DC; September 1980

Title: “The Man Behind the Mask!”
Synopsis: Batman declares war on the mysterious villain who has been stalking him – but all is not as it seems.

Writer: Len Wein
Penciler: Jim Aparo

Review: Story wise, this concluding issue is a bit of a letdown. While the fine origin recaps keep coming, the big payoff to the “who’s stalking the Batman?” storyline falls flat. It feels like somebody at DC – maybe writer Len Wein, maybe somebody in corporate – blinked. Instead of exploring the psyche of a guy compelled to dress up like a bat, the whole thing is blamed on some warehouse explosion that didn’t even happen in this title. Aparo’s art continues to be top shelf, though, and the miniseries as a whole offers a fine primer to the Batman mythos.

Grade: B+

Cool factor: Jim Aparo’s work on this series is a tour de force.
Not-so-cool factor: The ending could have been spectacular.

Notable: Recounts the origins of Commissioner James Gordon, Batgirl and others.

Collector’s note: There are also mini-comic and book on tape versions of this issue.

Character quotable: “There’s something bothering your partner, Robin – something gnawing at the pit of his soul … and I wish to God I knew how to help him!” – Commissioner James Gordon, Bat accomplice.

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