Batman apprehends crime lord Mike Russo, who is sentenced to twenty years in State Prison. Russo, however, secretly takes control of the prison in a matter of weeks, allowing him to move about freely and command the entire penitentiary with a fake warden and his own personal guards. Russo’s warden is able to impersonate Warden Higgins. Using the State Prison as his new HQ, Russo’s criminal empire grows. Batman eventually catches wind that something isn’t right and, with Commissioner Gordon’s help, goes undercover as an inmate. From within the prison, Batman is able to grasp the scope of Russo’s operation. Robin joins Batman on the inside in an attempt to regain control of the jail, but the Dynamic Duo is overwhelmed and captured. Russo then “sentences” Batman to Death Row. Meanwhile, Robin escapes from his cell using a super-powered Dynamo Magnet hidden in his utility belt. Robin then switches the cyanide canisters in the prison’s gas chamber with seltzer tablets. When Batman is forced into the gas chamber, it emits harmless seltzer fumes instead of cyanide. Batman feigns death, drawing Russo and his gang into the room to examine the corpse. Batman springs to life and kicks ass. The Dynamic Duo is then able to regain control of the prison.
Scientist Henry Ross, thanks to radical experiments with radium, has turned radioactive and gone completely insane. Dubbed Professor Radium by the media, the glowing green-skinned madman has the ability to kill anyone he touches, burn through walls, and shoot radioactive rays from his hands. Craving a rare drug known as Volitell that keeps his radium-induced rages in check, Professor Radium dons a hazmat suit and goes on a stealing spree at various labs and hospitals. After causing several deaths, Batman and Robin are able to defeat Radium. The supervillain falls to his death. After the case, Batman puts Professor Radium’s mask on display in the Hall of Trophies (as seen in the epilogue from Detective Comics #80).
A new play by writer Johnny Glim entitled Superstition Murders is set to debut in Gotham. Bruce is invited to a superstition-themed party, organized by everyone involved with the play, to kick off the start of the theater season. At the party, people break mirrors, bring in black cats, open umbrellas indoors, walk under ladders, light multiple cigarettes off of one match, and commit various other bad luck actions. Amid the joviality, the lead actor is mysteriously poisoned to death. While investigating the crime scene later that night, Batman is briefly attacked by the fleeing killer, who wears a mask to hide his face. While Batman explores a bunch of red herrings, Robin crosses path with the masked murderer, who has just killed the party photographer. The night of Superstition Murders‘ debut, the lead actress is murdered as well. The Dynamic Duo is on hand to apprehend and unmask the killer, who turns out to be Glim. Glim wanted the show to get shut down—if it closed within two weeks of its opening date, the author stood to receive full rights to the play and could then option it into a exclusive lucrative movie deal.
Batman and Robin have achieved country-wide fame to such an extent that President Roosevelt invites the Dynamic Duo to Washington DC. In front of a crowd of thousands, Batman and Robin are given a royal treatment complete with a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. At the end of the ceremony, head of the FBI J. Edgar Hoover is set to personally address the heroes when a shot rings out. Joker has shot Hoover in the shoulder, nearly killing him! I should mention that Hoover is thinly veiled as G. Henry Mover in this story. However, a few decades later, DC publishers will begin referencing Hoover by his real name in flashbacks to this era, hence why I have used his actual name. Following Hoover’s near assassination, a nationwide manhunt begins for the Joker. The Dynamic Duo chases Joker as he goes on a wild and murder-filled jaunt across the US, first through New Jersey, then Ohio, then Kansas, then Delaware. Finally, in Providence, Rhode Island Batman is able to apprehend the elusive clown. Brought up on federal charges, Joker will quickly be shipped off to the most famous fully-operating federal pen in 1941; Alcatraz!
–Detective Comics #59
While train hopping down South, Penguin meets wanted criminals Lefty Larry, Bignose Murphy, and Mike the Tramp. Penguin comes up with a plan that involves turning in each man to the authorities, collecting the reward money for each, and then immediately breaking them out of prison. After completing the scam with Larry in Boswick, Texas, the Dynamic Duo–who just happen to be on vacation down South–fight Penguin and his partners only to get captured. Instead of killing Batman and Robin, or even unmasking them, Penguin ties them up and hangs them upside down inside a train car. Of course, Batman and Robin easily escape. While Penguin does the reward/breakout routine with Murphy in Memphis, Batman returns all the way home to Gotham just to look at his “Personal Rogues’ Gallery” slides in the Wayne Manor crime lab. Finding Larry, Murphy, and Mike the Tramp within the file spells out the details of Penguin’s plan. The Dark Knight and the Boy Wonder fly to Arkansas—via Batplane—and confront Penguin, who has just broken Mike the Tramp out of jail. After an epic battle on the Mississippi River, the three wanted men are nabbed, but Penguin escapes.
–Batman #11, Part 4
It’s the dead of winter, which is why this story has been placed here. Using the stolen loot from Detective Comics #59, Penguin moves to sunny Florida with his friends Canary, Joe Crow, and Buzzard Benny. Canary is a beautiful blonde Femme Fatale, Joe Crow is a green-skinned Ichabod Crane-type, and Buzzard Benny is a surly hunchback. In Florida, the foursome opens a casino, but uses it as a front from which to follow gamblers home and steal their winnings. Also, most of the games are rigged. Coincidentally, Bruce and Dick just happen to be on vacation in Florida. Batman meets the lovely Canary one day when he saves her from a giant squid. Not kidding. A week goes by and Penguin’s casino is going strong. Bruce visits the establishment, quickly sees through all the scams, wins some moolah, and returns to his Miami penthouse. Buzzard Benny and some goons follow him home, but the Dynamic Duo appears at the door and chases them off. Batman and Robin then learn that Penguin is set to fix the outboard steeplechase race, so Batman replaces the would-be diver and enters the speedboat extravaganza. Batman then chases after Penguin–Batman in a speedboat while Robin water-skis behind him and Penguin and company in a car on the Biscayne Bay shoreline! Robin wipes out and gets nabbed by Penguin. Batman then tracks down Canary and Buzzard Benny–the former, who has fallen in love with him, tells him where Robin is, and the latter shoots Batman in the gut twice! Meanwhile, a hurricane has struck the Florida coast! Through the strong wind and pouring rain, a bullet-riddled and bloodied Dark Knight stumbles into Penguin’s lair. Batman rescues Robin and the Boy Wonder, with Canary’s help rushes him to the hospital. However, due to the hurricane, the hospital is filled up, so Canary and Robin perform emergency surgery to save his life! While Batman recovers, Robin captures Penguin by himself. Two days later, an injured Batman tries to escort Penguin to jail, but the pudgy supervillain escapes and gets away as usual.
–Batman #9, Part 3
The Joker escapes from Alcatraz by swimming across the bay using a decoy duck of his own construction. He then travels overnight back to Gotham where he immediately robs a midtown bank of ten thousand dollars using windup clown dolls filled with TNT. Meanwhile, Bruce and Dick visit the theater to watch a newsreel film about the history of the rivalry between Batman and Joker called The March of Crime Presents: The Conflict Between the Batman and the Joker. As it turns out, many of Batman’s encounters with Joker have been captured on film. Later, two recently paroled criminals curiously win ten thousand dollars at the theater anniversary contest. Batman and Robin then run into Joker at the theater, but the later escapes. A week goes by and then Joker strikes the same midtown bank again, blowing into the vault with an explosive windup toy and grabbing twenty grand. The Dynamic Duo is on the case, debuting their flashy new motorcycles, but Joker gets away again. A day after robbing the twenty thou, another recently paroled criminal wins twenty thou in a sweepstakes. Joker’s streak continues, as he steals $5,000 and $30,000. When more recent parolees win those exact amounts of cash, Batman realizes that Joker has been threatening the contest organizations to filter the stolen money to his buddies. Eventually, Batman and Robin confront Joker, but Joker and his henchmen capture our heroes and bury them alive. The Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder escape their early tomb and chase down Joker once again, but the Harlequin of Hate eludes justice. Batman winds up with Joker’s decoy duck and puts it in his Hall of Trophies (as referenced in Batman #12). The Caped Crusader also adds a windup clown doll explosive to the Hall of Trophies as well (as referenced in the 3/23/1944 daily newspaper strip of Batman and Robin).
