Posts tagged ‘Night Slayer’

Detective 566 – Know Your Foes, and a mystery villain in Green Arrow

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Doug Moench and Gene Colan provide a review of Batman’s major villains in this story, a lead-in to the big Batman 400.  The bulk of it reads much like a Who’s Who, but that series, and its variants, were in the future, and there really had not been anything like this.  It was much more appreciated at the time than such an issue would be now.

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After receiving a mysterious letter saying “Know your foes,” Batman and Robin review them.  All the big names are covered: Joker, Penguin, Two-Face, Riddler, Scarecrow, Ra’s Al Ghul and Talia.  Killer Moth makes the cut into the big names, as does Black Mask, the newest addition to the line-up.

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Curiously, this is the first time Poison Ivy makes it into a listing of Batman villains.  She’d been a foe of his since the 60s, but rarely in his own books.  Mad Hatter, Deadshot, Nocturna and the Night Slayer round out the ones who get full entries.

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There is a curious mix on the “B-list” page.  Cavalier and Tweedledee and Tweedledum are golden age holdovers, but Black Spider and Clayface III are supposedly dead.  Mr. Freeze, Cat-Man and Croc could easily have made the cut to major villains at this time.  And they included Crazy Quilt.  Really?

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Green Arrow and Black Canary’s series builds to its finale in this story by Joey Cavalieri and Jerome K Moore.

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Onyx is giving a long, roundabout explanation to her wanna-be boyfriend about why she has come back to Star City, but it gets interrupted by a bad guy smashing right through the wall.

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Who is the mystery attacker?  That gets saved for the finale.

Detective 558 – Nocturna’s deadly spell, and Green Arrow gets dumped on by an angry parent

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The red rains buffet Gotham in Detective 558 (Jan. 86), as the Crisis stories come to a close, and a number of people hunt for Nocturna.

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Batman brings the Night Slayer’s reign of terror to a close, finally.

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But Moench and Colan spend far more of this story on the night watchman seduced away from his wife by Nocturna, who roams the city searching for her, as does Robin.  Harvey Bullock is also on the hunt, though the watchman himself is Harvey’s goal, after meeting his tormented wife.

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Seeing Nocturna’s damaged balloon hanging from the spire of Gotham’s version of the Chrysler building, he climbs to the top and sends it flying away.  Although Batman and Robin try to save him, he falls and disappears into the red rains, and Bullock is left to try to explain things to the man’s wife.

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The story ends with Batman being called by Commissioner Gordon about the Joker’s escape from Arkham, which leads Batman into the pages of Crisis on Infinite Earths 2.  But not before he and Catwoman profess their love again.

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Dean Traven and Trevor Von Eeden helm this entertaining little story.

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Green Arrow hears the words of a wounded man just before he passes out, and, interpreting them as a clue, seeks out those who attacked him.

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By far the best page of the story is a bit of a digression.  Olive spills a child’s ice cream, and when he tries to pay for it, is attacked by the boy’s mother as a molestor.  The page almost feels like Giffen, and the Ambush Bug reference makes me certain that was the intent.

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The ending brings a laugh as well.  Green Arrow visits in the man in the hospital, explaining his mistaken interpretation of his words, and how he really found the attacker, all the while devouring the man’s candy.

 

Detective 557 – Batman sits in a hospital room, and Green Arrow helps defend the temple

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Detective 557 (Dec. 85) follows the big battle between Catwoman and Nocturna, in a story by Moench and Colan.

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And though Nocturna and the Night Slayer are still on the loose, Batman spends this story sitting by Selina’s bedside in the hospital.

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Robin returns to the cave, and in a slight allusion to the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Justice League try to contact Batman.  The Martian Manhunter, Elongated Man and Zatanna cameo.

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The Night Slayer is left pretty much free to keep killing the former members of Nocturna’s gang, and still aims to kill Nocturna herself.  Batman and Catwoman are too busy professing their love for each other to care.

