Batman 377 (November 1984)

Moench runs directly into that Bruce Wayne problem he’s been having for a while. He has to have Bruce decide he wants to sneak around with Nocturna; it comes after a lengthy conversation with Alfred. Moench does fine with that conversation–the art from Newton and Alcala is fantastic, Newton’s compositions this issue are amazing–but he hasn’t established any of Bruce’s romances well. It doesn’t help the issue starts with an absurd courtroom scene with Bruce acting nuts. As for Nocturna–who Bruce apparently picks over Vicki (who he hasn’t seen romantically in five or ten issues) and Alfred’s daughter (Moench avoids a mention…

Batman 306 (December 1978)

Conway does a riff on High Noon with Batman protecting a drug dealer from the vigilante, the Black Spider. Because Conway keeps all Batman’s plans from the reader, it does have some successful plot twists. Except maybe when Batman falls down the entire Wayne Foundation tree and lives. The only real damage is to his costume–the cowl and pants survive, but it’s shirtless Batman for the final showdown. Very, very odd. Calnan continues to be ambitious, particularly during action scenes and they still don’t come off. But it’s not a bad feature. Rozakis’s backup, with Batman trying to discover the identity of…

Batman 305 (November 1978)

There’s something off about the art in the feature story. John Calnan is actually really ambitious–interesting composition, lots of dynamic movement–but none of it works. There’s no depth; someone’s hand–gesturing–will look affixed to his or her face. Not sure if it’s inker Dave Hunt or Calnan, but since Hunt does all right inking the backup, I’m assuming Calnan. Gerry Conway writes the feature. It’s Batman versus terrorists with a subplot about Gotham millionaires losing their fortunes. Are these two plots somehow related? Sadly, yes. Actually, Conway pulls off the connection relatively well, he just has a goofy resolution for the terrorists. There’s…