Batman 379 – Nocturna vs the Mad Hatter

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The Mad Hatter story line concludes in the Moench, Newton and Alcala story in Batman 379 (Jan. 85).

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There are a number of things I like about this issue: the repeated use of bedtime stories by various characters, and the way the Mad Hatter builds an army of mind controlled subjects.  But it also buries itself deep in the Nocturna soap opera, which gets less and less entertaining the longer it goe on.

In a weird editorial decision, Vicki Vale gives Julia Pennyworth the job of writing up the custody battle over Jason Todd for the newspaper.  Giving the assignment to a woman currently living with Bruce Wayne is hardly going for a bias-free article.

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The Mad Hatter builds his army of mind controlled victims by putting up ads for a job, and forcibly recruiting any whom come to apply.  This take on the Mad Hatter, keeping him a mastermind on the sidelines while his slaves do the work, would become the standard way the character operated from now on.

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Nocturna tries to convince Jason to stay with her, but when Batman comes a calling, Jason makes it clear that he has no intentions of giving up being Robin.  Nocturna’s seductive powers don’t seem much use at keeping Batman off the streets either.

I should also mention that, though I didn’t take a clip of it, we see that the Night Slayer is being tended to by a blind woman, who comes to believe that he is a good guy.

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While Batman and Robin find themselves immersed in battle with the Mad Hatter’s slaves, it’s Nocturna who winds up taking down the villain herself.  True, he did use his hats on her in the previous issue, but one gets the feeling that she does this more to show that she could be a partner to the two heroes.

The Mad Hatter returns in Batman 400.

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