What I Remember: I picked this up years after it was published and at a comics and card show sponsored by my Boy Scout troop. I had no idea the book was a two-parter and probably picked it up on the cover alone. This book could be considered cheating, since I didn't have to re-collect it, just pick it up from my parents house. As a result I have absolutely zero recollection of what I paid for it back in 1995. Currently it ranges from $8.99 to $199 slabbed. (But I would think that's a bit over-priced)
Detective Comics #608
Writer: Alan Grant
Penciler: Norm Breyfogle
Inker: Steve Mitchell
Colorist: Adrienne Roy
Assistant Editor: Dan Raspler
Editor: Denny O'Neil
Creator: Bob Kane
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $1.00
Is It Any Good?
This book is the first appearance of the vigilante, Anarky. Anarky is a cool character, obviously modeled off of V from V For Vendetta. Which makes sense since Grant and Alan Moore, are both from the UK and seem to dabble in similar extreme political ideas that seemed popular in the UK at the time or at least were popular among British comic book writers. The character would grow in popularity in the late 1990's, even getting his own series. In this book his identity is unknown but anyone who is familiar with the character knows he is a boy-genius named Lonnie Machin.
Anarky is influenced by the writing of Scudder Klyce a self-published philosopher in the 1920's who wrote a book called The Universe, which can be read here. In it, he attempts to unify all human knowledge, scientific, political and philosophical. According to Anarky, the only thing Klyce got right was the idea that, "The common man is always right." It becomes his credo.
He learns what the common man wants, by reading the "Letters to the Editor" column in the newspaper. Perhaps today, he would visit the comments section on news articles (although, I think that might make him rethink his mantra) He begins by investigating a local metal club called the "Heavy Heavy club" after a neighbor penned a letter complaining of noise and drug dealers that it attracts. Batman is also investigating dealers in the club.
After a few fun panels of Batman putting in earplugs to avoid hearing music and generally complaining about heavy music he breaks up a drug hand-off in the dressing room between the lead singer, Johnny Vomit, and some aptly named stooges, Moe, Larry and Joe.
Vomit escapes the Batman but he runs headfirst into Anarky! Anarky zaps Vomit with his electrified walking stick, leaving Batman to find Vomit with the letter taped to him.
Continued after ad:
The rest of the issue centers around Batman's attempt to capture Anarky. There's a great end to the book, where both Batman and the Machin family are both having breakfast and watching a news report of Anarky's video announcing himself a savior of the common man, while dunking a head of a chemical plant in the water from the river he pollutes.The reader is left to assume that the father is Anarky but it is revealed in the next issue that it's actually the son, Lonnie. As a kid, since I only bought the first part, I did not realize the villain was Lonnie, until I read of his ongoing series years later in a Wizard Magazine.
Only if you get both parts, the story is just incomplete without it. I probably would never have picked it out of the back issue bin, if the cover read, "Anarky Pt. 1!" . Breyfogle's art is as always awesome. I always love the way he draws Batman. He's had a stroke recently, can no longer draw and his medical bills are staggering. If you're a fan of Norm's work, you can help out here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-artist-norm-breyfogle-recover-from-a-stroke#/
Next Issue: We visit the oft-forgotten Milestone universe, and its most popular Static in Static #2! See you in 7!