Friday, February 28, 2014

SHADOW OF THE BAT #30 - August 1994


Wild Knights, Wild City
Credits:  Alan Grant (writer), Bret Blevins (penciler & inker), Todd Klein (letterer), Adrienne Roy (colorist)

Summary:  Catwoman is injured while leaping off Selkirk’s helicopter.  Batman jumps off to save her, while the helicopter crashes into the top of a bridge.  Jean-Paul confronts Batman once again, but accidentally sets himself on fire when his flame weapon touches leaking helicopter fuel.  After he falls into the river, Robin and Nightwing unsuccessfully search for him.  Batman and Catwoman rescue Selkirk and his men.  To spite Catwoman, Selkirk throws the neural enabler into the river.  Later, Batman hacks his way into the Batmobile, unaware that Jean-Paul booby-trapped it.  Jean-Paul reemerges, boasting that now there is only one Batman.

Irrelevant Continuity:  Gordon is in his office when he’s informed of the fire and explosions at Selkirk’s penthouse.  This contradicts Batman #510, which had Gordon getting berated by Mayor Krol when the news comes in.

“Huh?” Moment:  The blue portions of Jean-Paul’s armor turn red after he’s set on fire.  It remains that color until the end of the storyline.

Review:  More of the same, only more time is killed by giving Batman a fake death scene.  The next chapter plays the concept straight during the opening pages, even though I doubt anyone fell for the bait.  (The solicitations for the finale in Legends of the Dark Knight #63 had been out for months at this point, so everyone knew that Bruce and Azrael were having their big fight at the end of this month.)  Looking back, I’m kind of surprised DC didn’t go for a serious attempt at killing off Bruce at some point in this event.  After building up the drama of Bruce picking the wrong replacement, what happens if Bruce dies before he can rectify his mistake?  I could see the creators getting a few months of material out of the concept.  (Perhaps the “Death of Superman” event automatically ruled out any attempt to seriously sell Bruce’s death, though.)  Regardless, we’re marking more time with repetitive action scenes and a cliffhanger that fools no one.  I understand that Alan Grant was bored out of his mind having to work on this material, but I wish he could’ve found some way to break up the monotony.

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