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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For some reason I can't get the cover to this issue to load to my Photobucket account. http://www.comics.org/issue/43040/" target="_blank">Click here and you can see it.

Batman 409


Just Another Kid On Crime Alley.
Writer Max Allan Collins
Artists Ross Andru and Dick Giordano

Batman pats himself on the back for putting Jason on the right path. Meanwhile, Jason is fighting for his life against Ma Gunn's boys. He convinces Ma to let him stay in the school.

Bruce goes to a clinic to find out what happened to Jason's mom. He finds out that she O.D.ed. As he is leaving he runs into Vicki Vale. She is doing a story on Ma and invites Bruce to come along. When they arrive Ma is being interviewed by a television reporter. Bruce compliments Ma and offers to help fund her school. She tells him that she doesn't need it. After the press leaves Ma gets down to the real education of the class, handling weapons. When one student lights up a joint she clobbers him and tells the class that they don't do drugs at the school. Alcohol is fine, but no drugs.

Jason escapes from the school that night. Batman talks to Gordon about Jason's parents. Gordon tells him that Jason's dad had worked for Two-Face. He is missing and presumed dead. Gordon asks why Batman wants to know and Batman simply tells him it is personal.

Since Batman had his "annual visit" things are returning to normal at Crime Alley. A couple of young men are attempting to buy drugs and the dealer decides to rip them off. The dealer is shocked when Batman interfers. Batman returns the money to the victims and tells them to never come back.

Batman meets a man whose tires have been stolen. Batman finds and confronts Jason about the tires. Jason tells Batman about Ma's school and Batman doesn't believe him. He makes Jason return the tires and then Jason disappears.

At the art museum one of Ma's boys uses chloroform to knock out the guard. He then lets the others in. The object is to steal the gems that the Joker was trying to steal when he wounded Robin. Batman enters the scene and knocks out all of the gang except for one, who knocks Batman down with a large gem replica. Jason arrives and gets that gang member. Batman ties up Ma and the boys and leaves them for the police. He then tells Jason to come with him. As they leave he calls Jason Robin.


The madness continues with this story. Personally I would be looking for pods because this is not Batman. My criticism of Batman not knowing about Ma Gunn continues. There is no way he would not know the truth about her.

How can Bruce Wayne walk into a clinic and get medical records on Jason's mom? there is such a thing as patient confidentiality. Just because Bruce is footing the bills doesn't give him the right to anybody's medical history.

Again we have the emphasis that Batman only goes to Crime Alley once a year. I guess it is too dangerous even for him.

Batman meets a man whose tires are stolen. Of course, in Crime Alley there is only one tire thief. It has to be Jason. I never realized that tire thefts paid so well. Personally, using my deductive abilities I would not have pegged Jason for this crime. Why not? When he took the tires of the Batmobile he put the car on the ground. This car was put on blocks. Definitely not the same M.O.

When Jason tells him about Ma's school, Batman doesn't believe him. Again, Batman should have known from the start about Ma. Then after Jason shows up and helps at the museum he is automatically elevated to Robin. WHAT??? Pardon me, I have to go bang my head into the wall. Oh great, now I have to repair my wall. Let's look at this again. we had Dick Grayson, who had been Robin for several years. He was "fired" because Batman didn't want to be responsible for a "child" getting hurt helping him fight crime. Now, after knowing Jason for approximately 48 hours, Batman is ready to reveal his secret identity to Jason and make him the new Robin. How in the world did this story get published? The saddest thing is one of my favorite Batman writers, Denny O'Neil, was the editor. This story is just a mess. In my personal Batman universe, this one never happened.
Luke Blanchard said:
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.

Thanks, LB!
Oh, and I apologize in advance, but I've got to get this out of my system:

(Sings) "A Batman a day helps keep odor away!"
Thanks for the review Howard. This really feels like Collins took his leftover Dick Tracy stories and grafted them on to Batman. So awful.
The Baron said:
Oh, and I apologize in advance, but I've got to get this out of my system:

(Sings) "A Batman a day helps keep odor away!"

With stories like these the odor is growing.
John Dunbar said:
Thanks for the review Howard. This really feels like Collins took his leftover Dick Tracy stories and grafted them on to Batman. So awful.

You are welcome, John. I had forgot a lot of details of these stories. A few years after these came out financial difficulties made me sell my collection. I had remembered that I felt that starting with Batman 401 that Batman had done a 180 degree turn. Rereading these stories I am finding they were worse than I remembered.
Howard Bagby said:
John Dunbar said:
Thanks for the review Howard. This really feels like Collins took his leftover Dick Tracy stories and grafted them on to Batman. So awful.

You are welcome, John. I had forgot a lot of details of these stories. A few years after these came out financial difficulties made me sell my collection. I had remembered that I felt that starting with Batman 401 that Batman had done a 180 degree turn. Rereading these stories I am finding they were worse than I remembered.

