I am borrowing Travis' idea but I am narrowing the subject matter. I bought a large Batman collection from a friend of mine. I am pulling them out of the box as my friend had them. In the case of a multi-book story line I am going to set the book aside until I have the full story. The collection includes Catwoman, Azrael, Robin and other Bat related books. Since there are three long boxes of books, this will take awhile. I would love to hear anyone elses takes on these books.

Batman 0
Creature Of The Night.
Writer Doug Moench
Artist Mike Manley
Inker Josel Rubinstein

This is the Batman origin circa 1994. The origin is sandwiched around a current Batman investigation where he tries to stop a mugger who has killed three so far. This is also shortly after his return from the Knightfall saga. For someone who knows as much about Batman as I do, it really isn't much of a story, but it does give a good overview of the story so far, which as I recall the 0 issues were supposed to do. there were a couple of questions that I have that the story brought up. Where was Alfred at this time? It is clear he hasn't done anything at Wayne Manor, which is in a little disrepair. Second question, What did Two-Face do to Dick Grayson? To quote the story, "Dick's greatest mistake, his near-fatal encounter with Two-Face, which was an event from which he never truly recovered...even after striking out on his own to become Nightwing." What issue was that story in? The story was good and I enjoyed the art. This actually was a good book to start this project on.

I scanned the comic to post the image here, but for some reason it wouldn't upload. Any suggestions on that? Otherwise, I will just do the reviews with no images.

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John Dunbar said:
While I didn't enjoy the Collins run, I'm lovin' Howard's reviews!

Thank you.

I am going to take a short break on this thread. I will be back Sunday. I am working tonight and will be in the store when the madness starts at 5:00 A.M. I will blog about it but then I am going to need some rest. That day takes more out of you than any other. When i return it wil be with Batman 400, then there is a little skip to Batman 413. See you Sunday.
It is going to be a couple more days before I get that Batman 400 review done. I have this strange feeling I am not a young man anymore. This time of year more freight comes in and of course we are pushed harder. I come home feeling wiped out. I work tonight and then I am off for the next two days. Currently we are in the lull before the next storm. Since I work on the grocery side we have another big push that will start in a week or so as people get things for Christmas dinner. In January things really slow down. I am ready for that.
I'm pretty sure I have the UK reprinting of Batman #400, in a nice large format. I bought it for pennies, but I've never read it.

Can't think why not. Look at that line-up! I must be mad.

I'll try to dig it out. The problem is that I don't know if I've filed it with my Batman comics - he has his own longbox* of course - or if I filed it with my UK large-format comics.

*When I say longbox, I mean a pink Winnie-the-Pooh decorated box that the baby's diapers came in.
Strike up the band. I finally got it done. Being a slow typist and a bout of the flu, not to mention general laziness were contributing factors. Take your pick for the number one answer, but my money is on general laziness.

Batman 400

The cover can be found here.

Resurrection Night
Writer Doug Moench
Artists Art Adams, Terry Austin, Brian Bolland, John Byrne, Paris Cullins, Mike Grell, Michael W. Kaluta, Karl Kesel, Joe
Kubert, Steve Leialoha, Steve Lightle, Larry Mahlstedt, Bruce D. Patterson, George Perez, Steve Rude, Bill Sienkiewicz, Ken Steacy, Tom Sutton, Ricardo Villagran, Berni Wrightson


At sundown at Arkham Asylum and Gotham State Penitentiary all of Batman's foes are waiting for something. Massive explosions rip through both institutions.

Batman was trying to decode a message he had received. It read "Know your foes."

The foes meet halfway between Arkham and Gotham State. There all of their costumes are waiting. The foes meet with Ra's Al Ghul, who had masterminded this breakout. He explains what he wants them to do for him since he freed them. They agree.

The plan begins with Scarecrow capturing Julia Pennyworth, Poison Ivy getting Harvey Bullock, and Riddler and Black Spider obtaining Vicki Vale.

Batman is confronted in the Bat-cave by Ra's. Batman was unaware of the breakouts until Ra's informed him. A quick call to Commissioner Gordon confirms it. Ra's offers a deal. He will help catch all of the villains, even kill them if Batman wants him too. In return, Batman will become Ra's right-hand man. Of course Batman rejects that offer. Ra's then gives Batman a riddle from The Riddler, of course.

Robin joins Batman as they go to a dive called The Belly Of The Whale. Robin is concerned that it might be a trap, Batman knows it is. Meanwhile Killer Croc captures Alfred.

At the Belly Of The Whale Batman and Robin fight Riddler, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, Black Spider and Catman. Black Spider and Catman get knocked out before Riddler stops the fight. He tells Batman about the hostages. The three conscious villains leave. Catwoman observes their departure and follows them.

Joker and Penguin fly Joker's helicopter over Police Headquarters where Joker drops a large metal net over the building. Mad Hatter, Deadshot, Cavalier, Dagger, and Killer Moth disarm the police. Mad Hatter then electrifies the net. Joker forces Gordon to call Batman, then he takes the phone. He tells Batman he has three hours to free the hostages or he kills one every five minutes. Penguin is mad about that. They were supposed to be holding the police for a $10 million ransom. Joker doesn't care about the money, he just wants to go up against Batman.

