Batman 399 – a grisly tale

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A cheery cover for Batman 399 (Sept. 86), and the Moench and Mandrake tale does not shy away from it.

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In fact, the image gets repeated right away, on the splash page.  The story deals with a misogynistic axe murderer, and makes the most of Mandrake’s art style.

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There is even a decent mystery at the core of it, as Batman, Bullock and Commissioner Gordon cannot piece together the victim with any motive, and wonder if the killer got the wrong victim.

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As one might expect from the cover, this plays out more like a horror film than anything else, and is very effective at it.

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Catwoman has a small role in the story, despite the end of their partnership in he previous issue.  They never really said goodbye, and the kiss at the end of this issue is the big farewell to their romance.

This story is also the last “normal” story for the Earth-1 Batman.  The annual (which had actually been released before this), and Batman 400 both function as final stories of this version of Batman.

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