This time we wrap up the first of the three main arcs leading to the start of Tim Drake’s tenure as Robin.
Detective Comics #621
Written by Alan Grant
Pencils by Norm Breyfogle
Inks by Steve Mitchell
Letters by Todd Klein
Colors by Adrianne Roy
Edited by Denny O’Neil
We open on Tim and Bruce looking through a window, and Tim wants to know what happened, even if it hurts. Which leads to our flashback.
In Haiti, Bruce tailed the bag man to The Kid’s home, and then as Batman tails the Bag Man and The Kid’s Father to where The Obeah Man is keeping Jack & Janet. The Obeah Man now has Jack & Janet tied to a post in a ring of fire, where the two are pleading for water. The Obeah Man pours some for himself and then immediately throws the glass onto the ground.
The Bag Man gives The Obeah Man the money, at which point Jack and Janet learn to their horror that The Obeah Man had always planned to kill them – he was never going to actually release them. As Obeah Man urges his followers to fire-walk with him (something that Batman explicitly calls out as not being part of Voodoo, and says The Obeah Man is appropriating from somewhere else), Batman moistens up his Batsuit to handle a fight the hot coals – and strikes!
Batman takes on the Obeah Man and his followers, both in and out of the fire, before getting enough room to cut Jack & Janet free. Dehydrated, the two immediately drink from the pitcher of water, only to discover that it’s been poisoned with a neurotoxin. Batman is helpless to stop them as he’s busy fending off The Obeah Man’s followers.
Further, in the course of this fight, The Kid’s Father is killed when an errant ax thrown by another of The Obeah Man’s men strikes him and knocks him into the coals, setting him ablaze. Enraged, Batman basically annihilates The Obeah Man and his followers and rushes Jack & Janet to hospital.
Returning to the present, we learn that Bruce and Tim are looking in a hospital window at a comatose Jack Drake – he consumed enough neurotoxin to paralyze him. Janet was less fortunate – the amount she drank killed her. As Tim learns that his father may never walk again, Bruce flashes back to the death of his own parents, and broods as to whether bringing Tim into this life is the right thing – that if all he does is bring death to the people he cares about.
And in Haiti, The Kid is talking to his friend about how he broke into his father’s locked cabinet to see The Baka, and there found only mud, feathers, and bones. Enraged, he destroyed it, and now expects his father to beat him stupid when he gets home – whenever that will be, he’s not back yet…
Next time, we go back a little bit, to the origins of the drug Venom.