DCAU #245: Last Chance

IN THIS ONE... The secret origin of Deadman.

CREDITS: Written by Ty Templeton; art by Rick Burchett and Terry Beatty.

REVIEW: The last time we saw Boston Brand in these comics (in the similarly-titled "Second Chances", he was alive and well and working the trapeze at Haley's Circus. We knew then this story would eventually happen. He would have to die. He would have to literally become Deadman. For Deadman fans, this is a very familiar story, the difference being that it happens in Batman's world. Boston' death happens during a show with Dick Grayson (who could just as well have been the target), the Bat Family investigate the crime, and ultimately catch the assassin responsible. More self-contained than the way it originally went down.

But while some of the agency is taken from Deadman, the story is still told from his point of view, and once he learns to use his possession powers, he makes sure the Hook is caught (both keeping him alive by acrobatically aborting his suicide, and making the villain confess. The story even opens with Boston addressing the readers and promising a strange adventure, and either the truth to what happens when you die, or the hallucination this might yet be. It's an interesting existential take on Deadman's first haunting, which is otherwise filled with detective work and action.

The Bats do well too, mostly. Batgirl sits this one out, still injured from the previous issue's tussle with Mr. Freeze (I like the increased continuity), but the boys each bring their skill set to the tale. Batman has some excellent detective instincts, taking him to the Hook eventually - though Boston is rather impatient about it, screaming "the hook!" at him for most of the second act. Tim bugs me however. It's okay to be the joker in the pack (well, you know what I mean), but Dick's colleague was just murdered and some of that kidding around (including fiddling with a loaded gun like a cowboy at a birthday party) is highly inappropriate. That's not how Templeton usually characterizes him either.
IN THE MAINSTREAM COMICS: Deadman spent a long time tracking down his killer in the comics; here the Hook is arrested in the span of one issue with the help of the Batman Family (and the Hook is given ties to Rupert Thorne). It's still an audition for the League of Assassins though, with the Sensei as its head. And Rama Kushna, the goddess responsible for Boston Brand's undeath has a conversation with him, though her "true form" is not seen.

REREADABILITY: Medium-High - An efficient, but also thoughtful, retelling of Deadman's origin. Only Robin's immaturity makes me wince.



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