Batman is close to giving up. Considering the task set, he knows he can't be everywhere at once. Talia then arrives and
offers to help. She wants to help because she realizes just how mad Rha's has become. His plan is to totally destroy Batman by shattering his spirit. Talia would rather die helping Batman than live in a world where her father succeeds. Batman sends Robin and Talia to Police Headquarters while he takes care of something.

Ra's is monitoring all of the villains. He had placed miniature cameras in the buttons and belts of the villains costumes.
Poison Ivy is holding Bullock hostage in a greenhouse. She lets him escape his bonds just to toy with him. He is easily
recaptured. Catwoman crashes in but finds herself captured by Riddler and Scarecrow.

Batman heads back to The Belly Of The Whale. Using a boat oar he cleans house. He finds a clue as to where Poison Ivy is. He goes to the greenhouse where he KO's Scarecrow and frees Catwoman. They then take out Poison Ivy, Riddler and Killer Croc. Catwoman calls an ambulance to take care of the hostages while he goes to get some "Bat-Wings".

At Police Headquarters Penguin and Mad Hatter plot to take out Joker. Robin and Talia are helpless. Catwoman is flying the Bat-plane. Batman parachutes onto the roof where he is promptly shot to death by Killer Moth. Of course it was only a dummy that was shot up and Batman takes out Killer Moth. Joker heads for the roof to confront Batman while Batman takes out the generator that is electrifying the building. Robin and Talia rush the building and defeat Deadshot, Cavalier, and Dagger. Joker is confronted by Penguin and Mad Hatter, but he gases them. Batman reveals Ra's plot to Joker and suggests a team-up since Ra's would prefer all of the villains kill each other. He convinces Joker that he can be trusted, then he KO's Joker.

Ra's realizes his plan has failed. He knows Batman is coming and prepares to enter the Lazarus Pit. His men try to talk him out of that since he is not near death and may not survive the pit. Batman and his allies attack Ra's' hideout. Ra's comes out of the Pit and he and Batman fight. He shatters his hand but it doesn't slow him down. Batman manages to toss him back into the pit. The entire place is falling down as Batman and crew escape.

Robin has the hostages brought to the Bat-cave, blindfolded of course. They are giving Batman a party for his anniversary. Batman is not a celebrating mood. He feels like he is starting over since so many of his villains are still at large.



Over all I liked this story. The different artists added a nice dimension to the story, especially Bill Sienkiewicz's art on the confrontation of Batman and Ra's Al Ghul in the Bat-cave. that said, I have always had a major problem with this type of story, no matter what title it appears in. When two major criminal institutions have a break out on this scale, where is Superman, JLA or JSA? Do they all just sit back and say, "Well Batman's a big boy. He can handle that all by himself." This is just a minor complaint and like I said, it happens in a lot of solo hero books. This is the Batman that I like. He works well with his core team. I also liked the way he told Joker that he can be trusted, and the cold cocks Joker. After all, even if Joker helped him he would stab Batman in the back the first chance he got. I also liked Joker's attitude, it is not about the money, it is the challenge of confronting Batman. The new writers had a perfect chance to show Batman recapturing the escapees, but with 401 they acted like this story didn't happen. I bought Detective when these came out, but I don't remember if they picked those stories up. It will be awhile before I get to them.

Hopefully I am now back on track and will get back to the Batman of the day.
What is even more troubling to me about no one else showing up to help is that, Batman didn't know until Ra's came and told him.

Looking at the cover, Robin looks like he is on puppet strings.
Travis Herrick said:
What is even more troubling to me about no one else showing up to help is that, Batman didn't know until Ra's came and told him.

Looking at the cover, Robin looks like he is on puppet strings.

I knew when I made the post there was something that I forgot and that was it. How the bat-computer missed that one is one of the great unsolved mysteries. Also, was Commissioner Gordon mad at Batman? A simple phone call to confirm the news would have been nice.

I have hit a slight snag. I have managed to misplace a few issue of Batman. I am looking for them and tomorrow I need to do some Christmas shopping so I will have no time to write. If I can't find those missing issues on Sunday I will cover Batman 426, chapter one of A Death In The Family.
I dug out my copy of Batman #400 and read it for the first time. It’s a nice large formatted UK reprint, marred only by a whacking great ‘50p’ price-sticker in the middle of the cover. Grrr!

I then went on to read Death in the Family, published only 26 issues later. Wow! There is a very notable sea-change in DC’s whole approach. Certainly to the Bat-books at any rate. What Miller and Moore did in the meantime, was to let the ‘real world’ in a little more. So that we get our heroes acting in the context of real world politics and cultural attitudes. Vigilantism, city politics, global realpolitik all intruding on the heroes. (How the real world is handled in Death in the Family is another issue!)

