Year Five

1943

 

–Detective Comics #71
Monday: Batman gives a public lecture to a large crowd and talks smack on Joker. Tuesday: An enraged Joker shows up at Batman’s second lecture, makes a fool of the Dark Knight, and escapes. Wednesday: Joker robs an art gallery and evades the Dynamic Duo by setting the Batmobile on fire. Thursday: Joker pulls one over Batman yet again. Friday: A bummed Batman gives another lecture, but with less oomph in his delivery. Later that night, things swing our heroes’ way and the Dynamic Duo finally apprehends Joker. Saturday: A rejuvenated Batman gives his final lecture in the series, this time, with a caged Joker on stage next to him.

–Superman #20
When a gag goes horribly wrong, Superman’s identity as Clark Kent is outed on the front page of the Daily Star![1] As Clark tries to prove to the world that he’s just a regular Joe, the eyes of the world are upon him. Swarms of people and paparazzi gather around the Daily Star Building to catch a glimpse of Clark, including a nosy Bruce and Dick, who can’t believe that Superman is mild-mannered Clark Kent. Eventually, the Daily Star prints a retraction saying that it was all a hoax. Clark’s secret is safe.

–Detective Comics #78
Winter, 1943. Batman decides to get his patriotism on hardcore by starting a touring “Bond Wagon.” The Dark Knight sets up an office in Washington, DC and hires a bunch of people to portray famous Revolutionary War heroes for a touring show that will raise money for the war effort. After a week of rehearsals, the show begins. After a reenactment in Ticonderoga, NY, the act moves to the frozen banks of the Delaware where Nazi mastermind Baron Von Luger tries to disrupt a George Washington scene. Batman, Robin, and the Colonial reenactors fight off a bunch of Nazis dressed as Redcoats. In Boston, Von Luger strikes again by sending a U-Boat to try to sink Batman’s 18th century schooner. With the power of patriotism, the antiquated vessel somehow defeats the modern sub. Later that night, Batman and Robin track down Von Luger in Boston and kick his ass. Last stop, Philadelphia—for a reenactment of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Yay, America!

–Detective Comics #72
Bruce invests some money with Wall Street broker J. Spencer Larson. Little does Bruce know that Larson is actually crime czar Larry the Judge. Larry runs Gotham’s underworld by administering his own brand of justice. No one commits any big crimes in Gotham without obtaining a license to do so from Larry himself. Afterward, Larry takes his cut of the loot. Batman and Robin find out about Larry’s operation when they stop a few licensed crooks from robbing Commissioner Gordon in his home. Later, Bruce collects a fat wad of cash from the “financial wizard” Larson–actually part of the dividends he collects from his network of gangsters. After several nights of investigation and waiting, Batman and Robin confront Larry but get captured. The Dynamic Duo is then saved by state troopers and Larry’s operations are shut down.

–Batman #15, Part 1
Bruce learns that Catwoman has taken a job working at a salon under the assumed name Elva Barr when he crowns her queen of a beauty contest. After the contest, Bruce speaks with “Elva” and tries to figure out what her angle is this time. Selina mistakes Bruce’s interest for flirting and begins to flirt back, quickly realizing that she is madly in love with him! After watching Selina at the salon for a day, Batman and Robin discover that she has been making disguises based on the appearance of her higher-end clients, including a celebrity that is soon to be married. When Catwoman and her gang infiltrate the wedding in an attempt to rob it, Batman is ready and waiting and easily nabs the feline villain. When Catwoman mentions her love for Bruce and states that she would go straight for him, Batman lets her go. In the next few days, Bruce begins a whirlwind romance with Selina and by the end of a week, Bruce proposes to her and she says yes! Meanwhile, Bruce’s girlfriend reads about the engagement in the newspaper and is heartbroken. Linda goes to confront Selina in the salon, but no words are exchanged. Fearing that Bruce might still have feelings for Linda, Selina disguises herself as Linda and meets with Bruce. During their meeting, Bruce tells Linda that Batman asked him to date and propose to “Elva” to help him with a case. When Catwoman returns to a life of crime, Bruce realizes he’s been duped. Poor Catwoman then tries to rob a pet show, but Batman and Robin catch her. For only the second time in her life, Catwoman goes to jail!

