Posts tagged ‘Mike DeCarlo’

Action 564 – Superman trapped in a new life


Kupperberg and Saviuk are joined by Mike DeCarlo as the Master Jailer pulls off a devious attack in Action 564 (Feb. 85).


The Master Jailer had been introduced in the late 70s, and appeared a few times, but this marks his first time in the pages of Action.  Carl Draper usually has a psychological element to his attacks on Superman, as well as the physical side, and this time he traps him in a completely different identity, Mike Barton, with no awareness of being Superman, or even Clark Kent.


The Monitor and Harbinger appear, as Draper got the tech for his attack through them.  The Monitor warns Master Jailer that Superman’s memory might return if he sees anything familiar.  Draper keeps the costume, and thinks that everything will be fine – but of course we already see the story’s “out.”


But for a while, Superman enjoys the simple, blue collar life of Mike Barton, while Master Jailer runs wild, with the invulnerable costume under his.  Must be sooo hot in all that.


The scene eventually comes in which “Mike” has to wear a Superman costume.  As soon as its on, he remembers everything, and takes out Master Jailer.

This is the final appearance of the villain.  There were a few post-Crisis attempts to revive him, but like Terra-Man, he failed to gain the status he had at this time.


Detective 641 – Destroyer concludes


There was very little that I enjoyed in Detective Comics in 1991, which is why much of it has been jumped.  Little of significance happened in these pages until issue 641 (Feb. 92), which saw the end of the Destroyer crossover, which had begun in Batman, and had its second chapter in Legends of the Dark Knight.  Alan Grant, Jim Aparo and Mike DeCarlo conclude the story of the aesthetic bomber in this story.


Continuing the cliffhanger from the previous chapter, the bomber is set to blow up the police headquarters.  Gordon gets alerted, and gets his people out, but the building gets destroyed.


Batman uses his Bruce Wayne self to set a trap for the bomber, announcing that he is going to have the historic Wayne Building torn down, but that he will be spending the night there alone, before the demolition.  Sarah Essen, already suspicious, finds this too convenient, and is all but convinced that Bruce is Batman.


The trap works, luring the bomber, and Batman takes him down.  Alfred fakes Bruce’s voice, when Sarah Essen calls, after Batman tells her that Bruce had not been in the building at all, and she gives up on her suspicions.


The Destroyer storyline is not a great story, but it’s goal was to reshape the appearance of Gotham, bringing it in line with the visuals from Tim Burton’s movie.  And it succeeded at that goal.

Detective 628 – Abattoir returns


Wolfman, Aparo and DeCarlo bring back Abattior in Detective 628 (April 1991).


In this story, Abattoir is far less concerned with his ancestry, and more into eating human hearts.  And getting petty vengeance.  He attacks the eyrie where the Penguin’s doves are being stores, killing the guard, as well as all the birds.


Batman informs the Penguin of the deaths of the birds, and we see that Abattoir is in a nearby cell.  Because he is imprisoned, it takes Batman a while to realize that Abattior is the killer.


But once the evidence becomes compelling, Batman finds the guard who has been letting him out, and learns of his big plans, to explode a bridge and derail a train in order to harvest the remains.  The explosion happens, but Batman stops the train in time, and captures Abattoir.

Detective 627 – The Case of the Chemical Syndicate x4


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.

Detective 626 – The Electrocutioner returns


Marv Wolfman, Jim Aparo and Mike DeCarlo revive the Electrocutioner in Detective 627 (Feb. 91), a villain introduced a decade earlier in the pages of Batman, who had gone on to be a major player in the Vigilante series.


The story takes place just after Commissioner Gordon’s heart attack, which occurred in the pages of Batman.  He is watched over by Sarah Essen, who was introduced in Batman: Year One, and recently brought back in the pages of Batman, while his duties are taken over by Detective Hanrahan, recently introduced in the pages of…do I need to finish that sentence?


The Electrocutioner looks nothing like the character used to, and now uses an electrified whip.


Batman recalls the earlier villain, in his much better costume, and the fact that he was reported killed (which occurred in Vigilante).


When Batman manages to confront him, the Electrocutioner is happy to explain that he is not the same man, just using his name.  And while the original Electrocutioner was a misguided vigilante, the new one is just a killer.


Batman figures out that his goal is killing Commissioner Gordon, and the big final fight occurs in the hospital room.  Sarah Essen helps Batman defeat him.

The Electrocutioner would return from time to time, though the person using that name would change.  In fact, rarely would the reader learn the identities of the men who adopt that alias.  And fortunately, all later Electrocutioners return to the better costume.


Detective 625 – Abattoir debuts


There is a new creative team on Detective 625 (Jan. 91).  Marv Wolfman, Jim Aparo and Mike deCarlo begin their tenure on the book with this issue, and introduce a new villain, Abattoir.


He gets broken out of Arkham Asylum at the start of the story, but despite being the big villain of the issue, this story is not his best, really just a set-up for when the character returns.


He is out to kill one of the mayoral candidates, Etchison, for reasons that are unclear until the story’s end.  His first attempt comes during a political fundraiser, which Bruce Wayne and Vicki Vale are attending.  Vicki Vale was recently brought back in the pages of Batman, in conjunction with her use in the Batman movie.  Vale takes a picture of Abattoir, and he chases her to retrieve her camera.


Investigating Abattoir, whose real last name is Etkar, he discovers that the man is obsessed with his family history and geneology, and finds him hiding amongst the bones of his ancestors.

After apprehending him, Batman confronts Etchison, and we learn that they are actually cousins, and Etchison’s father changed his name to avoid being connected with the crazy man.

Abattoir’s return is more impressive.


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