Throwback Thursday: DCN Revisits ‘Batman: Cataclysm’ – Prelude

by Antonio Jose Chavez
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At DCN we love comics as much as you do. Is Throwback Thursday, a trend we would like to follow up every week, taking a look back at classic storylines and revisiting pivotal moments in comics. This time we are focusing on a classic Batman storyline from the late 90’s, which encompassed various books from the Batman family; ‘Batman: Cataclysm’.

About the storyline:

 990An unexpected natural disaster strikes Gotham City and it’s up to Batman and his allies to save the day–but can even the Dark Knight fight the forces of nature herself unleashed? This is the event that started Gotham City on the road to No Man’s Land, the beginning of its downward spiral into utter chaos, representing Gotham as a true concrete jungle and Batman as the driving force of rationality and justice in a world gone mad.

Batman and his allies vs. a natural disaster…..we already know who will win. In this instance, revisiting ‘Cataclysm’ we dwell into the prelude to the event.

Detective Comics #719 – ”Prelude to Cataclysm”

Solicit Synopsis

A prelude to “Cataclysm!” Morgan “Morgue” Tice recounts how he took down the Batman–but in this case, fact is certainly not stranger than fiction. And a warning is sent to the Batcave of impending devastation, but does it arrive in time? Continued in BATMAN: SHADOW OF The BAT #73.

So this issue starts by focusing on Morgan Tice, a nobody, at the beginning of the story who claims (and is very detailed about it) that he took down the Batman. After his fellow soon-to-be inmates don’t bite his story, Morgan immediately goes into flashback mode and starts delivering the details of how his confrontation with Batman came to be. At this point in the issue, the writing in this book demonstrates just how awesome it is to focus on other gothamites for a change. I mean, the Penguin and the Riddler are not the only people trying to become criminal masterminds in Gotham. So focusing on other minor characters and how their lives are impacted by the dark knight is refreshing. Plus, this adds an interesting villain wannabe to Batman’s rogues.

Morgan follows the classic story of a low-life that has become sick of doing small gigs for his mob moss. He puts together a crew, stating he was determined to choose only the best of the best for his team, the ‘wise’ guys. Providing his crew with cutting edge gear (where did he got the funds to get such gear? still a mystery already proving his story may be somewhat exaggerated) and planning the heist for months before getting into action. As any narcissistic would do, Morgan refers to his plan as something of beauty. However that couldn’t be further from the truth. The art in the sequence contrasting Morgan’s story and what really went down is amazing – you can clearly feel the ridiculousness of his made-up little story.

Detective Comics 719 (1998) (Digital) (Monafekk-Empire) 011Then the bomb drops – Batman makes his entrance. Morgan describes his encounter with the dark knight, as somewhat surreal stating:

Batman appeared like being seven feet tall, three hundred pounds minimum, like a tank with a cape.

Just proving how much fear the caped crusader instills in most of Gotham’s criminal population.

Batman immediately stops Morgan and his crew on their tracks, taking them down. Unexpected to be honest, a plot twist! As Morgan describes his fight with Batman, in reality it was Robin, the Boy Wonder who punched Morgan’s ego out of his face.

Morgan “Morgue” Tice – I think he should change his name to Morgan ”Call 911” Tice. He even faked fainting avoiding further confrontation. Few minutes later the police arrives and takes him into custody. Rest assured, he continues telling his fellow hand-cuffed companions the other story he ingeniously came up with. Morgan and the rest of future Blackgate inmates arrive at the island, when suddenly a bat passes by, scaring Morgan to death, humiliating him in front of everyone. Good luck in prison man.

Now this is a strange issue as the main plot is not entirely connected to ‘Cataclysm’, but actually is Plot B, that serves as catalyst for the event.

Closing the issue, Joseline Relazzo, a seismologist, discovers the tectonic plates in the vicinity of Gotham are about to shift in biblical proportions. She calls to report her discovery but nobody answers. A panel later, we find out the message is intercepted by the batcave, but nobody is there to hear it.

And that is how cliffhangers for upcoming events use to work in the late nineties.

Take a look at a preview of the issue below.

This issue was originally released on February 28, 1998. It is now available online as well.

What did you think about this issue? Are all gothamites delusional? Is Batman real? Ask Morgan’s psychologist.

Don’t miss Throwback Thursday next week as we will revisit the beginning of ‘Cataclysm’ in BATMAN: SHADOW OF The BAT #73.

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