–Detective Comics #60
Joker, still confident from his last battle with Batman, hatches a new plan. He and his henchmen dress up like National Guardsmen to infiltrate and rob a US armory. Then next day they dress up as policemen to casually enter and rob a bank. Following the policeman caper, Joker and his men pretend to be firemen to steal expensive Persian rugs and firefighting equipment. Bruce and Dick return to Gotham from yet another vacation to learn about the crimes. Upon their arrival, they are summoned via the Bat-Signal to police HQ where Commissioner Gordon informs them that Joker is behind the uniformed crime wave. The Dynamic Duo then battles Joker and his crew–posing as postal workers–but the criminal gang gets away. Joker immediately continues his scheme, posing as a railroad conductor to rob a train and then as an elevator repairman to rob an apartment building. Batman, fed up, sets up a trap for Joker by baiting him with false news of a diamond being held on a yacht in Gotham Bay. Right on cue, Joker and his men, pretending to be members of the Coast Guard, show up. Despite being prepared for the situation, Joker still manages to defeat the Dynamic Duo in battle and capture Batman. Eventually, Batman escapes and regroups with Robin to attack Joker in his costume shop HQ. In the end, Joker is put behind bars. I should mention that Robin dresses up as Little Red Riding Hood at one point during this story.
–FLASHBACK: The first flashback from Detective Comics #61 takes place now. Batman and Robin apprehend “Crafty” Cal Clate, a racketeer that broadcasts false police broadcasts in order to lure cops away from his crimes. His racket is a success for a while, until the Dynamic Duo shuts it down.
–Batman #9, Part 1
John “Mousey” Meggs, Albert “Slick” Dandy, Pete “Nails” Logan, and Mortimer “Brains” Brinig decide to rob popular radio fortune teller Jafeer live on the air. Bruce and Dick listen in while the gangsters assault Jafeer. Before being shot to death, Jafeer tells each man his terrible fate. “Lightning will blast [Mousey] down in his tracks.” “Air will be choked from [Slick’s] lungs.” “Metal will still [Nails’] beating heart.” And “Water will cause [Brains’] downfall.” Sure enough, the Dynamic Duo chases Mousey onto some electrified train tracks and the thug is fried. Later, Slick steals a plane from the airport and Batman and Robin follow after him in the Batplane. After a mile-high fight, Slick parachutes to the earth only to get tangled in telephone wires. Just as Jafeer predicted/cursed, Slick chokes to death as the tangled parachute acts as a noose around his neck. Batman catches up with Nails next and punches him in the chest. Nails keels over and drops dead! Turns out that Nails had a bullet–received during an old gang war–lodged near his heart. Batman’s punch caused the “metal to still the villain’s beating heart.” Brains, hoping to avoid his water-related demise, travels to the arid Arizona desert only to realize that he forgot to pack any H2O. By the time Batman and Robin arrive in Arizone, Brains has already kicked the bucket due to dehydration.
–FLASHBACK: The second flashback from Detective Comics #61 takes place now. Mad Professor Post has invented a “lazy drug” that induces a coma-like lethargy. Post ambushes a stock exchange meeting and drugs a high-ranking Wall Street type in order to get cash in exchange for the antidote. Bruce Wayne happens to be at the meeting and it’s not long before Batman confronts Post at his home. Post is miraculously able to dose the Dark Knight with the drug and the latter slumps into a chair, barely able to move. When an overconfident Post leaves to commit more crimes, Batman summons up all his strength and radios Robin for help. Robin poses as a bootblack, trails Post home, knocks him out, finds the antidote, cures Batman, and saves the day.
–Batman #9, Part 2
Bruce is not only a stockholder in a clock company, but in a shipping insurance company as well. At a shareholders meeting, Bruce learns from one of the company secretaries, Mr. Radney, that a giant white whale à la Moby Dick has been sinking ships left and right, costing the company a fortune. Enter the notorious Captain Burley who volunteers to set sail and kill the killer whale. Bruce and Dick snoop around Burley’s schooner later that night and Bruce is captured by Burly’s goons. Dick stows away in the lower decks and the ship takes to the seas. Bruce quickly learns that the majority of the crew has been abducted, as he was, and put into forced labor. The next morning, Batman and Robin make their presence known and attack Burley and his men. However, the fight is interrupted by the arrival of a giant white whale. The Dynamic Duo and Burley put aside their differences and join up to quell the raging beast. With Burley’s assistance, Batman is able to harpoon the leviathan. Afterward, Batman resumes his fistfight with Burley, but they are interrupted yet again by another, even larger white whale that proceeds to smash Burley’s ship to pieces. Batman, Robin, and Burley wash into the side of the whale only to realize it is a submarine disguised as a whale. The trio enters the sub and finds none other than Mr. Radney at the helm. As Radney explains that he has been scamming his own insurance company, the sub rattles, shakes, and begins taking on water at an alarming rate. In the chaos, Burley and Radney shoot each other to death. Robin propels to the surface by launching out of a torpedo tube while Batman simply swims up. Our heroes are then rescued by the Coast Guard, the party responsible for sinking the sub. After this case wraps Batman puts a harpoon cannon into the Hall of Trophies (as referenced in Batman #48).
–FLASHBACK: The third flashback from Detective Comics #61 takes place now. Batman and Robin face the unnamed Tank Racketeer and his crew, who attack Gotham with three stolen US Army tanks and a fleet of trucks. The Dynamic Duo firebombs the tanks from the Batplane, but get shot down from the sky. Our heroes stick to the direct approach and tear gas the tank villains at their HQ to ultimately defeat them.
–NOTE: Batman is only present via flashbacks in Detective Comics #61, which occurs now. “Crafty” Cal Clate, Professor Post, and the Tank Racketeer are each arraigned for their crimes and sent to the State Pen to await trial. While there, they each tell a story of defeat at the hands of the Dark Knight.
–World’s Finest Comics #5
Thanks to Batman, the top dog of the Gotham’s crime scene is constantly changing. Currently, the three mob leaders are Big John Waller, Brains Kelley, and Dude Davis. Kelley brokers not only a truce between the mobs, but an alliance as well. As the first act of their new found partnership, the gangster trio initiates a “holiday from crime.” Literally overnight, crime screeches to a halt in Gotham. Days pass without so much as a jaywalk. Bruce and Dick are perplexed. To find out what’s going on, Bruce goes undercover as a new gun-for-hire known as the “Gold Coast Kid” and gets hired by Waller. Once on the inside, Bruce learns that the Gotham mob alliance has been operating outside of town, pulling jobs while impersonating the Domino Killers gang in Chicago, the Hooded Gunmen in St. Louis, and the Ryan Gang in Detroit. Bruce accompanies the Gotham alliance to Philadelphia, where they impersonate the Quaker City Mob to rob a silk factory. During the job, Batman and Robin, along with the Philly police, make an appearance and chase the bad guys back to Gotham. The Dynamic Duo attacks the mob head-on in Gotham, but–as in every Finger/Kane story–they get captured and narrowly escape a deathtrap situation. Batman, Robin, and the GCPD then pretend to be the St. Louis Hooded Gunmen to lure the Gotham alliance into a trap of their own, where they are able to shut down all of Gotham’s mobs at once.
–FLASHBACK: Angry gangsters shoot up the Bat-Signal at police HQ, completely destroying it (as seen via flashback in Detective Comics #164). Batman and Robin construct a brand-new, state-of-the-art bulletproof Bat-Signal to replace it. Before delivering the new spotlight to Commissioner Gordon, Batman and Robin receive word of a terrible forest fire in Gotham Woods. The Dynamic Duo uses the new spotlight to guide trapped firefighters out of the flaming brush. Afterward, the improved Bat-Signal is installed at police HQ!
