Thursday, September 26, 2019

I don't know if I'd call it motivational, exactly.

Whenever I find a whole run of a series, limited or otherwise, in the quarter bins I feel almost obligated to scoop it up. Which doesn't explain how I have so many limited that are missing one issue! I know I'm short the next issue here: from 2003, Batman: Family #7, "Chapter Seven: Precipice" Written by John Francis Moore, art by Steve Lieber and Stefano Gaudiano.

Unlike the classic 70's anthology book, this has a colon in it. Oh, all right: it was an eight issue mini-series; and the "Family" in the title has a double meaning. It's Batman and his extended squad--Huntress and Spoiler appear early on, and one issue has Orpheus and Black Canary--versus a crime family; and I think every issue introduced a new villain. The cover here proclaims "Mulligan of Death!" for the intro of Mr. Fun, who just whomps on Nightwing with a nine iron. Mr. Fun's panels are all filled with cheerful, business platitudes like "Make a good impression on the people that you meet" as he clubs Nightwing; but the effect is lessened whenever Fun has dialog. He does completely own Nightwing and to a lesser extent Batgirl; partially because it's implied he's had serious assassin training, but also because this was the point in the story where a snitch needed to be shut up.

Mr. Fun also plays into this issue's flashbacks, as Batman gets the dirt on Celia Kazantkakis from a wiseguy dying of cancer in jail. No longer fearing retribution, he's more than willing to spill his guts, including the fact he had dated Martha Kane, Bruce's mom! He had broken it off when it got too serious, but not before going after her friend Celia, who strung him along just long enough to blackmail him for embezzlement and torch his club before she left town! Charming. Later Celia would return to further crush the wiseguy, with a young "collegiate psychopath" able to beat to death a hardened thug who outweighed by a hundred pounds, the nascent Mr. Fun.

Fun seems like an update on Sportsmaster, perhaps with a stronger work ethic. I've never seen the last issue of this one, though; and I suspect Kazantkakis and her whole crew went down hard. Of course, even if I find it I wonder where the other six got to...

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