Batman 386 (August 1985)

2848Tom Mandrake does the art for the issue. He’s unsure of himself but always interesting. He shifts styles a lot throughout–this issue tells the origin of the Black Mask. In a lot of ways, it feels more like an old Spider-Man than anything else. There’s something very Ditko in how Mandrake draws Black Mask.

And Moench has a good time of the origin retelling too. He finds a nice, slightly disturbed voice for the narration and off he goes. There are some contrived details and the Black Mask’s dialogue in talking to himself isn’t great, but it’s a rather enjoyable issue.

Moench often has more success with these comics when he pushes himself. There’s a rabies hallucination in a flashback–Moench’s definitely pushing the plotting this issue.

When Batman does show up, it distracts from a bad detail or two; the issue goes out on a high note.

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CREDITS

Black Mask: Losing Face; writer, Doug Moench; artist, Tom Mandrake; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

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