Actually, Novick's pencils bother me throughout this issue. I complained previously that Curt Swan's approach on these stories felt awkwardly throwback, and Novick sort of follows suit here:
I rarely liked Novick's work on Batman, but I recall it looking a lot better than this.
I'm a Novick fan - I suspect this might just be a case of Colletta not doing him any favors
It's been a long long time since I last read any Batman books with Novick penciling but (looking back now) the inker primarily associated with him on those issues I read and did not enjoy was Frank McLaughlin. These were circa 1980-1981, so, really late in his Batman career. I haven't spent much time with the stretch of books for which he is better known.
There are maybe ten villains in all of comicdom that I could tolerate for three seemingly unrelated adventures in a row. For Rozakis to continually throw The Joker's Daughter at us like this is...too much. It's not even a question of whether or not you like the character; it's just over-exposure. I mean, her recurring appearances could have been handled differently. Robin and the security chief for Hudson U could be sitting down at the beginning of this issue, discussing how The Joker's Daughter keeps committing crimes in the college town. They've now brought in the police, and all of them together are devoting their time and energy to tracking her down.
But that's not what happens at all.
Instead, they go about their normal business like she isn't still at large, even having a congressperson come to town like it's totally safe, and Rozakis throws it at us like it's some big surprise that The Joker's Daugher has struck AGAIN for the third issue in a row. Sure, Robin is all concerned and drops everything to suit up when a plaque goes missing, but The Joker's Daughter still at large? Ooooooh, who saw that one coming!
So it's extremely old at this point. And these unmaskings are getting more and more ridiculous:
Fortunately, Irv Novick's pencils have suddenly come alive this issue, making all of this more tolerable. For those of you who have been defending him all along, I can finally see it here. But compare (for example) the kind of action sequences he was drawing last issue
with what he does here:
It's a completely different approach to depicting action and the progression of time. Feels like a totally different artist.
Anyway, Rozakis is far from done thrusting The Joker's Daughter on us. Once we find out her true identity (which Robin somehow deciphered through a logic that he never bothers to explain), and once we somehow accept how magically her jawline transforms when she isn't in costume:
we get this little sequence that comes out of nowhere:
I mean...it sort of makes sense? She never did gain from her crimes, and we never did know why she seemed so obsessed with getting Robin's attention until now, but she sure did induce mass panic in this issue and has broken numerous laws in the process. And why make her primary identity The Joker's Daughter? And, why get Robin's attention as a criminal instead of a fellow hero? Why not use her cleverness to create crimes that she could then "help" Robin to solve, thus proving her worth as a Titan? And HEY, didn't she start these shenanigans before the Titans had reactivated?
But Rozakis isn't all that interested in logical explanations. Instead, he has control of a second title now and sees an opportunity for his new pet invention to further hold the spotlight there. Ugh.
To be fair, I do give Duella Dent credit for how logically she deduced Robin's secret identity:
and his reaction to having learned this was priceless:
In the end, there's nothing truly wrong with Duella Dent. Instead, what's obnoxious is how thoroughly she has usurped this title for three issues now (Batgirl and Robin aren't even having their will-they/won't they moments anymore), and now she's about to do the same in the pages of the newly relaunched Teen Titans. It's frankly obnoxious.
- The Joker's Daughter is revealed to be Duella Dent. Robin learns her identity and she learns his. Requests to join The Teen Titans.
- First real acknowledgement in this book (beyond a passing comment in issue #3) that Robin is an active member of the Teen Titans.
- While Robin's solo stories were previously written in a separate universe from his Batgirl team-up stories, with a different supporting cast that never appeared in the team-up stories, Rozakis knocks down that divider in this issue:
Robin's supporting cast doesn't end up playing any kind of meaningful role in this story, but they still appear in a Batgirl and Robin team-up story for the first time.
- First borderless cover for the title.
