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Review: Detective Comics #457

Detective Comics #457 cover
Cover by Dick Giordano

Detective Comics #457
Published and © by DC, March 1976

Title: “There Is No Hope in Crime Alley!”
Synopsis: On the anniversary of his parents’ murder, Batman visits Crime Alley – and the woman who comforted orphaned Bruce Wayne.

Writer: Denny O’Neil
Penciler: Dick Giordano
Inker: Giordano

Review: Classic Batscribe Denny O’Neil has said this is his best Batman tale. That’s a high bar – and one this simple story doesn’t quite clear. It’s good, though, recapping Batman’s origin while retroactively introducing a mother figure for little orphan Bruce. As for art, Dick Giordano is at his Neal-Adams-inspired best.

•••

Title: “Make Way for the Elongated Woman!”
Synopsis: Sue Dibny dons the Elongated mantle in an effort to save her husband from a gang of criminal siblings.

Writer: Bob Rozakis
Penciler: Kurt Schaffenberger
Inker: Schaffenberger

Review: Tonally, Bob Rozakis’ backup story doesn’t play well with the lead, and Kurt Schaffenberger’s art belongs to a different era.

Grade (for the entire issue): B+

Cool factor: Dick Giordano often get props as an inker and editor, but issues like this are a reminder of what a good penciler he could be.
Not-so-cool factor: The Elongated Man backup story is just silly.

Notable: First appearance of Leslie Thompkins.
Collector’s note: According to MyComicShop.com, there is a Mark Jeweler variant of this issue.

Character quotable: “You dare – pull a gun on me – pull a gun on me here – do you? DO YOU?” – The Batman (always the picture of mental health, no?)

A word from the writer: “I’m very pleased with the way that story came out. There was a big chunk of Batman’s back story that was missing. All we had ever seen was ‘The kid watches his parents get murdered’ and then X-time passes – it was never clear how much time – and then he sees the bat fly through the window, declares criminals are a cowardly, superstitious lot and becomes Batman. So that scenario does beg some questions. Who took care of him? What exactly happened?” – Denny O’Neil, in Wizard #206, Dec. 2008

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on June 22, 2009.

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