As I said before, excluding Year One in issues 404-407, I didn't really like Batman 401-430. However, it does get pretty good after that. Jim Owsley (aka Christopher Priest) wrote 431 and 432, and they were awesome. Marv Wolfman's run, kicking off with "Year Three" and "A Lonely Place of Dying" was pretty decent. Did you know that Wolfman & Aparo and Grant & Breyfogle switched books at one point? Marv and Jim had Batman and Alan and Norm had Detective, and then they traded, or editor Denny O'Neil flipped them, I guess. I've never read why that happened.

Howard, how's the review for Batman 400 coming along?
Typically, a character's flagship book outsells his secondary titles. DC probably wanted what they thought was the stronger team on the higher-selling book. Chuck Dixon has written he and Graham Nolan were given an opportunity to switch to Batman and turned it down.
John Dunbar said:
Thanks for the review Howard. This really feels like Collins took his leftover Dick Tracy stories and grafted them on to Batman. So awful.

Exactly what I was thinking, John.
Batman 410

I am still having problems with Photobucket. If I scan the cover myself it comes out too large, so for now I will just post a link to the cover.

Two Of A Kind.
Writer Max Allan Collins
Artists Dave Cockrum and Mike DeCarlo

We fast forward six months. Batman is training Jason Todd physically, on weapons handling,(WHAT!!!!!) crime-lab analysis, and computer science. Jason is progressing rapidly, not bad for a fifth grade dropout. The lessons have also included the history of all of the villains, with the exception of Two-Face. Instead of letting Jason read about him, Batman simply tells him about Two-Face. Alfred comments about it and Batman admits that he didn't tell Jason the entire truth, leaving out the fact that Two-Face had killed Jason's dad. Batman decides that the time has come for Jason to become Robin.

Gordon activates the bat-signal. Batman was already coming to him. He introduces Robin to Gordon. Gordon questions Batman about working with children, but Batman assures him he knows what he is doing. Gordon then welcomes Robin and hands Batman an envelope. Inside was a poker hand, a pair of Kings, a pair of Jacks, and a 2. Of course Robin immediately figures out it was sent by Two-Face. Batman and Gordon are not 100% convinced, but agree it probably is him. Gordon mentions that two sets of twins, who are known criminals, have arrived in Gotham in the past week.

Two-Face is planning on robbing a casino near Gotham. His plan is to steal the money from an armored car company. He will take it as it comes out of the casino. When Two-Face kills one of the guards, one of his henchmen thinks that is cold-blooded. As they come to the casino door, three armed guards are waiting. Two-Face tells them if they don't let him leave he will open fire on the crowd. Of course they let him go. A second armored car has arrived, one that Two-Face had stolen. When they open the doors to put the money in, Batman and Robin are there. Batman takes on Two-Face, while Robin takes out the henchmen. Batman tells Two-Face that Robin had figured out Two-Face's scheme. Naturally Two-Face has a second gun and uses it to take a woman hostage. Robin offers to replace the woman and Two-Face agrees. Two-Faces car is like his face, half of it looks perfect and the other half scarred.

While escaping Two-Face tells Robin not to try anything. Robin immediately puts his foot on the brake and jumps out of the car. Batman arrives and Two-Face escapes. Back at the Bat-cave, Batman admits to Alfred that he and Dick aren't talking. He tells Jason that he did was foolhardy, but that Dick would have done the same thing. Jason tells Batman he wants to study up on Two-Face. Of course he immediately finds out that Two-Face killed his dad.


Before I get to Jason The Wonder Boy, let's look at the rest of the tale. Gordon accepts Jason way too easily, especially considering what happened to Dick six months before. Now Batman has a new Robin who is a lot younger than Dick. This Gordon is more like Neil Hamilton than the one that I like.

Let's look at the robbery. Two-Face and his henchmen are standing out in front of the casino talking about the robbery. Two-Face is in his normal suit, two sewn into one. Even if passerby's didn't recognize him or want to get involved, security should have nailed him the moment he entered the door. As for the henchmen being shocked at Two-Face's killing the guard, did he think he was joining the Boy Scouts. At the confrontation to get out three guards are pointing guns at Two-Face. He threatens to start shooting at the crowd, but his gun is pointing at the guards. Had he tried to make good on that threat he would have been dead before he got off one shot. Two-Face's car also blew me away. I realize that Two-Face is insane, but that car is over the top. Why not just wear a t-shirt with a target on it? I accept his insanity as the reason he traded the woman for Robin, but again, when Robin stomped on the brake Two-face had his gun pointed at him. Robin is dead there. Finally, Batman didn't want Jason to know that Two-Face had killed his dad. So why didn't he encrypt that information instead of handing it to Jason on a silver platter.

Now for Jason himself. It hit me after reading this story who he really is. Jason figures out from the cards that it is a message from Two-Face. Jason figures out where Two-Face is going to strike. The answer is obvious. Jason Todd is Wesley Crusher.
Howard Bagby said:
Now for Jason himself. It hit me after reading this story who he really is. Jason figures out from the cards that it is a message from Two-Face. Jason figures out where Two-Face is going to strike. The answer is obvious. Jason Todd is Wesley Crusher.

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

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