Monday, July 22, 2013
SHADOW OF THE BAT #20 - Early November 1993
The Tally Man
Credits: Alan Grant (writer), Vince Giarrano (art), Todd Klein (letterer), Adrienne Roy (colorist)
Summary: The Tally Man flashes back to his past as he pursues Batman. He remembers the “tally man” of his youth, the loan shark who brutalized his mother. As a prepubescent, the Tally Man murdered his mother’s abuser, and after his release from prison, discovered his mother hanging from a rope. Eventually, Batman gets the better of Tally Man. He tries to fight against the lethal instincts programmed inside him, but barely leaves Tally Man alive when their fight is over.
Review: Another story intended to show us that our new Batman is Not Quite Right. Gosh, I hope this doesn’t get old soon. I would be curious to know where “The Tally Man” ranks amongst other Shadow of the Bat arcs, because this is pretty dreadful. There is one good idea in the story, the irony of Jean-Paul being targeted over a case of mistaken identity (Tally Man assumes he’s the original Batman), even while Jean-Paul doesn’t know who he truly is. The rest of the arc consists of utterly mindless violence and a gratuitous “dark” origin for the throwaway villain. And the origin never explains why Tally Man is seemingly made out of smoke, which leads me to believe Vince Giarrano took his creative license a little too far and just made the villain some kind of a ghost even though the script never called for it. Looking at all of the stories left out of this collection, I’ve got to wonder who thought it was a good idea to include this arc.