Detective Comics #471: "The Dead Yet Live"

Detective Comics #471
"The Dead Yet Live"
August, 1977

Steve Englehart: Author
Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin: Artists
Jerry Serpe: Colorist
John Workman: Letterer

The members of the council have reached an agreement.  With the
disappearance of Dr. Phosphorus, they have decided that the Masked
Manhunter must leave Gotham, as well.  As the members continue their
smoke-filled meeting, little do they suspect that the Darknight Detective
will soon realize that... "The Dead Yet Live"

Boss Rupert Thorne fills in the council members on the current
situation...  Alex Sartorius, one of their fellow members, was involved
in an accident at the offshore nuclear plant.  As Dr. Phosphorus, he
planned his revenge on Gotham City, and convinced the council to take out
the Batman.  If they hadn't aided Phosphorus, it would have meant their
lives.  With Sartorius gone, and times less than prosperous for city
government, Thorne plans to make things difficult for the Commissioner --
and get rid of the costumed vigilante.

One member sees the Batman as a tourist attraction who brings money to
the city, while another points out that the Caped Crusader has never
managed to gather evidence on them, and a third recalls how the
Demon's-Head failed in his attempt to frame the Darknight Detective for
murder.  Boss Thorne slams his fist upon the table, and watches as the
other members shift uncomfortably in their seats.  He is convinced that
with such a plan, the Batman can be beaten -- CHAKA CHIK.  All eyes shift
towards the direction of the fireplace.

Caught in such cramped quarters, the Dark Detective curses himself for
having his hand slip.  Boss Thorne tells Bruno to check out the chimney,
and after a quick inspection, he yells out the all-clear.  On the
rooftop, the Batman knows that he is functioning at less than his full
strength.  His wounds from the battle with Dr. Phosphorus have not
healed, and are still radioactive.

He can either stay like this -- or get back in fighting shape.  Soon, the
Batmobile makes its way through the deserted streets of Gotham -- for the
Wayne Foundation Building, and enters through the Finger Alley
cul-de-sac.  In the Bat-Cave, Alfred is made aware of the council's
plans, and is feeling better from his recent illness.  Since his own
doctoring has done no good, Bruce Wayne will have to seek out a new

The faithful butler knows that Master Bruce has had little luck with Drs.
Phosphorus and Bell, but the millionaire philanthropist already has
someone in mind.  A friend of his had spent some time at the Graytowers
Clinic near Gotham Canal, and described it as being discreet.  With Bruce
Wayne as a patient, there shouldn't be any questions about his wounds.
He places a call to Silver St. Cloud and cancels their dinner date, and
tells her about his going to Graytowers for some tests.  As he listens to
his master's voice on the phone, Alfred Pennyworth notices something
different in his tone, and wonders if Ms. St. Cloud will be the one...

Noon finds Bruce Wayne being greeted at Graytowers by Dr. Todhunter, the
Chief of Staff.  Mr. Wayne is grateful to be accepted on such short
notice, and even more grateful when it is Magda who leads him to his
room.  As they walk through the hallway, Bruce tells her about how his
friend, Jerry Robinson was impressed by his stay.  As he enters his room,
the nurse tells him to go to sleep, but Bruce isn't feeling tired at all.
The door closes, and darkness falls upon the new patient.

The nightmare consists of the Darknight Detective struggling from keeping
a giant snake's fangs from closing upon him, the concerned faces of Dr.
Todhunter and Magda, the death of his parents at the hands of a grotesque
Joe Chill, skeletal fingers reaching out towards a cowled throat, and a
giant bat flapping its wings towards the Batman.

Not one to suffer nightmares, but to give them, instead... Bruce now
knows that Magda's perfume was drugged, and the attractive nurse must
have been wearing nose-filters.  A locked door prevents him from leaving
his room, and the face of a burly guard is soon seen in the open
partition.  He learns from the guard that Graytowers is an asylum -- and
he'd better keep himself under control.  In the confines of the room,
Bruce Wayne clenches his fists, and makes some plans.

Silver St. Cloud walks along the Canal Zone, and feasts her eyes upon the
building known as Graytowers.  At the door, a nurse looks at her
strangely when she mentions Bruce's name, and the doctor tells her that
his patient is suffering from radiation poisoning.  He takes the gift
from her hands and promises to give it to the patient when he's out of
intensive care.

BAM BAM BAM BAM  Two hours later, it is now nighttime, and Bruce Wayne is
ready.  He spills the drugged soup onto the guard's shirt through the
partition, then opens a secret panel within his suitcase.  Not having
seen any cameras, and unable to wear the costume during an examination,
it is always with him nonetheless.  He is the Darknight Detective -- The

SSSSSSSSSS  The cell bars begin to sizzle from the acid poured from two
vials... CHUNK  He notices the outer wall surrounding Graytowers, which
allows the air in, but keeps the patients hidden from view.  After an
easy climb, the Batman is after Todhunter, the one behind all of this.
Things are too elaborate for this to be a simple case of ransom, and he
wonders what could cause Jerry Robinson to recommend a stay for him here.
GGGRRRRR  From behind two twin spires come two misshapen giants from out
of a nightmare.

