Another great Neal Adams cover on Batman 232 (June 1971), as O’Neil, Adams and Giordano introduce Ra’s Al Ghul, the head of the League of Assassins.
The story opens with Robin getting shot and kidnapped. Alfred brings Bruce Wayne a note from someone who knows he is Batman, stating that he has Robin.
Ra’s Al Ghul then shows up, showing Batman a similar note, indicating that his daughter, Talia, has also been taken captive. Al Ghul has been indirectly built up over the last years, with stories in Detective Comics that introduced the League of Assassins, as well as Talia. Ubu also gets introduced in this story, Ra’s Al Ghul’s rarely speaking giant bodyguard.
Together they go on the trail of their “children,” first to Calcutta, and then to the Himalayas. The art is excellent, and the dangers along the way very real. Despite being a villain, Al Ghul always addresses Batman with the greatest respect, calling him “Detective.”
Batman goes along with Ra’s, who expounds on his dream of living in a depopulated world. Ra’s appears to get shot on the final ascent. Batman makes it to Robin, and seems completely unconcerned with the armed men there. He explains that he has been aware that all this was a charade from the very beginning, and has been allowing Ra’s to play out his game, but was never taken in by it. Batman simply cannot understand why Ra’s has been doing any of this.
The story has a kick-a ending. Ra’s calmly explains that Talia has fallen in love with Batman, and Ra’sgior has been determining if he would be a worthy successor to his criminal empire.
Ra’s Al Ghul and Talia return in a couple of months. Couldn’t end the story here!