Detective Comics #583/#584

The first appearance of Ventriloquist and Scarface, and what a great inaugural tale it is!

#spoilers

A new drug is spreading through the streets of Gotham, known as “fever.” It’s basically a psychotropic pill that instills delusions of grandeur and acts of incredible feats… what most generic drugs do in these PSA books. Anyway, a bunch of kids get stoned, kill an old man, and piss Batman right the hell off. He goes on a hunt for the man behind the whole operation… One guess who… Make it two.

We’re introduced to Scarface and the Ventriloquist, and he’s just as crazy and messed up as you would expect. He kills his men on a whim and they’re all terrified to even speak. He sends off one of his men, Fatman, to Tijuana to fetch some drugs, not informing him that it’s a suicide run.

Meanwhile, Batman cracks a bunch of skulls and eventually gets Scarface’s name out of one of Gotham’s lowlifes.

In the next issue Fatman ends up in Tijuana where he’s killed and stuffed with more fever drugs, and thus sent back to Gotham.

Batman confronts the Ventriloquist, busting up his club and henchmen, vowing to crack down on him for his crimes. He places a mic on Scarface and leaves, surveying the gang from afar in the following days. In that time Fatman’s body returns from Tijuana and is sent to a funeral parlor under Scarface’s control.

Ventriloquist and his gang end up at the parlor where they gut the corpse for the drugs just as Batman arrives to kick all kinds of ass. He takes them down, places a phone call to the police, and the rest is history.

Color me impressed. I’ve always liked the Ventriloquist, so finally reading these two issues was a treat that I owed myself. Like I said, Scarface lives up to his reputation and has me begging for more. He’s definitely up there for my top Batman villains; if only they’d get around to bringing him to the big screen, because I personally think he could carry a movie.

If you’re looking for some classic Batman fun this is a safe stop. There’s a little “say no to drugs” sprinkled throughout, but that’s fair, it comes with the territory, plus it gets across pretty vividly here which is fresh.

TL;DR Score: #moreScarface

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