blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Detective Comics (1937) #479

Detective Comics  479

I wasn’t expecting much from this issue; the team of writer Len Wein, penciller Marshall Rogers, and inker Dick Giordano hasn’t impressed in their one-and-a-fifth (they did a bookend on a reprint) issues of Detective so far. Wein’s writing a sequel to Rogers’s arc with Steve Englehart, trying to maintain continuity, like Batman hallucinating a woman is Silver St. Cloud, so he shakes her. He can’t handle her breaking up with him. I think Wein’s done this issue; did he have an outline for Batman stalking Silver St. Cloud, secreted away in the DC vaults, perhaps? Pretty much nothing else makes sense from here.

Once again, Batman’s trying to stop Clayface II, who’s trying to cure himself of being a murderous jelly protoplasm monster. Batman doesn’t care about any of that nonsense. He’s not interested in the who, the why, or the how, just the where and maybe when. It’s one of those resolutions where Batman doesn’t put the dynamite in the clown’s pants and push him in a hole to blow up, just, you know, doesn’t tell the clown he’s got dynamite in his pants–not murdering on a technicality. Englehart wrote Batman as a childish thug. Wein writes him as a callous one.

As for the art, Rogers and Giordano occasionally have good panels. There are also lots of lazy ones; anything over a medium shot, and neither artist gives Batman a face in the distance. There are some nice moody city shots and rural road shots because Rogers does a swell job with the scenery, but the Batman fights don’t impress much.

After that underwhelming feature story, Wein’s back to writing the Hawkman backup, which features Hawkman talking to birds, who fly him and Hawkgirl across the country or something. Like a few dozen birds getting together, lifting them into the air, and flying with them.

It’s camp.

Even though the story only runs eight pages, it feels longer than the Batman feature. Hawkman and Hawkgirl are back on Earth after getting kicked off their planet by the new leadership, only to discover they’ve apparently lost their jobs at their museum. There’s something strange about the new curator, who has a teleportation cape, which sets up needing bird friends.

Rich Buckler and John Celardo’s art is mostly okay. The eventual supervillain’s absurd even for this story, and Wein’s got the same ending to both this story and the feature as far as villain reveals.

Maybe if the Hawkman weren’t so slow, it’d be better. As is, it’s more sluggish pages in an already sluggish comic.

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