Batman: The Saga of Ra's al Ghul

Issue #1

Cover Date: January 1988
Subtitle: (1) Into the Den of the Death Dealers; (2) Daughter of the Demon
Writer(s): Dennis O'Neil
Artists(s): Bob Brown, Dick Giordano, Neal Adams
Storyline: Into the Den of the Death Dealers (from Detective 411)
Batman met with a criminal who claimed to have information on Dr. Darrk and the League of Assassins. Before he could tell Batman anything, the man was attacked by two members of the League. Batman chased them off and got information from the man before he took his last breath.
Batman, in disguise, was aboard a passenger train in Asia when Darrk and his companion jumped. Batman followed - and it was anticipated. He was attacked by the League and held hostage in the dungeon of an abandoned monastery. He awakened (unmasked) in the company of a kidnapped medical student named Talia. She explained that Darrk and her father, Ra's al Ghul, had been partners, but had split ways. Batman and Talia escaped when Darrk's men sent a bull to attack them. They were also able to capture Darrk. They neared the coming train, and Darrk attempted an escape. Talia shot him and he fell in front of the train.

Daughter of the Demon (from Batman 232)
Robin, returning to his dorm room at Hudson University, was abducted. Bruce received a note a few days later from the kidnappers. He headed to the cave to begin the investigation. There, he was met by Ra's al Ghul and his bodyguard, Ubu. His daughter had also been abducted. After Talia's first meeting with Batman, Ra's had discovered the man's true identity.
On the photographs, Batman found a substance that led them to Calcutta. Soon after their arrival, Batman got a lead on the Brotherhood of the Demon. Batman was attacked by a trained leopard and defeated it. Inside the place, they found a map of the Himalayas. The trio headed that way.
In the mountains, Batman was separated from Ra's and Ubu when a sniper struck. Batman made it to the Brotherhood of the Demon's stronghold alone. He walked straight to Robin and laughed and the charade placed before him by Ra's and Ubu. The reason for the game was the only question, one answered by Ra's - his daughter, Talia, was in love with the Batman. He'd chosen the man to be his successor.

El Diablo: Night of the Living Dead (non-Batman story from Weird Western Tales #13)
El Diablo took down some bank robbers who'd broken out of jail to reclaim the money they'd stashed.


Issue #2

Cover Date: February 1988
Subtitle: (1) Swamp Sinister; (2) Vengeance for a Dead Man (3) The Secret of the Waiting Graves
Writer(s): Dennis O'Neil
Artists(s): Neal Adams, Irv Norvick, Dick Giordano
Storyline: Swamp Sinister (from Batman 235)
Ra's al Ghul brought a body to Batman. He explained the man had been exposed to a chemical that could lead to plague. At one of his laboratories, two of his scientists had attempted to steal a breakthrough metal softener, but were unaware that it was deadly to humans. One man escaped with the chemical.
Batman headed to the nearest location which may house some of the rare metal. Once on site, he found guards wearing Ra's al Ghul's insignia. The man he sought had already been captured. Batman tracked them to the bayous of Louisiana. There, he found Talia holding the traitor at gunpoint. He told them about the plague and that her father was alive. After a struggle for her weapon, the traitor fell on his own batch of the chemical and was killed. Batman and Talia escaped. Her father was waiting for them with a helicopter equipped to treat them if infected.

Vengeance for a Dead Man (from Batman 240)
Gordon called Batman in to investigate a murder. The man's brain was removed. The only clues Batman had was his occupation (he worked at a research institute), and some rare cigarettes found on his body. Batman, knowing he was followed, checked out an import tobacco store. He was ambushed, but Talia appeared and saved him.
The next night, Talia and Batman peeked in on the dead man's partner and heard him and his hitman discussing the kill. Batman quickly took down the hitman, but Talia "accidentally" administered an amnesia injection instead of a truth serum. Batman dropped her off at her father's yacht and followed her in a helicopter (she'd fled the boat in a hidden submarine). When the sub stopped, Batman dove into the river; Alfred returned the chopper. Batman soon found the sub and an underwater base. He got in and found Ra's al Ghul interrogating the dead man's brain - he'd found a scientist who could help him communicate with it. Ra's and Talia escaped; the brain tricked Batman into destroying it.

The Secret of the Waiting Graves (from Detective 395)
Bruce Wayne attended a party thrown by the Muertos of Mexico. Most millionaires in the Western Hemisphere were invited. A hot-air balloon race went bad when falcons attacked and destroyed one of the vessels. Batman was able to save the rider. Batman also saved the crowd from snipers and trained wolves.
He tracked the hosts into an abandoned monastery where they disabled a government agent who'd been tracking them. They used a hallucinogenic flower against the vigilante and escaped. When Batman regained his senses and once again evaded their pet birds, he burned the flowers, which also caused their immortality. The Muertos aged quickly and died.