Backup stories that appear in this issue:
Alfred: Recipe for Revenge (from Batman #26) The Blockbuster Breaks Loose! (from Detective Comics #349)
Last Edit: Dec 10, 2018 22:32:59 GMT -5 by shaxper
Post by codystarbuck on Dec 11, 2018 0:44:30 GMT -5
Loved this issue originally and it is still my favorite segment of the storyline. It's all a bit of silly fun, from when that was still allowed. No, it doesn't hold up well to other stories of the period, of the characters, or of the title; but, it isn't the worst thing out there.
I'm surprised you left out the truly awesome way Dick Grayson covers himself, after losing his mask: he cuts a new eye mask out of the towel in the men's room dispenser! For a few panels he is in a white eye mask! I loved that. It's the kind of thing you see in lucha libre matches, when the rudo (bad guy) pulls off the technico's (good guy) mask.
I still think Duella Dent/Joker's Daughter/Harlequin could have been a much more interesting character, had they used her more and developed her, beyond Rozakis. It was an interesting idea that was left at the opening act level of superherodom, when it could have played the pa;lace, in the right hands. Imagine the real Joker getting wind of this supposed daughter and he comes looking for her to have a word with her? Or, how her supposed parentage by Two-Face came about. It was pretty much left lying there, until the Titans wedding issue, when Dick reveals he knows she couldn't be the daughter of Harvey Dent.
Of course, these days, the Joker would hunt her down and torture her for 3-6 issues, with every graphic detail presented.
The "Dominoed Daredoll" nickname dates from the Batmania era, during the TV show. I think they wanted something to go with the "Dynamic Duo".
She was called the dominoed daredoll starting with her very first appearance in the comics, her debut story in Detective #359, on sale in late November 1966. As Infantino (and others) have related, she'd been created in the comics at the request of the TV show producers, to pave the way for her eventual addition to the TV show (she showed up in the TV series several months after her comics debut, in September 1967, the series' final season).
But when I was a kid reading Detective #359 and subsequent comics she appeared in, I had absolutely no idea what the word "dominoed" meant or what it was supposed to convey about her. To me dominoes were a game!
Script: Bob Rozakis Pencils: Bob Brown Inks: Vince Colletta Colors: ? Letters: ?
If I had to sum up Bob Rozakis' priorities at this point, they would be:
1. Keep resurrecting old forgotten D-list characters from the Atom and Silver Ages 2. Strive for a more Silver Age feel 3. ...but deliver Marvel-like continuity (and sometimes relationships) 4. Keep Batgirl and Robin romantically separated
And, with the Joker's Daughter now out of the center ring, this may be the story where Rozakis proves the most successful yet in accomplishing each of these goals.
1. Keep resurrecting old forgotten D-list characters from the Atom and Silver Ages
Not only do we get Killer Moth and The Cavalier as enemies, but even I'll admit excitement at seeing Batwoman leap out of retirement in this story:
Rozakis won't be keeping her around (seriously, too bad!), but he sure allows Babs and Kathy to bond in a very real and convincing way. How they discover each other's identities is positively adorable
and might even be intended to remind us of Batman and Superman doing the same at sea way back in Superman #76:
And yet, while Rozakis tries to end this friendship with a powerful moment, it leaves us with one big question:
If there's only one Batwoman, what about the other Batgirl? Fortunately, Rozakis is going to answer that one soon in the pages of the Teen Titans.
As much as I may not like the Batgirl/Robin romance being broken up by Rozakis, this bond that grows in its place between two female characters is both believable and extremely progressive for a mainstream comic book of 1977...or even 1997.
2. Strive for a more Silver Age feel
Wow is it working this time. Rozakis makes it abundantly clear at the close that he isn't interested in exploring villain motivations; he just wants to have fun. And new artist Bob Brown seems ready to take that journey with him. Whereas Novick's pencils often felt awkward in these pages, Brown really gets Rozakis better than most and shows us, for the first time, just how FUN these campy throwback stories of his are supposed to be:
Over in ye old Teen Titans thread, codystarbuck summarized Rozakis' approach to storytelling as "trying to Marvelize the stories, while editorially aiming for young kids who are perceived to have simplistic tastes". Well, for once, it's working. Having the right artist sure seems to help.
