Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Retro Review: Batman #322 (1980) - "Chaos -- Coming and Going!"

Back and Forth
Writer: Len Wein
Art by: Irv Novick, Vince Colletta, and Glynis Wein
Cover Price: 40¢
Release Date: April 2nd, 1980
Review by: Joey Casco

Check out Joey's blog and YouTube Channel: 

Batman #322 was released the day I was born, so I actually have it framed on a wall in my home. It’s the first part of a three issue arc, and I’ll be reviewing those issues too in the coming weeks.

In Batman #322, titled “Chaos— Coming And Going”, the caped crusader is on the case of Captain Boomerang’s sudden appearance in Gotham. He’s threatening murder if he’s not paid a million dollars... but from whom? Much more important to the rest of the arc, Selina Kyle is retired from being Catwoman and has been diagnosed with a mysterious terminal illness. Yet, there is hope! And from where else but the ancient people who worshiped cats!
We open with Selina looking at a scrapbook filled with newspaper clippings from her days as Catwoman. She's out of the cape life for now and she misses it but really wants to put it behind her.  As she walks over to her window to look upon Gotham, the scene transitions to the streets across the city.
A van for the Gotham Guardian tabloid is making its deliveries. This isn't just a normal van. It's a "spanking-clean van". Not just clean; spanking-clean! It would be a shame if somebody would, I dunno, cut it in two using a single boomerang...

Oh man, that is just so ridiculous that it's amazing. Good old-school comic book absurdity. I love it!
Yes, that was Batman in the last bubble. Captain Boomerang immediately uses an exploding boomerang to blow up a wall, causing rubble to start falling down right where one of the delivery men had landed. Batman swoops in and saves him just in time, but Boomerang has made his escape.
With Boomerang giving away his motives when Batman arrived at the scene, Bruce heads back to his luxurious penthouse on top of the Wayne Foundation building. Now he's got to find out who owns the Gotham Guardian so he can get to him before Boomerang. "Will you be calling in Master Flash on this one sir?", asks Alfred. "The night I can't handle a punk like Boomerang alone is the night I hang up my cowl!", replies Bruce.
Next, we see Selina get diagnosed with a terminal illness that is never named but will kill her in less than a month. The doctor informs her that the ancient Egyptians used to have a cure using a mixture of herbs, but that recipe is long lost. She quickly finds out that there's an Egyptian exhibit at the Riverside Museum with cat statues that contain mysterious herbs. It might be time to get back into the theft trade, Selina!
When she visits the museum (as Selina, not Catwoman) there's this one part that made me crack up. They wouldn't let her near the statues so she thinks to herself "Stupid fool! Stupid rules!" and I was totally expecting her to follow it up with something like "Last I checked this was a free country!"

It turns out that the Gotham Guardian is owned by the Connoisseur Corporation, which is a front operation owned by Gregorian Falstaff. The dude looks like Lord Byron or King Henry VIII or some shit. Boomerang walks into his apartment and starts yelling about how he lost everything in stocks because of Falstaff. Stocks? Yup! His entire retirement plan was in stocks. And then the goddamn Batman shows up.
After a hilarious fight, Batman wakes up from unconsciousness to find himself tied to an enormous boomerang rocket, which Boomerang blasts off into the sky and watches it explode. But, of course, Batman escaped in the nick of time using the rocket jets on the rope that held him down. The two foes face each other like in a Western showdown. Boomerang throws a boomerang. Batman throws a Batarang. Which one will win when they collide? And... is that Catwoman???

Bits and Pieces:
I really love this issue. The ridiculous moments are forgivable because they are comical and entertaining. It's just a good retro comic that is a lot of fun. And it's kind of a cool thing to see one of Flash's rogues come into Gotham, thinking they can best the bat.


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