vince Colletta, involves a pterodactyl egg on display at the university.
The Penguin has come to town to steal it, and wants Robin aware of his presence.
Dick winds up having the same romantic problems with Jennifer Anne that he was having with Lori Elton, as he keeps having to disappear and make excuses for breaking dates. Oh, and there’s that man in black again.
The Penguin has a fairly silly death-trap prepared for Robin, shutting him in a cage and firing it into the air. He escapes, and nabs the villain.