Tuesday, February 19, 2013

That may be an unwise boast...


From 1984, Batman Special #1, "The Player on the Other Side" Written by Mike Barr, pencils by Michael Golden, inks by Mike DeCarlo. I was thinking of this one yesterday, and found it odd Batman only got one special, while Superman got three...

Batman faces a twisted reflection of himself, the Wrath; who has a surprisingly similar origin to Bats. On the same night Bruce Wayne's parents were killed in Crime Alley, a young beat cop named Jim Gordon is forced to shoot and kill a young boy's parents in front of him. The boy would go into the system, but was driven to master crime and get revenge--why he waited until Gordon was commissioner of Gotham City seems like bad planning. After Batman stops another attempt on Gordon, the Wrath does a little homework on his foe and figures out Batman's secret identity in short order.

The Wrath vandalizes the Wayne family's graves and beats up Alfred; while the Wrath's girlfriend tries to mobilize the city's criminals to find Jim Gordon. As Batman tracks her down, the Wrath kidnaps Leslie Thompkins to use as a hostage; forcing Batman and Gordon into a showdown. That doesn't go especially well for the Wrath, but it's weird how a lot of things from this issue would show up in later issues...of JLA. Much of the Wrath's origin is interchangeable with Prometheus, and the Waynes' corpses would be stolen in Tower of Babel.

This issue was reprinted in The Best of DC #62, digest-sized. Like this:

Tiny, but still looks great. I know the Wrath would return, in some form, in Batman Confidential, but I haven't read that one yet; and the Wrath has yet to work his way up his way up the ranks of Batman villains. Yet...

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

Beautiful, beautiful artwork here. Such a shame The Wraith wasn't allowed to be more of a threat, especially considering his motivation wasn't that far of from Batman's.

Maybe the reboot will, uh, never mind. The reboot sucks, and so would his rebirth.