–REFERENCE: Bruce apologizes to Linda Page for: one, recently cheating on her with Catwoman; two, having an drawn-out affair with Catwoman; three, getting engaged to Catwoman; four, doing all of this right under her nose, and five; breaking her heart. “Hey I did it for Batman, baby. I really love you!” (Bruce doesn’t actually say this, since this apology scene takes place off-panel, but I’d like to imagine him doing so). Anyway, amazingly Linda accepts his apology—who can resist that Wayne charm?—and they continue dating. We know Bruce and Linda make amends since he says he is going to apologize at the end of Batman #15, Part 1 and they are a couple in the upcoming Detective Comics #73).

–Batman #15, Part 2
Knuckles Conger has spent eight months training his own version of the Boy Wonder, Bobby Deen. Together Conger and Deen go on a citywide crime spree, the entirety of which Conger fools the dumb Bobby into thinking that they are acting as superheroes when they are clearly committing horrible crimes. Eventually, the Dynamic Duo meets the anti-Dynamic Duo and Bobby realizes the error of his ways, turns on Conger, and helps bring him to justice. Afterward, Robin gets treated for a bullet-wound in his arm and Bobby gets sent to military academy. Yay!

–Batman #15, Part 3
Batman and Robin visit the history department at Gotham University and have a chat with Professor Rainer and his colleagues about the war situation overseas. Rainer makes a detailed prediction about what will happen if the Nazis win, which includes a detailed narrative that involves the entirety of Gotham being turned into a concentration camp and the execution of Batman and Robin. His alternate prediction involves an equally scripted tale where Batman and Robin help the Allies win the war. In this fantasy, Hitler and Mussolini are jailed and everyone lives in blissful peace. After the lame stories, Batman buys a whole lot of war bonds. It’s your duty!

–Detective Comics #73
Scarecrow escapes from jail and robs a hat show that Bruce attends with Linda Page. Later, Batman and Robin fight Scarecrow at a pro wrestling event, but Scarecrow gets away. During their next confrontation, the Dyanimc Duo is lured into a death trap. They easily escape, track down Scarecrow in Chinatown, and send him back to jail.

–World’s Finest Comics #9, Part 16
March 1943. Famous crime novelist Bramwell B. Bramwell initiates a “Crime of the Month” contest involving himself and Gotham’s top four mobsters. After some wild public robberies as entries into the contest, Batman and Robin have seen enough. The Dynamic Duo is able to stop Slim Ryan’s mob from submitting a bridge explosion/armored car heist as their contest entry. After tracking Ryan to Bramwell’s castle several hours outside of Gotham, Batman winds up trapped in the cavernous catacombs of the gothic abode, which just happens to be filled with death traps galore. Bramwell, meanwhile, attempts to win the “Crime of the Month” by hypnotizing a theater audience with a subliminal movie. Robin helps Batman escape from the castle and they return to Gotham just in time to put Bramwell behind bars.

–Detective Comics #74
Batman and Robin are handily defeated by an obese thief in eccentric clothing twice in the span of half-an-hour. After questioning the owner of a men’s big-and-tall shop, Bruce and Dick learn that the plump gang leader is actually two people. The debuting crooks–not twins, but actually similar looking cousins–are a pair of scientific geniuses named Dumfree Tweed and Deever Tweed, better known as Tweedledum and Tweedledee! Batman and Robin break into their home, but are captured immediately. Tweedledum and Tweedledee then assemble their Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland-themed gang, which includes the March Hare and Mad Hatter! (This is the original Mad Hatter, not Jervis Tetch). Batman and Robin make their escape from the Tweed home and then stop the Wonderland Gang from robbing a celebrity costume party at the Gilmore Ballroom. In the end, the whole gang goes to jail.

–NOTE: Joker escapes from jail again (as referenced in Batman #16, Part 1).

–Batman #16, Part 1
Joker and his men rob a jewelry store and on their way to the West Coast to hide out, they crash their plane in Farr Corners, a redneck town in the Ozark mountains. Joker hits his head and not only develops amnesia, but develops a good conscience! Upon entering the town, where no one recognizes him, he hands over the loot to the sheriff and becomes a hero. When the Dynamic Duo finally catches up with Joker in Farr Corners, they are shocked to witness him as a decent human being. At one point, Joker even saves Batman’s life in a fight against his henchmen. But in the end, after a pistol-whipping, Joker reverts back to his old nasty self. Batman and Robin take him down and send him back to jail in Gotham.

