Comics Reviews: Batman 375, Detective 542, Batman & the Outsiders Annual 1, Firestorm 27, Vigilante 10

Batman 375 coverBatman #375 – “The Glacier Under Gotham” – Doug Moench/Don Newton/Alfredo Alcala

This one starts with some poetry and a number of drawings of Gotham encased in ice. Yeah, Mr. Freeze is the villain (how did you guess?), but the drawings come from one of his henchmen, a guy named Sammy who’s quite adept at fantasy depictions but couldn’t make it as a commercial artist. The other members of Freeze’s gang (especially one named Lou) don’t really share his vision of freezing Gotham, saying it’ll bring the Army down on them. Freeze admits he doesn’t want to cause too much trouble, but freezing Gotham is the perfect way to get revenge on Batman … and if they happen to loot the city in the process, so much the better. The prospect of loot assuages some of their fears, but Lou still thinks Freeze is crazy and vows tobank foundations crumble cut out after their first bank job. That job comes quickly, with Freeze employing a giant version of his freezing gun to freeze up the foundations under a bank, causing it to crumble and fall into the caverns under the city. Freeze’s exploits don’t go unnoticed; Bruce and Jason interrupt a chess game to respond to the Bat-Signal. Seeing an ice sheet where the bank used to be tells Batman everything he needs to know about who the culprit is. Downtown, Vicki Vale has gotten wind of the iced-up bank and heads out to cover the story, with Julia Pennyworh inviting herself along. Julia and Vicki are getting along quite well, considering how worried Vicki was about Julia Vicki and Julia fall in the holemaking a move on Bruce. But Julia tells her Bruce is too arrogant and aloof for her … she’s got her eye on Batman. When they reach the scene, Vicki and Julia sweet talk their way past Harvey Bullock and get as close to the hole as possible. As it turns out, they’re too close and they end up falling in, finding a series of icy caves underneath. Batman and Robin quickly call for ropes so they can go after them, but Vicki and Julia are already following the tunnels between caverns. Back at Wayne Manor, Alfred gets a visit from Amanda (the Child Welfare worker we saw last issue) and is forced to admit that Jason Todd isn’t home … which seems a bit weird for 11:00 at night. Amanda saysBatman and Robin surprise Mr. Freeze this won’t look good in her report, which is already bad since Jason has never been legally adopted. In the caverns, Mr. Freeze realizes someone is following them and captures Vicki and Julia. Lou figures the cops will be on them right away and is ready to take off with the loot, but Freeze uses his freezing gun to turn Lou into a human popsicle. Batman and Robin show up and take down Freeze’s gang, but he’s already taken Vicki and Julia to another cavern, where they’re trussed up to a giant icicle. Freeze threatens to ice them up for good, but Julia and Vicki use a little leverage to bust the bottom of the icicle off, Vicki and Julia knock the icicle downalmost skewering Freeze. The distraction gives Batman time to deck Freeze and he unties the two women, congratulating them on their ingenuity. As they’re climbing out of the caverns, Julia lays a big smooch on Batman, which Vicki gets a photo of. Robin thinks it’s hilarious and later kids Batman about how “One wants Bruce Wayne and the other wants the Batman, but the one you want as Bruce Wayne is the one who wants you as Batman, and vice versa.” Bruce is not amused, and his humour doesn’t improve when Alfred informs him Child Welfare is coming to take Jason away.

Detective 542 coverDetective #542 – “Between Two Nights” – Doug Moench/Gene Colan/Bob Smith

