We’re continuing with Tim Drake’s rise as Robin, and shifting books from Detective Comics to Batman.
Written by Alan Grant
Pencils by Norm Breyfogle
Inks by Steve Mitchell
Colors by Adrienne Roy
Lettering by Todd Klein
Edited by Denny O’Neil
We open with Batman finishing a nightly patrol – an almost uneventful one… until a person in a skull hood shoots up a bus stop. Batman takes them down quickly, only to find an old woman in glasses underneath.
Elsewhere, Vicky Vale stops in a homeless camp to take some photos for a piece on Gotham’s homeless population. She departs after being offered some roast rat, and shortly after she leaves, the camp is attacked by another man in a skull hood.
Back at the bus stop, the woman is being wheeled away in an ambulance and asks Batman how she did. Aghast, Batman tells her she killed two people. She’s quite pleased with herself – this was her first time after all.
Meanwhile, Tim Drake is having a nightmare about all the dead parents of the two previous Robins, before coming to Janet being buried, as his father, himself, and Alfred look on while Nightwing and Batman lower the coffin. Tim wakes up, and Batman is waiting by his bed – today is Janet’s funeral.
At Vicky Vale’s apartment, she’s developing her photographs in an… oddly cleavage exposing outfit – like she’d undressed and put on a half-buttoned lab coat to develop the photos which, while there is limited risk of spilling toxic chemicals on her cleavage in the general process of photo development, is still not something you’d do. Anyway, Vicky discovers the skull-hooded figure in one of the photos.
The morning news also covers a third mass killing, this time by an unemployed folk singer who shot up a store before being gunned down by police. Bruce thinks this is something to investigate – later. First, he has to go to a different funeral. Down in the Batcave, Tim is firmly in the “Anger” phase of the grieving process.
Back at Vicky Vale’s apartment, Vicky is watching coverage of the murder of those homeless men (still in that outfit from earlier), and remembers that she saw a car in the photo as well, and magnifies the relevant area of the photo to get the license plate.
At the funeral, Dick Greyson thinks about what Tim’s going through. Dick tells Tim that he’s available if Tim needs help, before talking to Bruce. Bruce knows Tim wants to be Robin, but Bruce doesn’t want him to take on the role.
At Gotham PD, the police have run the plate that Vicky got, and picked up a Rico Marcuse, and have no connection between him and the killer, but Vicky won’t let this drop. Also, that name is not that far off from Doctor Mabuse.
In the Batcave, Batman is suiting up, and arguing with Tim as to why Tim can’t be Robin. In short, putting on the suit makes you a symbol, and Tim isn’t ready for that – at least not yet. In his heart, Tim knows he’s ready, and eyes the case with Jason’s costume.
That night, Vicky Vales takes out Mr. Marcuse’s office, only to be attacked by a skull-hooded man with a sledgehammer.
One of my takeaways from this issue, from an art standpoint, is Batman’s eyes. Norm Breyfogle gives Batman very expressive eyes under the cowl, and I think this is where they got the idea on Batman the Animated Series to give Batman similarly expressive eyes.
Considering that with Deadpool and Spider-Man they’ve managed to give those characters expressive eyes under their hoods, I hope that future takes on Batman do something to give the actor a sense of expressiveness under the hood that earlier actors haven’t had.
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