As they draw closer to him, the Batman leaps for one of them, and
delivers a right hook.  Although he is grabbed by the neck, it is only
for a moment, and a fierce kick to the giant's face ensures his release.
Now clutching both of their heads in each of his hands, he slams them
together, and wishes them unpleasant dreams.

Magda has heard something on the roof, but Todhunter believes it to be a
prowler -- one who has just met his security system.  The nurse sees
what's coming.  KRASH  The Masked Manhunter swings down and crashes
through the window.  When he hears the Batman claim that he's been on his
trail, "Todhunter" knows that this cannot be, and dons his glasses --
those worn by the true author of this particular plot --

Professor Hugo Strange stands revealed, and the Darknight Detective had
thought him dead.  Only Strange has returned from the dead -- as well as
turned mortal men into mindless monsters.  The doctor is impressed by
Batman's ability to remain calm in his presence, but Magda is the
uncomfortable party in this trio.  After spending years in Europe, Hugo
Strange returned to Gotham City, for only the Dark Detective could offer
him a worthy opponent.  Thanks to his genius, each of Doctor Todhunter's
patients have been turned into monstrous slaves.  Dependent upon his
temporary antidote for their affliction, the rich and the powerful have
no choice, but to each induct one of their friends to the process.

There is one who would stand in the way of power, and one need not be a
genius to figure who that would be.  The plans of Hugo Strange and a
throw food cart both appear to come crashing down at once, but even after
a left cross from Batman... looks can be deceiving.  There are no signs
of surrender in the eyes of the doctor, and the Darknight Detective's
eyes fail to warn him from the danger which is slithering down behind

AARGGGHHH  A bite from the green mamba brings a coma to its victims in
seconds, but fortunately for Batman, there is some anti-venom available.
After some time in darkness, the Masked Manhunter regains his senses...
and with it, some pain as well.  He sees both the doctor and Magda
staring down at him, but what he sees is not what one would see through a
cowl's slits.  Bruce Wayne has been unmasked, with his secrets no longer
his own -- but now shared by Hugo Strange.

On the cover of Detective Comics #471, Batman sees -- "The Dead Yet
Live!" as the face of Hugo Strange has much appeal.

In August, 1977, Boss Thorne and his cronies could enjoy their smokes
without fear of the Comics Code Authority.

Rupert Thorne refers to Dr. Phosphorus as "Alex Sartorius" and not "Anton
Sartorius" as disclosed by the character in his origin from Tec &469.

Only in Gotham City could one expect to see Batman, and not Santa Claus
climbing down the chimney on any other day, but Christmas.

Bill Finger is given his own alley, while Jerry Robinson is the name of
one of Bruce's friends.

Dr. Todhunter resembles another character written by Steve Englehart and
drawn by Marshall Rogers & Terry Austin... Doctor Stephen Strange.

In this decade, Charlie was a popular perfume, but its effects were as
subtle as Hi-Karate on the millionaire playboy.

Another millionaire who carries his uniform in his briefcase is Tony
Stark, the Invincible Iron Man.

At the time of this story, I wonder how many readers recognized Hugo
Strange from Detective #46 and Batman #1?

Thanks to the Famous First Edition, the beginning reader could refresh
their memory about the character's origin.

In the case of this particular villain, the Dark Detective doesn't seem
to have a problem in hitting a man with glasses on.

Finally, a case where the villain seizes the chance to unmask his foe's
secret identity.

Unfortunately for Hugo Strange, the knowledge is power, and there are
those who would covet such information.

In the "Batman's Hot-Line" letters page, Kevin J. Dooley of Glendale, CA

"Dear Bat-People,

I don't think I've ever read or seen a better Batman story in Detective
since the Goodwin/Simonson team-up back in #443!  I've refrained from
making any comments on your Calculator back-ups before this because I was
waiting for the clincher... and it was a beaut!

The team of Rogers/Austin is a winner!  The movement. The angles.  The
shadows. Everything poetry in panels.  You seem to mix detail and
simplicity in the backgrounds utilizing just enough to make it look real
but not too much to make it look crowded.  Your perspective is fantastic.
Double kudos.

As for Bob Rozakis, all I have to say is... all right!  You've got the
character of the Caped Crusader down pat - the way the fans like to see
him: constantly thinking, confident, brave.  The Calculator punned his
way into my heart, but didn't lay it on too heavy.  Way to go.  I also
liked the way you wove Morgan Edge into the subplot.  It was done with
real style.  One criticism, though - I don't think you had enough
cage-linked phrases to really make an impression on the Calculator's
twisted criminal mind, but that is just my opinion.  The using of Calc's
own weapon against him, while a theme used quite often, was well done.

Everyone keep up the good work!"

Steve Chung
"The Dead Yet Review!"