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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Travis Herrick said:
I never bought this issue, because I could never get past that cover.

You were a very wise man.

I never liked the antagonism between Batman and Superman. I felt that their "feud" was very petty.
The Baron said:
Never mind that, what the heck was "Space Clusters"?

Apparently, it was the seventh entry in DC's graphic novel series in the 80s. The creators were Arthur Byron Cover and Alex Nino.
Batman 402

http://s234.photobucket.com/albums/ee134/jinxo56/?action=view&c...;"/>Batman 402' />



No Title.
Writer Max Allen Collins
Art Jim Starlin

A couple of muggers are going about their trade. Batman interrupts them. However, instead of apprehending them, he kills them by breaking their necks. He drives away on a motorcycle and goes home, where we find out that of course it was not Bruce Wayne in the costume.
The real Batman responds to the Batsignal, but it is a police trap, set by the Deputy Commissioner. He naturally escapes and goes to Commissioner Gordon's home. there he finds out what is going on.
At Wayne Manor, Bruce and Jason Todd discuss what is going on. Jason doesn't see the deaths as a bad thing. Alfred discovers that all the Batman costumes from costume shops have been stolen.
After another death Gordon fills Batman in about a connection those who have died shared. They all were released due to technicalities of their arrest. There was a detective on the GPD who was fired because he took too many short cuts and a lot of criminals were freed because of it. Gordon gives Batman a day's head start before he tells the Deputy Commissioner about the connection.
Batman begins tracking down the impostor. He goes to he job but he isn't there. He goes and talks to the impostors mother, who is fooled and thinks Batman is her son. she tells him how wrong what he is doing is. Batman then finds some clippings and knows where the impostor will be. The impostor tries to kill one more but Batman saves him. Batman then knocks out the impostor.

This was story was not bad but I had one beef with it. When discussing the deaths and Jason said he didn't think it was a bad thing, Batman said "Me too, Jason--but I'm not proud of it." The Batman I like wouldn't have that attitude. It is just a minor point and easily overlooked. The artwork, however... I like Jim Starlin's art. I think he is one of the best cosmic story artists there is. Unfortunately, this is not a cosmic story. The ears on Batman's cowl are way too long. The splash page is one of those overly dramatic scenes that makes no sense. Batman is hanging from the top of a pyramid shaped building. Why would he be up there? I could give a few more examples, but I think that is enough.
At Wayne Manor, Bruce and Jason Todd discuss what is going on. Jason doesn't see the deaths as a bad thing.

I guess this is where they got the whole Red Hood thing. Its good that they didn't just get it from thin air when he came back from his inconvenient death. The latest issue of Batman and Robin continued this 'character arc'.

Alfred discovers that all the Batman costumes from costume shops have been stolen.

I am gobsmacked by the implications of this. In a city where the murderous treacherous criminal scum are terrorised by a man in a Bat-suit, people blithely head out at sunset to fancy-dress parties wearing the same bat-suit? Think about it.
Man, this brings me back.

I had read various Batman comics here and there for years, and then in 1985 started collecting both Batman and Detective. Doug Moench wrote both books and worked with various artists, primarily Don Newton and Tom Mandrake on Batman, and Gene Colan on Detective. Moench did a small number of done-in-ones, but for the most part a story would begin Batman and continue into Detective the same month. I remember really enjoying the idea of not having to wait 30 days for the next installment, and having one writer kept the continuity tight.

Moench wrote Batman 360-400 and the corresponding issues of Detective, #527-566. I believe Len Wein was the editor for his entire run. Then, with Batman 401, there was a sea change. Moench, Mandrake, Colan, and Wein were gone. Denny O'Neil became the new editor, and cross continuity between the two Bat titles ended. In my opinion, Detective became the better title - first, a great (albeit short) run by Mike W. Barr and Alan Davis, and after a few more issues by Barr with other artists, a stellar run by Alan Grant (with John Wagner at first) and Norm Breyfogle. Meanwhile, in the main Batman title (again in my opinion) the quality nosedived. If you take Year One out of the equation, we get some pretty mundane and mediocre stories from Max Allan Collins and Jim Starlin.