–Batman #16, Part 2
When a string of jewel thefts plagues Gotham during the twilight hours, courtesy of hooded and robed villains that are able to disappear without a trace every time, Batman and Robin are on the case. After battling the crooks after a late-night wedding reception, the Dynamic Duo is dumbfounded when they escape. By morning Bruce figures out that the criminals are actually milkmen, who ditch their robes, and blend into the normal night with their milk uniforms. Eventually, Batman and Robin stop the milkmen and their domino-masked ringleader, Winthrop. As treasurer of the Purity Milk Company, Winthrop, had stolen and gambled away large portions of the company’s funds and was attempting to cover up his embezzling by stealing.

–Batman #16, Part 3
While on a fishing trip, Bruce and Dick run afoul of Bull Beeton and his cronies, who are trying to get a metal cylinder hidden inside a log. After a fight at a paper mill, the bad guys are able to retrieve the cylinder and hightail it back to Gotham. Two days later, Batman and Robin confront Beeton at a city paper factory, take him down, and retrieve the cylinder, which contains stolen diamonds. Afterward, the Dynamic Duo reads the latest issue of Batman.

[2]

–FLASHBACK: Batman busts safecracker Soupy Sellers (as seen in a flashback within a flashback in World’s Finest Comics #65).

–Detective Comics #75
Batman and Robin challenge the Robber Baron and his assemblage, who use a brobdingnagian grappling cannon that fires zip line to several locations in the surrounding few square-block radius. The Baron can then zip to the locales, rob them, and zip back. After Batman takes a bullet in the arm and gets captured and Robin gets dumped into the river, a worried Alfred goes looking for his masters and gets captured as well. Thankfully, Robin recovers and saves the day. Batman, Robin, and even Alfred kick some Robber Baron ass.

–NOTE: Joker escapes from the stir yet again (as referenced in Detective Comics #76).

–NOTE: Penguin exits through the revolving door better known as prison (as mentioned in Batman #17, Part 2).

–FLASHBACK: May 22, 1943. Batman and Robin confront the domino-masked henchmen of recently escaped inmate Slick Fingers (aka George Collins).  Fingers’ men attempt to rob the Argus Electric Supply Company (as seen through flashback in Batman #20, Part 2). The Dynamic Duo prevents the crime, but the villains escape to the waterfront.  When Batman and Robin catch up with them, the henchmen have joined accomplice Noodle Nolan in a plan to illegally salvage a recently sunk ship in Gotham Bay.  This scheme culminates in an underwater battle between Batman and Nolan–both men inside deep-sea diving bells with robotic arms.  With the help of Robin and GCPD Officer Patrick Francis Aloysius Michael O’Brien, Batman apprehends Nolan.  Batman and Robin then meet with Commissioner Gordon and discuss a related case: the May 7th robbery of a department store safe, supposedly by Fingers and his gang.  Batman deduces that former cellmate of Fingers and former safe builder Titus Keyes–recently paroled–may have actually hired Fingers’ men in order to frame the latter.  Later, at Keyes’ apartment, the stolen goods are discovered and Keyes is arrested.  Later still, Batman rethinks the case and tells Gordon that he believes Fingers may have framed Keyes instead of the other way around!

–Detective Comics #76
Joker and his inner circle kidnap a flower shop owner, Mr. Pettle, and pose as the new owners in order to deliver plants with trick pots that release chloroform, knocking out their rich clients so that the villains can rob them blind. After the Dynamic Duo is defeated in combat twice, they ditch their costumes and purchase plants at Pettle’s store. When the Joker arrives to steal from Wayne Manor, Bruce, Dick, and Alfred pretend to be asleep. The Dynamic Duo then tails Joker to his secret hideout, Pettle’s out-of-town estate. After taking a defensive position inside Pettle’s greenhouse, Batman pumps chloroform into the heating system, knocking out Joker and his men and making their delivery back to prison quite easy.