–Detective Comics #62
When famous comedian Happy Hanson dies, his unique will reveals that his wealth shall be given to one of five men, all famous comedians as well. At the will reading, each comedian is given a clue card. Whoever can tell the funniest joke in a month’s time will win all of the cards, which will complete a puzzle that will lead to the expensive reward. Meanwhile, Joker learns of the contest, breaks out of prison, and quickly murders one of the comedians and takes his card. Commissioner Gordon lights up the sky with the Bat-Signal and Batman is on the case. Thus begins a game of cat-and-mouse where Joker leaves riddle clues for Batman regarding how and where he will strike next, while at the same time collects Hanson’s clue cards. Joker is then able to kill another comedian to collect his card. The Dynamic Duo stops Joker from offing another comedian in a fight inside a music shop, but Joker gets the card. Following another riddle, Joker successfully kills yet another comedian and claims yet another card. Batman and Robin follow Joker’s clue to the 34th Street Pier. At the pier, the Dynamic Duo dons inflatable raft-shoes/pontoon-boots that allow them to walk across the surface of the river and directly onto the vessel that holds the final comedian. Aboard the ship, Joker not only claims the final card, but captures Batman as well! At Joker’s secret HQ, Joker taunts a tied-up Dark Knight and explains why he won’t unmask him, stating: “It’s too simple–unworthy of my intelligence! And I like these battles of wits! The hunt… The chase!… That’s the breath of life to me!” Of course, Batman goes through a series of booby trapped rooms with relative ease, rejoins Robin, and sends Joker back to jail. Afterward, Batman keeps a candy knife trap from one of the booby trapped rooms for his Hall of Trophies (as referenced in Batman #12).
Batman #11, Part 1
This story goes here because All-Star Squadron #20 takes place at the same time, and based upon other All-Star Squadron tales around this era, we are in either in late January or early February 1942. Joker escapes from jail and begins using newspaper ads to his advantage when committing crimes. For example, he puts out an ad for old automobile collectors to assemble for a lucrative film shoot at a location near a jewelry store. When Batman, Robin, and the police try to chase after Joker they run into the congested gathering of classic autos. Later, Joker puts out a ad that references a magician performance at Gotham Theater. Bruce attends the show with Linda Page and quickly sees that the magician is Joker in disguise, trying to rob the audience members. After a change of attire, Batman appears but gets knocked-out, leaving Robin to follow after Joker by himself. Joker easily takes out Robin and puts him in a deathtrap that involves slowly filling a room with deadly sulfur fumes. By the time the Dark Knight locates Robin, the Boy Wonder is unresponsive and not breathing–his lungs have collapsed. Using a pulmotor–an early 1940s precursor to a resuscitator–Batman is able to pump out the poison and pump in oxygen to Robin’s lungs. (This Robin resuscitation scene is shown shot-for-shot and dialogue verbatim in a really amazing flashback from All-Star Squadron #20). Batman then takes the unconscious but stable Robin home to recuperate. While Dick recovers Batman follows a clue in Joker’s latest ad, finds the Harlequin of Hate and proceeds to viciously pummel him as revenge for what he did to Robin. Joker winds up badly beaten in a prison hospital.
–NOTE: The JSA members that joined the US Armed Forces—a list that excludes Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, and Superman—have been fighting in Japan for the past two months in both their roles as US soldiers and as superheroes too. After a successful campaign in the Philippines, Wonder Woman is invited to be a part of the JSA (as seen in All-Star Comics #11, Part 2). However, since the JSA is technically on temporary hiatus until WWII ends, the team reforms as the Justice Battalion of America! The JBA—featuring the exact lineup as the JSA—will take its orders directly from the US Armed Forces, specifically from General Brody.
Batman #11, Part 3
This story goes here because it is referenced in All-Star Squadron #24, which takes place on February 8th or 9th of 1942. Muscles Malone and his gang rob a luxury shop of precious jewelry and gems by stuffing the goods into toys that are also for sale in the same store. Malone and company then frame one of the employees, Henry Burton, and make off with the toys–only, they’ve accidentally taken the wrong toys! Thus, Malone and his crew find out who has purchased the stuffed toys, visit their homes, and steal the toys. Meanwhile, Bruce gets called for jury duty and winds up on the Burton trial. Bruce knows Burton is innocent so he deliberately hangs up the jury in an effort to stall for time. Robin attempts to take down Malone’s gang by himself but gets captured. Batman sneaks out of his jury duty hotel room and comes to Robin’s aid. Batman and Robin then take down Malone and his men at Grandma Drew’s Toy Museum, the Hendricks Mansion, and at a department store. Back at the trial the next day, Burton is saved by a note from Batman exonerating him of all wrongdoing.
All-Star Squadron #24-26
Less than 24 hours after the Muscles Malone affair (Batman mentions Robin getting into solo trouble less than 24 hours ago) the Dynamic Duo is in NYC to visit Dr. Chuck Grayson–lab assistant to the recently kidnapped Robotman. However, while Dick chats with his cousin a bunch of green monster Sub-Men, responsible for abducting Robotman, attack and kidnap Dr. Grayson as well. The Sub-Men are the genetically engineered henchmen of the Ultra-Humanite, whose brain currently resides in the body of popular actress Delores Winters. Using the hired supervillain help of Cyclotron (Terry Curtis), Deathbolt (Jake Simmons), and Amazing-Man (Will Everett), Ultra-Humanite has also been able to capture Superman and All-Star Squadron member Firebrand (Danette Reilly). Ultra-Humanite not only plans on forcing Dr. Grayson to move her brain into Robotman’s body, but wants to destroy America as well. On Long Island, the Dynamic Duo joins with Green Lantern, Atom, and All-Star Squadron members Commander Steel (Henry Heywood), Tarantula (Jonathan Law), and Liberty Belle. This group battles Amazing-Man until the villain learns that his boss plans on destroying his hometown of Detroit and switches sides. The next day, a bunch of new supervillains appear and begin fighting the heroes all over the country on Ultra-Humanite’s behalf. Whomever they touch disappears into thin air. Thus, across the nation, several heroes begin disappearing. In LA, Batman, Robin, Tarantula, and All-Star Squadron member Phantom Lady (Sandy Knight) engage with the newcomers, but Batman and Tarantula fade away. Robin and Phantom Lady continue fighting as more unknown villains appear out of nowhere. Most of these villains are either captured or fought off by the remaining heroes. At the All-Star Squadron HQ, Brainwave, Jr. (Henry King, Jr.) explains what the hell is going on. The captured villains aren’t villains at all. They are his teammates from Infinity Inc! In 1983, where Brainwave, Jr. and company come from, Ultra-Humanite was not only able to contact himself/herself in 1942, but was able to brainwash Brainwave’s teammates and send them back through time to fight the heroes. 1983 Ultra-Humanite was also able to send back some future supervillains that had been trapped in Limbo to assist him in 1942 as well. In LA, Batman and Robin had been fighting a mind-controlled Fury (Hippolyta Hall) and Northwind (Norda Cantrell)–both members of the 1983 Infinity Inc team. After Batman’s disappearance, Robin continued fighting Vulcan, Son of Fire (Christopher Pike) and The Mist–villains from 1983. Brainwave, Jr. also reveals that the missing heroes have been imprisoned in Limbo.
All-Star Squadron Annual #2
This issue picks up right where All-Star Squadron #26 leaves off. February 10, 1942. Robin, All-Star Squadron member Wildcat (Ted Grant), Flash, Guardian (Jim Harper), and Brainwave, Jr. attack the Ultra-Humanite and her cronies—a mix of villains from the present and from 1983—inside a secret lab within Mount St. Helens. These heroes, however, are defeated and sent to Limbo. Meanwhile, the previously missing heroes, including Batman, escape from Limbo and join with Infinity Inc—who have all now regained their senses. This large gathering of superheroes then battles Ultra-Humanite and company in Washington, DC, and prevent them from destroying the capitol and killing FDR. The villains are defeated, the other heroes are returned from Limbo, and Green Lantern uses his ring to send Infinity Inc back to 1983.
All-Star Squadron #27
This issue picks up immediately after All-Star Squadron Annual #2. Green Lantern returns all the weary heroes to their respective home cities following the recently finished battle against Ultra-Humanite. Meanwhile, Dr. Fate discovers the Spectre–who has been missing for a while–lost somewhere in the multiverse, the victim of his arch-rival Kulak.
All-Star Squadron #31-32
February 22, 1942. The first ever full-roster meeting of the All-Star Squadron is held in Queens. I was going to list the insanely long list of members featured in this issue, but it is literally nearly every single DCU Earth-Two superhero. I count over sixty-five All-Star Squadron members! Each member sounds-off for a roll call and then FDR personally addresses and thanks the All-Stars via CCTV from England. Then, much to the surprise of the All-Stars, Uncle Sam (from Earth-X) shows up! Sam reveals that he and the Freedom Fighters, recruits from Earth-Two–including Hourman–have been battling the Nazis on Earth-X, but the Germans are winning the war. Now, with most of the Freedom Fighters killed or captured, Sam begs the rest of Earth-Two’s heroes for help. Not only that, Sam tells Earth-Two’s heroes that the Axis Powers are planning a major strike that is set to occur within hours on US soil. Uncle Sam forms a new Freedom Fighters and leads them back to Earth-X to defend the California coastline against a Japanese/German joint attack. Meanwhile, Earth-Two heroes defend a similar attack on their own version of the California coast.
