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BATMAN: BLIND JUSTICE (1991)

Written by Sam Hamm, Illustrated by Denys Cowan, Dick Giordano and Frank McLaughlin

This story was originally published over only three issues, the first and third issue being "80 page giants" in which the story accounted for some sixty odd pages (the rest of the pages were a mix of pictures and short essays by various famous types, commemorating Batman's 50th anniversary, which this story was supposed to be in honour of). In other words, Blind Justice is really the equivalent of a six or seven issue saga, and part of the fun is watching the story unfold and take some unexpected turns. Suffice it to say that Batman tackles a murderous big bruiser, the Bonecrusher, which leads him to uncover a scheme involving mind control and Wayne Enterprises itself. And, no, it doesn't turn out the Joker or Two-Face is behind it. Hamm treats us to original characters. There are also elements that were clearly cannibalized for the epic Batman: Knightfall saga published a few years later (Hamm probably should've been credited).

I'm inclined to state that Blind Justice is one of the all-time best Batman stories I've ever read. Perhaps coming in behind only Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One. Really! It's written with care and intelligence and it's moody and well illustrated. It treats the characters -- and the reader -- with respect, which is more than a lot of regular comic book writers do.