TITLE: Batman Issue #421
YEAR: July 1988
COMPANY: DC Comics
Created by Bob Kane
Writer: Jim Starlin
Penciler: Dick Giordano
Inker: Joe Rubinstein
Colorist: Adrienne Roy
Letterer: John Costanza
Edited by Denny O’Neil
Jim Starlin will forever be known for revamping Captain Marvel, Adam Warlock, creating “Guardians of the Galaxy” characters such as Drax the Destroyer, Gamora but also creating Thanos and Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu. And one of his most famous stories was the death of Captain Marvel for the first Marvel Comics Graphic Novel.
With the success that Jim Starlin had with Marvel Comics, with DC Comics in the ’80s, he would go on to co-create Mongul but its his work on “Batman” that people will forever know Starlin’s work. As the writer of the Batman mini-series “The Cult” and “Batman: A Death in the Family”, which gave fans a chance to determine via a hotline phone # of whether or not Jason Todd (Robin) would survive.
While Jim Starlin’s work has been praised by comic book fans, especially for his work on “Batman”, a few issues before “A Death in the Family”, a Starlin work that “Batman” fans will remember is his two-issue arc regarding a serial killer on the loose in Gotham.
With ten women found dead and the body count rising, each body has been found in a dumpster and it has proved frustrating for Gotham PD and also Batman.
As Batman sees a pattern of the victims, Batman feels that another person is more than likely going to die in the past week. He remembers the fifth victim, a social worker named Kate Babcock, a social worker trying to help people less fortunate and remembering how special of a person she was.
It upsets Batman that he needs to find the serial killer fast.
One day on patrol and seeing a homeless man being accosted by punks, the man tells Batman that he has a wife. When Batman asks the homeless man named Elmore to show him, he sees a woman tied up. Elmore tells Batman that he saw some guys toss her in a dumpster and he thought it was a prank. He tells Batman he saw the punks driving a red van that had a dragon and a hand on the side.
This leads Batman to the Iron Dragons gang in Chinatown. When he goes to ask them questions, they attack Batman but Batman easily beats them.
He learns that the Iron Dragon aren’t responsible because they were in jail and the car was impounded. As Batman looks into it, he finds out a police officer was on duty at the car pound and gets the name of the officer on duty.
But the officer overhears Batman’s conversation and he goes to call the person he let drive the van and as Batman goes to pay the officer a visit, he finds the man dead. Stabbed to death but the officer was able to write the name of the assailant and written in blood was “Cugino”.
This leads Batman to go out and find out who Cugino is and find out if the person is the serial killer.
So far, issue #421 of “Batman” was riveting but no doubt made one highly anticipate the next issue to conclude the serial killer storyline. Wonderfully written by Jim Starlin and artwork by Dick Giordano, this comic book received several reprints and is an arc worth reading!