–FLASHBACK: February 23, 1942. While Earth-Two’s heroes defend against an Axis attack off the coast of Santa Barbara, Batman and Robin take down Axis saboteurs on the East Coast (as seen through flashback in All-Star Squadron #35). In All-Star Squadron #33-35 Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters defeat Baron Blitzkrieg on Earth-X and the Spectre prevents Earth-Two from a cataclysmic merging with Earth-X.
All-Star Squadron #36-37
Late February 1942–a few days after our previous All-Star Squadron story arc. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Hawkman, Green Lantern, Flash, and Plastic Man visit a movie theater to watch the latest newsreel film about the new “Super-Nazi” that has just destroyed half the British Air Force and soundly defeated Shining Knight in battle. Superman is shocked to see that the “Super-Nazi” is none other than a comic book character apparently come to life; Captain Marvel! An angry Superman bolts off to London and immediately gets in an epic fight with Captain Marvel. FDR sends the aforementioned heroes to back Superman up and they quickly head for London as well–Batman flies Wonder Woman’s invisible jet! Captain Marvel fights the heroes to a stalemate and takes off. Once the dust settles Mary Marvel (Mary Batson) and Captain Marvel, Jr. (Freddy Freeman) arrive and explain what’s goin’ down. See, on Earth-Two the Marvels are simply comic book characters, but on Earth-S, they are real! Earth-S is short for Earth-Shazam, for those inquiring minds. Hitler has managed to steal the Marvels to Earth-Two, separate Captain Marvel from his host vessel–the young Billy Batson, and brainwash the superhero into his own personal slave using the Spear of Destiny. Mary and Freddy were barely able to escape. The collective heroes, minus Superman, then confront Hitler in Berlin only to be attacked by Captain Marvel yet again. Hitler is able to separate Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel, Jr. from their host vessels and Nazi-fies them both. While the heroes fight a swarm of Nazis in the heart of the Third Reich, the three Nazi-Marvels fly to London in an attempt to destroy the parliament building. Eventually making it out of Germany, but stuck in Nazi-occupied France, things are looking bleak until Superman shows up with the de-programmed Marvels. The Spear of Destiny’s control over the Marvels disappeared once their host vessels got far enough away from its sphere of influence. Together, the large conglomeration of heroes kicks major ass and sinks an entire Nazi fleet. The Marvels then say their magic words, reunite with their hosts, and shazam back to Earth-S.
–NOTE: Joker escapes from jail (as referenced in Detective Comics #64). We must assume this is the case since Joker is roaming free when we next see him in ‘tec #64.
–Detective Comics #64, Part 1
Joker hatches his next big plan and it involves turning himself in! After being displayed for the public in his cell, Joker makes a full confession to all of his previous crimes, and is sentenced to trial. The “speedy trial”–as all trials in the DCU are put on the super-fast-track–occurs within a week or two and Joker is sentenced to death via the electric chair! What’s Joker’s plan? Only his henchmen, led by his number one man Charley, know what’s up. We’ll find out in about two-and-a-half-months.
–Detective Comics #67
This story takes place in early Spring i.e. March 1942, hence its placement here. Penguin opens a bird store in Gotham under the assumed name of Mr. Waddle. Over the course of several days, Penguin is able to concoct various schemes and robberies that involve trained birds: parrots, sparrows, falcons, pigeons, pelicans, and even ostriches. After stealing a fortune, Penguin tries to steal diamonds from Bruce Wayne’s penthouse, but Batman and Robin are waiting. After a quick fight, the Dynamic Duo succumb to a gas umbrella and are captured. At Penguin’s very own penthouse lair, Batman is somehow able to communicate with a penguin, who helps our heroes escape. I’m not kidding. Even Robin seems confused by this one. The Dynamic Duo then chases Penguin into a bell tower where, much to the surprise of everyone, the literal bats in the belfry swarm the supervillain. After a blow from his whistle, two trained eagles swoop into the tower and attack Batman and Robin, allowing Penguin to make a clean getaway. Despite the Penguin’s daring escape, Batman collects one of his extra large birdcages as a trophy (as referenced in Batman #93, Part 2).
All-Star Squadron #54
Early April 1942. The skies burn bright red and violent storms ravage all corners of the planet. The original JSA members have gone mysteriously missing along with Wonder Woman. Likewise, a bunch of other heroes have also gone missing, including Firebrand, Plastic Man, Liberty Belle, Johnny Quick, Amazing Man, and several more. Green Lantern has just returned from a trip to Earth-S and reports that the Marvel’s Earth also has red skies and similar freak storms. As the All-Stars meet in Queens to figure out what is going on, the Monster Society of Evil attacks and destroys their HQ! After a destructive battle, the heroes defeat the Monster Society for good. Where are the missing heroes, you ask? Well, the second batch has been summoned by Harbinger to Earth-One in the year 1986 to help out with a little multiversial calamity known as the Crisis on Infinite Earths! Yes, the Crisis is indeed a crisis across alternate universes and across time as well, hence the red skies and terrible weather in 1942. Bear in mind, the actual end result and effect of the Crisis—the destruction of Earth-One, Earth-Two, and many others—won’t occur until 1986. The whisked-away Golden Age heroes will eventually return to 1942 before the ultimate climax of the Crisis occurs in 1986, but when they do, all memory of having been transported away will have been erased from their minds. In regard to the first batch of missing heroes; that’s a mystery that we’ll have to wait to solve.
–All-Star Squadron #59-60
April 12, 1942. The All-Star Squadron has another packed-house meeting at the recently repaired Queens HQ where the gang meets Aquaman for the first time, learns from Dr. Occult that the eight missing superheroes are trapped in an interdimensional hyperspace, and votes on whether or not Robotman should turn over his evil robot girlfriend Mekanique to the custody of the team. Much to the chagrin of Robotman, who watches the proceedings via CCTV from his lab a few blocks away, the All-Stars vote to remand Mekanique. Green Lantern, Air Wave (Larry Jordan), Shining Knight, and Firebrand go to apprehend Mekanique, but Robotman puts up a fight. In the end, the heroes are convinced that Mekanique is not evil, just an alien from the future who wants to be a superhero. Meanwhile, the missing Justice Battalion heroes escape from hyperspace–Harbinger was responsible for their disappearance into hyperspace, in case you were wondering. Back at the All-Star HQ, all the heroes gather for a photograph. We (the readers) then learn that Mekanique is an evil robot from the future after all. And not only that, she is an updated version of Rotwang’s robot from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis! And not only that, she came back from the distant future to alter the past so that at the end of Metropolis Rotwang will win! And not only that, Mekanique temporarily halted the effects of the Crisis on Infinite Earths in order to do all of this! 
–Batman #10, Part 3
It’s been a while since we last saw the Cat. In that time, Selina Kyle–using the alias “Marguerite Tone”–has used her stolen wealth to rise to prominence and fame among Gotham’s social elite. Bruce attends one of Marguerite’s wild parties during which the host initiates a citywide scavenger hunt. Using the scavenger hunt as an excuse to gain access to rich folks’ homes, Cat-Woman’s thugs are able to rob them blind. Batman and Robin are unable to stop them. Before continuing further, I should mention that while the newspapers have referred to the Cat as “The Cat-Woman” before, this is the first issue where Selina officially refers to herself as “The Cat-Woman.” For brevity’s sake, I will shorten “The Cat-Woman” to a simpler “Catwoman.” A week later, Catwoman–as Marguerite–throws another huge ball, this time a masquerade. Batman shows up and learns that Catwoman’s thugs are all dressed up as Batman and plan to use his name to infiltrate secure areas across the city. Batman and Robin beat up the fake Batmen, but the Dark Knight is unable to link any wrongdoing to Catwoman. Another week passes before Catwoman tries another scheme involving getting her henchmen hired as servants and cooks in the richest mansions in Gotham. This time Batman and Robin definitively catch Catwoman red-handed and deliver a serious beat-down on her men. In the chaos, Catwoman makes-out with Batman and he lets her escape, much to the annoyance of Robin.
