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Batman: Birth of the Demon by Mike W. Barr
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Batman: Birth of the Demon

by Mike W. Barr, Jerry Bingham (Illustrator), Norm Breyfogle (Illustrator), Tom Grindberg (Illustrator), Dennis O'Neil

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Batman: Birth of the Demon reprints Mike W. Barr and Dennis O'Neil's trilogy of Ra's al Ghul stories with art by Jerry Bingham, Tom and Eva Grindberg, and Norm Breyfogle. DC originally published the stories as Son of the Demon, Bride of the Demon, and Birth of the Demon. DC reprinted this collection to serve as a prequel to Grant Morrison's Batman & Son, though the connection is somewhat loose. Ra's al Ghul links all three, though they are more self-contained than the collection would indicate to the reader.
Mike Barr's Son of the Demon is the strongest story in this collection, featuring Batman's marriage to Talia al Ghul and partnership with Ra's to fight a common enemy. Jerry Bingham's art perfectly matches the tone of the story and his original cover to the paperback collection, included at the end of this volume, looks like the poster to a "James Bond" film as befits the Barr's plot. In hindsight, certain elements meant to set the story in the real world date it, such as the U.S.S.R. and Mikhail Gorbachev, but they are brief and work for the narrative. Barr's Bride of the Demon is a close second, with a story pitting Batman and al Ghul against each other alongside an underlying ecological plot, timely in the early 1990s and still relevant in the 2010s. Like the previous story, this one recalls Ian Fleming's "James Bond." Tom and Eva Grindberg have their own artistic style, but they maintain a basic continuity with Bingham so that these two stories work well together. If the first and second stories can be read as two parts of a larger thematic whole, then Dennis O'Neil's Birth of the Demon stands alone, primarily focusing on Ra's al Ghul's backstory. Norm Breyfogle's artwork, though gorgeous, does not fit this tone of this collection. O'Neil, an expert Batman storyteller, evokes Edgar Rice Burroughs' "John Carter" series more than Ian Fleming.
DC's reissue of these stories as a single volume features cover art by Andy Kubert. The modern style does not match the tone of the interior stories or artwork, though. Finally, this edition contains a printing error: the climax of Son of the Demon is missing one page; the printer substituted a page from Bride of the Demon in its place. Fans of Batman or Ra's al Ghul will find plenty to enjoy here, but the arbitrary nature of this collection means that the stories are a bit disjointed at times since the reader consumes them as one. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Oct 1, 2016 |
Son of the Demon was really the only worthwhile story in this book. The other two I could have done without reading. Birth of the Demon does appear to have had some influence on the story of Ra's al Ghul and Talia in The Dark Knight Rises. Bride of the Demon was nearly unreadable, and I wasn't all that thrilled with it. If you're into Ra's al Ghul, go for this book as I'm sure these are probably some of the best stories. Though they're the only ones I've read, I can't imagine a Ghul story getting much better than Son of the Demon. ( )
  sixthreezy | Apr 4, 2014 |
Son of the Demon was really the only worthwhile story in this book. The other two I could have done without reading. Birth of the Demon does appear to have had some influence on the story of Ra's al Ghul and Talia in The Dark Knight Rises. Bride of the Demon was nearly unreadable, and I wasn't all that thrilled with it. If you're into Ra's al Ghul, go for this book as I'm sure these are probably some of the best stories. Though they're the only ones I've read, I can't imagine a Ghul story getting much better than Son of the Demon. ( )
  LaneLiterati | Mar 24, 2014 |
Of all the Batman Graphic Novels I've, read, which I confess are not that many, this has been the one I've enjoyed the most. The story line is more clear, and while the Batman character is other than I've seen, that actually made this take fresh. ( )
  PastorBob | Oct 21, 2013 |
These three Ra's al Ghul stories are epic. The first two by Mike Barr are globetrotting action stories with a James Bond flavor. The final story by the great Denny O'neil tells the dark mystical origin of al Ghul somewhere in Arabia. This tale is the reason to read this collection and features stylish and colorful art by Norm Breyfogle. ( )
  wethewatched | Sep 24, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mike W. Barrprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bingham, JerryIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Breyfogle, NormIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Grindberg, TomIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
O'Neil, Dennismain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Then: the Earth screams, like a woman giving birth.... and the old/newborn stalks off, his shoulders hunched... as if against the onslaught of some coming storm.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the 2012 collection containing the entire "Demon trilogy": Son of the Demon, Bride of the Demon, and Birth of the Demon. Please do not combine it with the original 1992 Birth of the Demon, which is only a subset of what is contained in this volume.
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Ra's al Ghul has spent half a millennium creating a criminal empire like no other. But when his preternaturally long life comes to an end, who will carry on as his successor? Having produced only daughters, Ra's will stop at nothing to secure a male heir. Batman makes an unlikely ally for the Demon, but the Dark Knight embraces the partnership when al Ghul's beautiful daughter Talia becomes pregnant with his child. Protected by life-giving Lazarus pits, al Ghul is nearly unstoppable on his quest for world domination. Will Batman's attraction to Talia alow him to turn a blind eye to the machinations of her father? - from back cover.… (more)

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