This book collects stories written by Steve Englehart and Len Wein pencilled by Marshall Rogers and Walter Simonson. If you can get past the heavy-handed 1970s narration, the stories carry some very powerful moments. Of particular interest are the Englehart/Rogers teaming.
Englehart and Rogers bring a modern sensibilty to Batman, while honoring the stories of the past. Indeed, the central villian Hugo Strange, hadn't been in a Batman comic for decades when they revived him from obscurity (only to kill him off). Oversized props of the 1940s can be seen in the story featuring Deadshot (another 1940s villian revamped for the '70s).
Several elements of their stories have worked their ways into modern Batman stories. Rupert Thorne would return in the Batman animated series. Hugo Strange would be ressurected various times throughout the 1990s. Silver St. Cloud would be brought back in the Legends of the Dark Knight. Len
Wien's Clayface would make his way into a variety of storylines. And then there's the Joker. "The Laughing Fish" is one of the best Joker stories ever.
Rogers' artwork is realistic. His use of texture is unique in the graphic novel/comic form. Each panel is a snapshot of motion. He captures mood, expression, and action in a single drawing. Combined with Steve Englehart's creative plots, it's easy to see why many consider the stories found within Batman: Strange Appartitions as the definitive Batman.
Text (c) LCB 2000
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