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.
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.
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.
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?
Green Arrow and Black Canary’s series builds to its finale in this story by Joey Cavalieri and Jerome K Moore.
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.
Who is the mystery attacker? That gets saved for the finale.
Moench and Colan put some strain on Batman and Catwoman’s relationship in Detective 565 (Aug. 86), as the horrific murders of the Love Killer grab their attention.
Colan’s art is used to terrifying effect with this maniac who beheads women.
As the hunt for him drags on, Batman finds Catwoman getting colder and more distant. When he raises the subject with her, she finds a lot of excuses, but suggests that the two of them are basically loners anyway.
Some of the dialogue seems to imply that Catwoman is about to go back to an old boyfriend, but all is made clear when she returns to her pet jaguar as the story ends.
The fight with the Love Killer concludes in the next issue of Batman.
There’s action aplenty in this Green Arrow installment, by Cavalieri and Stan Woch.
Steelclaw has pushed everything a bit too far. His manipulations as the mayor have made the mob distrust Steelclaw, and his arrogance and demands in that position have won him no friends either. The mob wind up turning on him and killing him.
Green Arrow and Black Canary are left to take down the rest of the mob’s men, but all that they do with Steelclaw’s body is unmask it.
And that boy that Onyx has been using in Star City for food, shelter and support finally starts showing some backbone and demanding some answers from her.
Detective 564 (July 1986) has the penultimate chapter of the Two-Face saga, by Moench and Colan.
Circe convinces Two-Face that their mangled visages give them a bond, but it’s fairly clear that she is just using him. Poor Harvey is too lost in his madness to see it.
Catwoman is onto her game, though, and takes her place. The mask being as useful to hide Circe’s scars as to conceal Catwoman’s identity. Two-Face discovers this, and is not pleased to be played with this way.
The story concludes in the next issue of Batman.
Cavalieri and Moore bring the Steelclaw story together in this chapter.
Knowing that Steelclaw is the mayor, Green Arrow and Black Canary head to his estate. He tries to use his power from both ends, as the mayor and as Steelclaw to have them taken down.
Some excellent art by Jerome K Moore on this chapter. The mafia and the heroes converge on the mayor’s mansion as the climax approaches.
But wait! Look who is back as well! Onyx!
Detective 557 (Dec. 85) follows the big battle between Catwoman and Nocturna, in a story by Moench and Colan.
And though Nocturna and the Night Slayer are still on the loose, Batman spends this story sitting by Selina’s bedside in the hospital.
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.
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.
Cavalieri, Moore and Patterson conclude Green Arrow’s team-up with Onyx in this issue.
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.
The cover for Detective 556 (Nov. 85) just incensed me when it came out. What was Batman doing killing Nocturna? It’s Catwoman and Talia that he loves!
But the story, by Moench and Colan, did not anger me. Rather, I was excited, for although the Crisis on Infinite Earths is not mentioned, the red rains that are falling clearly place this tale during that mini-series. In fact, this and the next two issues of Detective must all take place during the first issue of Crisis.
With Black Mask out of the way, but his men still around, Nocturna makes her play to become their new leader, and control Gotham’s criminal element. Bullock, meanwhile, shows he has the proper observational skills to be a cop, as he figures out that the current Robin is not the original one. Although his guess at him being Nocturna’s son misses the bulls-eye.
With Robin and the gangs under her spell, she concludes the story by going after Batman, and he doesn’t seem to have any resistance left.
Green Arrow joins Onyx, as she brings him back to the retreat where she was trained, in this story by Joey Cavalieri, Jerome K Moore and Bruce Patterson.
Onyx was a good character to introduce. A strong female, a capable fighter. It just makes you wonder why Black Canary wasn’t treated as well in the same strip.
It turns out Oliver knows the place well. It was the same place he went to after accidentally killing a child, a few years back. So technically, Connor Hawke could be in this story, if I can spot any young kids with mixed race skin and blond hair.
Alfred is pleased as punch when Julia gets a front page story published in the newspaper, and Detective 552 (July 1985) shares her piece at length, courtesy of Doug Moench and Pat Broederick.
It begins with a huge old tree being cut down so that a highrise can be constructed. Julia’s investigation uncovers corruption within the construction firm behind the development.
The story is a pretty basic one at it’s core, but the conceit of it being a newspaper article works well, and Broederick takes some dynamic risks with the art. The fight in the cemetery works very well.
And you have to smile at the end. The construction project is called off after Batman busts the bad guys, and though the tree is already gone, the stump is sprouting new life.
Oliver Queen sits in a camp with illegal immigrants as this Green Arrow chapter opens, by Cavalieri, Moore and Patterson.
It’s a more impressive outing for Dinah Lance, actually, as she pretends to be his lawyer, smuggles in some rudimentary equipment in her clothes, and then provides the getaway vehicle. Oliver’s driving skills seem to show that she should have been behind the wheel as well, but they get away.
The sad thing is, they really don’t achieve anything positive for the immigrants they were trying to help.
We discover that Onyx has been trailing Oliver Queen, and his figured out that he is Green Arrow. Because she is not a blind idiot. People mock Clark Kent’s glasses, but Green Arrow’s beard pretty much defies the concept of a secret identity.
Doug Moench and Pat Broederick have a lot of animals roaming Gotham in Detective 548 (March 1985).
Batman is dealing with a political kidnapper, Darkwolf, but the far more interesting plot line in this issue sees Vicki Vale and Julia Pennyworth out looking for a big panther seen wandering the streets of the city.
Batman isn’t much impressed by Darkwolf, and it pretty clear he’s a one shot bad guy, put in to give Batman something to do between scenes with the women.
It takes Julia and Vicki a while before they realize the panther is trained, and therefore a pet. And once they know that, it’s no big surprise when Catwoman shows up on the last page.
Green Arrow’s battle with Vengeance concludes in this issue, thanks to Joey Cavalieri, Jerome K Moore, and Bruce Patterson.
It’s the heavy action part of the story, and the art does it justice. But it’s just so hard to look at that costume and pretend it’s not the same as
Onyx, at any rate, doesn’t look like a carbon copy, and shows that she learned an awful lot about how to play guys in her retreat.