Collins was the one who gave us post-COIE Jason Todd. Pre-Crisis, Jason's origin mirrored Dick Grayson's; he was a circus kid and his parents were murdered by Killer Croc. I can see wanting to change that, but what readers were given wasn't great. Jason was now (post-Crisis) a street kid; his father was a criminal who worked for Two-Face and was later killed by him, and his mother got sick and died as Jason watched helplessly. There's a seed of a good story in there - Batman probably saves Jason from a life of crime (and likely an early death, ironically), but my suspension of disbelief went out the window when Jason nearly stole the tires off the Batmobile. A police car would be believable - maybe - but the freakin' Batmobile? C'mon now, pull the other one. And Jason was now a completely unlikeable brat - anti-social, amoral, and not someone who valued human life if the person was a criminal. Just like Howard said, the Batman I know would admonish Jason for the attitude that a vigilante killing criminals was "not a bad thing", not agree with him. In fact, we saw this in Batman 331, when (just like in the above reviewed issue 402) a vigilante - the Electrocutioner - was killing criminals who had escaped justice on a technicality. Batman was outraged when the Electrocutioner suggested they were both on the same side. I felt that, in many ways, Collins was giving Batman the personality of Dick Tracy, and I didn't care for it. There also seemed to be a different artist each month, which was irritating.

I thought things might get better when Jim Starlin took over with issue 414. The art was nice - a lot of it by Jim Aparo, but the stories were just over the top ultra violent and non-sensical. The KGBeast - what a name - killed hundreds of people. The infamous "A Death in the Family" storyline featured enough plot holes to drive a truck through and the Joker as Iran's ambassador to the U.N. - yeesh.

Speaking of the Joker, if you ever wondered where the constant overexposure of the character began, look no further. In the late 80's, once Denny became the editor, you couldn't go more than a few months without a Joker appearance (or Two-Face for that matter). Thanks Denny.
First, thanks John for your post. It looks like we agree on several points. I was a little disappointed the first time I read these, and I am even more so now.

My friend did not have the full Batman:Year One story line. He had parts one and three. Somewhere in the disorganization that I call I my collection, I have the trade of the story. As soon as I can find it I will do a special post covering the entire story line.

Batman 408

http://s234.photobucket.com/albums/ee134/jinxo56/?action=view&c...;"/>Batman 408' />



Did Robin Die Tonight?
Writer Max Allan Collins
Art Chris Warner

Batman is facing off with the Joker on a roof top. Robin has just climbed to the roof top. The Joker shoots Robin in the arm and Robin falls off the building. Fortunately Robin's rope wrapped around his legs so he doesn't fall to his death. Robin begins climbing up the wall while Batman captures the Joker. Robin slips and falls, landing on a ledge. Even though it is raining heavily there is a news helicopter filming the action. Batman takes Robin away and delivers the Joker to Arkham. Because of the footage the news believes that Robin is dead. Bruce tells Dick that the team is over. Dick tells him even though he will no longer be Robin, he will keep using his training.
As time passes Batman is criticized for Robin's "death". He tells Gordon the truth, and Gordon agrees that he should be solo.
Bruce has a lunch date with Vicki Vale. After the date they are walking and Bruce witnesses a gang picking pockets. He stops them and fights them. He realizes he can't beat them without risking exposure, so he loses. He does recover the wallet, however.
Vicki tells him she is working on a story in Crime Alley, where Bruce's parents were killed. An old woman from Australia, named Ma Gunn, has opened a school for boys there. Batman spends that night walking through Crime Alley. It is the anniversary of his parents death. It is known throughout the neighborhood that he is there on that night. He meets Ma Gunn and congratulates her on the job she is doing. He then strolls through the alley. When he returns to the Batmobile the front tires have been stolen. While standing there the thief returns. Of course the thief is Jason Todd. Jason hits Batman with a tire iron and escapes. Batman follows him to his home, where he learns Jason is living alone. Batman makes a deal with Jason and takes him to Ma Gunn to get his education. Ma orders the others there to kill Jason. Of course this is a continued story.