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Cavalieri, Moore and Patterson conclude Green Arrow’s team-up with Onyx in this issue.

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Although I really love the art on this story, the tale itself just doesn’t warrant the length, to me.  But there are great scenes along the way, as Arrow and Onyx defend the temple.

 

Detective 547 – Batman and Night Slayer trade costumes, and Onyx arrives in Star City

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Ok, first off, nothing even remotely like the image on the cover occurs in Detective 547 (Feb. 85).  Doug Moench, Pat Broederick and Klaus Janson tell a story that is very much just another chapter in Batman’s soap opera life.

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Julia has warmed up enough to Alfred now that she tells him she is changing her last name to Pennyworth.

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Nocturna and Robin are out on patrol together, and run into the Night Slayer, wearing Batman’s outfit.  Batman is running around in the Night Slayer costume.  That all happened in the pages of Batman.  Overall, it seems that, during this period, most things begin, end, or happen, in the pages of Batman, as Detective stories carry the plot from one event to another.

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Cavalieri, Moore and Patterson continue their story about Vengeance, the man who looks and acts just like Vigilante, in this Green Arrow story.

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Onyx arrives in Star City, and shows herself capable of surviving the streets of the big city.

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The “crime” that Vengeance is out to avenge deals with events back from the VietNam War, and a messed up, guilt-ridden vet is the target.  So we definitely side with Green Arrow.

Detective 546 – Hamilton Hill raises the stakes, and Onyx debuts

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Things are spiraling downward quickly for Hamilton Hill in Detective 546 (Jan. 85), as Doug Moench and Gene Colan detail the mayor’s desperate actions.

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After a confrontation with Batman, and in danger of having his schemes exposed, Hamilton Hill calls a press conference to announce that Batman attacked him for no reason, and orders the police to arrest him.

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So Batman is once again forced to battle the police.  He’s used to it, and good at it, but it’s never the ideal situation.

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The Night Slayer continues to use the blind girl, Tina, who still thinks he is Batman.  Nocturna takes Jason Todd out, and attempts to justify her life of getting men to steal for her, but her tortured reasoning does not impress the boy.  Her guilt trips and tears are more effective.

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After another sniper takes a shot at Harvey Bullock, he goes to confront Mayor Hill on his games and lies.  Hill pulls out a gun and shoots Bullock.

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Jerome K Moore and Bruce Patterson join Joey Cavalieri on this tale, which sees Olive Queen attending a high school reunion.

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He feels very awkward and out of place until a vigilante bursts in, aiming to kill one of the alumni with criminal ties.  Oliver defeats him, but once cannot help but notice how very similar the character’s costume (and motivation) are to the recently introduced Vigilante, Adrian Chase.

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Be that as it may, the more important thing in the story is the final page, which introduces a young woman in a place of retreat.  One of her mentors is dying, but before he does, he gives her the codename Onyx, and the mission to find Oliver Queen.

Detective 545 – the Night Slayer finds love

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Doug Moench and Gene Colan are the creative team on Detective 545 (Dec. 84), a story which centres largely on the Night Slayer.

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Anton Knight lies on a riverbank, wounded, and recalls his break up with Nocturna, and battle with Batman that left him injured and exhausted, near death.

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He gets rescued and tended to by a blind woman, Tina, who believes that he is Batman.  He decides to go along with the lie.

And that’s really about all that happens in this one, although much of it gives us Anton Knight’s perspective on his relationship with Nocturna, and the obsessive love she engenders.

Detective 544 – Nocturna makes an offer

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Doug Moench, Gene Colan and Alfredo Alcala continue the twisted romance tale that Detective Comics has become with issue 544 (Sept. 84).  The Night Slayer does appear in it, attacking Batman because of Nocturna’s interest in him, but he is not the focus of the issue, just the cover.

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Nocturna continues her play for Bruce Wayne, now knowing that he is Batman.  She offers to be his partner in both guises, still holding Jason Todd out as the cherry on the cake.

