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Review: The Batman Family #20

Batman Family #20
Cover by Jim Starlin

The Batman Family #20
Published and © by DC, November 1978

Title: “Enter the Ragman!”
Synopsis: Batman teams with Ragman to expose a criminal organization that is preying on poor tenement dwellers.

Writer: David V. Reed
Penciler: Michael Golden
Inker: Bob Smith

Review: David V. Reed might not be a fan-favorite writer, but he’s crafted a fine little tale here. Batman and Ragman work well in the same universe, and Michael Golden was born to draw both characters. His elegant figure work and dynamic storytelling make this book a gem.

•••

Title: “Peril of the Power Sower”
Synopsis: Robin, Batgirl and Red Tornado team to stop the Power Sower, a patriotic villain hellbent on energy conservation.

Writer: Bob Rozakis
Penciler: Don Heck
Inker: John Celardo

Review: A silly story with weak art. Its placement after such a strong Batman lead feature does this tale no favors.

•••

Title: “Private Eye Man-Bat”
Synopsis: In need of a job, Man-Bat tries to convince private investigator Jason Bard to hire him as a partner.

Writer: Bob Rozakis
Penciler: Michael Golden
Inker: Josef Rubinstein

Review: Bob Rozakis’ script tries too hard, but the art here is spectacular; Golden is one of the era’s best pencilers.

•••

Title: “Trial By Fire”
Synopsis: The Huntress uncovers another criminal plot to cash in on the poor tenement dwellings of Gotham City.

Writer: Paul Levitz
Penciler: Joe Staton
Inker: Bob Layton

Review: Despite plot holes, Paul Levitz delivers some tough justice. Joe Staton and Bob Layton make a fine art team.

Grade (for the entire issue): A-

Second opinion: Recommended by The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003.

Cool factor: A giant-size helping of Bat-family goodness, featuring two Michael Golden stories, topped by a wraparound cover by Jim Starlin. Heaven.

Notable: Continuing to experiment with their Dollar Comics format, DC released this issue with no ads.

Character quotable: “I have no quarrel with you, Batman … I’m after Bruce Wayne!” – The Ragman, tatterdemalion of justice

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on Feb. 2, 2009.

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