–Batman #10, Part 4
Welcome to Sunshine City, a small Southwestern US town that is a throwback to the old ghost towns of the Wild West. Sunshine is such a throwback that is even has old school cowboy villains that ride around on horseback, led by “Five Aces” Frogel. Frogel causes such trouble for the town that its residents put out a national call for Batman’s assistance. Batman and Robin immediately fly out West and chase off the bad guys. Batman is then elected, via special ballot, the new sheriff of Sunshine–Robin becomes his deputy. With crime eliminated in Sunshine, the town receives a loan to modernize its infrastructure, beginning with $40,000 for electricity and paved roads. A celebration is organized which involves the entire town dressing up in old-timey frontier costumes. However, Frogel gets his revenge by stealing the money, killing the town founder, and kidnapping Deputy Robin. Batman responds by rounding up a posse and kicking Frogel’s ass.
–REFERENCE: Batman and Robin apprehend Goldplate Gorney—recently paroled—for the second time and send him back to jail (as referenced in World’s Finest Comics #23).
–Batman #57, Part 1
The state brings up charges against Bruce as an unfit guardian for Dick! Dick would have just been turning eleven-years-old now, so this seems like a fine time to place a trial regarding his custody. At the trial, a slew of damaging (but false) evidence is trumped up, including photos of Bruce fighting in a bar room brawl against a bouncer from back in June. Batman visits the bouncer, William “Hippo” Grimes, which leads him to the vile Ed Kollum, who has a vendetta against Bruce and is responsible for setting him up. After two days of a bad-looking trial for Bruce, Batman makes an appearance, tricks Kollum into admitting the frame-up, and exonerates Bruce. Bruce and Dick celebrate that night with celebratory milks.
–REFERENCE: The US Army assigns Batman and Robin to a bomb disposal squad in London (as referenced in Batman #58).
–REFERENCE: Batman and Robin begin receiving daily fan mail at the post office (as mentioned in Batman #92, Part 1). They will now begin the daily practice of picking up their mail and responding to as many letters as humanly possible, time permitting. Also note that Batman, Robin, and the post office scans each letter and package with a fluoroscope for safety purposes. While not listed on our chronology, know that criminals will from time to time send bombs through the mail, which will be flagged after a fluoroscope scan. Also while not listed on our timeline, know that people will practice the annoying habit of sending the Dynamic Duo stuffed baseball bats.
–FLASHBACK: Batman goes into unspecified action with his fellow All-Star Squadron teammates, notably Superman, Hourman, Starman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern (as seen in The Brave & The Bold #197).
–REFERENCE: Batman and Robin wear their inflatable pontoon-boots yet again and nab Pirate Weaver (as referenced in Detective Comics #177).
–REFERENCE: Batman and Robin apprehend a gangster named Rocky and shut down the operations of his gang (as referenced in World’s Finest Comics #6).
–REFERENCE: Batman apprehends some crooks at the Gotham’s Old Lighthouse at Pirate Reef (as referenced in newsreel footage shown in Batman #14, Part 3). Batman will have another adventure at the lighthouse this coming X-mas.
–Batman #15, Part 2 Introduction
Batman and Robin defeat Knuckles Conger‘s gang, but Conger gets away clean. Conger thinks he knows why Batman always wins; it’s ’cause he has a young boy sidekick! Thus, Conger finds himself a naive orphaned youngster named Bobby Deen and recruits him as his sidekick under the false pretense that they will be superheroes together. Together, they begin a several month long training period.
–Detective Comics #63
Charming European jewel-thief extraordinaire Michael Baffle escapes the horrors of WWII and travels to Gotham City. Baffle immediately breaks into the richest target he can; Wayne Manor. Batman and Robin arrive home just in time to fight Baffle, but the slippery villain gets away. A few days later, Baffle—now wearing a domino mask—robs a society party. Batman is able to retrieve the stolen goods, but Baffle eludes custody once again. The next night Baffle attends another society party—this time in the guise of a “Page Six” reporter—and declares to the party goers that he is Batman! Linda Page, who is present, swoons and rushes over to declare her love for the Dark Knight only to immediately get robbed of her jewelry. Batman bursts in and begins fighting Baffle, but once again the villain escapes. This is the last we ever see of Baffle, so we must assume he flees to South America (as he mentions his plans to do so earlier in the issue).
–FLASHBACK: May 26, 1942. A day in the life of Batman and Robin is chronicled (as seen through flashback in Batman #12, Part 3). The morning begins with training, Batplane testing, laboratory work that solves a case involving gangster Trigger Maroni, a run through the Rogue’s Gallery files, and downtown in costume to help sell war savings bonds. Back at home, we learn that Bruce is getting his first book published, called “Observations on Crime.” Later, Batman and Robin chase after jewel thieves and, after disguising themselves as husband and wife (as they do way too often), Batman and Robin are able to recover the loot in a sculpture park. In the afternoon, the Dynamic Duo visits a hospital and signs autographs for sick kids. At night, Batman saves a woman who is threatening to commit suicide. However, Batman and Robin soon learn that she had only been distracting the cops while her accomplices were robbing a bank. The Dynamic Duo tails the young lady and busts the baddies with ease. Before going to sleep, Bruce tells Dick that the last chapter of “Observations of Crime” will be all about Batman and Robin. Don’t give away too much, Bruce.
–Detective Comics #64, Part 2
It’s been less than three months since Joker was put on death row, but now it’s time for his “swift justice” execution. Joker is strapped in the chair and killed! A few minutes later in the prison morgue, Joker’s thugs–led by henchman number one Charley—break in and administer a re-animation serum that revives Joker! We never learn who created the serum or where it came from, only that it had to be administered within fifteen minutes after death in order to work. Later that night, Batman and Robin are shocked to field a robbery call regarding the Joker. The Dynamic Duo hauls in the revived Clown Prince of Crime, but much to their dismay a judge lets the supervillain walk due to “double jeopardy” laws. Bruce and Dick keep surveillance on Joker’s apartment for several days, but nothing happens. At an Ice Capades show—attended by Bruce, Dick, and Joker—Charley and the gang cause a disturbance and rob members of the audience, including Joker to make it seem as if he is a victim too and has really gone straight. The gang escapes and afterward Joker shakes hands with Batman and pats Robin on the head. Later that night, an angry Dynamic Duo storms into Joker’s apartment. Joker, with policemen on hand, accuses Batman and Robin of breaking into his home. However, Batman spots Joker’s watch that been “stolen” earlier at the ice show, thus proving his continued link to crime. After a chase sequence involving the Batmobile and Batplane, Joker gets away via his usual falling-into-water-trope. A week later, Joker—alive and well—rejoins with Charley and the crew.
–FLASHBACK: April 1942—near Bruce’s birthday. But before a synopsis, some very important info. Writer Don Cameron and artist Bob Kane invented Bruce’s tubby butler Alfred Beagle in Batman #16, Part 4 (1943) in a story that featured mobster Manuel Stiletti and a case of mistaken identity where Alfred becomes a gangland target. Cameron and Kane also originally made it so that Alfred’s father was previously employed by the Wayne family. During Stiletti’s attack upon Wayne Manor in an attempt to kill Alfred, Alfred discovers the Batcave (and his new employers’ secrets), eventually helping them to jail Stiletti. However, in Batman #110, Part 2 (1957), Bill Finger attempted to take back a little somethin’ from the Kane monopoly-on-all-things-Batman by rewriting a flashback retcon of Alfred’s debut. The Finger flashback retcon stands and replaces the original, but it features anachronistic continuity errors that make it difficult to include outright and as-is. First of all, it features a bunch of Hall of Trophy prizes that Batman shouldn’t have yet. Second, Alfred is drawn in the skinny version we won’t see until later—he definitely should be an obese Brit. And third, some of the Bat vehicles are incorrectly drawn with their 1957 look. Ignore these items and the flashback is fine. Here’s what happens anyway: Alfred Beagle applies to an ad to buttle for the prestigious Wayne Manor and is hired by Bruce and Dick. Shortly thereafter, Bruce tests Alfred’s loyalty by dressing up as a crook named “Noyes.” As Noyes, Bruce unsuccessfully attempts to pump Alfred for info. A few days after that, Batman and Robin run into some trouble against some waterfront thieves and the Dark Knight returns home injured. With no other option, Dick reveals their secret IDs to Alfred, who nurses Batman back to health. Later, while Batman and Robin are out dealing with an accident at the power plant, a gaggle of socialites shows up to throw Bruce a surprise birthday party. Knowing that Bruce will come up out of the grandfather clock into the manor, Alfred distracts the partiers and convinces them to shut off all the lights, thus protecting Bruce’s ID.
