/\ /\ /\ /\ Splash Page from Green Lantern #55 Pencils Doug Mahnke /\ /\ /\

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

BATMAN 198 review 80 page Giant

4.3 out of 5

It's contains reissues of several stories that were published previously, but if you can't find the original sources this issue is a great alternative. Even though Batman isn't as grim as he is today, these stories were fun and full of action.  You've got to expect a few "Golly Gee Whiz"s, but if you find a Batman 198, snatch it up and enjoy a simpler time.

There are seven complete stories in this 80-page giant. Below is a list of the stories. I've included spoilers for what happened in each and  I've included the splash page for each.  There are no credits except for Bob Kane's signature, but if you click on this:
Link on creators 
Someone at the Grand Comics Database tracked down the creators.

 1. The Origin of the Batman:

Originally in Batman #47-"The Tale of the Caped Crimebuster's showdown with the man who murdered his parents!"


In this story Batman sees Joe Chill, a local gangster, and recognizes him as the man who killed his parents. He confronts him and reveals he is Bruce Wayne. Joe Chill runs and tells his henchmen that he was responsible for creating Batman. The henchmen turn on Joe Chill and shoot him, because he created Batman.

A version of this story was on the animated series Batman: Brave and the Bold, "Chill of the Night".
2. The Jungle Cat-Queen:
 Original story in Detective #211-"The Catwoman...Princess of Plunder...bedevils the Dynamic Duo on an island populated by prowling jungle cats."

Batman and Robin chase the Empress of the Underworld, Catwoman, to her island hideout. The locals capture the dynamic duo, but before they are shot in a volley of gunfire, Catwoman steps in and convinces the locals that there is more fun in hunting the dynamic duo through the local jungle.  She also has the locals take off the duo's costumes and dress them in jungle attire.  She mockingly chases them, then the locals catch Batman again.  Catwoman has them put back on Batman's costume and the locals toss him over a waterfall.  Catwoman is distressed because she thought Batman died in the waterfall fall, "Batman... gone. and  I thought he'd save himself...He always has in the past."
BUT he had survived and with Robin's help captures the locals, but Catwoman gets away.

This was a very fun story, and much better told then the teaser in the Batman: Brave and the Bold episode "Shadow of the Bat'. The art is great and very detailed.

 3. The Web of the Spinner

Original from Batman #129-"...Batwoman, teaming with the Titanic Twosome to tackle the whirligig of crime, the Spinner!"


Batwoman does make a cameo in this story and with her help ascertained who the Spinner was and captured him.
It's my least favorite of the stories.

Both her and the Spinner show up in the Batman: Brave and the Bold episode, "The Criss Cross Conspiracy!"

 4. The Man of 1,000 Umbrellas

Originally syndicated in the Sunday Newspapers-"The Penguin forgets his fowl play ofr a day to welcome his Aunt Miranda and introduce her to his "Friends"- Batman and Robin!"

This was very fun...with the Penguin trying to get away from the dynamic duo and at the same time keep his aunt in the dark about his nefarious ways.  Batman and Robin are soft hearted toward the aunt and keep Penguins facade of being a umbrella manufacturer. Finally the aunt has to leave to catch a train for home and the Penguin is caged.

 5. The Crimes of Batman
Originally in World's Finest #61-"When the Joker nabs Robin, Batman must ransom his sidekick by cheating, stealing and killing!"


This was great...
Joker feels that Batman has made a fool of him by getting him to help solve a crime, like a lawman. Joker decides to turn the tide and make Batman turn into a criminal. He captures Robin, and tells Batman, "You shall CHEAT, STEAL, And that order! AND each event must be well-publicized so that th world knows of your guilt! Ho-Ho-Ho! Failure to do this will result in Robin's Death!"

Batman achieves all three without actually doing the crimes, with the finale ending up with Batman,  "Killing two birds with one stone!" by capturing the Joker and freeing Robin. 

As I said, this was great with Batman having the mental triumph  over Joker.

 6. The Menace of False Face
Originally in Batman #113-"You've seen him battle Batman on TV! Now read the story of the first clash between False Face and the Cowled Crusader."

False Face poses as well known wealthy men to steal treasure. Batman tracks him down, then poses as False Face letting the henchmen lead him to the lair where all the stolen goods are being kept. This had a good surprise reveal of Batman as False Face.
7. The Bandit of the Bells

Originally in Batman #55-"The bells are ringing...for wrong...when the Gong and his gang of goons strike...and come face-to -face with Batman and Robin!

Despite the cacophony of sound this would be of lower decibel then the other stories, but it was still entertaining to see how the duo gets off of a buoy and how they track him down from a small whole punch of a bell.

I hope that all of you enjoyed this little blast from the past. I know I did. -AA

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