There was a decent idea behind Detective 627 (March 1991), which celebrates Batman’s 600th appearance in the book. It reprints his first story, The Case of the Chemical Syndicate, as well as the re-write from the anniversary issue in the late 60s, The Cry of the Night is Kill. Following those two stories, it presents two more, new, versions of the same story.
In reality, what this means is that one reads the same story four times in the same book. Not as much fun as intended.
Wolfman, Aparo and DeCarlo handle the first of the two new re-tellings.
Their version ups the gore factor, as the killer uses a dissolving spray on the victims, of which there are more than in the original tale.
Wolfman also places this telling in current continuity, having Detective Hanrahan in charge of the police.
The murderer’s gender is changed, as it becomes the grandaughter of the “mastermind,” rather than just his goon assistant. And a far more elaborate backstory is added, making this a tale of vengeance rather than of greed.
The killer still dies falling into a pit of chemicals, but Batman is saddened by this, instead of callous, as in the original.
Then it’s Alan Grant, Norm Breyfogle and Steve Mitchell who get to tell the story for the fourth time.
Their version sticks more closely to the original, which might have been a better choice if it did not come fourth in the issue. Commissioner Gordon is in this one. The son is made a criminal, if not the killer.
It’s hard to stay focussed on a story when one knows everything that will happen, but Breyfogle’s art keeps it readable.
And the killer falls into the pit again, signalling the end of the tale.
A good idea, but not such a good issue.