Batman #11, Part 2
Batman and Robin apprehend career criminal Joe Dolan and his entire gang. At the police station Dolan brags that he will get off scot-free since his childhood friend is Gotham DA Lee Benson. When Dolan winds up escaping prison later that night, the honorable DA Benson joins up with Batman and Robin to track the fugitive down. When they find him, and epic chase sequence begins that involves bullets, a car chase, and a knockdown-drag-em-out fistfight between the former friends, Benson and Dolan. In the end, with the help of the Dynamic Duo, Benson sends Dolan to jail for good. Afterward, there is mention that Dolan will step down as DA and run for governor. We must assume this is the case because the next time we meet Gotham’s DA, it will be the very important Harvey Kent!
–REFERENCE: Batman fights Boss Sal Moroni after the gangster murders the bookie, Bookie Benson (no relation to District Attorney Benson). Moroni escapes Batman, but quickly gets apprehended by police (as referenced in Detective Comics #66).
World’s Finest Comics #6
The hit TV show Racket-Smashers reenacts the events of Batman’s recent clash with the gangster Rocky. Batman then delivers a live message to close out the show and signs autographs for the studio audience. Tabloid photojournalist Scoop Scanlon, on orders to unmask Batman, asks the Dynamic Duo if he can tag along on patrol and write a story on the heroes. Batman immediately agrees and sure enough, it’s Scoop riding along in the Batplane and dodging bullets on the street as a group of thugs commits a crime based on what they saw on Racket-Smashers. A week later, Scoop’s photos and article are a huge hit, but he still doesn’t know Batman’s secret ID. Scoop almost unmasks the Dark Knight after setting up an ambush, but the goons he’s hired work for the leader of the Racket-Smashers copycat and are more interested in killing Batman than finding out who he is. The Dynamic Duo then fights off their attackers and makes peace with Scoop. Taking a different approach, Scoop studies the police files and deduces that Batman is Bruce Wayne! Later that night, the Racket-Smashers copycat strikes again and pulls off a perfect robbery based on events from the show. A week later, Batman makes a public announcement that he will reveal the leader of the Racket-Smashers copycat gang live on an episode of Racket-Smashers. During the chaotic episode, the Caped Crusader outs the show’s narrator as the villain. Several bullets fly during the ensuing scuffle, but the heroes quell the riot. However, one of Batman’s friends, an actor named Mark Loring, gets shot. Meanwhile, Scoop, who has run in front of the camera and told the world that Batman is actually Bruce Wayne, waits for a response from the Dark Knight. Thankfully, Batman is able to convince the dying Loring to wear the Batman costume to disprove Scoop’s claim. So, instead of getting immediate medical attention, Loring plays in a ruse to help protect Batman’s identity–a ruse which leads to his death!
–Detective Comics #79, Part 1
Batman and Robin apprehend diamond thief Diamond Pete Ransome. Ransome is sentenced to a year in prison. The diamonds, hidden in a trunk, are not recovered but will come into play in a year’s time.
–Detective Comics #65-66
Writer Joe Greene starts us off with a flashback to 1937, which makes no sense since that was before Batman’s debut. The flashback actually makes a lot more sense if it’s showing 1940, which were I’ve placed it. In this tale, Batman and Robin accompany Commissioner Gordon to the snowy New England mountains—it’s late May, but snowy at these altitudes—to visit a State Police Barracks. When they get there one cop, Tom Bolton, is a huge dick to Batman and won’t stop huffin’ and puffin’ about how much he hates the Dark Knight’s guts. After several scuffles, Batman learns that the angry cop is the son of deceased bandit Mike Nolan, who, in April 1940 was killed by his partner Nick Rocco. To this day, Nolan’s son has thought Batman killed his pops. After setting the record straight, Batman, Bolton, and Robin take down Rocco, who just happens to live near the mountain ski resort they happen to be at.
New Gotham DA Harvey Kent grills Boss Sal Moroni, who is on trial for the murder of Bookie Benson. While Batman testifies against Moroni on the stand, the villain splashes acid on Kent’s face. A full month passes (into late June) and when the bandages come off of Kent’s face, the horrific damage is more than skin deep. After struggling with his terrible deformity for a few days, Kent snaps. Two-Face is born! Another month passes (into late July) and Two-Face resigns as DA, leaves his fiancée Gilda, and turns to a life of crime. Batman and Robin encounter the tragic Two-Face several times and eventually Batman confronts the villain in his lair. Two-Face points a gun at the Dark Knight, but can’t decide whether to pull the trigger until he flips his lucky coin. However, the coin lands in a groove in the floorboards and stands on end. What will Two-Face do?
–Detective Comics #68
Detective Comics #68 takes place right after ‘tec #66. Two-Face is in a standoff with Batman. He takes his coin and puts it in his breast pocket but cannot decide what too do next. Just then, a cop busts in and shoots Two-Face in the chest. However, the bullet hits the coin in his pocket, saving his life, and giving him the opportunity to escape. Two-Face and his gang then go on a series of double-themed crimes, including the kidnapping of a celebrity recluse’s stand-in. Batman and Robin, disguised as man and wife, respectively, then ambush Two-Face and rescue the stand-in. The next night, Two-Face, wearing a wax mask of his old healthy face, tries to reconcile with his ex-fiancée Gilda. While they eat dinner, his false face melts off revealing the scarred version of himself. Batman busts into the house and chases a frantic Two-Face away. An angry Two-Face then goes to the mask-makers store and burns it to the ground. Two days later, the GCPD plays the Gotham Fire Department in a charity baseball game. Oh, and in case you forgot, Batman and Robin are honorary police officers, so they are playing in the game! Batman pitches, Robin catches, the game lasts fourteen innings, and Batman wins it with a walk-off home run. After the game ends, Two-Face tries to steal the charity money, but thanks to help from the mask-maker’s son, who had infiltrated Two-Face’s gang a night earlier in order to get revenge on the villain that ruined his pop’s business, Batman ends the reign of crime. Two-Face goes to jail. Afterward, Batman rummages through Two-Face’s lair and takes several keepsakes for his Hall of Trophies, including a dual set of matching blades, a bust of Janus, a pistol with two barrels, and a double-sided axe. Batman also puts a motorcycle that Two-Faced used in this issue into the Hall. All of these items are showcased in Detective Comics #187.
Batman and Robin take a stroll through their Hall of Trophies, which is unbelievably located behind a locked door in Wayne Manor. Inside, we see various trophies, all of which are randomly numbered. One of the items bears the number–it’s hard to make out–either 897 or 801 possibly. Either way, this tells us that Batman has at least around 800 trophies, meaning he must collect multiple trophies every single time he goes out on patrol, and he must have been collecting trophies since day one. Furthermore, we must assume that some of these trophies are small items like bullets and old shell cases. We see several notable trophies in particular, including Joker’s decoy duck (from Batman #9), Joker’s Joker mask mantlepiece (from Batman #4), Joker’s candy knife trap (from ‘tec #62), Penguin’s gas umbrella (from ‘tec #58), an over-sized penguin statue (from ‘tec #58), and Pierre Antal’s portrait of Bruce (from ‘tec #42). Although, Bruce incorrectly refers to it as a portrait by Vangild. Vangild was one of the characters murdered in ‘tec #42, not the painter. I can’t believe Finger and Kane screwed up a reference to one of their own stories. The Hall of Trophies also contains many guns. Batman and Robin pause at the bulletproof vest of the Rafferty Brothers, prompting the Dark Knight to retell the events surrounding the trophy (from way back in May and June 1940). Again Kane and Finger screw up and list these flashbacks as May 11, 1939 and June 1939. However, this must be incorrect since Robin wouldn’t have been in costume yet at those times. Also, the Dynamic Duo rides in the post-Year Two version of the Batmobile. Therefore, these flashbacks must both take place in May 1941 and June 1941 instead of 1939.
