April 14, 2009

Detective Comics #483 [1979]

Ditko draws and Len Wein writes the 10-page "Return To Castle Branek" story, the first of three issues by the team featuring the Jack Kirby created Demon Etrigan against Baron Tyme, a character who had been introduced four years earlier in Ditko's only issue of MAN-BAT. The story actually began in the previous issue, with art by Michael Golden.

So we open in mid-story, as Tyme, now with his left half transformed into a cosmic state, confronts Etrigan with the power of the Eternity Book, recaps what happened to him after his confrontation with Man-Bat and demands that Etrigan lead him to Merlin, the only one with the power to free Tyme from his current state. This leads them to Castle Branek (where we also meet the one-armed police Inspector from the Jack Kirby stories), and a battle of magics which leads to Etrigan returning to the form of Jason Blood while Tyme finds out that Merlin's body isn't in his tomb.

Ditko doing Kirby characters doesn't always work, but this is pretty good, with Ditko capturing a lot of the mannerisms of the character. Having Tyme and his story also allows for a lot of Ditkoisms in the mode of Doctor Strange and the Warren horror stories, with the one panel of Tyme floating through weird mystic realms very much being a wonderful example of that kind of Ditko work. Ditko's inks are looking especially fine at this time, and overall it's a shame that this run only lasted three issues.

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