This one starts with Harvey Bullock driving home across Gotham Bay Bridge when a sniper takes a shot at him. Harvey was reaching for the cigarette lighter at he time, so the shot only wings him in the arm, but the car goes out of control and ends up teetering on the edge of the bridge. Harvey calls for help on the police radio and Batman and Robin respond, getting there just in time to stop the sniper from finishing Harvey off. The sniper dives into the bay rather than face capture and Harvey gets out of his car just before it falls over into the water. Because of his wound, Harvey is put on light duty and his first assignment is to accompany Amanda (the Child Welfare worker) to pick up Jason Todd fromJason taken by Child Welfare Wayne Manor. Jason and Bruce both protest, but Amanda has a court order, so Jason has to leave with her. Harvey feels bad for them, but he’s too worried about whoever’s gunning for him to spare much sympathy. After Jason is gone, Alfred and Julia try to talk to Bruce, but he walks away, saying he needs to be alone. In the prison upstate, Dr. Fang is informed but his lawyer that Mayor Hill will free him as soon as Fang’s men finish off Harvey Bullock, which shouldn’t take long. Fang says it better happen soon because he’s tired of waiting. Meanwhile, Jason is taken to the Welfare Bureau and given a room, which he’s not happy about. Harvey is getting pretty paranoid about being a target Bruce's big speech to his lawyersand asks Commissioner Gordon to get Batman on the case. Gordon is reluctant, but Harvey’s so worked up he finally agrees. Bruce has called a meeting of all his fancy lawyers (and Lucius Fox) at Wayne Manor to talk about how to get Jason back. They suggest he use his money to bribe Child Welfare (or threaten to stop donating to them), but Bruce says he wants to do everything above board. He gives a big speech about how all his money doesn’t mean shit compared to Jason and how he spent an hour crying in his room after Jason was taken away. When Alfred calls his attention to the Bat-Signal, Bruce ignores it to keep working with the lawyers. Jason also notices the Signal and he doesn’t ignore it. He catches up with Harvey as he’s leaving police headquarters and is just in time to push him from the path of another bullet.Robin and Harvey corner the sniper Harvey takes off after the sniper with Robin riding on top of the car. At Wayne Manor, Bruce’s conscience gets the better of him and he makes an excuse so he can change to Batman and respond to the Bat-Signal. Robin and Harvey corner the sniper in a dead-end alley, but he knocks Robin down and gets ready to blow Harvey away. Robin pushes Harvey out of the way again and Batman shows up just in time to pound the sniper. Robin tells Batman nobody can keep them from working together and heads back to the Welfare Bureau. Harvey doesn’t recognize his would-be killer, but he’s ready to squeeze the guy for some info.

Green Arrow – “The Turn of an Unfriendly Card” – Joey Cavalieri/Shawn McManus/Sal Trapani

Last issue, Oliver (Green Arrow) Queen went to visit an old friend (Davy) who works as a DJ at a radio station. Davy turned out to be an ex-criminal who testified against the mob, so now they’ve hired an assassin called Death Dealer to kill him. Death Dealer lit the studio on fire, locking OliverGreen Arrow fights Death Dealer and Davy in separate rooms. Oliver breaks out and rescues Davy and he has a plan to expose whoever hired Death Dealer. He has Davy put on a pre-recorded show with updates on the time stated as “so many minutes past the hour”. When Death Dealer and his employer (whose face we don’t see) hear that, they know Davy isn’t dead, so Death Dealer heads back to finish him off. On the way, he passes someone in Oliver’s car and assumes it’s Oliver, but it’s actually Davy. Green Arrow is waiting for Death Dealer and kicks his ass, then is confronted by Becker, the station manager. Seems Becker was an investigator on Davy’s old case, but the cops beat him to the arrest and he blames Davy for his career getting wrecked. When Davy came in for a job and Becker recognized him, he decided to get revenge. Green Arrow captures Becker and takes him and Death Dealer to the cops.

Batman and Outsiders Annual 1 coverBatman & the Outsiders Annual #1 – “Land Where Our Fathers Died” – Mike W. Barr/Jerome K. Moore, Alex Saviuk, Jan Duursema, Rick Hoberg /Jim Aparo

