Batman 338 – Batman vs the Sportsman, and Robin at Hill’s Circus

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Batman faces a new villain, the Sportsman, a fairly clear adaption of the classic Green Lantern enemy the Sportsmaster, in Batman 338 (Aug. 81).

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Like his predecessor, the Sportsman wears various uniforms, suitable to the event he is disrupting.  This villain’s goal is to kill off star athletes.  The story is by Conway, Thomas, Novick and McLaughlin.

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The Sportsman is more than happy to explain his traumatic childhood to Batman, with an abusive, and sports-crazed father.  As the boy was not terribly athletic, the dad performed medical experiments on him, which are now killing the Sportsman.  So he is out to kill successful sports figures first.

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Little about this tale grabs me, the villain is just too derivative, and the fact that he is dying easily explains why we never saw him again.

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Much better is the conclusion to the Robin storyline, by Conway, Newton and Mahlstedt, with the murder at Hill’s Circus.  Lorna gets cleared pretty fast, and explains that she is engaged to Waldo, although the murdered man was none too happy about that.

Vashnu, Tiny and Cleveland Brand all get very small roles, and most of them will next be seen in the Deadman miniseries a few years down the road.

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It turns out that the “murder” was really a suicide, intended to frame Waldo, and prevent him and Lorna getting married.  Although it seems that the two are headed to the altar, as of the Deadman miniseries, Lorna is still single – so perhaps his sick plan worked after all.

 

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