Sunday, October 7, 2018

Retro Review: Batman #418 Review (1988) - "Ten Nights of the Beast: Part II"

Try the Veal

Written by: Jim Starlin
Art by: Jim Aparo, Mike DeCarlo, Adrienne Roy, and John Costanza
Cover Price: 75¢
Release Date: April 1988

The first part of this KGBeat introduction did well in setting our villain up as a straight up badass!  While we still don't know much about him, he already poses a huge threat to Batman and America itself.  Sure, some of the Cold War stuff may not play well now, but I still love the Beast and this next issue sets him up as an even bigger threat as we see how cold-blooded he really is.  So, let's get into it…

The issue opens with Batman trying to figure out who the KGBeast is and also whom he can trust going forward.  batman seems to like guys with smoking habits since he likes Jim Gordon (of course), but also CIA agent Bundy...but not those damn FBI agents!  You see, they aren't smokers.  Plus, he doesn't trust Andrei, the KGB agent. why wouldn't he trust him?!?!

In the meantime, Sylvia Burrows is missing and she is on KGBeast's hitlist.  There isn't much time to worry as we see KGBeast set up her death (and her lover's!) and that is just the beginning of the death and destruction of this issue.

In my mind, the next scene sets up the ruthlessness of KGBeast as he poisons and kills 80 innocent people just to kill the next guy on his list…Presidential Advisor Wilder.

Batman gives chase to KGBeast and his helper, Nabin Salari, but it's one of those chase scenes where the bad guys take advantage of Batman having to save everyone in danger (a school bus here) to get away.  Still, it has some pretty good action during it all.

Afterward, Batman tells Robin they must have a traitor in the ranks and make sure they keep most in the dark about where the next couple guys are from the list.  Then we get some pretty quick scenes with Batman going to the darker side of Gotham to rustle up some information on the Beast.  It's the kind of detective work I am begging for in the current books so I loved it even if it was (or maybe because) so quick.  It leads to Batman figuring out the next attack and so gives him the opportunity to set up a trap.

The best part is, KGBeast knows full well its a trap and doesn't give a crap!  He destroys a building with a rocket launcher and then starts fighting Batman.  And he is kicking Batman's ass!!!  The only thing that saved Bats is that KGBeast thinks the Dark Knight has backup and runs.

Batman gives chase but the issue ends with KGBeast getting away and Batman pretty much admitting that he hasn't found his equal...but someone way better than himself!  That's something you don't see much!

I said it above in the intro...this issue shows how cold-blooded and efficient KGBeast is.  It also sets him up to be bigger and worse than Batman and that's coming right from the Bat's mouth!  While there are still bits that are set firmly in the era it was written, this issue doesn't feel as dated as the last and really is a chase scene followed by a couple of fights...and it's pretty awesome!  The art is still really good and the whole thing is making me love the Beast more and more.

Bits and Pieces:

Jim Starlin continues setting up the KGBeast as a force of nature that is brutal, calculating and better than Batman.  He seems to be able to do whatever he wants and it sets the stakes way higher as we head to the third issue of the story.  There is a War in Gotham and it's getting harder to tell who is going to win.


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