Issue #3

Cover Date: March 1988
Subtitle: (1) Bruce Wayne: Rest in Peace; (2) The Lazarus Pit
Writer(s): Dennis O'Neil
Artists(s): Irv Norvick, Dick Giordano, Neal Adams
Storyline: Bruce Wayne: Rest in Peace (from Batman 242)
Batman visited Commissioner Gordon shortly after it was reported that Bruce Wayne's plane crashed in a South American jungle. Batman told Gordon he'd be out of the country for several months. He went to question a man named "Matches" Malone. A shot was fired.
Malone later followed Dr. Harris Blaine at a convention. He saw a man attempt to abduct Blaine, took the man down, and abducted him himself. Malone took Dr. Blaine to his new boss, Batman. He asked him to join in the battle against Ra's al Ghul. The first assassin caught up with them and put a knife in Batman's chest. When Malone and Blaine got up, both the assassin and Batman were gone. Malone, actually Wayne - the real Malone had been killed by his own bullet in a struggle with Batman, told Blaine to go after them and changed into his other costume. Batman caught up with Lo Ling and saved him from falling off the roof. The man pledged a life debt to Batman. They would all meet later to begin their quest.

The Lazarus Pit (from Batman 243)
Batman and Lo Ling squared off against each other Ling was torn between his life debts to both Batman and Ra's al Ghul. Ling was easily defeated and pledged to help Batman. After he was gone, Malone (actually Robin) deflated and unmasked. Batman got into the Matches Malone persona. Dick headed back to school; Bruce went to meet with Dr. Blaine and Lo Ling.
Their plane landed in Switzerland. Ling almost immediately spotted Talia and was taken down by Ubu. Batman then stood in the bodyguard's way. A bystander whacked Batman when she saw him grab Talia. Ra's al Ghul's daughter and Ubu escaped. Batman's attacker was an Olympic skier who'd also had run-ins with the Demon's Head. She offered her services to Batman's team.
They made it into Ra's headquarters and were greeted by Talia. She took them to her father's body. As they left the room, Talia activated one of her father's Lazarus Pits and he was revived.

The Widow's Walk (non-Batman story from House of Mystery #179)
A sailor married a woman for her father's wealth. When the man died, he left his possessions to others. The wife put a curse on her husband and he never returned home until she died - 60 years later.


Issue #4

Cover Date: April 1988
Subtitle: (1) The Demon Lives Again; (2) The Bruce Wayne Murder Case; (3) A Vow from the Grave
Writer(s): Dennis O'Neil
Artists(s): Neal Adams, Dick Giordano
Storyline: The Demon Lives Again (from Batman 244)
With their captive, Talia, Batman's team began their journey back to civilization. Ra's al Ghul, who they thought was dead, attacked them. He took down both Lo Ling and Batman and escaped with his daughter. Batman and the skier pursued their hovercraft, but the skier was injured and had to get medical attention.
Batman tracked Ra's to the desert, where they locked horns in a sword duel. Their fight was a draw, but Batman was stung by a scorpion. Secure in the fact that Batman would die, Ra's left him. Talia slipped him antidote in a kiss. Batman rose and defeated his enemy. He left Talia and took her father.

The Bruce Wayne Murder Case (from Batman 245)
Batman returned to Gotham City to find it in the midst of a mayoral election. One of the candidates, Bilker, was accusing the other, Harvey, of having Bruce Wayne killed. He had a handwritten note on Wayne stationery saying the man feared Harvey would kill him. Bilker swore Wayne gave it to him shortly before he departed for South America.
Batman visited a man who he'd read about in a scientific journal. The man had created a computer which could perfectly duplicate handwriting. He confessed to being threatened by Bilker, but he destroyed his machine, creating an electric shock which took down Batman. Batman later found the man at gunpoint - he'd gone to Bilker for help. After getting the police in on it, Batman vanished. Later, Bruce Wayne was "found" alive in South America.

A Vow from the Grave (from Detective 410)
Batman pursued Kano Wiggins, a murderer who'd escaped from death row. During their struggle, a huge man belted Batman allowing Wiggins to escape. He defeated the giant and was approached by three others - all former circus freaks. Their circus had folded and they were living in an abandoned building nearby. Batman left them to search out his prey. Later, Batman came to their aide when he heard a scream. One of their own had been hanged in their home. Batman took down Wiggins, and also the strong man who'd killed his friend over the love of a woman.


notes

  • Reprints stories from: Batman 232, 235, 240, 242-45; Detective 395, 410-411; Weird Western Tales 13; House of Mystery 179
  • This material is reprinted as Tales of the Demon with bonus material (though omitting the non-Bat stories).