Monday, April 15, 2013

SHOWCASE ‘93 #7 - July 1993

Double Cross
Credits:  Doug Moench (writer), Klaus Janson (artist/colorist), Ken Bruzenak (letterer)

Summary:  As Robin and Alfred watch over the comatose Batman, Robin flashes back to three weeks earlier.  Two-Face, after escaping Arkham during the breakout, targets mobster Legs Lyman.  He kills Lyman and leaves his body inside a museum as a clue for Batman.  Batman pursues the case, dismissing Robin’s offer for help.  Two-Face, now leading Lyman’s gang, ambushes Batman and forces him to crash the Batmobile into the river.

Irrelevant Continuity:  Klaus Janson’s Batmobile is extremely off-model.  For some reason he’s decided it should resemble a ‘70s Cadillac.

I Love the ‘90s: I guess I’m obligated to mention the title of this series.  DC curiously decided to run Showcase as a twelve-issue series every year, renaming it to match the new year every January.

Review:  DC somehow decided that this Showcase two-parter deserved to be reprinted in the Knightfall trade, as opposed to all of the early Bane appearances, the original “Venom” storyline, or the Sword of Azrael miniseries.  I guess they felt obligated because the covers list this storyline as official chapters of “Knightfall,” even continuing the numbering from the Bat-titles, and didn’t want readers complaining about missing the all-important thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of the crossover.  I imagine “Knightfall” only crossed over into Showcase in order to give the lower-selling title some attention, because this is by no means an essential story for the event.  With the removal of a few lines of dialogue and the quickie framing sequence, this could easily occur at any time in early ‘90s Bat-continuity.  I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this were an inventory story that just ended up in Showcase because Batman was obligated to appear in the book for a few issues out of the year.

Of course, none of this means the story is bad when judged on its own merits.  And in its defense, it’s a nice-looking Klaus Janson comic with better-than-average colors and lettering for the era.  But aside from a cute bit about the Brontosaurus during the museum scene (it’s “the only dinosaur with two names” because scientists originally mixed up two species when naming it), the story’s extremely flat.  And the awkward placement of the arc ruins the flow of the overall storyline, as it requires the narrative to flash back three weeks for no good reason.


Anonymous said...

I remember hating slogging through this two parter to get to the next Nolan and Aparo drawn chapters. Not that I didn't like Janson (I know a lot of people don't but I actually really like his work, especially when Marvel had him as Guisseppi Camuncoli's de facto inker on Slott's ASM), it's just that it's exactly how you describe - boring. Whenever I reread Knightfall, I usually skip this two-parter.

There's also a pretty boring Scarecrow 3-parter coming up that's also the comic equivalent of watching paint dry. The Blevins art on it isn't bad, but it's a story that would have been pretty bland if it had been compressed to 1 issue, let alone taking up 3.

Steven said...

I always had the feeling that this Two-Face story was planned for Showcase, and at the last minute, made into Knightfall part 13-14. (The Shadow of the Bat issues definitely were, because they weren't listed in the original house ads for the storyline.)

Steven said...

I found the original house ad that doesn't list the Shadow issues.

And here's Two-Face in the Showcase '93 house ad from late 1992.

Teebore said...

this is by no means an essential story for the event.

Definitely. When I first read "Knightfall", I did it by acquiring the issues via those three packs of comics you used to be able to buy at Toys R Us and the like. Those packs omitted these two Showcase issues, so I never read them in the context of "Knightfall" until I picked up the new trade collection last summer.

Needless to say, I never felt like I was missing anything from "Knightfall" by not having read these issues.

G. Kendall said...

Those Toys R Us packs are how I collected the relatively few issues of Knightfall that I own.
And, yeah, that Shadow 3-parter with the Scarecrow is just a chore.

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