#400 reads a bit like a swan-song to a certain Bronze-age way of telling a superhero story. Everything is in its own sealed off little world, much like Bruce himself sitting in his cave, in full costume and mask, puzzling over a 3-word note, while events of great consequence happen out in the real world, and he is the last to know.

I loved the ‘mix-tape’ of different artists providing the chapters. Great to see early Batman work by Bolland and Perez. Sienkewicz’s stands out, of course. I thought his jagged, shadowy, expressionistic pages illustrated Batman’s inner torment pretty well. Most of the other artists seemed to be only names to me, and I wasn’t too impressed with their work here. A lot of it looked like the work of artists just learning the ropes. Perhaps DC made up the money they spent on the Big Guns by hiring cheap ‘up-and-comings’ for the other pages? I have a hunch that some of these artists were from Indie books of the time, but perhaps someone who knows more about the more obscure corners of American comics can fill me in?

I was interested in the whole status quo of that pre-Miller era of Batman. Half of the villains, I’d never heard of, although I knew of the Black Mask through this very thread. I’m guessing that The Black Spider, was the …er…black gentleman we saw earlier behind bars. Some things are better off staying in the past. Catwoman’s costume then was atrocious by the way. I know Dynasty and Dallas were big around then but adventuring in a balldress? Crikey.

My copy lists Steve Rude as a contributor, but I can’t see which chapter he did. Any ideas?

I liked that the inmates of the prison and Arkham Asylum didn’t wear their costumes while ‘inside’ and had to be given them after they escaped. One little touch of ‘realism’ at least.

I also liked seeing Catman, Deadshot and the Mad Hatter all running around in the same comic long before they worked together in the Secret Six.

Is this the first time they did the ‘everyone escapes at once’ trick in a Batman book?

I don’t have any problem with Superman, and Batman’s other cronies, staying out of the picture. I picked this up expecting a BATMAN story, not a JLA story. Anyway, they are all good guys. I’m sure they had excellent reasons for not showing up. Gorrilla Grod was probably being especially naughty that weekend. The bad monkey!
Figs, according the the GCD, Steve Rude did a pin-up in the comic.

Also looking through the list of creators in each chapter I would say most were well known. I don't recall all of the artists listed though. Just about everyone would have been around comics for quite some time. Even some of the lesser knowns like Paris Cullins had been working at DC for few years by that time. My guess is that Arthur Adams would have been the most raw as his first work appeared in 1984.

I can't comment on the actual work inside as I don't have this comic
I haven't abandoned this project. I should have waited to start this after I had a few written a few, and not started it too close to Christmas. Things get extremely hectic working retail. I am shooting for restarting this as soon as I have the entire A Death In The Family storyline done. Right now I am almost finished with the first story.

Since it appears that the reprint of Batman 400 that Figserello did not have the pin-ups in it, I will put them in my blog on Saturday.
Howard Bagby said:

Since it appears that the reprint of Batman 400 that Figserello did not have the pin-ups in it, I will put them in my blog on Saturday.

That'd be great, but only if you have time.

My copy has a Mike Grell pin-up but not the Steve Rude one.

It also has an essay by Stephen King. (Batman is better than Superman because he's more 'real'.)

Travis, after reading your post, I think the creators I didn't recognise were popular/fashionable in the early 80s. That's a real blind spot for me. Especially if they were more Indie. Also, I don't know much about artists who worked for DC from about 1975 - 1985 if they didn't also work for Marvel, apart from the more enduring creators. This story is a bit of a taster for me of that era.

As we are now moving between the pre-Crisis and post-Crisis Batman, here's a review I did of one of the last of the pre-Crisis Batman stories, if an unusual one.

I know Crisis didn't effect Batman directly, but the tone changes considerably around this time.
Travis Herrick said:
Figs, according the the GCD, Steve Rude did a pin-up in the comic.

Also looking through the list of creators in each chapter I would say most were well known. I don't recall all of the artists listed though. Just about everyone would have been around comics for quite some time. Even some of the lesser knowns like Paris Cullins had been working at DC for few years by that time. My guess is that Arthur Adams would have been the most raw as his first work appeared in 1984.

I can't comment on the actual work inside as I don't have this comic

But I will be able to comment at some point. I just got this comic Saturday. As I mentioned elsewhere my LCS is having a sale, and he had two small boxes he wanted me to look through that he hadn't sorted through himself (he had some war comics he thought might interest me). Batman #400 was in there, so I picked up. What a coincidence.

Figs, does your copy just have the Mike Grell pin-up? I flipped to the back of my copy, and it has Grell, Michael Kaluta, Bernie Wrightson, and Steve Rude. Just curious.
Howard Bagby said:
I haven't abandoned this project. I should have waited to start this after I had a few written a few, and not started it too close to Christmas. Things get extremely hectic working retail. I am shooting for restarting this as soon as I have the entire A Death In The Family storyline done. Right now I am almost finished with the first story.

Since it appears that the reprint of Batman 400 that Figserello did not have the pin-ups in it, I will put them in my blog on Saturday.

Sounds good, Howard. No pressure, you don't need to treat this as a job.

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