Batman: Strange Apparitions / Shadow of the Batman

Detective 469

Cover Date: May 1977
Subtitle: (1) By Death's Deadly Light; (2) The Origin of Dr. Phosphorus
Writer(s): Steve Englehart
Artists(s): Walt Simonson, Al Milgrom
Storyline: (1) Batman returned to the Wayne Foundation penthouse, where Bruce Wayne resided. As he entered, Alfred collapsed. He called for an ambulance, but there were none available. Bruce got Alfred to a hospital, then returned as Batman. Batman spoke with Gordon, who'd received a note from someone claiming responsibility for the epidemic. He called himself Dr. Phosphorus.
Batman soon learned the source of the illness - Gotham City's drinking water. Commissioner Gordon had been stricken already. Batman went to the reservoir and found the man at the heart of the situation - Dr. Phosphorus. He appeared to be the living embodiment of phosphorus and Batman was burned when they touched. They struggled into the water supply (which had been turned off). Phosphorus escaped.

(2) Dr. Phosphorus arrived at the residence of one of his old colleagues, Dr. Bell. He told Bell his true identity, Dr. Alex Sartorius. He'd gone into a partnership with Rupert Thorne on a power plant. Gotham voted it down, so they had to build it in the Atlantic. A problem with the reactor caused an explosion, and Dr. Sartorius was thought dead. He'd been blasted with radioactive sand and transformed.
He promised the old group would be safe if they could keep Batman out of his way.


Detective 470

Cover Date: June 1977
Subtitle: The Master Plan of Dr. Phosphorus
Writer(s): Steve Englehart
Artists(s): Walt Simonson, Al Milgrom
Storyline: Batman took down a smalltime burglar and was slapped with a subpoena. He went to see Gordon (who was recovering and sharing a hospital room with Alfred). Gordon knew nothing and figured it to be something of Thorne's doing.
Back in the cave, Batman received a call from Chief O'Hara. Now that Gordon was out of commission, the City Council had marked Batman as off-limits. O'Hara was brief: Dr. Phosphorus had struck at a concert. The Geiger counter picked up readings where Batman had been touched by Phosphorus. He headed to the power plant offshore, but was greeted hastily by the workers. He returned home.
Soon after, Bruce Wayne threw a party. Among the invitees were Rupert Thorne, Dr. Bell, and much of the city council. He also met a woman named Silver St. Cloud. He snuck away from the party (on his yacht in the harbor) and visited the power plant again. Dr. Phosphorus attacked him and was killed when he collided with the reactor. Batman returned to his boat; Wayne rejoined Silver and the party.


Detective 471

Cover Date: August 1977
Subtitle: The Dead Yet Live
Writer(s): Steve Englehart
Artists(s): Marshall Rogers, Terry Austin
Storyline: Though Phosphorus was thought dead, Thorne held everyone to the original plan - Batman must be destroyed. Bruce still had burns from his encounter with Dr. Phosphorus, so he checked himself into a "no questions asked" clinic he'd heard of. He was drugged and locked in. Batman escaped and came back in to take down the curator, who turned out to be Dr. Hugo Strange (thought dead). He'd been doping Gotham's elite and having them bring their friends. Strange had a deadly snake bite Batman. He administered the anti-venom in time to save the vigilante. When he awakened, Dr. Strange had unmasked him.


Detective 472

Cover Date: September 1977
Subtitle: I Am the Batman
Writer(s): Steve Englehart
Artists(s): Marshall Rogers, Terry Austin
Storyline: Dr. Hugo Strange assumed not only the guise of Batman, but also of Bruce Wayne. He planned to embezzle from the various Wayne companies. Strange, as Wayne, began selling stock like mad. Silver came to visit him in his office, and he broke it off with her. Suspicious, she visited the clinic again for Wayne and was again asked to leave. She called Dick at college, who was secretly worried. Soon later, Robin burst in on the scene.
Bruce began to build a tolerance for the drugs he was being given. Alfred tried to help him. Strange's monsters attacked Silver as he planned to auction Batman's true identity. Using the info gained from Silver, Robin found Bruce and Alfred. He battled through the monsters and freed them. He then went after Strange, not knowing he'd been abducted by Thorne's men. He had them torture the doctor, but he refused to give up the secret. Strange died at the hands of Thorne's goons.


Detective 473

Cover Date: November 1977
Subtitle: The Malay Penguin
Writer(s): Steve Englehart
Artists(s): Marshall Rogers, Terry Austin
Storyline: Batman and Robin took on some of Thorne's men who were dumping Strange's body. They had to split when the cops came - they were still on the outs due to Thorne's propaganda. Penguin (who'd broken out of jail three weeks previous), not knowing Strange had been killed, showed up for the auction of Batman's identity. He and his men scattered when they heard the Joker's laugh. Batman saw that an art gallery was displaying a penguin item and confronted the curator.
When they returned to the penthouse, Alfred told them the money Strange was laundering had been recovered. They grabbed some ZZZs, then visited Silver, who was recovering in the hospital. That night, they found Penguin coming out of the museum. He gave them the slip with one of his trick umbrellas.
Batman foiled his plan - he wasn't out to get the bird (he'd stolen it weeks before - the one in the museum was a fake), he was hijacking a plane full of dignitaries. The Dynamic Duo took him down easily.