Give me a minute while I sharpen my knife to cut this story to shreds. Let's start with Bruce's treatment of Dick. Talk about cold. They have been doing this for quite awhile, Dick mentions he has been wounded before, and now the team is over. Dick makes it clear he is moving on and will become Nightwing. Of course that part is implied. Bruce's attitude seems to be you may die, but not around me.
Let's look at Ma Gunn. How is she operating in Crime Alley without Batman knowing what is going on there? Why is the World's Greatest Detective acting like Inspector Clouseau? There is no way that the Batman I know would not know what is going on at that school.
I also agree with John Dunbar. How did Jason get the tires off the Batmobile. With everything else it can do there is no way there is not some kind of alarm or protective device of some kind on it. Also, Jason obviously has super-strength. He removed those tires without a jack.
One last thing about the story. You get the impression that the only time Batman goes to Crime Alley is on the anniversary of his parents death. The entire neighborhood knows it, even Ma Gunn. First of all, how are they aware of it unless that is the only time he goes there? Secondly, why isn't he there more often? you would think as bad as it is he would be there all the time.

I need something positive to say. I am getting a headache from these questions. One thing I liked was the pickpocket gang were the Bowery Boys. The likenesses were very good. I also enjoyed seeing Batman striding down the street. That brought a smile to my face.
Why would Batman check up on a place called Crime Alley regularly?
Ma Gunn...what a cheesy name
Bravo, John! I agree. The routine business of a story beginning in Batman and ending in Detective Comics was a treat, and it worked in the Batman titles in a way that I began to dislike in the Superman titles, for this reason: Only two titles, Batman and Detective, and one writer were involved, which made things really tight. With the Superman books, it spread into four monthly books, Superman, Adventures of Superman, Action Comics and Superman, Man of Steel, which was too much.

I understand that part of the impetus for doing it that way was to help boost sales of Detective, which traditionally sold less than Batman. Detective wasn't always a monthly and came close to cancellation a few times. And even while they did this crossover thing, it sold less, though it was never clear why that was so. Maybe it was a distribution problem.

I also agree that after this practice ended, that Detective became the better of the two titles. Batman stumbled with the post-Crisis Jason Todd stealing the tires off the Batmobile -- c'mon, if there's any buggy on the road that would have an alarm system, it would be the Batmobile! And any auto parts store sells lug nuts that lock and can't be removed without a special tool -- which Jason didn't have.

As for Ma Gunn, I recall an article in which Max Alan Collins complained that the artist -- Ross Andru, as I recall -- didn't give him what he wanted; he was after a zaftig Shelley Winters type, and got some gaunt spinster.

And yeah, this is where the excessive run of Joker stories began.

As for Batman and Crime Alley, that was where his parents were killed, although when it happened it was a nice neighborhood, and he goes there every year on the anniversary of their murders, as told in the classic tale "There's No Hope in Crime Alley!" from Detective Comics #457, March 1976. However, that isn't something that should be commonly known by anybody.
I have to confess to being one of those teenagers that loved the rough tough turn that Batman took around this time. It just seemed to make the stories more 'real' and meant I could discuss them with (some of) my classmates.

Batman played by Clint Eastwood was someone we could get behind.

I see now the error of my ways and I apologise profusely (seriously). Blame it on the callowness of youth.

These days I get seriously narked seeing those promo frames from the Batman/Doc Savage comics where he carries a gun. Be careful what you wish for...

Just a question - was this story concurrent with the first appearances of Nightwing? I thought he appeared earlier?

Also - Dick had been surviving as Robin for years prior to this. He gets a bum deal for one bad night, alright!
Figserello said:
Just a question - was this story concurrent with the first appearances of Nightwing? I thought he appeared earlier?


This issue of Batman came out in 1987, Dick as Nightwing first appeared in 1984. So...
Travis Herrick said:
Figserello said:
Just a question - was this story concurrent with the first appearances of Nightwing? I thought he appeared earlier?


This issue of Batman came out in 1987, Dick as Nightwing first appeared in 1984. So...

Looks like a bit of retconning then, making the guy who would be Nightwing into a bit of a doofus.
Figserello said:
Travis Herrick said:
Figserello said:
Just a question - was this story concurrent with the first appearances of Nightwing? I thought he appeared earlier?


This issue of Batman came out in 1987, Dick as Nightwing first appeared in 1984. So...

Looks like a bit of retconning then, making the guy who would be Nightwing into a bit of a doofus.

And Making him look like a doofus is something that has been going on ever since.

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