Title: “Bough Breaks”
Writer: Devin Kalile Grayson
Art by: Yvel Guichet
Cover by: Bernie Wrightson
Release date: July 1, 1998
No official synopsis
Review by: Garrey Adams
Grab your candy corn and lolly-pops and sit back for a treat! We’re going all the way back to 1998 and covering DC’s crossover “Ghosts” annual for the Dark Knight Detective.
Right off the bat (I know, I’m sorry) there’s a lady running into the GCPD screaming “Help me! Batman is trying to kill my baby!” She explains to Commissioner Gordon that Batman is trying to scare her into having a miscarriage with her unborn child.
Batman discovers that someone is out there being a copy-bat promoting crime and handing out some bat-related arsenal. Batman is reminded of Azrael who took over for Bruce as Batman while Bane had broken Batman’s back a few years ago. Azrael tells Batman he never got rid of his Az-Bat suit. Batman is then reminded of a man named Abattoir Etchison. Azrael let Abattoir die in a fit of rage while taking over as Batman years back. We then are told that Abattoir has a thing for killing off his bloodline. Batman has Robin run a search on the woman who contacted Gordon, Janis Greenston. Etchison is her maiden name.
After putting 2 and 2 together Batman and Robin are off to Janis Etchison Greenston’s home where they meet a Batman imposter tormenting Janis.
Now THIS is where it gets weird…
Batman is being attacked by this impostor Batman wearing Azrael’s former Bat-suit. Batman counters and throws the impostor into a wall when suddenly an apparition appears. Batman and Robin assume this is some sort of hologram from Abattoir. The Batman impostor escapes and Batman chases after telling Robin to stay with Etchison leaving the apparition confused. The figure is after Greenston STILL wanting to scare her into losing her child. Robin holds off from the ghostly figure’s attacks and gets Janis (Etchison) Greenston away from the Abattoir-looking ghost. Abattoir then lets everyone know he is no longer known by that name. He is now called “Etkar”.
Batman loses Bat-Abattoir and he and Robin regroup. Alfred helps out by bringing mountains of books on spirits and ghosts for Batman to research. Batman comes to the conclusion that maybe they are dealing with a spiritual figure.
At the very place Azrael let Abattoir die we are now shown the Abattoir ghost holding Mrs. Greenston to of course scare the living hell out of her some more so she will lose her unborn baby.
Batman and Robin arrive just in time to stop Abattoir. Meanwhile Janis Greenston’s water has been broke for quite some time. Robin fights off Bat-Abattoir to keep him busy while Batman plays doctor and delivers the child. Cutting the umbilical cord with a batarang the delivery was a success. Janis is so happy to have Batman help she decides to name the child after Batman. Batman then responds with “You could call the baby ‘Thomas’”.
Abattoir is still planning to take over the body of the child and Batman plays some mind games with Abattoir insisting that he has no soul and that Batman sold his soul long ago. After some more trickery Abattoir takes off.
We end with Robin relieved that Batman wasn’t serious and that he does have a soul. Robin tries to get Batman to respond to his statements but Batman leaves the question unanswered.
So this story is… well, let’s be honest RIDICULOUS. The fact that someone would have to scare someone into having a miscarriage is very stupid. But I can be forgiving. It’s Halloween time, Batman may or may not have a soul. All in good fun! This came out just after the whole “Cataclysm” story line and was on the cusp of ”No Man’s Land” starting up so I’m sure that when this was released there were several fans that was breathing a sigh of relief to have just a one off story to just sit and enjoy without being too invested.
This review has been a participant in a cross-over blog for all of the 1998 ‘Ghost’ Annuals DC released as well as other seasonal issues. PLEASE check out all of the blogs below for their reviews!
- “Ghosts” @ The Aquaman Shrine
- “Swamp Thing’s Ghost Dance” @ The BLOG from the BOG – Swamp Thing
- “Seeing Ghosts” @ Boosterrific
- “Life Itself” @ Captain’s JLA Homepage
- “Ghosts’ – The Corpse Corps!” @ Corps Conjecture
- “What Creeps Out The Creeper?” @ DC Bloodlines
- “The Distance Gone” @ Diana Prince is the New Wonder Woman
“Shoe Shine.. Back from the Dead” @ Firestorm Fan
- “The Death Sentence” @ Great Krypton!
- “Happy Halloween” @ I Am The Phantom Stranger
- Martian Manhunter in “Heart’s Afire” @ The Idol-Head of Diabolu
- “Legend of Driq” @ Indigo Tribe
- The Vixen in “Role Model” @ Justice League Detroit
- “Ghosts” @ Power of the Atom
- The Spectre in “Zor” @ Siegel & Shuster: Mythmakers
- “High-Speed Hauntings” @ Speed Force
- “Ragman – Ripped to Shreds!” @ The Suit of Souls