3. ...but deliver Marvel-like continuity (and sometimes relationships)
We already discussed the close friendship between Babs and Kathy Kane that really works in this story. In terms of continuity, we have a nod back to the Isle of 1,000 Thrills from Batman Family #3, as well as a reminder that Batgirl and Killer Moth last met in her very first appearance.
4. Keep Batgirl and Robin romantically separated
Yeah, Rozakis isn't done killing our hopes there, and it really and truly hurts.
That was pretty much the only thing I was looking forward to each issue. Ah well.
- 1st appearance of Kathy Kane Batwoman in the Bronze Age. She and Batgirl (Babs Gordon) meet and learn each other's secret identities.
- The letter column announces that the title is abandoning reprints and going to all original content with the next issue
- 1st DC Bullet cover
- Rozakis is still going out of his way to have characters remind us each issue that, in his universe, folks call Gotham City "The Big Apple." I mean, why?
Backup reprints featured in this issue:
"Bruce Wayne Loses the Guardianship of Dick Grayson!" from Batman #20
As much as I love Batgirl, it seems strange that the only issue of Batman Family that I own is #10. I got it a few years ago. I read it again last week … and I love it as much as ever!
Kathy Kane as Batwoman is AWESOME! I think it's crazy that they treated her like a throwaway character a little later in the Bronze Age. She shows in Freedom Fighters near the end of the run. The Freedom Fighters are fugitives from the law and Batwoman gives them jobs at her circus. And what a great story engine that would have been if the series had lasted a little longer!
And the Killer Moth and the Cavalier are both great! I love these dopes. The Killer Moth appeared three times in the Golden Age. He was the reverse Batman! Criminals would shine a Moth-Signal if they got into trouble. It was wonderfully stupid.
The Cavalier actually did pretty good for a Golden Age villain. In an era when most villains appeared once and then disappeared (unless they were super-stars like Lex or the Joker or Sivana), the Cavalier appeared four times in a little over a year. And he's another one of those villains (like Catman and the werewolf) who know Bruce Wayne because they all belong to the same gentleman's club.
I love the idea of bringing back these two as Batgirl villains. Killer Moth could be angry that people think he's a Batgirl villain. "I'm a Batman villain, dang it!" Meanwhile, the Cavalier is purposefully trying to get Batgirl's attention because he has deluded himself into thinking she's smitten. "We're like Batman and Catwoman - tragic lovers - torn apart by the line that separates crime and the law!" And Batgirl is rolling her eyes and thinking "Oh Geez Louise This Guy!"
And Batman Family #10 is indeed a fun little story. Bob Brown is a favorite of mine and it looks like Vince Colletta is still providing strong inks this early in the Bronze Age.
Last Edit: Dec 15, 2018 2:30:42 GMT -5 by Hoosier X
With this flying dreadnaught under me, I can wipe out all mankind! Now the Hulk will be the HUNTER instead of the HUNTED!
Post by codystarbuck on Dec 15, 2018 1:00:38 GMT -5
This was another favorite story, for reasons you mention. It was fun, reintroduced Batwoman, and built a friendship between her and babs. As Hoosier X said, that would return in the final two issues of the Freedom Fighters, in one of the best storylines of that short-lived series (which isn't saying much, as it was never that good). Kathy will be back in a few issues; but, her return was to be short-lived, as Denny O'Neil would kill her off in 1979, in Detective Comics #485.
She is killed by Bronze Tiger, who is under the influence of the League of Assassins. John Ostrander would make great use of this fact in Suicide Squad. The Detective story was part of the excellent run of O'Neil and Don newton, who was one of the best Batman artists, ever, though rarely gets credit for it.
"Fortunately, ah keep mah feathers numbered for just such an emergency!"