Detective Comics goes to 100 page size with issue 438 (Dec./Jan. 73). It’s mostly reprints, and between this and the similarly sized Batman comic, they reprint the Outsider and Zatanna sagas over the next few months.
The lead story, by Archie Goodwin, with art by Jim Aparo and a cover by Mike Kaluta, deals with reports of a monster seen lurking around the, currently abandoned, Wayne Manor. Bruce and Alfred are, for obvious reasons, extremely reluctant to let anyone go poking around there, especially a ghost hunter who has just arrived in Gotham.
When Alfred gets attacked, Bruce has no option but to allow an investigation. We see the monster at this point, and it’s clearly a human, with something very wrong with him. The monster is, in fact, Ubu, the henchman of Ra’s Al Ghul, wounded after his last encounter with Batman, and seeking vengeance. And Batman’s suspicions about the ghost hunter also prove to be correct, that he is entwined with the League of Assassins as well. Ubu kills the ghost hunter, but is captured by Batman.
Ubu’s near death state in this story, followed by his hale and hearty appearance when next seen, is the first indication that Ubu is likely a title, rather than name, and that there have been a few of them.
Goodwin and Simonson’s Manhunter continues in this issue, as we meet Damon, Christine St. Clair’s boss.
This chapter details more of the observations Christine has made of Paul Kirk. He went to a bank in Swizerland to withdraw money from an account dormant since the 1940s, looking much like he did back then. He seems to be being followed by ninja assassins, although he consistently defeats them.
To make things even more puzzling, his attackers wear similar costumes, although blue instead of red, and all look like Paul Kirk as well. And while Christine is on the up and up, we see that there is more to Damon, who burns her report at story’s end.