Batman 318 – the Firebug debuts

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An arsonist with a taste for flashy outfits makes his debut in the Wein, Novick and McLaughlin story in Batman 318 (Dec. 79).

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Batman meets the Firebug in a burning slum, and the man seems genuinely concerned to make sure that no one perishes in the fire he has set – a child almost does, but Batman rescues them.

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Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle are out on a date, and Selina has started getting headaches.  These seem linked with the arrival of an Egyptian exhibit of the cat goddess, Bast.  Is Catwoman manifesting despite Selina’s efforts?

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The Firebug is a war vet, trained with incendiaries, whose family was all killed due to the shoddy slum buildings that they were living in.  The Firebug is not out to kill anyone in vengeance, but is determined to destroy the slum, to prevent anyone else from dying.

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Lucius Fox’s meeting with Gregorian Falstaff is a bit of a let-down, after being built up for so many issues.  Fox simply declines Falstaff’s request to come work for him, and leaves.  But we do see that Falstaff is not finished with Lucius.

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Batman and Firebug fight it out toward the end of the story, with Firebug setting his entire costume aflame.  It appears that the man dies when his costume explodes, but his outfit is seen a few years down the road in Batman 400, implying that he is till around, and many years later, he would return, only to be promptly killed off by Firefly.

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The last page sees the return of the Gentleman Ghost, a set up for next issue.

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