Home > DC Comics > DC Retroactive: Batman-The 80s #1

DC Retroactive: Batman-The 80s #1

August 28, 2011

Title: The Revenge of the Reaper

Writer: Mike W. Barr
Jerry Bingham
Carlos Badilla
Carlos M. Mangual
Cover Artist:
Jerry Bingham
Jim Chadwick
DC Comics

Mike W. Barr returns for a sequel to one of his classic tales from the 80s. The Reaper, a vigilante who murders mobsters, has returned to Gotham City, and Batman and Robin are set to track him down… even if it means returning to one of the lost loves of Batman’s life. This issue goes to a very specific time period: we’ve got Jason Todd in the Robin costume here. Barr doesn’t dwell on that too much – there isn’t really a hint of the anger that grew to consume the character later. It’s a straightforward story as well, at least as straightforward as a story about one of Bruce’s former loves ever really can be. The story is a mystery, and structured in such a way that the reader has a fair chance of solving it, which is the way the best mysteries should be written. Bingham’s artworok is good, but I think Carlos Badilla’s artwork darkens it a bit more than is really necessary. Not to say it’s a bright story, but the artwork should enhance it more than it does here. I liked it, but the artwork pulls it back a bit.

As for the back-up…

Title: Fear the Reaper (Batman: Year Two Chapter One)

Writer: Mike W. Barr
Alan Davis & Paul Neary
Adrienne Roy
Richard Starkings
Dennis O’Neil

The back-up in this one-shot is the first chapter of the original Reaper story, Batman: Year Two. Here we see a young Batman, still in his pre-Dick Grayson days, still alone. What surprises me about this book is that, unlike the sequel that makes up the front half of the issue, this one is not a mystery. The identity of the Reaper is revealed right off the bat – to the reader, that is, not the characters. So while Batman is trying to track down this new killer, we already know who he is. I’m always a fan of Alan Davis, and it’s fun to see early work of his. This may be Davis before he was seasoned, but even this art from young Davis is better than a lot of the stuff that contemporary artists turn out.

Good issue, and it makes me want to hunt down the complete Year Two trade paperback.                                                                                                                                              

Rating: 7/10

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