Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Back Issue Review: Batman #433-435
The Many Deaths of the Batman!
Ah, 75 cents well-spent! I picked up this three part storyline because the name sounded familiar, and sure enough, this story did have a bit of buzz around it back in the late 80’s
Written by John Byrne with dynamic art from Jim Aparo, The Many Deaths of the Batman has very little actual Batman for the first issue and a half. Instead, we see how puzzling murders must be for Jim Gordon when Batman isn’t around to make intuitive leaps and help point the GCPD in the right direction.
Someone is killing men wearing bat-costumes. The interesting part is that each of the victims is the leader in his field; these were men of action like race car drivers, explosives experts, and gymnasts. I won’t give away the secret linking all these men, but it’s a neat twist that brings Batman in to the story nicely.
Gordon gets a medical examiner to bounce his ideas off (does this predate Harvey Bullock as Gordon’s regular plot-dumper?), and I like the idea that the GCPD is actually fairly competent. Sure, they need Batman to wrap up the case quickly, but the cops would have gotten there eventually.
Jim Aparo draws one heck of a Batman. He draws a lot of folks wearing bat-suits in this, but it is never really a question for the reader (aside from that first one). These bodies have different faces and physiques that make it clear there is only one Caped Crusader.
These self-contained bat-stories used to be the foundation of the line, I think that’s probably why I’m appreciating Scott Snyder’s run on the book right now.