This one starts with a stereotypical right-wing nutcase named B. Eric Blairman giving orders to a new super-team, the Force of July. The team consists of: Major Victory, a right-wing Captain America type; Lady Liberty, a French woman who uses a torch to channel energy; Mayflower, a British lady who controls plants; Silent Majority, a mute guy who can duplicate himself; and Sparkler, a punk kid who shoots energy from his hands. Blairman is sending Force of July to Gotham and briefs them on the Outsiders in case they run into them. Blairman spouts off about the left-wing media lionizing the Outsiders andGeo-Force gets his new costume claims they’re not the heroes they’re painted to be, which the Force seems to believe whole-heartedly. (Blairman is especially bothered by the multi-ethnic nature of the Outsiders, so he’s a racist too.) In Gotham, Brion (Geo-Force) Markov is still mourning his sister Tara and her betrayal of the Teen Titans. The other Outsiders show up and give Brion a new costume, which cheers him up a bit. Batman is down at the STAR Labs Building, where someone has stolen a new computer circuit. According to the video, the circuit just disappeared without anyone going near it. Batman is still recovering from Blowdart’s poison, so he assigns the Outsiders to find and recover the Force of July attack Outsiderscircuit. The team heads to Virginia, where Blairman’s compound is. Batman thinks Blairman may have stolen the chip, not just because of his politics, but because his sister Laraine is one of the few scientists capable of using the chip. They stop outside the compound and Jefferson (Black Lightning) Pierce uses his powers to detect the chip’s exact wavelength. Before they can figure out what to do, some guards show up, but the Outsiders flash fake IDs and leave. Rex (Metamorpho) Mason offers to scout the house as a cloud of hydrogen gas while the others wait outside. Blairman and Laraine are testing the computer chip when he’s told about the “tourists” who were warned off outside. Blairman’s paranoia takes over and he sends Force of July to check things out. Sparkler blasts Metamorpho, which bringsHalo tries to stop the rocket the other Outsiders running. They face off against Force of July, who knock them back on their heels. Blairman and Laraine take off in a chopper, followed by Force of July, to implement their big plan … Project Orwell. Blairman’s paramilitary guards hold the Outsiders at gunpoint until Halo takes them out with one of her auras. Black Lightning heads inside and hacks Blairman’s computer, figuring out what Blairman is up to and how to stop him, which means the team will have to split up. Black Lightning and Halo head for a launch pad to stop a rocket getting into space. Black Lightning says they cam just knock out the generators for mission control, but Sparkler and Katana and Metamorpho taken downSilent Majority are waiting for them. The two Outsiders do a little better this time, but ultimately lose to the Force members, which allows the rocket to successfully launch. In Washington, Katana and Metamorpho go to an electronics store to pick up a key component for Blairman’s device (the Omni-Cast) and run into a trap. Major Victory and Lady Liberty pound them and take them back to Blairman’s hideout along with the component. In Colorado, Geo-Force is searching for Blairman’s hidden base and gets jumped by Mayflower. She ends up pounding Geo-Force and taking him into the base. Inside Blairman’s base, he reveals to the captive Outsiders that he wants to set up a version of Orwell’s Big Brother to spy on everyone in America using the satellite that was launched into space aboard the rocket. Blairman shows the Outsiders how the Omni-Cast can reverse the signal for every TVOutsiders pound Force of July and computer in the country, spying on people in their own homes (just like Apple and Google do nowadays). By manipulating various computer systems, Laraine can block access to “subversive” media and information and even manipulate video to make things look different from what really happened. That’s what Blairman plans to do to the Outsiders, making it look like they attacked the White House by altering video from one of their fights against criminals. Naturally, the Outsiders will have to be killed to keep them from telling the truth about everything, but Halo tricks Sparkler into freeing her by using her illusory aura. She frees her teammates and they kick the shit out of the Geo-Force destroys the satelliteForce of July. I guess they learned something from the first two fights. After taking down Blairman and Laraine, Black Lightning realizes the satellite has an anti-detection field around it and there’s no way to shut it off from the ground. Geo-Force flies into space with Metamorpho providing a sheath of oxygen around him. Geo-Force manages to blow up the satellite, stopping Blairman’s scheme, but back at the base, Major Victory wakes up and blasts the place, bringing the whole complex down. The Outsiders escape, but are forced to leave the Blairmans and Force of July behind. I’m sure that’s not the last we’ll see of them though.

Firestorm 27 coverFirestorm #27 – “Spelldance” – Gerry Conway (plot), Paul Kupperberg/Rafael Kayanan/Rodin Rodriguez

