Batman Knightcast 22: BATMAN #411 and DETECTIVE COMICS #578

Chris Franklin and Ryan Daly find the opposite of their joy with BATMAN #411, the second part of the latest Two-Face caper, because we can never have enough of those. Then finally DETECTIVE COMICS #578, the concluding chapter of “Batman Year Two”. These are two very bad Batman comics, but the boys attempt to liven things up at the end by remembering the animated movie BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM.

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Music from the Batman and Batman Returns original motion picture soundtracks by Danny Elfman. Additional music: “Two of Hearts” by Stacy Q; “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult; “I Never Even Told You” by Tia Carrere.

Thanks for listening!

17 responses to “Batman Knightcast 22: BATMAN #411 and DETECTIVE COMICS #578

  1. I’m in the middle of listening to the episode, but I have to ask, where are these comic scans coming from? They look like they’ve been stored in some kid’s closest for 30 years, sans bag and board. A visual comment on how you guys feel about the books?

    1. The Detective scans are mine, so I can verify that they were stored in a kid’s closet 30 years ago, sans boards. I think I had bags, but I didn’t have boxes. I just stacked them up back then. So…authenticity!!!


      1. The Batman issue was stored without bag or board in a longbox in a dank from like 1991 until 2016. Honestly, that condition was too good for it.

        1. Related, looking at the scans it’s amazing how schizophrenic the Bat-books were at the time. As you said, the solo book is almost like a coloring book, in tone and in look, meanwhile ‘Tec is full of bloody gore.

  2. So how much of Year 2 was supposed to reconcile the idea of the Golden Age Batman sporting a gun? It feels a little like it was woven to explore the idea that the Bat evidently used guns once, but rejected them. Was that in Barr’s head at all, you think?

    1. I believe that was the intent. If memory serves, Barr pitched the concept several years before Crisis, so it would have been more of an “untold tale” than part of the VERY soft reboot Batman was getting Post-Crisis.


      1. While Barr was a good mystery writer, I never liked his action-oriented stuff. It’s possible you might have heard rumors of my active disdain for his Batman and the Outsiders. It’s not a very well kept secret.

  3. Wow. You guys got this episode out quicker than I was expecting. I didn’t even get to comment on the last one. Usually, I listen to the podcasts at work during the week and don’t have time to comment until the weekend. By then, I’ve often forgotten what I was going to say….

    I really do enjoy the show even though you guys are stuck in one of my least favorite periods in Batman history. Don’t cheer too much about the Collins run coming to an end. As bad as it is, and it is terrible, I think Starlin’s run is even worse. I think Starlin draws a lot better Batman than he writes, but more on that when you get to his run.

    For the life of me, I don’t know why Collins Batman run turned out so badly. On the surface, he would seem a great choice to be a Batman writer. I’ve read some of his prose and seen some movies where he did the screenplay and the guy can write. He is very good at mysteries and hard-boiled stories. Collins even finished some of Mickey’s Spillane’s uncompleted Mike Hammer manuscript. While I wouldn’t want (although unfortunately we’ve often since gotten) a Batman that is as hardcore as Mike Hammer, the Hammer stuff showed that Collins could have written a gritty Batman. He just didn’t. Collins run isn’t fun either…it’s just….confusing.

    As for Barr, I liked a lot of his Brave & the Bold stories. I can’t really think of an issue he wrote that was bad. I wonder if we Bat-fans cut him slack because of how awesome “Player on the Other Side” was. It is my favorite Batman story of the 80s that wasn’t written by Len Wein or Alan Brennert. On the other hand, in Batman and the Outsiders, Batman was on his way to being unlikeable. I think Barr’s stories on Detective are pretty hit and miss. I hate the Joker/Catwoman story but liked most of the others except for Year Two. Let’s see. Batman is thinking about killing villains, so he decides that another guy who is killing villains needs to be taken down. To stop him, Batman teams with the killer who started his crusade in the first place. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Plus, Batman should have some nobility and his trying to seduce a potential nun away from her calling just makes him seem like a sleaze. Year Two is a prime example of nutzoid Batman that is as bad as the criminals. That may be why I hate it so.

    I admit I think my personal feelings on Barr may interfere with my enjoyment of his stories now. I remember how he attached LOCers who didn’t agree with his political beliefs in BATO and he comes across as pretty arrogant in interviews. I used to enjoy his Maze Agency, but now, like with his BATO and Detective runs, it may be because I enjoyed the art so much. He set the male true-crime writer up as a Mary Sue, and you can Barr identified with him.

