Detective Comics 497 (December 1980)

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The main story is dedicated to Will Eisner, but besides some rather obvious Spirit references, I don’t get it. I mean, it’s not like Batman spends the issue getting beat up.

That one thing aside–it’s not even a problem, it’s just a strange dedication–the issue’s pretty good. It’s Batman the adventurer, with some nice moments between Bruce and Alfred and confusing ending. Conway forgets a bunch of stuff–Batman goes after the villain, the Squid, for some stolen documents… but we never find out what happens to them. And the upbeat finish is goofy.

The Newton artwork is just fantastic, with some really iconic panels. Conway might be forgetful, but his Batman’s fun to read.

The Batgirl backup, however, is a mess. The artwork is good, but the dialogue is way too expository and there are maybe eight principal characters, far too many for a feature story, much less a backup.

CREDITS

Bad Night in Baja; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Don Newton; inker, Dan Adkins; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterer, Ben Oda. Barbara Gordon… Murderess!; writer, Cary Burkett; penciller, Jose Delbo; inker, Joe Giella; colorist, Gene D’Angelo; letterer, Milt Snapinn. Editor, Paul Levitz; publisher, DC Comics.

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