Phoenix in Chaos
Credits: Doug Moench (writer), Mike Manley (pencils), Mike Manley & Joe Rubenstein (inks), Ken Bruzenak (letterer), Adrienne Roy (colorist)
Summary: Batman chases Mekros, but loses him. Mekros, responding to Batman’s claim that the mobsters never intended to pay him, goes back to them and demands more money. Meanwhile, federal agent Skyler is sent to bring back Mekros. After handing an incriminating recording of the mobsters to Commissioner Gordon, Batman trails Skyler and eventually finds Mekros. Mekros kills Skyler, and several civilians, after Batman chases him inside a supermarket. As Batman defeats Mekros with his own grenade, Mayor Krol informs Gordon that he should embrace Batman’s new techniques.
- Batman begins to make rumblings about designing a new costume. He doesn’t get around to it until months later.
- Gordon, only now, believes that this Batman is not the original.
I Love the ‘90s: Mekros’ armor generates roller blades when he needs to make a fast getaway.
Review: Here’s something we rarely see during the AzBats era -- Jean-Paul actually using his brain. Yes, he has “The System” within him, which enables him to go on Rain Man binges and design new equipment, but rarely does Jean-Paul come across as genuinely bright during his adventures. Having Jean-Paul lie to Mekros about the mobsters' scheme not to pay him, thus inspiring him to confront them in person and enabling Jean-Paul to record their conversation, is pretty clever. And it’s a welcome break from the genre standard, which has the hero always somehow unable to prove anything against a gangster. I also like the new setup for Gordon this issue; he knows this new Batman is dangerous, yet he’s under political pressure to support him. It’s an interesting dilemma to put the character in, and it’s a decent use of the otherwise generic Mayor Krol. Finally, as much as I would’ve preferred to see Jim Aparo remain on one of the Bat-books, I have to give Mike Manley credit for continually rising to the occasion. These are exceptionally nice-looking issues.