–Batman #17, Part 1
Bruce and Dick meet eccentric Batman memorabilia-collector and author B. Boswell Browne, who has many items of note from previous Batman adventures and is currently writing a biography of Batman and Robin. Later, the Dynamic Duo defeats the supervillain known as The Conjuror. Miffed, the Conjuror meets with an unsuspecting Browne and gets all the details of every time the Dynamic Duo has been captured or beaten. During their next meeting, the Conjuror defeats Batman and Robin with one of Penguin’s patented chicken-wire nets. After a meeting with an upset Browne, Batman and Robin return home. The next day, the Conjuror kidnaps a defiant Browne and plans his next caper, the robbing of an art auction. The Dynamic Duo, with Browne’s help, bests the Conjuror for good. Afterward, Batman writes the preface to Browne’s biography.

–Batman #17, Part 2
Warden Keyes—Warden Higgins’ new replacement as head of the State Prison—gives a lecture about his work in the penal system, specifically in regard to the containment of super-villains. Bruce, Dick, and a cocky Penguin are all in attendance. After Keyes makes fun of Penguin’s obsession with umbrellas, the villain decides to abandon his signature trademark in favor of various sporting goods. After committing a series of crimes using fishing rods and hunting rifles, Penguin collars the Dynamic Duo and sicks two wild dogs on them. Batman is able to sooth the beasts simply by talking to them calmly and then gets the canines to chew through his binding ropes. Batman and Robin–on horseback and accompanied by the dogs–chases after Penguin–also on horseback–and is able to send him back to jail.

–Batman #17, Part 3
After tussling with some murderous swindlers in Gotham, the Dynamic Duo learns that they are headed to the oldest city in the US Southwest, Santo Pablo. Batman and Robin travel to Santo Pablo where the Gotham crooks rob a bank amidst the chaos of a citywide costume party. Later during a parade, the crooks set off dynamite and grenades, blowing up half the town. Batman and Robin, along with several costumed Santo Pablo police officers that hold mini Bat Signal flashlights, are able to take down the mad bombers. Afterward, Alfred says he wants to go along with the heroes on every out-of-town mission. Also following this mission, Batman puts an undetonated bundle of dynamite and some grenades into his Hall of Trophies (as referenced in Batman #34, Part 4).

–Batman #17, Part 4
Bruce and Dick take a vacation to Malibu where they learn that a band of domino-masked rogues known as the Phantom Raiders has been plundering fishing vessels. After stowing-away on one of the ships, Batman and Robin fight the emerging Raiders and learn that they strike from a blimp. The Dynamic Duo boards the blimp, but they are sent plummeting into the ocean below where Batman is able to kill a shark with only a small knife. Eventually, our heroes shut down the Raiders permanently.

–World’s Finest Comics #10
Bruce and Dick attend the vaudeville show of Oliver Hunt, a man that has a photographic memory and the ability to learn anything at a rapid rate simply by watching it done. Hunt, sick of vaudeville, decides to join gangster Dude Fay’s mob. Hunt uses his photographic memory to steal info from District Attorney Tim Logan, patents, and various artists’ ideas.[3] Hunt fights Batman and Robin, revealing that he has learned jujitsu, and defeats the pair with a double nerve pinch. After scanning the Batplane in detail, Hunt returns to his crew. A few days later, Fay’s gang has constructed their very own Batplane. Following an epic air battle between the fake Batplane and the real deal, Hunt betrays Fay when the latter asks him to memorize military secrets to sell to the Nazis. Hunt ain’t about to betray his country! Hunt then helps Batman and Robin defeat Fay. Afterward, Hunt is recruited by the Secret Service and contributes to the war effort.

–Detective Comics #77
Batman and Robin match wits with The Crime Doctor, Matthew Thorne. Thorne, an actual medical doctor and criminal genius, is so devoted to both trades that he calls a truce to perform appendix surgery on one of his patients. After surgery is complete, Thorne captures the Dynamic Duo and runs off to a nearby atom smasher, intent on creating an alchemical Philosopher’s Stone. Naturally, Batman escapes from captivity, fights Dr. Thorne atop the towering atom smasher, and sends him to prison. After the case is closed, Batman places Dr. Thorne’s medical bag and handgun into the Hall of Trophies (as referenced in the 12/30/1945 Batman and Robin Sunday Newspaper Strip).

–NOTE: Tweedledum and Tweedledee escape from jail (as referenced in Batman #18).

–Batman #18
Bruce, Dick, and Alfred travel several hours outside of Gotham to investigate strange murders that have occurred at Hunter’s Inn. After even more strange occurrences and scuffles with the Tweed cousins and various gangsters, Batman and Robin lean a bizarre truth. The Tweeds have constructed a replica of Hunter’s Inn that is less than a mile away, which they have used to rob unsuspecting guests who don’t realize they are in the wrong place. After unraveling this mystery, the Dynamic Duo sends Tweedledum and Tweedledee back to jail.

Dick gets his school report card and it’s not good–an F in all six subjects. Disappointed, Bruce suspends his activities as Robin. Over the course of the next two nights, Batman goes solo and tries to apprehend a gangster named Spike. On the second night, however, Batman is captured. Robin disobeys orders and saves the Dark Knight’s life. Together, they defeat Spike and his gang. The next day, at a meeting with Dick’s principal, Bruce and Dick learn that he accidentally received another boy’s report card. Dick actually got straight A’s.

Batman and Robin accompany Commissioner Gordon’s elite GCPD unit known as the Emergency Squad for a day of action. First, they save a kitty stuck atop a telephone pole. Then, they rescue a hunter trapped in a marsh. Then, they take down some crooks trying to rob a meat packing plant. After that, they rescue a young woman from a psycho that threatens to throw her off a penthouse balcony. Finally, after a brutal shootout with Two-Gun Fowley and his mob, the Emergency Squad apprehends the villain and sends him to jail.

During a prison riot, Warden Keyes is shot in the head! The Crime Doctor, Matthew Thorne, is called from his cell to perform lifesaving brain surgery. Thorne saves Keyes’ life, but uses this opportunity away from his cell to escape from the prison. A full month later, Thorne has hit major US cities on a crime trek to the West Coast. In an unnamed West Coast city, Dick goes undercover as a bootblack and learns that Thorne is offering his “Crime Clinic” services to gangster Flop-Ears Bailey. Batman and Robin take out Bailey, but Thorne moves on to the next West Coast city. Batman follows him and goes in disguise as gangster Slick Minder. After three days pass, Thorne predictably offers his services to Minder, thus allowing Batman and Robin to get the jump on him. However, when Robin takes a bullet in the stomach, Thorne promises to help Batman operate to save the Boy Wonder’s life in exhange for his freedom. While Robin heals at the hospital, Batman begins his search for Thorne. Meanwhile, Thorne skips out on an operation for the sick wife of a thug named Mocco in order to rob a gold mining facility. Batman catches up with Thorne at the facility and they duke it out. Concurrently, Mocco’s wife dies and a vengeful Mocco shows up and shoots Thorne dead.

–REFERENCE: Late August. Batman is the guest of honor at Gotham’s annual “Batman Day” celebration (as referenced in Batman #103, Part 1).

–NOTE: Tweedledum and Tweedledee escape from jail again (as referenced in Batman #24, Part 4).

–Detective Comics #79, Part 2
Diamond Pete Ransome is released from prison after completing his year sentence and goes to retrieve his trunk filled with stolen diamonds. Batman and Robin tail him and get the trunk first, but it turns out to be the wrong trunk—accidentally switched with a trunk belonging to actor Tremaine Wentworth. After rushing over to Wentworth, the Dynamic Duo realizes that Wentworth has yet another identical but wrong trunk, this one belonging to struggling actress Judy O’Casson. Ransome, meanwhile, accosts O’Casson and throws her out of a penthouse window. Batman swings in, saves her at the last second, and sends Ransome back to jail. Afterward, Batman tells her that his “friend” Bruce Wayne will put up the cash to produce a play starring Wentworth and O’Casson.

–World’s Finest Comics #10, Epilogue
Oliver Hunt, the man with the ability to copy any action just by seeing it/uncanny photographic memory, has been overseas for the past month working as a spy for the US Secret Service. Bruce and Dick listen to wartime radio reports and learn of the “Phantom American” screwing up Nazi plans in Europe.

–World’s Finest Comics #11
Rob Callender, after visiting the Batman Museum in Gotham in the mid to late 21st century, decides to time-travel back to 1943 to steal several items that will later become trophies in Batman’s collection. The man from the future hires a gang and, using various future technologies, steals a children’s schoolbook, a cheap painting, a lamp, and an unpublished manuscript. Batman and Robin are baffled by the thefts of such meretricious junk, but go after Callender anyway. After getting defeated by the villain, Batman finds out Callender is from the far future when he drops a penny from 2043. During their final confrontation, Callender is whisked away back to his own time, but is unable to take the stolen materials with him. Paradoxically (in the best possible way) our heroes place the schoolbook, painting, lamp, and manuscript into the Hall of Trophies! For my money this is without a doubt Bill Finger’s best World’s Finest yet.

