So, I was thinking of doing this entry on Batman foe the Reaper. No, not the one from Batman: Year Two. There actually was a previous character by that name. He appears to have made all of two appearances, and I couldn’t find any good pictures of the guy.
But then it occurs to me that Batman has plenty of little-seen enemies, so let’s talk about one of the first: the Mad Monk, sometimes referred to as just the Monk.
The Mad Monk was one of the first of Batman’s “supervillain” enemies, beaten out in the pages of Detective Comics only by a guy called Dr. Death, a fellow who must be a ton of fun at parties. But the Mad Monk was different for a few reasons, and not just because he had a female sidekick named Dala. No, he had a plan, and he was supernatural in that he was also a vampire.
Dala is a vampire too…sometimes.
However, the Monk made one fatal mistake: he selected Bruce Wayne’s fiancee Julie Madison as his next victim.
By the by, thanks to DC Universe, I did read a bunch of those early Batman adventures from Detective Comics. And the first time the series showed the Julie Madison character, Batman refers to her as his fiancee. He was engaged to a woman the reader had never seen or even heard a mention of before then. That was…different.
However, Julie had been hypnotized by a psychiatrist, himself under the spell of the Monk, compelling Julie to go to Hungary. Batman followed, rescuing Julie and eventually confronting both the Monk and Dala, whose master plan involved turning women into a werewolf army or some such. The battle ended when the Monk was struck by lightning and died and Dala fell on her own knife, likewise dying.
And this was Golden Age Batman. He didn’t mind lethal force quite so much, ending another vampire-based story by drawing a gun and shooting a bunch of sleeping vampires to death with a bunch of silver bullets.
However, the thing about the Monk is he came back two more times, once in a 1982 story and again later in a great Matt Wagner mini-series titled Batman and the Mad Monk. The stories are all more or less went the same with the conclusion mostly depending on how the story was playing Batman. That meant the Monk and Dala would survive the ’82 confrontation, captured and led away, while the Wagner retelling of the story had a more ambiguous ending, suggesting the Monk was going to bide his time and return at some later period to exact his revenge.
But really, he hasn’t.
Not yet anyway.