Detective Comics 588 – ‘Night People – Part Two: The Corrosive Man’ (July 1988)
Writers: Alan Grant · John Wagner
Penciler: Norm Breyfogle
The issue opens with a man burning alive after coming into contact with corrosive waste. A firefighter rushes to save him but the man burns the firefighter to death with his touch. The man slowly walks toward two police officers who tell him to stop or they will shoot. The police open fire on the burning man but the bullets have no effect on him. The man swats the police officers away and Batman swings to the crime scene after hearing the gunshots in the distance. Batman takes a firehose from a firefighter and blasts water at the burning man, incapacitating him.
Next, a man enters the abode of Dr. Kadaver. In the basement, the man comes upon a coffin where Dr. Kadaver springs out of it, startling the man and almost killing him. The henchman named Webley was supposed to kill Dalton Walls, but ended up killing the wrong guy, Michael Rossi. Dr. Kadaver wants Webley to finish the job or else Webley will be killed for his mistake.
Back at the docks, Batman searches for the burning man. Batman finds him and chains him. The chains cannot hold the burning man and he flings the broken chains at Batman’s head, dazing him. We learn that the burning man’s name is Deke Mitchel and he blames Dr. Kadaver for his current predicament. Deke was in jail because of Dr. Kadaver until he escaped. On the run, Deke came into contact with the hazardous waste turning him in the Corrosive Man. Deke steals a tractor trailer to go after Dr. Kadaver but he burns through the steering wheel and the seat, causing the truck to crash into a telephone pole.
Denizens of Cardboard City are lamenting the fact that Batman hasn’t investigated the death of one of their own, Michael, and are worried one of them will be the next victim. Webley watches the men in the shadows. Webley cries murder and the homeless men go look to see what’s going on. Webley stops a man named ‘California’, who is really Dalton Wells, and Webley kills him.
Batman, on the trail of the Corrosive Man, sees the commotion caused by the homeless men and swings in to investigate. Batman sees Webley with the murder weapon and gives chase, ending the issue.
This issue introduces Deke Mitchel aka the Corrosive Man! Batman is seriously outmatched with this new rogue. How do you stop a villain with a deadly touch that can burn through almost anything? I look forward to seeing how Batman stops Deke using his intelligence and ingenuity as his brawn was no match for the Corrosive Man. I also hope to learn why Dr. Kadaver wanted Dalton Wells killed and if Webley sells Dr. Kadaver down the river after Batman gets his hands on him.