Batman 356 (February 1983)

batman_356.jpg´╗┐It’s a somewhat anti-climatic end to the Hugo Strange storyline Conway had been working on for… a couple years? Hugo shows up, back from the dead, with an army of androids, and Batman doesn’t bat an eye.

The art is so gorgeous, it doesn’t really matter. I’m not sure if Giordano is my favorite inker for Newton, but he does a great job with it. The issue even has a full page panel, the first I can remember from Newton, and it works… the art makes the story work.

The problem is with the pacing. Conway didn’t develop Strange as a villain, just as a shock guest star. So this issue needs to be beautiful to see, because the story is really just a perfunctory aside.

Though there is Bruce suspecting he’s probably lying to Vicki about his feelings for her. I like Conway acknowledging Bruce’s indecisiveness; it brings humanity.

CREDITS

The Double Life of Hugo Strange; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Don Newton; inker, Dick Giordano; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterer, Ben Oda; editors, Nicola Cuti and Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

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