Review: Batman #309

Batman #309 cover
Cover by Jim Aparo

Batman #309
Published and © by DC, March 1979

Title: “Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas!”
Synopsis: A young woman’s suicide attempt and a misunderstanding bring Batman to blows with Blockbuster on Christmas Eve.

Writer: Len Wein
Penciler: John Calnan
Inker: Frank McLaughlin

Review: Batman #309 is a surprisingly uninspired comic. Bats has experienced so many high points over the years it’s easy to forget how many average, ho-hum issues he’s starred in. Len Wein’s story here is just so-so. The attempted-suicide angle could have been compelling, but doesn’t connect emotionally. Likewise, the chase and battle sequences between Batman and Blockbuster are pretty routine. Even more generic is the art of John Calnan. You can see hints of other artists in his work, but little in the way of a consistent style; both his rendering and storytelling are a bit bland.

Grade: C+

Cool factor: The holly-and-bells trade dress is kind of fun.
Not-so-cool factor: Batman gives Commissioner Gordon tobacco for Christmas. (Lung cancer – the gift that keeps on giving!)

Notable: The “Bat Signals” letter column includes an LoC from future Eclipse editor Cat Yronwode.
Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 12p British variant of this issue. … According to MyComicShop.com, there is also a Mark Jewelers variant.

Character quotable:Death never takes a holiday, does he?” – Batman, dark knight 

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on Dec. 14, 2009.

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