What I Remember:
Back in the 90s, DC ran different themes with its annuals, one year it was Elseworlds stories, one year it was an alien invasion with Armageddon. In 1993, it was Bloodlines. DC had a universe-spanning annuals theme that featured aliens attacking humans sucking out their spinal fluid and leaving the the unlucky ones that survived with superpowers. It was meant to create new, exciting characters but the only notable character that came from this storyline was Hitman. This book features Jean Paul Valley, Azrael, as Batman but before he adopted the entire costume.
Detective Comics Annual #6 "Not Fade Away"
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Penciler: Jim Balent
Colorist: Adrienne Roy
Inker: Gerry Fernandez
Lettering: Tim Harkins
Assistant Editor: Darren Vincenzo
Editor: Scott Peterson
Batman Created by Bob Kane
Geist Created by Chuck Dixon and Jim Balent
Publisher: DC Comics
Publication Date: 1993
Cover Price: $2.50
Re-Collection Price: original but sells for $1.50 to $4.00 today.
The story opens with “Batman” breaking up a gangland execution in a train yard.
The men about to be killed scatter and one runs into a new menace terrorizing Gotham, a parasitic alien species that has recently arrived on Earth.
He is Pritor and he feeds off the spinal fluid his victims. He latches on one of the escapees, but is scared off by approaching sirens.
Detectives Bullock and Montoya are rounding up the gangbangers and find a Batarang in one of the men’s arm and realize that Batman is still out there, despite rumors that he’s been taken out by Bane.
Jean Paul Valley, returns to the Batcave, still adjusting to his new role as Batman and begins to research the gang that he just broke up.
Meanwhile, Rodney, who went from being on death row to a midnight snack for an alien, wakes up in a field with his arms tied behind him, unsure of how he got there.
Somehow, he manages to change the shape of his arms and slip out of the restraints and runs away, past the Chem-Max chemical plant. Where Dwayne Geyer is working the night shift as an accountant for a job he hates. As he leaves the empty building for the night he’s attacked by Pritor still hungry from his interrupted meal.
Once again, the feeding is interrupted by the police, only this time Pritor collides with a police helicopter, dropping Geyer.
Rodney, returns to his employer, Rock's apartment in the projects. He denies shorting them money and gets attacked, but takes them out using his new powers, shoving the money right down Rock’s throat!
When Batman arrives, he lets Rodney go, telling the scared boy to go home.
Geyer wakes up in a dumpster and finds that he is translucent in light. He holds up in his dark apartment while figuring out his next move, which is to return to work to get his car. He puts on some welding goggles to protect his eyes and a ski suit and dubs himself Geist-The Twilight man and heads to work.
After a bit of struggle, manages to get the keys but while waiting for dark, where he would be able to drive the car winds up in the middle of a gunfight between Gotham police, Batman and Pritor. Geist manages to save Montoya during the melee.
Depit the fire power of the Gotham PD, Geist and even Batman, the alien manages to escape.
Continued After Ad:
This was a fun story of Batman vs an alien. I love stories where Batman is overmatched and out of his league.
This Batman was especially overmatched. He was a new hero the book points out that only a year prior he was a college student. Now he’d been brainwashed by the order of St. Dumas, turned into an assassin, then a hero and finally taking over for Batman! It’s a lot for Jean Paul to deal with.
The part with Rodney and Batman was interesting because it shows how Jean Paul treats things differently from Bruce. He lets a murderer go free, which is something Bruce Wayne would never do, regardless of the reason for killing. Jean Paul just saw bad people dead and a scared kid and was ok with it. That foreshadows where we’re headed with Jean Paul as Batman (To be covered in future issues.)
Geist was an interesting idea for a character but not a very good hero. He turns invisible in light, once an enemy figures that out you just have to turn down the lights for him to reappear and take care of him. You can also blind him with by shining a faint light in his eyes.
Since this story spanned all of the year's annuals, it’s only one small chapter of a much larger story but stands alone well.
Batman takes on the supernatural as he combats Etrigan the Demon! How can Batman possibly defeat a demon from hell? Find out next week in Detective Comics #603 by the team of Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle.