Writer: Alan Grant
Art: Tom Mandrake
Color: Adrienne Roy
Letters: John Costanza
Published by DC Comics (June 1992)
Splash page. Batman finding a naked man hanging from a fire escape in some back alley. In the background we see a headline of a newspaper that reads “Missing Banker found Near-Dead”
The Gotham Hospital, the young banker is sitting in his bed with several bandages on his face and body. Batman and GCPD detective Kitch walk into the room, and question the young man. The young banker known as , Bob Buick claims he doesn’t remember anything. Then he turns away from the two men and demands to be left alone.
They leave, but as they pass out of the room a nurse walks in to check on Bob. Bob freaks out and screams out that he wants a male nurse.
Outside the hospital Kitch and Batman both agree that the man remembers more than he is willing to tell. Batman tells Kitch he will let him know if he finds out anything and swings off into the night.
Batman lands outside the window of Bob Buicks hospital room and watches and listens to all that goes on inside. Bob picks up the phone in the room and calls his friend Peter Langan to warn him he could be killed. Batman takes note of the phone number and leaves the hospital to find this Peter Langen and hopeful prevent a death.
Outside the nightclub called the Glitz Club, a group of patrons exit. They are discussing where to go next, when one of them breaks off to head for his car. That man turns out to be the elusive Peter Langen. He tells his friends that he is heading home and pulls out of the parking lot. Shortly behind him a white pickup truck goes speeding down the road.
A few minutes later that same truck runs into the back of Peter’s sports car and slams it into a pole. Now partially hanging out of his vehicle, Peter looks up to see a scantily clad masked woman standing in front of him. Peter’s only word to the person is “WOW”.
The Batmobile is racing across town as Batman is attempting to call Peter’s home. Unfortunately he is only getting Peter’s answering machine. The message says that he is out hitting some night clubs; so Batman decides to check out a few.
Back at the Traffic collision, Peter tries to hit on the woman standing in front of him. The woman doesn’t like it and literally hits on hi and calls him scum. The woman then identifies herself as Pagan and uses some Martial Arts to knock Peter out.
Batman questions the door man at the Glitz Club and learns that Peter Langen left for home driving his sports car. Batman then jumps back into the Batmobile and speeds off towards Peter’s home. Batman passes the crash site and see the damaged sports car and quickly stops to investigate. Batman the patrolman on site what happened. The office tells Bats that it looks like a drunk driver wrecked his sports car and then ran off.
They said that there are checking the registration and will try the owners’ residence. They tell Batman that the owner is Peter….. Batman finishes Langen. He tells the Patrolman that no one will be home ant that it wasn’t an accident and points out the impact on the vehicle that pushed the car into the pole. Batman also sees an oil trail and follows it in the Batmobile.
In an abandoned warehouse, Peter Langen is getting beat up and tortured by the villainous vixen Pagan. She taunts him as she pummels him with punches and kicks. Her taunts clearly hint at a form of some kind of abuse that she or another woman has endure at Peter’s hands. Pagan is so vicious and sadistic that she wants to hear Peter scream. However, she strikes him so hard that he passes out.
Batman locates the white truck that was used to run Peter’s car off the road. The truck lies abandoned, but there is evidence that the attacker switched vehicles and from the footprints in the mud that the attacker is female.
Peter gets a bucket of water splashed on his face, only to wake up in his own personal hell. Standing in front of him holding the bucket is Pagan ready to torture him all over again.
Back in the Batmobile, Batman calls Lieutenant Kitch to get some info on Buick and Langen. Hoping to discover if they are in the system. Sure enough they both had charges against them from battery on a young woman a few years ago. The case was thrown out as their wasn’t enough evidence for a conviction.
Back in the warehouse:
Pagan is continuing to torture and take vengeance on Peter. Teaching him what it is like to feel helpless. Pounding on him and kicking him as well as making him feel the pain and fear of being under someone else’s control.
Batman tracks down the parents of the woman that was attacked by Buick and Langen. He tells the parents that his looking for their Daughter Sondra Mercer. Mr. Mercer asks Batman if this is a bad joke as their daughter commited suicide a week after the trial.
Pagan is continuing to torture and beat Peter in the abandoned warehouse. Outside a shadow of the bat falls across the exterior of the building. Batman makes his way inside the building listening for Peter and his captor.
Batman manages his way through the stairs and halls just in time to prevent Pagan from killing Peter. Batman and Pagan exchange words, and we learn she is the older sister to Sondra Mercer. Pagan then attacks Batman and the two spar with different styles of martial arts.
As fast and furious as Pagan is, Batman manages to block and parry each move. Finally, Pagan lands a good blow and makes haste to jump out a nearby window. She gracefully flips and swings down to the ground, where she had a motorcycle hidden and peels out.
Little does she know that Batman had found her bike and tied a cable to it and a nearby light pole and the rider gets thrown of the bike and is knocked out when she lands in the street.
Back in the warehouse:
Batman makes a comment that he was prepared for her to runoff. Peter then thanks Batman for saving him, but Batman holds Peter back and says never thank me again.
End of Issue 479
THOUGHTS ON THE STORY:
This is a pretty solid story by Alan Grant, we actually get some detective work out of Batman. The plot has an interesting twist with the villain being a vengeance seeking vixen. The social justice of this story makes one think. Batman has a strong moral code and totally sees why Pagan is doing what she is, but is completely against her methods. Batman doesn't kill.
Tom Mandrakes ART is perfect for this story. Looking at his line work and the way he gives detail and depth to the human form is very well done. I enjoy looking at his figures as well as his backgrounds. His style feels dark enough to reflect the message of story.
All in all I give this book a:
Score 8.25 out of 10