The Joker beings pulling a lot of high-profile but harmless pranks to disguise his real scheme, the robbery of a bank. (One of the victims of his pranks is the unnamed Mayor of Gotham). But Batman sees through the ruse and stops Joker and his men at the bank. Later, Joker lures Batman to his location, captures him, and straps him to a giant gyroscope. After spinning him dizzy, Joker makes him walk a tightrope over flaming spikes. In case you were wondering, this is all a part of Joker’s new plan to kill Batman in the most outlandish way possible, noting that “Anyone can kill with a gun! I’m not anyone! I’m the Joker!” Pretty amazing stuff. Robin swoops in and saves Batman, but Joker gets away. The next day, Joker steals some gold from a train. Batman winds up fighting him on top of a zeppelin and guess what–Joker falls to his “death” into a river.
Batman prevents the murder of stuntman Fearless Ford and learns that, in a scam similar to the one run by Tony Zucco in Year One, a racketeer named Joe Kirk is killing of circus workers and stuntmen who refuse to pay a protection fee. Batman then fills in for a suicidally depressed Ford and performs an act at the circus. As expected, the racketeer’s henchmen sabotage the show and Batman and Robin narrowly survive a long fall and a battle with hungry lions. Bruce then organizes a charity event where a stuntman will do daredevil car jumps. Posing as Ford, Bruce drives the car and again, narrowly avoids a fiery sabotaged death. A day later at the county fair, Bruce poses as Ford again and dives off of a tower into a tiny pool below. The pool, rigged to explode by Kirk, goes kablooey, but out of the smoke and fire emerges Batman unscathed! Robin and Ford, in the Batplane, chase Kirk, who flees onto an airplane of his own. Batman, still in daredevil mode, shoots himself out of a cannon and onto Kirk’s plane. By the time Ford jumps from one plane to the other while thousands of feet in the air, Batman has already knocked Kirk’s block off.
It’s “Batman Day” in Gotham City! The Mayor publicly honors the Dynamic Duo by having a huge parade in their honor, erecting a statue of Batman and Robin in the park. The mayor then reads a list of accomplishments that includes: 120 official arrests, 118 convictions, seventy confessions, multiple fights with Penguin, apprehension of Scarecrow, and defeat of the Joker six times. Defeat of the Joker means jailing the Joker, which at this point is actually true! Since Batman’s arrival on the scene, Joker has been in jail seven times, put there six times by the Dark Knight—the seventh he turned himself in. Anyway, besides the celebration, nothing happens in this story since the bulk of its narrative features a flashback to May 26, 1942. “Batman Day” will be held annually every late August from this point forward (as we learn in Batman #103, Part 1).
–NOTE: Joker gets apprehended and jailed (as referenced in Batman #13, Part 2). We don’t know the details of his apprehension, but we do know he gets nabbed because when he see him next, he will have just escaped from prison.
–World’s Finest Comics #7
A group of American bandits begin terrorizing all points north, from Alaska and Canada to Greenland, Baffin Island, and the Arctic. Normally, this would be the FBI’s jurisdiction, but they are busy with a little thing called World War II. Thus, Commissioner Gordon, as special liaison for the government, sends Batman and Robin up North to deal. Upon arrival, the Dynamic Duo kicks ass and meets with their contact, Cal, at an Arctic trading post. Later, Batman and Robin are duped by one of the bandits’ agents and get trapped in the frozen wasteland. Our heroes nearly freeze to death, and Robin begins to lose it until Batman calls him “yellow” and begins slapping him in the face. They then go completely snow blind and are about to be eaten by a polar bear when Cal shows up and saves them. After recovering, Batman and Robin round up a posse at the trading post, don their white costumes (!), and soundly defeat the bandits. Afterward, Batman and Robin plant an American flag at the North Pole and pose for a photo, which makes headline news around the world. During this case, Batman and Robin take some time to learn to speak Eskimo-Aleut, the native tongue of the Inuits (as referenced in Star Spangled Comics #85).
The gangster known as the Thumb sends a message to Batman that says he is specifically gunning for Robin. Worried about Robin’s safety–for the first time ever apparently–Bruce “breaks up with” Dick by yelling at him, telling him he’s no good, and smashing a framed picture of the Boy Wonder. Harsh. The Dark Knight–with a fake dummy Robin attached to him by a wire–then goes after the Thumb and his cronies, who pump dummy Robin full of lead. The next day, after daring Batman to come to their lair, the Caped Crusader shows up but gets captured. The Thumb bricks Batman into a wall in his basement Edgar Allen Poe style and then celebrates the death of the Dynamic Duo. Later, while applying for a dishwasher job, a depressed Dick overhears the Thumb’s henchmen talking about what they did to Batman. Dick suits up, follows them home, and immediately gets captured. Batman then literally punches through the brick wall and kicks ass. Afterward, Batman explains all and everyone is happy again.
Joker escapes from jail and steals a report card, a petition, and a list of employer references. Why? Joker wants signatures of important Gothamites so he can forge his way into Colossal Pictures Movie Studio. Batman and Robin duke it out with the Harlequin of Hate at the studio, but the latter gets away. Joker then fakes the governor’s signature and halts the execution of a death row inmate. After then helping free the inmate, Joker hops in a land yacht and is chased on the beach by a sand sailing Batman. Writer Jack Schiff then Fingers the Joker—the villain falls into the sea to his apparent “death.” Get it? Bill Finger does that all the time, and now he’s got other writers doing it too! A week later, Joker reemerges and is still committing forgeries. Dick then pretends to be a famous autograph hunter to bait Joker and winds up getting autographs from Joe Dimaggio and Jerry Seigel (the creator of a comic book about Superman). But the real setup lies with the John Hancock of famous author and butterfly collector Artemus Bigby. Joker’s henchmen steal Dick’s signature book and then later try to steal from Bigby’s private bank safe. Unfortunately for Joker and company, Batman and Robin are inside waiting to pounce. With help from Bigby and his chloroform butterfly net, the Dynamic Duo takes down the crooks. Joker grabs Robin and threatens to stab him unless Bigby gives him ten-thousand dollars. Bigby gives the demented clown a sealed envelope and the Joker skips away. This is really dumb because the money is in check form, and no one will cash a check like that, especially not for Gotham’s number one criminal. Not only that, the envelope could have easily been empty.
Twenty years ago Rocky Grimes and his gang robbed a bank and his gang betrayed him and sent him up the river for two decades. Now Grimes has been released and wants revenge on his former friends. Methodically killing them one by one using stone-related methods: crushing someone under rocks, stabbing someone with a touchstone knife, etc… Batman and Robin are able to save his last two victims, but in-between, Grimes manages to capture the Dynamic Duo and nearly kills them. After an epic fight, Grimes falls to his death.
Murder on the Orient Express meets Batman! Bruce and Dick are having a lovely time rowboating in Central Park when the Bat Signal calls them to action. Hijackers have taken over a bullet train heading west. After dropping onto the train from the Batplane, Batman is able to regain control and stop the train several states over. However, the mysterious hijackers evade capture. Batman thinks a hobo might be a suspect, so he ties him up. When the train starts up again, Bruce is on board as a paid rider. Dick hops on the train as well, going door to door selling issues of World’s Finest Comics and Batman. Eventually, Batman and Robin discover that the hijackers are attempting to kill a passenger on board that was framed for a murder they committed but has evidence to prove their guilt. As the wild trip enters the Midwest, Batman takes a bullet in the arm, but still manages to prevent a head on collision between two trains. Afterward we learn that the hobo was actually the president of the railroad just slumming it for fun. Yay!
–Detective Comics #69-70
Joker gets some old dirt on some businessmen and uses it to blackmail them into allowing him to rob their stores. Bruce nearly misses the call-to-action notified by the Bat Signal because he is stuck in a malfunctioning amusement park ride with Linda Page for several hours. After getting out of the fun park jam, Batman and Robin are on the case. Same old Joe Greene/Bob Kane writing here–the Dynamic Duo gets captured, escapes near death, then busts Joker, but Joker ultimately gets away.