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This issue does have a bit more action, when the romance needs a breather, but it’s still more soap opera than super-heroics.

Part of that means that things are moving slowly, and with the story jumping back and forth between books, it repeats itself, almost to the point of tedium.

This is not my favourite era for Batman.

 

Detective 543 – Nocturna needs a new guy

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Moench and Colan are joined by Alfredo Alcala on Detective 543 (Oct. 84), and though the cover doesn’t convey it, love is in the air throughout Gotham.

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The Thief of Night has escaped prison, and made it back to Nocturna, only to discover her with another man, Hellstrom, who has been stealing to provide for her.

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Angered, the Thief takes off.  His real name is Anton Knight, and by the following issue of Detective, his rage has lead him to murder, and his code name changes from the Thief of Night, to the Night Slayer.

Meanwhile, Hellstrom has also taken off, feeling that Nocturna is using him. Which, you know, she is.  So she decides she needs a new man to support her, and sets her sights on Bruce Wayne.

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She goes to visit Jason Todd at the orphanage as well, playing with the boys affections as part of her larger scheme.

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Julia takes advantage of Vicki Vale’s busy schedule, scoring a date with Bruce.  There is mutual attraction, but Bruce avoids taking things further.

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If anyone is the major villain in this issue, it’s Hamilton Hill, the mayor.  Furious that his sniper has been caught, he nonetheless doubles down, ordering that Bruce Wayne’s adoption of Jason Todd be halted by any means.

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There is a little bit of action, Batman tracking and capturing the hapless Hellstrom.

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Nocturna’s plan becomes apparent on the final page.  She applies to be Jason Todd’s legal guardian, and informs Bruce Wayne that he can continue to raise Jason, as long as he marries her.

 

 

Detective 530 – Batman climbs on Nocturna’s balloon

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A great cover for new villain Nocturna on Detective 530 (Sept.83).  Doug Moench, Gene Colan and Dick Giordano bring her introductory story to a close in this issue.

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Nocturna meets Jason Todd in this issue.  He is, indeed, running away to (re)join the circus, but encounters the mysterious alabaster lady and her night flying balloon in the misty forest.  She advises him to return home.

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Bruce is having more troubles trying to become the legal guardian of Jason Todd than he did with Dick Grayson.  It doesn’t help that he keeps running out to try to catch the Thief of Night and/or Nocturna, who work together.

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Once again, Colan’s art is simply perfect for this story.  Batman causes Nocturna’s balloon to crash, and haul both her and the Thief of Night away to jail.

But neither is done, both will be significant players over the next couple of years.

 

 

Detective 529 – the Thief of Night debuts, and Green Arrow makes Ozone explode

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In Detective 529 (Aug. 83), Doug Moench, Gene Colan and Dick Giordano introduce the Thief of Night, and Nocturna, both of whom will play major roles in this series over the next couple of years.

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The Thief of Night is garbed completely in black, not even his face is visible, and for this debut, we only see him unmasked on the last couple of pages.  He is better at eluding Batman than fighting him.

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Colan’s art is perfect for this character.  Jason Todd appears, eager to go into action, but told he will not be allowed to.  Bruce Wayne winds up ditching Vicki Vale in the middle of a date to pursue the Thief of Night, but doesn’t manage to catch him.

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On the last page, we see the Thief unmasked, and the white hand of Nocturna.  We also see a really pissed off Vicki Vale, and Jason Todd threatening to run away back to the circus.

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Joey Cavalieri, Paris Cullins and Frank Giacoia conclude the Ozone story in this issue.

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Rick reveals how much he knows about Z.Z.Z., the secret government science organization, and the destructive things they have created – such as Ozone’s weaponry.  He is the son of the founder of the group.

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Green Arrow defeats Ozone with a high pressure arrow that causes all of his spray cans to explode.  Remarkably, as they are hanging from his belt, this does not seriously maim, or kill him.  But Green Arrow has little trouble with him after that.

 

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