–Detective Comics #92, Part 1
Batman and Robin bust Brainy Bulow and his henchmen Slug and Slim.

–Detective Comics #80
When Two-Face breaks out of prison and begins a crime spree, Bruce goes undercover as a gangster to find out the supervillain’s next move. After a confrontation at Gotham’s Tarnegie Hall, Batman and Robin fight Two-Face aboard his 18th century schooner hideout. Two-Face tries to shoot Batman, but Gilda enters and jumps in front of the bullet. Batman, Robin, and Two-Face rush her to the hospital where doctors are able to stabilize her condition. Two-Face’s henchmen then rescue Two-Face, but the latter, still upset at having nearly killed his true love, tells them he’s quitting crime. The henchmen don’t react to this kindly, imprisoning Two-Face and threatening to kill Gilda. The Dynamic Duo then locates Two-Face. The three then team-up to defeat Two-Face’s former henchmen and Two-Face even saves Batman’s life. A week later Gilda makes a full recovery and Batman uses his influence to get Two-Face a lessened sentence of one year in prison.

–Batman #19, Part 1
Veteran newsman (and good friend to Bruce) Larry Spade is out to write one final story before he retires. Spade has got the dirt on a life insurance racketeer/murder monger named Big Ben, but Ben is wise to Spade and orders his men to crack his skull open. Spade winds up in the hospital while Batman and Robin go after Ben. The Dynamic Duo gets stuck in a death trap in a toy shop courtesy of Ben, but escapes to join a woozy Spade at the newspaper office. Batman and Robin are able to send Ben to jail and Spade gets his final headline, although he dies in the Dark Knight’s arms.

–Batman #19, Part 2
When Nazi U-Boats begin terrorizing US Navy ships off the coast of Georgia, Batman and Robin are on the case. After saving a lost fisherman named Ben Stunsel, the Batplane is swallowed up by a man-made whirlpool and sucked to the bottom of the ocean where Batman, Robin, and Stunsel find themselves in the lost domed city of Atlantis! Unfortunately, the Nazis have gotten to Atlantis first and have allied with the naive undersea dwellers. Admiral Von Buritz and his right hand man Captain Kurt Fritzl run the Nazi-Atlantean alliance, but under the jurisdiction of Atlantis’ child rulers, Emperor Taro (who bears a curious resemblance to Dick) and his sister Empress Lanya. After a quick trial, Batman and Stunsel are sentenced to death, while Robin is sentenced to imprisonment. Robin is able to escape his guards, knock out Taro, impersonate the emperor, fall in love with Lanya, and convince the Atlantean populace that Nazis are actually the bad guys. In an epic war, Stunsel is killed, but the Atlanteans violently end their partnership with the Third Reich. As the Dynamic Duo leaves, Lanya gives Robin a letter that laments the fact that they will never meet again. A few days later, poor Dick pines for Lanya. Oh, to be young and in love! [4]

–NOTE: I know, I know, this is getting repetitive. But get used to it. Joker breaks outta the joint again (as referenced in Batman #19, Part 3).

–Batman #19, Part 3
Someone claiming to be the Joker plays the semi-harmless prank of kidnapping a man with the last name of Fish and placing him in an aquarium display. Next, this false Joker puts a man with the last name of Fox into a zoo cage filled with foxes. However, when the newspapers learn of a public threat to follow suit with a man named Lyon, the Dynamic Duo has a vested interested in intervening. At a fancy Gotham club, the Dynamic Duo and the Joker converge–the former in an attempt to stop the Joker and the latter in an attempt to find out who is framing him. While Batman tangles with Joker, the club is robbed by the real culprit: Lyon himself! Later, at the Gotham Polo Grounds, a three-way battle ensues between Joker, Lyon, and the Dynamic Duo. Eventually, Joker prevails and locks Batman, Robin, and Lyon in a lion’s cage at the zoo. After saving Lyon from the lion and sending him to jail, Batman and Robin go after Joker. With a borrowed zoo leopard–complete with leash and muzzle–Batman is able to scare Joker’s getaway horse into a frenzy that knocks the Clown Prince of Crime off the bucking bronco and into the waiting arms of the law. It’s back to prison for Joker.

