TITLE: Batman Issue #421
YEAR: August 1988
COMPANY: DC Comics
Created by Bob Kane
Writer: Jim Starlin
Penciler: Dick Giordano
Inker: Joe Rubinstein and Steve Mitchell
Colorist: Anthony Tollin
Letterer: John Costanza
Edited by Denny O’Neil
Two days ago, I wrote about Jim Starlin and what he has done for Marvel Comics and DC Comics and prior to “A Death in the Family”, he wrote a two-issue arc about a serial killer on the loose in Gotham.
A popular storyline that would earn multiple printings and did not have to do with a major supervillain or any major character, this arc was more popular for solid writing.
And I can attest of how awesome this arc was an dealt with no supervillain but serial killer(s) looking for a next victim, while Batman and even Commissioner Gordon have been frustrated that the deaths are mounting and the serial killer has not been found.
That was until Batman’s investigative opportunities have led him to Cugino and Branneck. But for these men who live among the drudges of society, they are planning to find ways to beat Batman.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Gordon warns Batman that he can’t become a vigilante and take the law into his own hands.
As Branneck plans on killing his next victim, Robin sees a woman being beaten by her pimp. And nearly loses it before being stopped by Batman.
Batman starts to realize that Jason is losing it and he is starting to question on why he shouldn’t hurt these bad guys and would it have been a big loss if he did kill them?
Meanwhile, as Branneck chooses his next female victim, what will happen?
Suffice to say, this is a storyline that ends in a manner that I didn’t expect. Most of the time, we always see a conclusion of Batman saving the day (or not saving the day), but in this case, it’s an ending that readers probably wouldn’t expect.
But it gave us a glimpse of the change that is going through Jason Todd and sure enough, by issue #426, it would lead to an arc that left many people in shock.
A wonderful two-story arc worth reading!