Monday, October 8, 2018

Retro Review: Batman #420 (1988) - "Ten Nights of the Beast - Part 4"

Written by: Jim Starlin
Art by: Jim Aparo, Mike DeCarlo, Adrienne Roy, and John Costanza
Cover Price: 75¢
Release Date: June1988

We have finally made it to the end of the first KGBeast story and up until now, Batman has really been behind the 8-ball.  Not only is he one step behind the Beast, but there is obviously a rat amongst the good guys and on top of that, KGBeast doesn't have to worry about any sort of code to go about his business.  He is in Gotham with a few days to kill and he is really taking that to the extreme.  SO, how does the story end and is it any good?  Let's find out…

The issue opens by showing that the Beast leaves no loose ends.  He has killed the arms dealer who made his gun hand and while that's all fine and dandy (i guess not for him, though), why did the Beast just leave the body?  Maybe he didn't want to get blood all over himself because there is a whole lot of it.

We then see that the last person on the hit list has arrived in Gotham and it's...President Reagan!!!  That is pretty big!  Out of nowhere, Batman swings in, grabs the President and swings out while everybody, including the secret service, watches on in surprised horror.  yep, some guys are losing their jobs tonight!  It's all the start of Batman's plan to save the President, reveal the snitch and take down the Beast!

After Batman and Agent Bundy have a wink-wink, nudge-nudge conversation about taking down the Beast alive, we see the bad guys have fallen for the trap.  At the Beast's signal, Salari tries to suicide bomb the President, then the Beast himself shows up after the mole shows his hand….and gun to everyone including Batman.  In the confusion, KGBeast slips into the sewers and Batman gives chase.  Things are about to come to a brutal conclusion!

Batman follows the blood and body trail to the Beast and after a two-part “flying dead man maneuver” ( that's really what Batman calls throwing a dead body at the Beast!) they both take turn beating the crap out of each other.  Fists, tear gas, kicks, lead pipes...there is a lot of ass kicking going on.  

The issue ends with one of the craziest, most shocking things that Batman has ever done.  Batman has set up KGBeast to enter a cul-de-sac and when he does, Batman shuts the door, locks it a leaves the Beast to die.  Yea, this will get retconned down the road, but here, Batman really stretches the fine print of his code.  After such a dark moment, Jim Starlin ends with a little joke showing that Alfred had been impersonating the President to keep him out of harm's way.

This was a crazy end to a really good arc introducing the KGBeast.  Yea, he seemed to be left for dead, but you can't keep a good Beast down and as we know, he did return.  I have to give Jim Starlin credit for having the balls to go this far with Batman, but he did a really good job of setting it up to put Batman in a no-win situation.  The art and story were consistently good throughout this whole story and there is a reason this is considered by many to be a classic moment in Batman history.

Bits and Pieces:

The end of the story and the KGBeast (for a bit at least) was brutal and vicious, bit great looking and fun as well.  Jim Starlin created an iconic villain that forced Batman to the brink and even made him stretch the bounds of his code.  This is a story all Batman fans should read.


No comments:

Post a Comment