–Detective Comics #95
This issue takes place before Part 3 of Batman #19. Batman decides to clean up Gotham in one fell swoop with an all out attack on the underworld. After systematically shutting down every single crime czar in the city, the crimelords and their gangs are herded onto a prison train headed for the slammer. A new supervillain named The Blaze hijacks the train, frees all of the prisoners and organizes them in the woods. With a new army of gangsters at his disposal, the Blaze begins the counterattack. Meanwhile, Batman and Robin entertain the new rookie graduates at the police academy. Commissioner Gordon awards Batman with a blinged-out, diamond encrusted Bat symbol ID badge, which the Dark Knight proudly festoons to his chest. Later, the Blaze, posing as a wealthy baron, hires the Dynamic Duo to watch over his birthday party. Upon arrival, they are immediately captured. Fabulous diamond-sparkled Batman escapes and later returns to rescue Robin. At the Natural History Museum, Batman and Robin take down the Blaze for good.

–REFERENCE: Along with his official police badge, Commissioner Gordon and Batman come up with another idea to ensure the Dark Knight’s legitimacy in Gotham (as referenced in Detective Comics #195). A special decree is passed that says no man shall impersonate Batman in Gotham without the Caped Crusader’s permission under penalty of law.

–Batman #19, Part 3
The Arab villain known only as Ali has been kidnapping millionaires and replacing them with his own homegrown doppelgangers. When Bruce’s friends try to commit suicide after being expelled from their family by a fake version of their rich father, Batman saves their lives and decides to investigate Ali’s health spa. At the spa, Bruce is quickly incarcerated in the millionaire cell block. Back at Wayne Manor, fake Bruce beats a terrified Dick—Dick adorably tries to greet Bruce with a hug and a balloon and receives a punch in the face for his trouble. Dick eventually learns via a radio call from Bruce what has happened. Robin breaks Batman out of Ali’s prison and the Dynamic Duo unmasks all the fake 1%ers. While unmasking fake Bruce, Batman whips out his diamond-encrusted bat-ID emblem bling. Batman and Robin then easily take down Ali.

–Detective Comics #81
Enter Mortimer Drake, better known as The Cavalier! Dressed as a dashing musketeer and wielding an electrified rapier, the Cavalier aims to become Batman’s number one rival by stealing memorabilia from a sporting goods store. The sophisticated new supervillain is ultimately defeated by Batman and Robin, but makes an elegant departure from the crime scene.

–Detective Comics #80, Epilogue
Two-Face has been in jail for two months. He finally has facial surgery and is completely healed within weeks. Harvey sends Batman and Robin a thank you note and his old scarred coin. They place it into their Hall of Trophies.

–Detective Comics #82
While attending a college football game, Bruce and Dick notice career criminals Blackie Blondeen and Glassjaw Greegan meeting in the bleachers. A day later, a bank is robbed in what appears to a meticulously planned “football playbook” fashion. Batman and Robin attack Blondeen and Greegan at their HQ, but the crooks run away to their next caper at a jewelry store. Under Batman’s orders, Alfred–dressed awkwardly in football gear–canvases the jewelry district looking for suspicious activity. When Alfred spots the baddies red-handed, he takes action and is able to successfully fight Blondeen, Greegan, and two henchmen. When a bomb is tossed his way, Alfred punts it high into the sky where it detonates. The Dynamic Duo swings to the site of the explosion and puts down Blondeen and Greegan for good. The next day, Bruce and Dick have a good laugh at Alfred’s expense–the latter has broken his toe and is in a foot cast.

–Batman #19, Part 1, Epilogue
As typical with Gotham’s super fast judicial system, Big Ben and his cronies are executed for the murder of Larry Spade, which occurred only a mere month-and-a-half ago. Bruce and Dick discuss this newsworthy event at Wayne Manor.

–World’s Finest Comics #12
While Bruce and Dick are away deep sea fishing, Alfred overhears the sinister plot of the returning Slick Swade and decides to try to apprehend the villain all by himself. After getting captured and nearly killed aboard Swade’s smuggling ship, Bruce and Dick are alerted to their butler’s dilemma when they hear his dropped but active two-way watch radio. Batman and Robin attempt a rescue, but are captured as well. Alfred, however, as he as done before, proves his courage and mettle as a fighter and saves the Dynamic Duo–twice! A day after shutting down Swade’s operation, Alfred is given anonymous credit for assisting Batman in the Gotham City Gazette.

