Batman loses control in Detective 439 (Feb./March 1974), in a Steve Englehart story, with art by Dick Giordano, who also provided the inks for Neal Adams’ cover.
The story opens with a simple robbery, but the gunman shoots and kills a woman in front of her young son, which Batman sees.
After a brief flashback to his own parents’ deaths, Batman gets enraged, and spends the rest of the story in relentless pursuit of the man and his associates, despite their constant attempts to kill him.
Batman does not speak a lot in this story, which helps convey his singularity of purpose. I really love the scene where he dangles the criminals car keys in front of them. The nervous chatter of the hoods, compared to Batman’s silence, also boosts the mood to the piece.
Perfectly told, this story is fairly simple, really, but still very powerful in execution.
The final page, of him unmasked and crying in front of his parents’ portrait, is a crushing denouement, but the perfect coda to this tale. The vengeance will never heal the grief.
Christine St. Clair meets the wounded Manhunter face to face in this chapter of Goodwin and Simonson’s Manhunter saga.
Paul fills her in on his backstory, and we see a montage panel reflecting his stories from Adventure Comics. We learn that after the end of World War 2, seeking danger and excitement, Paul went big game hunting in Africa, which didn’t go exactly as planned.
Squished by an elephant.
His body was retrieved by a secret organization called the Council, and cloned. The clones trained in martial arts by a supposedly dead master, Asano Nitobe. Paul himself was eventually revived, intended to lead his clone army, but disagreed with the extreme domination plans of the Council, and has been fighting them ever since.
But is Paul really the revived Paul Kirk, or just a clone who believes he is the original?