    Let’s not forget that Barr is technically to blame for Damien Wayne, too, and Damien may be the only DC character I hate more than Green Arrow.

    One last thing about the cape. I don’t like Todd McFarlane, but this is a comic book. It is not supposed to be realistic. Batman is my favorite fictional character, so this isn’t meant as criticism, but I’ve read the theory that Batman is the most unrealistic super hero because of all the thing he can do without super-powers. That may be true. As such, when the costume is drawn as too realistic, it looks ridiculous. I still remember opening Gotham Knights 50 and thinking the cover was one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen. However, if Batman really existed, this is what he would look like, and if he dropped down on you in an alley, you would laugh your head off.

    On the other hand, this Berni Wrightson drawing is terribly unrealistic, but if this Batman dropped down on you in an alley, you would wet your pants. All that matters is does Batman look cool?

    BTW, Len Wein said this was his favorite Batman image (just considering the artists that drew stories Wein wrote, that is pretty high praise). It is up there for me too, and that long cape looks so cool. I have read some comics readers complain that this drawing is ridiculous because Batman would trip over a cape that long. No, he wouldn’t. Because this is a comic book.

    1. Hmm, now there’s a question, which run was worse, Collins or Starlin? Collins’ was seriously drab, but Starlin’s was dull too, and culminated in the death of Jason Todd… I’d say that trumps mere drab.

      As for the Barr stuff, the Davis art made it more fun than you might expect were you to read the scripts alone.

  4. Hey guys… Having just read Batman #77 of the current series, I really have to say how happy I am that you guys are covering an era where shock deaths were few and far between… Well, yeah ok they weren’t really but at least back then it felt more impactful.
    By the time you guys read this on the next episode I’m sure most of the listeners will already be aware of what I’m talking about. However, as the issue just came out today, I won’t spoil it just yet.

    I will say this however, Maybe it’s just because it’s so soon after Heroes in crisis, maybe it’s because there have been too many “Deaths in the Family” already, but the truth is, I read the issue and when the moment came I just said….”whatever”
    I didn’t gasp! I didn’t tear up…and the only gulping I did was when I drank my Starbucks Venti Mocha before picking up one of the six Marvel G.I. Joe back issues I bought along with this week’s releases.

    That’s really the root of my problem. I’m Not Mad that they killed _ _ _ _ _ off…I’m mad because I don’t care! DC has been engaging in so many shock deaths and Big events over the last 30 or so years, that we’ve all become desensitized to it all. DC has finally wore out it’s shock-value card.

  5. The gallery images for Year Two remind me of a copy of the 1994 one-shot Spawn/Batman by Miller and McFarlane that I won in a raffle at my LCS many years ago. Talk about some out of control capes. I’m not sure Spawn and Batman were even in the book. It may have just been their capes fighting it out. Of course, I shouldn’t joke too much, because I couldn’t draw a cape (or anything else for that matter) to save my life.

    Thanks for another excellent episode, gentlemen.

  6. Another excellent episode. I don’t know if you were aware, but Peter Tomasi has brought back the Reaper in the latest Detective Comics Annual. The new Reaper is the previously unmentioned son of Judson Caspian, who has reinvented the concept of the Reaper along the lines of Batman Incorporated (a Reaper in every country!). He escaped at the end of the story and will no doubt return as part of Tomasi’s run in Detective Comics.

    Again, I feel MAC’s run was him trying to write his version of the 1966 TV show, but without really succeeding. I think if you had a Two-Face in the TV show, the clues he would give would be similar to what MAC wrote in his story (although one would assume the TV show would have done it much better!).

    Excellent show – your latest has just been downloaded and I look forward to listening to this in due course.

  7. So what you’re saying is this is a GREAT time for someone to start listening to this podcast! Seriously, I hadn’t fit it in before, but it’s getting me in the feels. Batman #400 started me regularly collecting that book, and I think I started Detective with the Anniversary issue and Year Two. I have affection for this era of the Bat-books, but don’t take that to mean I thought all of the stories were great. Year One, obviously. And anxious for Starlin and Breyfogle to begin. But these issues, I agree completely, they’re a mess.

    Ok, one little comment. Blocking bullets with scythes didn’t bother me back then, because Barr’s Katana in the Outsiders blocked bullets with her sword in every issue for years. It’s completely unrealistic, but one of those things which superheroes do. Block bullets with bracelets, catch with bare hands, dodge with ease, whatever. Bullets just ain’t no big deal to the costumed crowd.

    Hang in there, guys! Almost to the great stuff!

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