Tuesday 14 August 2012

Detective Comics #438. A Monster Walks Wayne Manor.

Detective Comics #438, Batman, A Monster Walks Wayne Manor

Call me presumptuous but I've always wanted a brutish man-servant. The sort who can push people aside for me as I roam the streets of Sheffield.

But where to find such a thing?

Well, it turns out Wayne Manor is where to find such a thing because Bruce Wayne has a problem.

It would appear the house is haunted - haunted by a monster that's already killed a man and attacked poor old Alfred.

After some investigation, it turns out it's not a monster at all but Ubu, former man-servant to Ra's al Ghul.

Affected by an explosion and chemicals from the Lazarus Pit, he's now in the habit of glowing in the dark and looking for revenge on Batman for past indiscretions.

Detective Comics #438, Ubu in bandages

Needless to say he doesn't get it.

When I first read this tale as a kid, I didn't have a clue who Ra's al Ghul was or what the Lazarus Pit was. Nor had I previously been aware that Wayne Manor had been abandoned, or why it'd been abandoned.

What I was aware of was that, with a Gothic mansion, its darkened corridors stalked by a, "monster," it was a tale of mood and mystery.

Of course, what really sold it as such was the fact it was drawn by Jim Aparo.

Detective Comics #438, Ubu attacks Batman

I can't deny it, Jim Aparo's my favourite Batman artist. Neal Adams was fine but his work always seemed so polite compared to the more macho, rough-hewn look of Aparo. It's a fairly slight tale, only a few pages long - and feels more like an epilogue to another tale than a story in its own right - but the harsh moodiness of Aparo gives it a style that guarantees it takes hold in the memory more determinedly than logic suggests it ever should do.

Detective Comics #438, Batman departs dragging an unconscious man through the snow


Anonymous said...

I probably had this issue, although I don't remember much about it. I think I had all the Detective issues with the Archie Goodwin/Walt Simonson Manhunter serial. Later, DC collected those in one volume. But I might have bought the 'Tec issues anyway, for the new Batman stories and the Golden and Silver Age reprints.

Anonymous said...

Like you, I was a little confused by references to Wayne Manor being abandoned. I sort of outgrew comics and moved on to other interests sometime around 1970. I returned to the hobby in 1978 and bought a few comics, including Brave & Bold #141. Bruce Wayne was living in a penthouse in the city in that one, so I wondered what happened to the mansion. Later, I collected back issues and found that Dick Grayson had graduated high school and gone away to college in 1968 or '69. Bruce and Alfred moved out of the manor and into the penthouse in Batman #217 (1969). They moved back to Wayne Manor in #348 (1982) and found Man-Bat hiding there. For a while, Wayne Manor seemed to be a homeless shelter for monsters.

Paul D Brazill said...

Yep, I loved that issue. I'm with you on Aparo for Batman.

Boston Bill said...

I think you're turning me into an Aparo fan.