and says his prayers by night
may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
and the autumn moon is bright.
Len Wein seemed to master the "werewolf-as-a-sympathetic-villain" motif, so we're gonna look at how he handled two very different werewolves with two very different heroes (the Batman today, Swamp Thing tomorrow).
Batman #255 (December, 1973) is quite a mag. Not only is it one of those fabulous 100 page issues, but it is artist Neal Adams' last full-length Batman tale. That in itself makes the comic worth checking out, since Adams' Batman is pretty much the definitive version for droves of Bat-fans. It's also special because it is one of the rare times that Len Wein, who was definitely a super-star at that point with Phantom Stranger, Justice League, and of course, Swamp Thing already on his resume (Wein would return to the Batman near the end of the Groovy Age to leave his masterful mark on the character). The only thing that didn't really make sense is that the story was released in December, rather than October. Oh well, it's still neat.
Enough talk, Groove! Let's get on with the story already!
Okey dokey! What better way to start a werewolf story than by having a lovely victim, unaware of her danger, being stalked by the creature? And what better way to start a werewolf vs. the Batman story than to have the Dark Knight Detective already on the creature's trail?
Lupus turns the Batman over to Milo who chains him to the grounds of a rainy construction site, intending to turn the Wolf Man loose on our hero...
Julie Schwartz wasn't jivin' when he had 'em call this story "A New Batman Shocker" on the cover, was he? Hope you dug our trip down Lycanthropy Lane, Groovesters! Be back tomorrow to watch Wein work his wizardry with Bernie Wrightson on "Monster on the Moors"! Til then, stock up on silver bullets!