Last issue, Black Bison and Silver Deer took refuge in the Soviet Embassy where they set up a gambling party for all the Washington bigwigs. Silver Deer plans to enchant them through the games of chance so she can control their wills. Firestorm wants to go after Silver Deer and Black Bison, but Firehawk reminds him the embassy is foreign soil, so they can’t just bust in. She says her father is invited to a big party at the embassy tonight, so she and Ronnie can tag along as his guests. In a van nearby, Clarissa (Martin Stein’s ex-wife) observes the fiery duo and reports back to her bosses, the 2000 Committee. In the Soviet Embassy, Silver Deer tellsSilver Deer's origin Black Bison she’s going to get the legislators to return all lands that were stolen from Native Americans, then she’ll compel them to kill themselves. Black Bison is shocked by her bloodlust and she tells him her origin story. Her twin brother was bitten by a rattler and when her dad tried to take him for treatment to a “white man’s hospital”, they were both shot. Silver Deer ended up learning the magic of her ancestors in her brother’s place and now she hates all whites. The party that night turns out to be a costume party; Lorraine dresses like a flapper, Ronnie as a baseball player, and Professor Stein as a frontier scout, though he feels ridiculous. They split up to look around and Stein runs into Clarissa. He gets pissed off at her and Ronnie tries to smooth Senator Reilly entrancedthings over, but loses sight of Clarissa. Lorraine runs into Roxanne Sharpe, the reporter who’s been dragging her father through the mud, and gives her shit. Roxanne actually feels guilty and wonders if she’s lost her objectivity as a reporter while going for the sensationalism. Silver Deer’s plan works and all the government members are entranced by her powers … including Senator Reilly. Lorraine tries to snap her father out of it, but he’s too far gone, so she drags him outside with help from Ronnie and Stein. The cars are all gone and Black Bison shows up to attack them. Ronnie and Stein merge into Firestorm and start pounding Bison. Silver Deer comes after the Senator and Lorraine becomes Firehawk to fight her. Silver Deer leads Firehawk into the embassy grounds, while Firestorm beats the hell out of Black Bison. As soon as Bison loses his enchanted coup stick, his mindFirehawk fights Silver Deer returns to normal and he becomes John Ravenhair again, wracked with guilt over everything he’s done. Silver Deer leads Firehawk back into the embassy, where she turns into a cobra and ambushes her. Firehawk blasts her with flames and Petrov, the soviet ambassador (who seems to have the hots for Silver deer … maybe she enchanted him?) tries to help and gets bitten by the cobra. Firehawk has inadvertently started the place on fire, but Silver Deer doesn’t care; she changes into an eagle and attacks Firehawk, leaving the entranced people in the conflagration. As Firehawk and Silver Deer fight, Firestorm rescues all the people from the burning embassy just before it collapses. Firehawk emerges from the rubble (and gives Firestorm a big smooch), but there’s no sign of Silver Deer. I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of her. Back in New York, Firestorm restores the Statue of Liberty to its original condition (after fucking it up last issue) before heading back to school.

Vigilante 10 coverVigilante #10 – “Vendetta” – Marv Wolfman/Ross Andru/Rick Magyar

Last issue, J.J. Tried to investigate a lead on the Controller and walked into a trap, winding up dead. Adrian (Vigilante) Chase blames himself for J.J.’s death and vows to kill whoever’s responsible. That doesn’t sit well with Terry, who thought Adrian had put his bloody ways behind him in the name of justice. Adrian insists death is the only way to avenge J.J., so Terry takes off. Elsewhere, a big mob meeting is just ending, with most of the mob bosses agreeing to join Controller’s organization. A couple of mob bosses (Johnny Z and Apollo) opt out and leave, but the others get a tour of Controller’s high tech set-up. TheVigilante takes down Johnny's men microchip Controller acquired last issue (which led to J.J.’s death) allows him to interface with any computer network in the city. So, Controller can manipulate systems and listen in on conversations all over the place … even inside the District Attorney’s office. Adrian gets some info about the big mob conclave from his girlfriend Marcia and goes after a couple of Johnny Z’s men. He chases them down, wrecking their car and scaring them into telling him where to find Johnny Z. Vigilante breaks into Johnny’s place to ask him who’s bringing all the mobs together, but before Johnny can tell him, his pacemaker explodes, killing him. Apparently, Controller has Johnny’s place wired too. Johnny’s men hear the commotion and chase Vigilante, almost killing him Controller's plan beginsbefore he gets away underwater. A few days later, Controller puts his plan into action, using his computer interface to set off false alarms in twelve different banks to keep the cops busy, while he deactivates security devices in eight other banks, which his men can just stroll into and rob. At Johnny Z’s funeral, Apollo learns how he died and suspects Controller sabotaged Johnny’s pacemaker remotely. As he’s leaving, the FBI try to grab Apollo, but Vigilante gets there first, pulling Apollo into a car and taking off. As the FBI chase them, Vigilante asks Apollo about the big mob meeting and Apollo fills him I on Controller’s use of the computer chip and mentions he has plans for some elaborate heists.Vigilante grabs Apollo from the FBI Apollo also mentions Controller is getting info from a woman in the D.A.’s office, which gets Vigilante’s attention, since his girlfriend Marcia works there. Vigilante leaves Apollo stranded and takes off on his motorbike. Before Apollo can hotwire the car, the FBI shows up to grab him. Vigilante heads downtown to check out one of the bank robberies, hoping the thieves will lead him straight to Controller … so he can waste him.

3 thoughts on “Comics Reviews: Batman 375, Detective 542, Batman & the Outsiders Annual 1, Firestorm 27, Vigilante 10”

      1. Gotcha. I am rereading my collection, and was checking out your reviews after each issue. I am up to issue 574 now, so I think I’ll just catch it on the next time round

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