Posts tagged ‘Sondra Fuller’

Detective 607 – The Mudpack concludes

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Grant, Breyfogle and Mitchell bring the Mudpack storyline to a great conclusion in Detective 607 (Late Oct.89).

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Looker tracks Batman, and finds him in the theatre, still suffering from the effects of Sondra Fuller and Basil Karlo’s mind warping games.  Looker brings Batman back to sanity, and doesn’t even let him know how far gone he was.  Very considerate of her.

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Karlo finds a laboratory that is open late, and forces his way, making the doctor there blend the blood samples he has taken.

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The doctor injects Karlo with the resulting mixture, which instantly transforms him, giving him the abilities of both Preston Payne and Sondra Fuller.

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Batman has been searching the labs in Gotham, after finding clues as to what Karlo is up to.  But in no way was he prepared to face what Karlo has become.

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Looker comes to his aid, using her powers to force Clayface to increase his melting powers, and Batman thrusts him out the window. When Karlo hits the ground, he simply melts right through it, heading down into the earth.

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The story finishes off with Payne and Fuller, giving them a happy ever after ending.  A great story, top notch in every way.

Looker next appears a couple years down the road in the next Outsiders revival.  Karlo, Payne, and Fuller also come back over the next few years.

Detective 606 – the return of Robin?

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Detective 606 (Early Oct. 89) contains the penultimate chapter of the Mudpack, by Grant, Breyfogle and Mitchell.

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Payne is out robbing another bank, and the real Batman shows up this time. He is taken aback when Robin shows up.  This is the first mention in the pages of Detective of the death of Jason Todd. It happened almost a year earlier, in the pages of Batman.  Even though Batman quickly realizes that it is Sondra Fuller impersonating Robin, it still throws him enough that the Clayfaces are able to get the better of him, and they capture him.

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Karlo plans to drive Batman crazy, and straps him to a chair in the theatre.  He forces Batman to watch his old horror films, but Sondra uses Looker’s psychic powers to make the terrors personal.

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The real Looker arrives in Gotham, and also finds a disbelieving Kitch and accepting Gordon.

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With Payne sleeping, Karlo drugs Sondra, and then reveals his true plan, to steal their powers for himself.  He takes blood from both of them, which also brings in Matt Hagen in a way, as Payne had used Hagen’s blood to give himself his powers as well.  It’s quite the Clayface cocktail.

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The other two Clayfaces awaken to discover that Karlo has abandoned them, but in the best twist of the story, the two find  the love and acceptance they had long been seeking in each other.  I just love the heart shaped panel.

The story concludes next issue.

 

Detective 605 – The Mudpack frame Batman

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Grant, Breyfogle and Mitchell continue the Mudpack storyline in Detective 605 (Late Sept. 89).

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Karlo sends Preston Payne out to commit a bank robbery.  Batman shows up, but takes Clayface’s side against the police.  Of course, this is because it is not Batman, but Sondra Fuller, and she escapes with Payne.

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Using her powers when in Looker’s form, Sondra is able to keep Payne under control.  She reflects on her life, being transformed into Lady Clay by Kobra, and able to take any form, but displeased by the people who respond only to fake beauty.

Batman contacts the real Looker in this issue, and has to deal with angry police, personified by Lieutenant Kitch, though Gordon retains his faith in Batman.

The story continues in the next issue.

Detective 604 – The Mudpack begins

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Alan Grant, Norm Breyfogle and Steve Mitchell launch one of my favourite stories from this era, the Mudpack, in Detective 604 (Early Sept. 89).  It was preceded by an issue of Secret Origins devoted to the four Clayfaces, setting up the story.

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The tale opens in Arkham Asylum, as Preston Payne breaks up with his mannequin, Helena.  The argument becomes heated, and he knocks off the dummy’s head, which sends him into a frantic madness, and he bursts out of his cell, killing the guards.

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We then catch up with Basil Karlo, recently returned to Gotham, with the remains of Matt Hagen.  He finds an old theatre overrun with street kids, who attempt to mug him, which does not not go well for the boys.

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Karlo theorizes that he can revive Matt Hagen, and adds some water to his clay, forming a small body, but it fails. Sure glad he tried, though, it’s a great scene.  Funny, and yet conveying the madness so well.

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Batman investigates the breakout, and sees what appears to be his former ally from the Outsiders, Looker, visiting Preston Payne on the tapes.

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Cutting back to Karlo, we discover that this was really Sondra Fuller, Lady Clay, impersonating Looker, and using her powers to keep Payne docile.  Karlo is the brains and motivator behind this gathering of the Clayfaces, and he announces their goal of killing Batman.

The story continues in the next issue.

Detective Annual 2 – Batman vs the Klan

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Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn script the second Detective Comics Annual, while Val Semekis and Michael Bair provide the art.  The story deals with young Bruce Wayne training under famed detective Harvey Harris, ground that was covered decades ago (and in the previous blog) in the story in which Bruce dresses up in the Robin costume.

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This story is much darker than the earlier one, and dispenses with the Robin costume. Instead, Bruce and Harvey deal with Klan murders in a small town in the deep south.

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Their investigation is not welcome, as one might expect.

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There are buried secrets, and even the Klan element is a bit of a distraction, not that the racism in the town is any less prevalent or deadly because of that.

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And though Bruce and Harvey do take down a gun toting Klan killer, Bruce realizes that there are unexplained factors to the story, and that more is going on.

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The solution, presented in secret by Bruce to the mastermind of the situation, is sick and sad, with the Klan murders simply a cover to hide that the killer had black ancestry.  There is a time lapse at the end of the story, and we see that Batman came back to the town every year, to confront the man with his deeds.

All in all, much better than I was expecting it to be.

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The issue concludes with some “Who’s Who” entries on Batman villains.  Kevin Maguire’s take on the Joker is certainly interesting, if not scary.

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I remember being saddened when I saw this drawing of Catwoman.  Her appearance is based on that from Batman: Year One, and was the first indication that her old classic costume was now a thing of the past.

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Two-Face, the Riddler, the Penguin, the Scarecrow, as well as Ra’s Al Ghul and Talia, round out the entries, all villains one might expect to see highlighted.  But a two page spread by Norm Breyfogle is also devoted to the four Clayfaces: Basil Karlo, Matt Hagen, Preston Payne and Sondra Fuller, in conjunction with the Mudpack storyline.

 

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