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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 6

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we take a three-day look at a classic Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams issue that has three cool moments that I just could not help but post separately.


Batman #244 is the finale to an epic storyline where Batman fakes Bruce Wayne’s death so he can free his time entirely to taking on Ra’s Al Ghul, the international criminal mastermind who had been introduced just recently (along with Ra’s daughter, Talia).

This is the first time Batman takes on the identity of Matches Malone (Malone is introduced and is killed in these issues, leaving the identity available for Batman to use). Batman teams up with a scientist who had worked with Ra’s (not of his own volition) and they race to stop Ra’s and Talia from unleashing a deadly plague. Through the story, Batman gets aid from some unlikely sources, like a famous alpine skier!!

Ultimately, Batman tracks them down only to discover Ra’s dead in Batman #244. He takes Talia into custody but is then confronted by Ra’s – this is the first time we see the use of the Lazarus Pit. Batman is quickly subdued and Ra’s and his daughter take off.

Batman and Molly the skier chase after them and Molly actually manages to disable their aircraft with her ski pole, but the explosion sends the ski pole into her – forcing Batman to choose between getting her medical attention or following Ra’s and Talia. That is not really much of a choice for Batman, so they escape.

In an impressive piece of detecting (it is always cool to see Batman do actual detective work), Batman figures out that they are in the desert, where he catches up to them and confronts Ra’s.

Surrounded by Ra’s men, Batman could be in major trouble as they could just burst in and have him shot.

Ra’s, however, is impressed with Batman and instead allows Batman to duel with him.

Which leads to cool moment #1 – shirtless Batman and Ra’s fighting a duel to the death in the desert (with Talia torn between her father and the man she might very well love).

What an image! Neal Adams definitely knew how to come up with some striking visuals!

The duel ends when a scorpion stings Batman, seemingly killing him with its poison.

This, of course, leads us to tomorrow’s cool comic book moment (let’s not spoil it in the comments for anyone who hasn’t read the story!).


So is it the writer’s fault that “enemies” is misspelled at the bottom right corner of that last image? Or the letterer?

So is it the writer’s fault that “enemies” is misspelled at the bottom right corner of that last image? Or the letterer?

Neither; it’s the editor’s.

Check out one of the last of the Kyle Baker Plastic Man issues for a great reference to this scene.


Another cool comic moment that was translated well into the animated series!

Is it just me or do Batman and Ra’s look really stiff?

“Through the story, Batman gets aid from some unlikely sources, like a famous alpine skier!!”

Y’know, I’ve read these stories a few times, and, yes, they are good. But each and every time I get up to this specific chapter, a voice in my head starts loudly asking “Why the hell doesn’t Batman just call in the Justice League?!?” I mean, yeah, a brilliant biochemist and a champion skier and a ninja who used to work for Ra’s Al Gul is pretty impressive. But why settle for those three when you could have Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Martian Manhunter lending you a hand in taking down Ra’s organization?

I don’t know, maybe all of Batman’s subterfuge & planning to assemble this group to take down Ra’s would have been more plausible of Denny O’Neil had just slipped in one short line of dialogue saying that the JLA were busy off in space fighting Despero, or something.

Bernard the Poet

January 7, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Yeah Ben, I always found that a bit jarring too – your solution would have helped me suspend my disbelief.

Of course, the problem with a shared universe, is that Batman really should be calling the JLA every week. How many of the Joker’s or Two Face’s victims would have been saved if Batman called up all his old friends every time they escaped from Arkham?

I bet half the heroes he has met through Brave and the Bold spend most of their time sitting on their hands. If he organised them properly, Gotham could have a superhero on every street corner.

A superhero on every street corner sounds like a police state, the last thing Batman would want.

Why is a police state the last thing Batman would want?

Because police states shoot people’s parents dead in the street.

Bernard the Poet

January 7, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Maybe the hairy-chested love god shown above would hate the idea of a police state, but the fella’ wearing the cowl for the last twenty years would love to see it.

Ok, you’re right. Batman would love a police state. Just read DK2.

The Gotham of Kingdom Come is pretty much a police state…

I think Batman would only like a police state if it were completely free of corruption and really did operate to “protect and serve”. After all, Bats has worked against corrupt officials and mob bosses (who are sometimes both, like “Boss” Thorne) his whole career and would not support a body that merely exists to act upon the whims and decrees of a power-hungry (and therefore power-corrupted) villain

Bats has also supported Jim Gordon for years because he is the personfication of the “protect and serve the public, not the State” cop

I suppose I’m saying I agree with ALL Of the previous posters – I think Bruce would both love and hate a police state, depending on how it operated
Then again, as Judge Dredd and V For Vendetta have shown us there is no such thing as a GOOD police state

I have mixed feelings about this era of Batman.

On the one hand, Ra’s Al Ghul and Talia are great characters. Ra’s was used to great effect in “Batman Begins” and Talia was extremely compelling in “Son of the Demon”. They were the only noteworthy additions to Batman’s cast of the Bronze Age.

On the other hand, the “hairy-chested love god” stuff is not my favorite aspect of The Batman. I know that O’Neil and Adams were moving away from the camp of the TV series using the tools at hand. I also know that at the time “Gothic” meant “Hammer Horror”. It is just that I like Batman stories that draw from Film Noir, Kung Fu movies and older styles of horror much better.

Is it just me, or did Talia look a lot different back then? Or is it just that she is crying?

Some of the poses are a little stiff, I’d expect more from Neal Adams.

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