Posts tagged ‘Velvet Tiger’

Detective 519 – blimps blow up, and Batgirl ends

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Gerry Conway, Paul Kupperberg, Don Newton and John Calnan are the creative team on the concluding half of this story, loosely based on the Dirigible of Death from early issues, in Detective 519 (Oct. 82).

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The villain in this story is Colonel Blimp, but we see much more of his airships than of him in this story.

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But then, the airships do far more dramatic things – like explode in pure Hindenburg glory.

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Batman and Robin chase Col. Blimp to his base in the arctic.  Robin gets a pretty decent snow outfit. Keeps his colours, but looks practical.

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It’s not bad – but really, the best thing about this tale, and about the last year or so in general, is simply that Conway is re-telling some of the oldest, classic Batman stories.  It could, and would, be done better; but it’s an effort worth commending.

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Batgirl’s second run in Detective comes to a close with this issue, as Barbara Randall and Trevor Von Eeden conclude her story with the Velvet Tiger.

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Randall gives a fair amount of backstory to the rival siblings and the manipulations of their corporation.  Enough that it feels like she was intending this series to continue, and the Velvet Tiger to return.

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As it turned out, she would bring Velvet Tiger back, almost ten years down the road, in the pages of Hawk and Dove.

Batgirl gets demoted to being a supporting character, and more often appears as Barbara Gordon than as Batgirl.  Her next solo is the Batgirl special in the late 80s, which immediately precedes The Killing Joke.

 

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Detective 518 – Deadshot aims for Bruce Wayne, and the Velvet Tiger debuts

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Detective 518 (Sept. 82) pulls off a difficult task.  Gerry Conway, Paul Levitz and Don Newton tell a tale that works well as a single issue Deadshot story, but which also advances the Boss Thorne plot, and concludes the Vicki Vale one.

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The story begins as Batman gets a blood transfusion to return him to human, while the vampires roil in agony at their capture.  Robin, who got him into this whole thing by falling for Dala, keeps watch over Batman, but gets a big surprise when he heads back up into Wayne Manor.

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Dick is stunned to encounter Bruce upstairs, spending time with Vicki Vale.  He keeps his mouth shut, and Alfred explains to him about hiring the Human Target to impersonate Bruce and deceive Vicki.

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Believing Vicki’s evidence, Boss Thorne hires Deadshot to kill Bruce Wayne, and thus, Batman.

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Perhaps because the job seemed too easy, rather than simply shooting Bruce, Deadshot tries to kill him by shooting the chandelier above him, intending it to crush Bruce.

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And though no one planned exactly this outcome, Batman shows up to rescue Bruce, leaving Vicki Vale convinced her “evidence” was wrong.  And Christopher Chance, oblivious to everything, makes Bruce act strong and heroic, which Vicki is impressed with as well.

Deadshot goes to jail, Vicki goes on happily, and Boss Thorne goes on to another plan.

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Barbara Randall and Trevor Von Eeden take the Batgirl series in a darker direction for it’s final two chapters, beginning with this story.

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The supporting cast is ditched, as Batgirl gets involved with a brother and sister who run a computer company.  The sister has a criminal identity, the Velvet Tiger, but the brother is no innocent himself, although Batgirl believes him unquestioningly.

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Von Eeden’s art, while not as polished as it would become, certainly takes exciting risks, even if they do not all pay off.

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