Batman: Prey
by Doug Moench,
Paul Gulacy
(DC Comics, 1992)

The book is called Prey, but it might more aptly been titled "Obsession."

Sgt. Max Cort of the Gotham City PD is obsessed with catching or killing Batman. Dr. Hugo Strange, a consulting psychiatrist, is obsessed with analyzing Batman's psyche and, in some ways, being Batman. Batman's obsession is, of course, well known already.

Prey is the third story arc published in 1990-91 in the then-new Legends of the Dark Knight comic-book series. After the disappointing arc in Gothic, Prey equals and possibly exceeds the storytelling prowess that marked the series debut, Shaman.

The tale is set in an interesting period in the Batman's career; still a little uncertain in his dealings with police and lacking even a car to facilitate his crusade, Batman is just beginning to build a relationship with Capt. James Gordon when a gung-ho mayor orders a crackdown on the bat-garbed vigilante. Gordon, unwilling to throw his full weight behind the order, puts Cort -- "blinded by a gutful of personal hate ... and none too bright" -- in charge of the new anti-bat task force.

But Cort proves more resourceful than Gordon expected, especially after joining forces with the crazed but brilliant Strange. Strange, on the other hand, displays an unusual number of fetishes involving mannequins and bat costumes. Actually, both men turn out to have a thing for costumes, and Batman soon finds himself with another masked vigilante on his hands and a kidnapping charge on his head.

Oh, and there's a new, purple-garbed cat-burglar on the prowl, too.

Prey is another strong entry in the Batman mythos. It is both analytical and action-packed, a psychological thriller with style, flash and even a little bit of cheesecake on the side.

- Rambles
written by Tom Knapp
published 2 July 2005

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