Detective 474

Cover Date: December 1977
Subtitle: The Deadshot Ricochet
Writer(s): Steve Englehart
Artists(s): Marshall Rogers, Terry Austin
Storyline: Batman and Robin returned to the cave after taking down Penguin and sparred a bit. After their exercise was over, Dick got a call from Wonder Girl - important Titans business. After Bruce insisted, Dick reluctantly left.
Penguin was placed in a cell adjacent to Floyd Lawton - Deadshot. Lawton snatched Cobblepot's escape tool and broke out. Batman visited Thorne. When he left, for a second time, the mob boss saw a vision of Hugo Strange.
Bruce and Silver had lunch together. He felt them growing closer. She asked him about his relationship with Commissioner Gordon and the Batman. That night, Batman was attacked by Deadshot. He took the assassin down in Silver's presence. She was convinced Batman was Bruce.


Detective 475

Cover Date: February 1978
Subtitle: The Laughing Fish
Writer(s): Steve Englehart
Artists(s): Marshall Rogers, Terry Austin
Storyline: Batman spied on Silver as she readied for her date with Bruce Wayne. He burst into her apartment and asked her what she'd wanted from him the night before. She played it off, and he left. As soon as he got through her window, Bruce called to postpone their date.
The next morning, the news broke that fish all across the eastern and western US coasts were tainted with the Joker's smile. The madman went to a copyright lawyer and attempted to get profit from each fish sold with his image. The man balked, but Joker gave him some time to think about it. Thorne was threatened by Joker. He made sure the man realized killing Batman would be a mistake. Thorne left town.
Joker hijacked TV later that day, announcing he would kill the lawyer at midnight. Batman, Gordon, and the GCPD were on hand, and the man died by gas. Joker made another appearance with another threat.
Silver St. Cloud, hitchhiking, got in the car with Rupert Thorne.


Detective 476

Cover Date: April 1978
Subtitle: Sign of the Joker
Writer(s): Steve Englehart
Artists(s): Marshall Rogers, Terry Austin
Storyline: The Joker's next target died on schedule, even though he and Batman had traded identities for the event. Batman searched outside the house and thought he saw an apparition of Hugo Strange.
Thorne and St. Cloud had an argument about the Batman after hearing a news piece on the Joker. He forced her out of his car. She wandered to a nearby house where the owner was working on his plane.
Batman and the police readied for Joker's next attack; Batman noticed him in a GCPD uniform. They fought onto a fire escape. Silver got back to town in time to see them battling. Lightning struck the Joker's platform and he fell into the river below.
Silver confronted her lover and told him they could never be together. Gordon came to him with news - Thorne had been picked up in another state - he'd confessed to every crime he'd ever committed.


Detective 478

Cover Date: August 1978
Subtitle: The Coming of Clayface III
Writer(s): Len Wein
Artists(s): Marshall Rogers, Dick Giordano
Storyline: With the loss of Silver still fresh on Bruce's mind, Clayface (III: Preston Payne) surfaced. Gordon clued Batman in - he'd killed a night watchman / former police officer. Batman soon caught up with him at S.T.A.R. Labs attempting to swipe a device. He warned Batman that he had no quarrel with him, but the effects of Matt Hagen's blood got to him. With Batman down, Clayface dropped a glove and went for his face.


Detective 479

Cover Date: October 1978
Subtitle: If a Man be Made of Clay
Writer(s): Len Wein
Artists(s): Marshall Rogers, Dick Giordano
Storyline: Batman was able to dodge Clayface's touch and zap him with electricity. Clayface escaped and put the Batmobile out of commission on his way out. Payne's fever worsened and he crashed his car. The next car was an easy target for him - he killed the driver and took it (the driver's wife escaped). An eyewitness called the cops. They set up a road block and nabbed Clayface. Batman gave chase, but the freak jumped from a bridge into the river. Batman was able to trail him to his hide-out: a wax museum. They fought, and a fire was started. Batman was able to stop the battery pack feeding his exoskeleton and best Clayface. They exited. Clayface noticed the fire and rushed back in. After the blaze was stopped, they found no trace of his body.
A strange female visitor attempted to get an appointment with Bruce.


reprinted as Shadow of the Batman 1-5 (December 1985-April 1986)


trade paperback edition


notes

  • This fits in place during Tales of the Demon and spans less than one month in continuity.
  • "The Dead Yet Live" takes place about a week after the previous stories: "...Where ever he touched me, he burned me. It's been a week now! They're not healing!" [Batman]
  • "The Dead Yet Live" takes place around a year after the introduction of Ra's al Ghul: "...Just last year, that Ra's al Ghul character tried to frame him for murder..." [city councilman]
  • "I am the Batman" Dick is in college.
  • "I am the Batman" Bruce is Strange's prisoner for about a week: "...They've kept him drugged for a week, but I've looked after him." [Alfred]

    Return to continuity section 2.