Dixon, Johnson and Hodgkins conclude their Poison Ivy two-parter in Detective 694 (Feb. 96).
Harold proves his worth yet again, as the Batmobile survives the plunge into the harbour with its impressive airbags. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang would be impressed.
Sarah Essen discovers that, as a parting gift from Mayor Krol, she has been ousted as Commissioner, and replaced with an incompetent. The man barely has time to get behind his desk before Kitch and Bullock are bringing him crises.
Essen heads straight for mayor-to-be Marion Grange, and makes a deal with her, that will see Jim Gordon returned to the Commisoner’s job.
Poison Ivy, Mr. Veezey, Batman and Robin all head for the largest park not yet attacked, the obvious next target. Poison Ivy uses her pheremones on the man, putting him under her spell quickly. He’s lucky Batman shows up so fast, Ivy was ready to kill.
While Batman fends off Ivy’s advances, the man himself is grabbed my a mysterious costumed figure. This person had appeared the previous month in Robin, also carting away a villain. Who is he? Wait and find out. Or look at my tags on this story.
Ivy gets captured, but is released (though not in this book) and used as an agent by Batman in Contagion, which starts the following month.
Chuck Dixon, Staz Johnson and James Hodgkins begin a two-part Poison Ivy storyline in Detective 693 (Jan. 96).
The main park in Gotham City (not yet called Robinson Park), suffers massive damage when someone explodes a defoliant in it.
Poison Ivy suffers as a result, her connection to the Green causing the reaction.
The latest mayoral election occurs, which is kind of odd as it hasn’t really been played on in the pages of this book, but whatever. Marion Grange becomes the new Mayor of Gotham, with Seth Voder as District Attorney.
The man behind the defoliant bombing is Mr. Veezey, who suffers from numerous allergies, and interprets his doctor’s advice to take permanent steps to relieve the situation in an extreme way.
Poison Ivy makes a salad for her doctors, who are far too trusting to be working with her. That gets her out of prison.
Batman and Robin spot a defoliant truck on their patrol, and it speeds away. The chase leads over a drawbridge, but the Batmobile isn’t going to make it…
The story concludes next issue.
Dixon, Johnson and Hanna conclude the Underworld Unleashed crossover in Detective 692 (Dec. 95).
Johnson’s art really showcases the new Spellbinder’s abilities, effectively conveying how she completely disorients Batman and Robin. There is simply no way they can catch her.
There are some pauses in the action. J Devlin Davenport plays golf against Bruce Wayne, and Tim Drake runs into Bruce’s stalker, Madolyn Corbett, making her first appearance in this book.
Batman consults with Oracle, and though she gives him the idea he needs to defeat Spellbinder, he behaves extremely dismissively to Barbara.
With Tim Drake hooked up to a camera, feeding him information, Batman is able to block out the wild illusions that Spellbinder surrounds herself with.
Even still, the climactic battle on the ledge of the building is gripping.
Sadly, even with the powers booster, Spellbinder never really became anything more than a minor player. She returns a few years down the road in Birds of Prey.
Spellbinder returns in a 2-part Underworld Unleashed crossover, beginning in Detective 691 (Nov. 95), by Dixon, Johnson and Hanna.
As with Firebug, Spellbinder had last been seen, in cameo, in Batman 400. This was his first post-Crisis appearance, and his powers prove no more successful against Batman and Robin than they had in the past, to the dismay of his gang and girlfriend.
Hiding out in a motel afterwards, Neron makes his pitch. Throughout the DC Universe, this month’s titles see Neron, a devil-ish villain, promise villains to upgrade their powers, for the price of their soul.
But it’s the girlfriend who accepts the offer. As Neron intended.
So it’s a much more powerful Spellbinder that Batman and Robin wind up facing. Previously, Spellbinder could cause disorientation by cart-wheeling in his garish costume, and create optical illusions.
The new one, with supernatural powers, can control your perception completely.
The story concludes in the next issue.
Chuck Dixon, Staz Johnson and Scott Hanna conclude the Firefly 2-parter in Detective 690 (Oct. 95).
Firefly looks great throughout this storyline, and I like Dixon’s line about him being a hands-on arsonist. His true, consuming passion is fire.
A more obscure Batman arsonist, Firebug, also appears in this storyline. He made a cameo, not in costume, in the previous issue. He had been Black Mask’s arsonist, replaced by Firefly. Firebug last appeared in Batman 400, though only in a cameo, and this marks his first post-Crisis appearance.
And his last. So much for Firebug. Black Mask definitely traded up, and he was redundant anyway.
Lynns makes a date with the woman he likes, but brings a suitcase of gear with him. A clear warning sign to the reader, if not the woman in the story.
He reveals his true identity to her, and wants to share his love of fire with her. It seems pretty clear he envisions burning her as a moment of shared ecstasy. Batman spoils the mood by bursting in, and Robin douses it completely, driving into Firefly with a truck full of fire retardant.