Bruce and Dick watch Carlo the Amazing’s famous mind-reading act, but Bruce is less than impressed with the hokey trick. That night Carlo gets in a car accident and requires emergency brain surgery. By some freak occurrence when Carlo recovers a week later, he finds that he now actually can read minds. Naturally, Carlo decides to use this power for evil. Donning a domino mask, the new supervillain starts robbing Gotham blind. Batman and Robin confront him and are shocked when he reads their minds and learns their secret identities. In a dumb move, Carlo sends a message to Bruce warning him to stay away from his next crime or he will expose his identity. Why didn’t he just not tell Bruce and then immediately expose him? Ugh. The Dynamic Duo fights Carlo on Miser’s Isle, home to eccentric Old Pete Jorsen and his many treasures. Batman and Robin are captured and nearly killed–with Robin stuffed in a bathysphere and sunk to the bottom of the ocean. While Batman barely saves Robin, Carlo celebrates only to get shot to death by Old Pete. Carlo, with his dying breath writes the identity of Batman in the sand. Thankfully, the tide washes it away.
–World’s Finest Comics #8
When veteran FBI Agent John O’Brien is killed by the self-styled Napoleon of crime, Nap “Little Corporal” Boyd, O’Brien’s rival sons are hell bent on revenge. Tim O’Brien, a state trooper, and Nick O’Brien, a private detective, don’t get along very well and refuse to cooperate with each other. Thus, Batman pairs off with Tim while Robin pairs off with Nick. Each team competitively goes after Boyd in an epic, explosive chase. In the end, Tim and Nick forget their quarrel and join together for some family-fueled ass whoopin.
Batman and Robin are cordially invited to the Conference of the World’s Greatest Detectives by the world’s greatest living detective Dana Drye. Also in attendance: Sheriff Ezra Plunkett, Sir John Bart, Grace Seers, and Dr. Tsu. During the conference, Drye is mysteriously shot and killed from an open window. The Dynamic Duo teams-up with their fellow sleuths and begins an investigation. Eventually, Batman and Robin are captured by Red Rip, one of Drye’s rivals. Dr. Tsu frees them, and the case goes on. After some more tussles with Rip’s gang, Batman solves the mystery. Unfortunately, he has to play dumb. Drye had a terminal illness and had set up a rigged gun to commit suicide, but make it look like murder during the conference. Once the gun went off a case containing his diary fell into the river. The diary reveals that Drye had correctly deduced Batman’s secret identity as far back as 1940! Afterward, Batman and Robin put Drye’s diary in their Hall of Trophies.
Doctor A.B. Chalmers is the East Side’s favorite pharmacist, philanthropist, and all-around nice guy. When Pills Mattson and his gang, after detonating a bomb in a scuffle with the Dynamic Duo, enter Doc Chalmer’s shop looking for a place to hide, Doc has no choice but to accommodate them. Batman, blinded by debris from the bomb, is escorted into Doc’s shop and helped out by a nervous Doc before leaving. Mattson decides to stay in Doc’s shop and use it as a base of operations from which to rob the East Side. The next day Batman returns to Doc’s shop only to get captured. After failing to return home, Dick goes to Doc’s shop the next morning and applies for a job as a soda fountain boy. On his first shift later that night, Dick finds what he feared has indeed happened; Batman is Mattson’s prisoner. But thankfully, Doc’s good karma comes back to help him. All of the people that Doc has treated so well over the years, including a future boxing champion and a veteran beat cop, assist Batman and the disguised Dick in defeating Mattson for good. A few weeks later, Bruce and Dick attend a parade thrown in honor of Doc.
Fred Hopper appears to be an ambitious, outgoing new cameraman working for a Gotham newsreel office. But in reality, he is Fritz Hoffner, Nazi spy! Fred sets up an assassination attempt on Batman and Robin during a photo shoot, but the Dynamic Duo is able to apprehend their would-be German killers. As suspicion surrounding Fred begins to increase, Batman and Robin begin to tail him and ultimately discover his secret. After narrowly surviving an explosion in a runaway car headed for a gas tank, Batman and Robin follow Fred to the secret HQ of Nazi spymaster Count Felix, which is a hidden room behind an antique shop complete with a gaudy giant swastika chandelier. There, they wail on some Nazi assholes and shut down their operation. A few weeks later, Bruce and Dick watch a newsreel film about their involvement in this very case.
Penguin decides to offer his genius criminal mind for a small fee. After planning the perfect bank robbery for some crooks, Penguin double-crosses them, kills them, and takes the whole lot. After another double-cross, the Dynamic Duo battles Penguin, but the latter gets away. Bruce then decides to beat Penguin at his own game, by starting up a similar criminal consultation firm under the assumed name Bad News Brewster. After Brewster deliberately sets up several of his clients to get busted, Penguin finally invites his rival for a little chat. Batman and Robin show up instead only to get trapped in a giant umbrella. After a quick escape and a clash featuring more trick umbrellas than you can imagine, Penguin is finally, for the first time since his comics debut, caught and sent to jail! A few weeks later, Bruce and Dick learn that Penguin has been sentenced to Death Row.
–World’s Finest Comics #9, Part 6
All-Star Squadron members Star-Spangled Kid (Sylvester Pemberton) and his sidekick Stripesy (Pat Dugan) track down some gangsters and coincidentally cross paths with Batman and Robin who are in the process of chasing after Joker. We must assume Joker gets away because he is loose when we see him next.
–Batman #24, Part 1
This tale takes place in 1942. Bruce and Dick visit their friend Professor Carter Nichols, who has developed a complicated “hypnosis method” that allows the subject to astral project an avatar of oneself into the past (or into the future). In other words, Nichols has invented a type of time-travel! This method combines Nichols’ unique metahuman mental ability with a high-tech device that emits a brightly-lit energy beam. Bruce is put-under and astral projects (via a solid avatar) into ancient Rome. Dick joins him a bit later and together with a Joker-like man known only as The Jester, the trio fights against the tyranny of Malchio. Batman even competes and wins a Ben-Hur-style chariot race and defeats Rome’s best gladiator, Calvus. Before returning back to the present, Batman and Robin are given a hero’s feast.
–Batman #15, Part 4
X-mas Eve, 1942. It’s another holly jolly Gotham Christmas Eve and Bruce and Dick are in such high spirits, they attach wreaths, ribbons, and sleigh runners to the Batplane and take to the skies as Gotham’s very own dual Saint Nicks. Their first act of good cheer is to escort the doorman of the most expensive club in Gotham inside the club to be honored for all of his years of hard work. Gangster Dirk Dagner and his bullies try to rob the club, but the Dynamic Duo chases them off. Next stop, the home of depressed celebrity Link Chesney. Batman and Robin eventually manage to cheer up Chesney after escaping a death trap set up by the persistent Dagner. Our heroes then prevent Dagner from crashing a ship off the shores of Pirate Reef and give a bunch of presents to the elderly keeper of the Old Lighthouse. The final gift of the night is a ribbon-tied, knocked-out bundle of Dagner and his men, delivered straight to Commissioner Gordon.
- COLLIN COLSHER: One might think that, since Earth-Two is indeed destroyed in 1986 during The Crisis on Infinite Earths, the future that Mekanique comes from (in the 23rd century) should not exist. However, this is not the case. In the DCU, Universe-Two (the universe that houses Earth-Two) had a complete timeline from the Big Bang all the way to its own version of Vanishing Point (or whatever you want to call the “end of time”). Thus, if a character from the distant future of Earth-Two time-travels back to 1942, he or she still impacts 1942. The Crisis was not a part of the original timeline—it was a supratemporal anomaly spawned by the actions of the Anti-Monitor. In other words, the Crisis doesn’t simply end universal time in 1986—it instead destroys an entire past, present, and future that is already fully fleshed out.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Harvey Kent was retconned to Harvey Dent in Batman #50. Later, his name was retconned back to Kent in Superman Family #211.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: I originally had The Further Adventures of Batman: “The Batman Memos” right here on the chronology, which starts on December 17, 1942 and lasts several weeks. In this prose story by Stuart M. Kaminsky, Hollywood director David O. Selznick talks with Bruce Wayne, who represents Batman, about making a feature length Batman film starring either Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. or Errol Flynn. I debated on whether or not to put this on the timeline for quite some time and ultimately decided against it for several reasons. First, the story is canonically tenuous because it was written in 1989, three years after the original Crisis. Second, none of the other stories in the multiple volumes of Further Adventures of Batman prose novels are canon, so why make an exception for this one? Neat story, but unfortunately, non canon. In my deferential opinion, anything written after The Crisis on Infinite Earths usually can’t be canon for either Earth-One or Earth-Two.↩