Batman ongoing 1998 (issues 550-560)

Batman 550

Cover Date: January 1998
Subtitle: Chasing Clay
Writer(s): Doug Moench
Artists(s): Kelley Jones, John Beatty, JH Williams III
Storyline: A scientist studying ClayFace V (Cassius) was attacked by a "sample" taken from the child. The doctor was overtaken by the clay intity, giving him the ability to melt things from a distance. It headed toward Gotham City to find its parents. DEO (Department of Extra-normal Operations) agent Cameron Chase was assigned to "Clay-Thing." Batman got to her at the cave where he was born and learned what she knew. They confronted it at Arkham Asylum. Clay-Thing liquidized before them.


Batman 551

Cover Date: February 1998
Subtitle: Suit of Evil Souls
Writer(s): Doug Moench
Artists(s): Kelley Jones, John Beatty
Storyline: Batman took down a white supremacist who'd killed a Jewish man. A vigilante with the ability to control scraps of cloth (calling himself Ragman) struck and killed another of the Aryan Reich. He confessed to a Rabbi that he needed guidance. Ragman sent a message to Batman via GCPD. Bruce and Vesper Fairchild had a date.


Batman 552

Cover Date: March 1998
Subtitle: the Greatest Evil
Writer(s): Doug Moench
Artists(s): Kelley Jones, John Beatty
Storyline: Batman and Ragman went after the Aryan Reich after an attack on the Rabbi. The Rabbi was killed, but he passed his love on to Ragman, who was once again able to control the rags.


Batman 553

Cover Date: April 1998
Subtitle: Cataclysm part three: Lifelines
Writer(s): Doug Moench
Artists(s): Klaus Janson, Sal Buscema
Storyline: [continued from Nightwing 19]
Shortly after the quake, it appeared Wayne-owned buildings were the only ones left without major structural damage. Bruce Wayne had seen to it that all of his buildings were quake-proof up to 8.5. Wayne Manor and the Batcave were destroyed. With all the exits blocked, Batman strapped on scuba gear and promised Alfred he'd be back soon. Barbara Gordon rallied the police force; Bulloch found Commissioner Gordon. At 8:52, the first aftershock hit.
[continued in Azrael 40]


Batman 554

Cover Date: May 1998
Subtitle: Cataclysm part twelve: Master of Destruction
Writer(s): Doug Moench
Artists(s): Kaus Janson, Sal Buscema
Storyline: [continued from Nightwing 20]
GCPD reviewed a videotape delivered to them claiming responsibility for the earthquake. The "Quakemaster" wanted $100million. Batman searched for Jolene Rellazzo and realized she'd been abducted. Gordon readied a fake ransom payment and Batman stowed away on the pick-up helicopter with hit. He gathered the mooks who'd picked it up, but their boss got away. Batman met with Robin and Nightwing to discuss the situation.
[continued in Huntress / Spoiler: Blunt Trauma]


Batman 555

Cover Date: June 1998
Subtitle: Trapped Like Rats (part of Aftershock)
Writer(s): Doug Moench
Artists(s): John Beatty, Sal Buscema
Storyline: Batman and Robin set out to save some commuters who'd been trapped in a subway car during an aftershock. Batman confided in Robin (Tim) that he hoped he would be the next Batman. Ratcatcher sent his pets after Batman, Robin, and the subway victims. Batman caught him and forced him to lead them to the surface.


Batman 556

Cover Date: July 1998
Subtitle: Help Trapped Money Rescue Ruins (part of Aftershock)
Writer(s): Doug Moench
Artists(s): Norm Breyfogle, Joe Rubinstein
Storyline: Dick and Alfred continued to work on Wayne Manor and the cave below. Batman saved some looters who'd been trapped in a bank vault. Bruce Wayne attended a Wayne Enterprises meeting on the status of their relief efforts; later, Wayne took a walk with Vesper Fairchild.


Batman 557

Cover Date: August 1998
Subtitle: Ballistic's Evidence (part of Aftershock)
Writer(s): Doug Moench
Artists(s): Vince Giarrano, Sal Buscema
Storyline: A "secret agency" hired Ballistic to go into Gotham City and recover a briefcase for them. He arrived and almost immediately ran into Batman (he'd met Batman before, but it was Jean Paul in the costume). They took down the men guarding the rubble and Ballistic found his case. He opened it, found dope, and destroyed it.


Batman 558

Cover Date: September 1998
Subtitle: Dying City (part of Aftershock)
Writer(s): Doug Moench
Artists(s): Jim Aparo, Sal Buscema
Storyline: With Batman and Jim Gordon nearing despair, Vesper Fairchild gave a sort of state of the city address during her radio show. Batman stopped some graveyard looters and spoke with Gordon about the people left in their city. Bruce met his girlfriend (Vesper).


Batman 559

Cover Date: October 1998
Subtitle: Dead City (part of Aftershock)
Writer(s): Doug Moench
Artists(s): Bob Hall, Sal Buscema
Storyline: Gordon worried about all the deserters, some of which being his own men. Batman and Robin helped Bullock and Montoya fend off a street gang trying to loot the pharmacy of a hospital. A damaged bridge collapsed under the weight of refugees, dropping a large amount of them into the harbor.


Batman 560

Cover Date: December 1998
Subtitle: Bruce Wayne goest to Washington part one: The Jackals (part of Road to No Man's Land)
Writer(s): Chuck Dixon
Artists(s): Jim Aparo, David Roach
Storyline: Bruce and Alfred packed up for their trip to Washington, DC. Nick Scratch plotted against him and broke Garfield "FireFly" Lynns free from police custody. Bruce prepared to speak on Gotham City's behalf though odds were stacked heavily against him.


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