Sunday, February 8, 2009

Batman and The Outsiders #8 - March 1984

The Phantom Stranger teams-up with Batman and the Outsiders!

This issue is like an old home week for the Phantom Stranger--not only does it feature him teaming-up with Batman again, not only does it feature the return of an old Phantom Stranger foe, not only it is written by Mike W. Barr, who wrote some of the Phantom Stranger back-ups for Saga of the Swamp Thing, but it features a return to the character by Phantom Stranger Artist Numero Uno, Jim Aparo:

Batman is investigating the kidnapping of a woman's baby. After consoling the mother, he heads off, while the woman's neighbors (who are expecting a child) take her in so she isn't alone.

Later, Batman is contacted by the GCPD, saying they have picked up a nearly-catatonic old man, muttering like a baby. His prints match those found at the woman's house, but Batman doubts this harmless old man could have pulled off such a deed.

While swinging off into the night, his thoughts are interrupted by an old "friend":
After consulting the Gotham City Hall of Records, Batman makes a startling discovery--according to the birth certificate, that old man is the kidnapped baby!

We cut away briefly to see what the Outsiders are doing, and each of them are having a sad, lonely Christmas.

Later, at a nursery school, Batman is hearing an unbelievable story--a roomful of babies turned into old people overnight! Afterwards, while Batman is talking to the GCPD, The Phantom Stranger "appears" to help point Batman a certain way in his investigation.

That same night, as Geo-Force is making his way across town, he hears a cry for help--Mr. and Mrs. Dennison, the expecting parents. They are on the way to the hospital, since Mrs. Dennison is in labor, but their car is stuck in snow-driven traffic.

Geo-Force takes them--car and all--to the hospital, and Mrs. Dennison is wheeled into the emergency room, and that's when things get even weirder:
...Tannarak again! Doesn't he ever give up?

While the Stranger and Tannarak battle, Batman rounds up the Outsiders. Once they arrive to help, Tannarak shoots a beam at all the babies in the nursery, causing them to become malevolent and start attacking the adults!

The Outsiders find ways to subdue the babies without hurting them, while the Stranger/Tannarak battle concludes:
...the end.

A sweet ending to definitely one of Batman's goofiest cases. I love Aparo's rendering of the evil baby, floating nude and upside down, as it zaps the doctor. Priceless.

It was cool for Mike Barr pick up one of the story threads he left dangling in his PS stories for Saga of the Swamp Thing. And since I've always been a fan of MWB's work, I thought it'd be great to have a chat with him about his experiences writing The Phantom Stranger.

So be here tomorrow where we talk with Mike W. Barr!

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