–NOTE: Joker escapes jail (as referenced in Batman #20, Part 1).

–REFERENCE: A week before the robbery trial of Titus Keyes, who Batman believes to have been framed by his former cellmate Slick Fingers, the Dark Knight goes on a search for evidence that will prove Keyes’ innocence (as referenced in Batman #20, Part 2).

–Batman #20, Part 1
Joker allies himself with fellow supervillains Elca Tate and Meera Kell. Using the old set of the never-produced Through the Ages movie set in the US Midwest (originally bankrolled by Bruce in 1940), Joker and his pals trick wealthy real estate tycoon Percival Pruitt into thinking that they have invented a time machine. Likewise, the villains convince rich bank robber Kid Glove Mixter of the existence of a working time machine as well. After both parties pay a hefty fee to travel into the future, Joker escorts them into his “time chamber,” which knocks them out with sleeping gas. Pruitt and Mixter are then flown 300 miles to the Through the Ages set, where a host of actors wearing futuristic costumes interact with the victims amidst the “World of 2043.” Back in Gotham, Batman and Robin are captured by Joker and knocked out. When they come-to, they are in Joker’s fake future. Meanwhile, Joker threatens Pruitt and Mixter that he will leave them trapped in the “future” unless they pay him more money. Pruitt and Mixter pay up again, but Joker “transports” the dupes to ancient Damascus (the other half of the Through the Ages set). Realizing that he is on the unused Through the Ages set, Batman quickly sees through Joker’s ruse, charges from one end of the set to the other, rescues Pruitt and Mixter, and sends Joker back to Gotham Prison. A few days later, the “fast-track” Gotham judicial system delivers a life sentence to the Joker. I should mention that this issue reveals that in addition to Bruce’s financial/occupational endeavors—head of Wayne Enterprises, majority stockholder in a clock company, majority stockholder in a shipping insurance company, author, and producer—he is also the director of one of the state’s largest banks.

–FLASHBACK: Two days before the robbery trial of Titus Keyes, Batman finally learns the secret location of Slick Fingers’ hideout (as seen through flashback in Batman #20, Part 2). At Fingers’ HQ, the Dynamic Duo, with help from a shoeshine boy, beats up the Campfire Boys, a group of thugs loyal to Fingers. Batman obtains evidence that will exonerate Keyes, but vows to keep searching for Fingers himself.

–Batman #20, Part 2
The trial of Titus Keyes begins. Just as things are looking bleak for Keyes, Batman and Robin burst into the courtroom and reveal that Fingers is hiding in the audience, disguised with a fake beard. Batman turns over the evidence he gathered two days ago, a list of safe combos that Fingers had obtained from Keyes while they were cellmates in prison. Keyes is found innocent and Fingers goes back to jail.

 

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  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: Clark and company, of course, work at the Daily Planet, as can be seen in Superman #20. However, due to retcons associated with the Silver Age multiversial reboot in the 1960s, the Daily Planet was changed to the Daily Star on Earth-Two.
  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: Don Cameron/Bob Kane’s original Alfred Beagle debut story from Batman #16, Part 4, which originally took place here, is non-canon. It was replaced by a flashback from Batman #110, Part 2. See above for details.
  3. [3]COLLIN COLSHER: Gotham’s newest DA, Tim Logan, isn’t named until his death in World’s Finest Comics #34.
  4. [4] COLLIN COLSHER: I should also mention that Aquaman is not a part of this story. While Earth-Two Aquaman (Arthur Curry) surely would have been aware of and interacted with Atlantis and its people, Earth-Two’s version of the character was not the ruler of the undersea kingdom. In fact, Earth-Two Aquaman was human! When Arthur Curry was a boy, his explorer/scientist father discovered the ruins of part of Atlantis–complete with strange technology, artifacts, and scientific texts–not realizing that the undersea civilization was still thriving not far from his discovery. Arthur’s dad spent years using the Atlantean tech to genetically alter his son into the underwater adventuring superhero known as Aquaman. And now you know.

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