This story is another story taking place in the early years of Batman’s career and depicts Batman’s first encounter with Hugo Strange. While investigating a string of violent murders Batman crosses paths with Hugo Strange and the outcome of his human experimentation.
One of the unique subplots of this story involves Bruce Wayne’s love interest, Julie. Theres nothing overly different about their relationship, as is often the case with Batman stories, she falls in love, finds Bruce Wayne mysterious and attempts to break through and find out about the real Bruce Wayne. This is something Batman fans are used to seeing. However, the character of Julie was one of Bruce Wayne’s love interests from the golden age of Batman comics and hadn’t been seen since 1941 in comics. Her addition and re-imagining add a nice little touch for long-term fans.
The Dilemma that unfolds involving her father getting in deep with a loan shark adds a realism to this story as the father turns to alcohol and Julie dances on the edge of hysteria, we get to see very human emotions in play which adds a realistic element to the story.
Sal Maroni is also a key character in this story indicating that the events of the story take place prior to The Long Halloween‘s final issues. He is shown as a loan shark who loans money to Hugo Strange to continue his sick and twisted research. His appearance in this story adds more depth to his character. He is an incredibly unlikeable character who you want to come to a horrible end.
Hugo Strange is handled brilliantly here, despite his apparent shortcomings he is a very strong, intelligent and dangerous man. He is portrayed as very unforgiving and willing to ignore ethics to reach his goal through experimentation. It is through this experimentation and creation of his monster men that leads to a very bloody finale.
Overall this is a great Batman story, its great for newcomers and long-term fans. There are a lot of believable characters, a great villain and a gory showdown. This one is worth your time.
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