CREATED BY: BOB KANE
Story – Denny O’Neil; Art – Bob Brown, Dick Giordano; Color – Tom Zinko
TITLE: “--Into the Den of the Death Dealers”
Batman meets with a thug who wants to trade protection for aiding Batman in the capture of Dr. Darrk, and stopping the League of Assassins. Before a deal can be made an assassin kills the man and nearly kills Batman. Batman swears that the League will not best him again.
Dr. Darrk and a woman board an old worn out train that serves as the only means of transportation in a tiny island nation that is nestled between two hostile superpowers. An hour after leaving the station, the duo jump off the train; Batman, disguised as an old woman, follows. Darrk has anticipated such an attack, and he orders a group of assassins that are hiding in the area to attack the Dark Knight. They do not kill him, but capture him so that he can be held in a cell in an abandoned Buddhist monastery.
The woman that was traveling with Darrk is being held in the same cell. She removes Batman’s mask to tend to his injuries. Batman is concerned with his identity being revealed, but she is unable to recognize him because of his bruising. The woman says that she is Talia, daughter of Ra’s al Ghul (Arabic for “The Demon’s Head).
Darrk returns and releases a fierce bull on the captives. Batman must decide whether to run and save himself, or die protecting Talia. There really is no choice for the caped crusader. Batman cannot overpower the bull, but he can outsmart it. He dodges the charging bull, and manages to escape. He and Talia capture Darrk.
They return to the railroad tracks and wait on the return of the train. As it nears Batman learns from Darrk that the League of Assassins was playing both sides in a South American civil war. Darrk attempts to escape his captors. He blinds Batman with gas, and attacks him with a knife. Talia shoots Dr. Darrk, who falls under the train as it passes. Batman holds the traumatized Talia.
This story is evidence that Dennis O’Neil is one of the better writers for Batman. This story began the introduction of one of the dark knight’s greatest foe: Ra’s al Ghul. Ra’s doesn’t appear in the story, but Talia had to meet Batman before the Demon’s head would meet him. The repercussions from the final scene have lasted up through the current stories. Giordano and Brown draw a perfect example of the standard created by Neal Adams. These stories finally get away from the campy early silver age stories, and put the dark back in the dark knight.
Reviewed by: Darknight
PREVIOUS ISSUE | NEXT ISSUE