Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Hey!! Kids Comics: Batman 311 (1979)

Batman, Vol. 40, No. 311

Cover date: May 1979

Cover artists: José Luis García-López & Tatjana Wood

"Dr. Phosphorus Is Back!"

Writer: Steve Englehart
Penciller: Irv Novick
Inker: Frank McLaughlin
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Letterer: Ben Oda
Editor: Paul Levitz
Executive Editor: Joe Orlando

Plot: Batman teams with Batgirl to take on Dr. Phosphorus, who threatens to "reign over all" in Gotham City.

After the twice-rebuilt Gotham Nuclear Reactor goes critical for ten minutes, Batman investigates, finding glowing footprints at the site, he deduces that Dr. Phosphorus has returned!

Meanwhile, group of protesters has gathered demanding that the plant be shut down as a safety hazard. This pisses off Dr. Phosphorus, who has made the plant his new home.

Cut to, Washington, D.C. where Batgirl battles Killer Moth! It doesn't take long for her to kick his ass and hand him over to a couple of cops... who obviously have the hots for her.

Batgirl changes to Representative Barbara Gordon and goes to Congress, where she votes against the party line. Afterwards, a couple of her colleagues threaten her that because of this the party won’t be backing her for re-election. She doesn’t care, trusting the voters to do what’s right. She later heads off to Gotham City to make a speech advocating for the closing of the nuclear plant and the dismantlement of the entire nuclear power industry.

Batman is at Arkham Asylum to pay Rupert Thorne a visit and find out if knows anything about Phosphorus' plans. Thorne is of no help, he's still out of mind and a raving lunatic. Dr. Phosphorus also pays a visit to Thorn, causing Thorne to have a complete mental breakdown. Thorne's screams bring the Batman, but Phosphorus is able to make his escape out of a hole burned thorugh the cell wall, taunting Batman that he plans to "reign over all!"

Batman suddenly realizes that Phosporus didn't mean "reign," but "rain!" Phosphorus intends to seed clouds with irradiated material and rain fire on Gotham City!

Batgirl joins Batman as he rushes to the airport to stop Phosphorus' insidious plan. Phosphorus commandeers a small plane, but Batman crashes the Batmobile into the plane, flipping the Batmobile on it's side. Batman lies uncouncious, leaving Batgirl to tackle Phosphorus alone... However, she is able to subdue him by wrapping Batman's radiation-proof cape around him, using a Batrope to tie him up in it. Batman wakes up to find that Batgirl has everything under control.

Steve Englehart steps in, writing a timely anti-nuke story, while Irv Novick and Frank McLaughlin handle the art chores. Englehart brings back Dr. Phosphorus, a villian he created for Detective Comics 469 and 470. We also get to see Batman and Batgirl team up again for the first time since the 60s. One of the highlights of this issue is when Paul Levitz takes over the letters page to map out his vision for the future of the Bat-titles!

This issue is also notable for the debut of a new version of the Batmobile! This is the legendary Batmobile which would go on to become iconic as Batman's main ride throughout the decade of the '80s and well into the 90's. This is the Batmobile that would be featured in the Super-Friends cartoons and later, with a few modifications, become the basis for the famed Super Powers Collection Batmobile toy vehicle!

Here is the whole comic for you to download and read as a CBR file, just follow the link on the left.

CBR files hold comic book pages as images in a compressed archive format enabling them to be viewed, sequentially, from within a comic book reader program or app such as CDisplayEx.

Your turn! What are your thoughts on today's adventure with Batman and Batgirl? Sound off in the comments below!

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