Batman 330 – who is pulling all the strings?

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The cover for Batman 330 (Dec. 80) really excited me when I was 15.  The woman pictured is clearly Talia Al Ghul, and I had high expectations for the tale.  Expectations that the Wolfman, Novick and Colletta tale did not live up to.

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The story has a death row criminal put out a contract on Batman, determined that the hero should die before he does.  But there are a lot of other plot threads weaving their way through this tale. We discover that Caroline Crown, Bruce Wayne’s new secretary, is really channeling information to Gregorian Falstaff.

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This is also the first story that delves into how upset Bruce Wayne is that Dick Grayson has dropped out of college, a reference to events in the recent New Teen Titans series. As a result, he is less than happy to have Robin accompanying Batma.  While Robin, on his side, is none too happy that Talia Al Ghul has come back into Batman’s life.  This is her first appearance after the conclusion of the war between Ra’s Al Ghul and the Sensei that had been playing out in the pages of Detective Comics until a few months earlier.

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Lucius Fox’s recent leave of absence was, indeed, to deal with his troubled son, Timothy, who had been being manipulated by a street gang, who had lead the boy to believe that Bruce Wayne was a callous slumlord.  But that gang, we learn, is also being run by Gregorian Falstaff.  Despite the fact that Falstaff appears in only one panel of the story, his influence is everywhere in this issue.  He even has his killers go after the contract on Batman, though Talia helps the hero defend himself.

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And, when push comes to shove, so does Robin.  Timothy Fox discovers how he has been used as well.

It’s not a bad story, and does pull together a lot of the stuff that has been set up over the past year.  But the confrontation between Robin and Talia promised by the cover never really gets going.

Needless to say, the man who started it all goes to the electric chair, dying without having Batman killed first.

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