Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Matt Signal Advent Calendar 2014 Day 2: Batman #445

Batman #445, March 1990

So, picture it: New Jersey, 1990. It's January, and I had spent the summer completely wrapped up in the first Tim Burton Batman movie. I've gotten the toys, the trading cards, I got the VHS tape for Christmas. And now I want to start reading the comics. I remember it was a cold day, and my mom pulled up in front of the little comic shop in my home town, where I ran in, looked at the racks, and saw this cover. "What's Batman doing in Russia?" I wondered, and so I took what little allowance I had, bought it, and walked out.

The story itself isn't that memorable, or maybe it would have been if I wasn't completely lost. It is, as it turns out, a sequel to the somewhat legendary Jim Starlin Batman story, "Ten Nights of the Beast." Only this time, instead of the KGBeast coming to Gotham to kill American capitalist government officials (that sounds cooler if you're picturing it said in an Ivan Drago voice), Batman must go to the USSR to save the Russian politicians who were responsible for glasnost from the Beast's apprentice, the NKVDemon. It's actually pretty fun, and had some nice Jim Aparo art. Aparo, who I might have talked about before but I'm not sure, is one of the definitive Batman artists in my opinion, and whose version of Batman still sticks in my head as THE Batman of my childhood.

I went back and got the next couple issues to finish out the story, and then the next issue box on the letters page (remember those?) said the next issue would be a Penguin story! I knew that villain! And if Penguin was around, that meant my favorite villain couldn't be far behind, and I was right. Batman #450 featured the return of the Joker, in his first appearance since "A Death in the Family," where he killed Jason Todd. I'm pretty sure, by the time that issue came out, I was buying Detective Comics too, since the Penguin story was a crossover between the two, and was buying back issues. And shortly thereafter, I bought my first issue #1. But that's for tomorrow...

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