Detective Comics 528 (July 1983)

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Gene Colan’s first issue on Detective (with Moench) is unexpected. There’s a dreamy, otherworldly, emotive quality to it. Harvey Bullock oozes repulsiveness; the symbolism becomes clear at the startling conclusion. Moench knows how to surprise–even if the cliffhanger isn’t exactly unexpected, its degree is a shock.

The issue closes up–after Batman’s adventures with Man-Bat–the new villain Moench introduced in his first issue, the Savage Skull. It’s strange reading these pre-Miller Batman comics when it was more possible for Batman to get his butt kicked by a boxer or whatnot. Moench gets that human element, the possibility of failure.

Instead of following Batman, Moench concentrates on Gordon, who’s life is crumbling. It’s effectively done, with the exposition finally a lot smoother. Maybe because of Colan’s great art.

Cavalieri and Cullin’s Green Arrow is pretty weak though. It’s incredibly juvenile, like an overlong Hostess fruit pie advertisement.

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