Year 8

(1974)

 

–Justice League of America #60
January 1. In the wee hours of the first day of the new year, Queen Bee Zazzala strikes against the Justice League, hoping to mind-control them. Notably, she interrupts Martian Manhunter’s ongoing investigation into the criminal organization known as VULTURE, but she is unable to mind-control him. However, Batman, Atom, Superman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, and Flash all turn into infinitesimal winged drones subservient to Zazzala. Batgirl, having followed Batman, arrives in an attempt to rescue the Justice Leaguers. Soon, however, Batgirl is turned into a tiny drone slave as well. The Justice Bees are teleported to different planets on various missions for Zazzala, who needs them to gather items to make a medicine that will prevent paralysis—a side effect from an immortality serum she has ingested. Batman, Batgirl, and Green Arrow go to the planet Peremunda where they meet the native talking tentacled trees and bring the gift of rain before getting vials of radioactive liquid. Back on Earth, the JLers deliver the goods to Zazzala, but the joke is on her. The anti-paralytic they whip-up is actually an anti-immortality concoction. The Atom then grows to normal size and kayos Zazzala before turning his friends back to regular size.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #375. The second ever Batman Day celebration is officially put on the calendar, scheduled to be held in Gotham in a few months’ time. (The first Batman Day was held two years ago.) Batman poses for promotional materials and agrees to appear as the guest of honor alongside Robin.

–REFERENCE: In Action Comics #359 Part 1. Superman is arrested for murder when he seemingly kills a man during an exhibition boxing match (as seen in Action Comics #358). In actuality, the victim is killed by Dr. Frost, who gave the boxer a suicide pill. Superman posts bail, but the news shocks the nation. Bruce, despite being a resident of Gotham, uses some sort of crooked big money pull to get himself on the jury duty selection, scheduled for a couple weeks from now.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #215. The second annual Civic Conscience Council gala dinner is held.

–FLASHBACK: From The Untold Legend of the Batman #1—originally told in Batman #47.[1] Early January to mid January. Batman and Robin stumble upon a trucking company that is sneaking fugitive criminals across state lines. When Commissioner Gordon shows Batman a photo of their boss Joe Chill, Batman instantly recognizes him as the man that killed his parents. Batman and Robin spend a couple weeks chasing after Chill until Batman finally confronts him one-on-one. Batman retells the story of his parents’ murders and unmasks with the resounding cry, “I am the son of the people you murdered! I know [what happened to the Waynes] because I AM BRUCE WAYNE!” Chill runs into the adjacent room and tells his ternary henchmen (who each have a history with the Caped Crusader) that he killed Batman’s parents, thus spawning the vigilante hero. His trigger-happy buddies, instead of dispassionately learning Batman’s secret ID, freak out about the fact that Chill “created” Batman and blast him with a barrage of gunfire. Batman, who has been tailing Chill, busts in, beats the bad guys into submission, and holds Chill in his arms until he dies.

–REFERENCE: In The Brave and The Bold #79. Joe Chill’s brother Max Chill makes his presence known to Batman, vowing to avenge his sibling’s death.

–FLASHBACK: From Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #117. For fun, Superman organizes a special rocket ship “Guided Tour of the Universe.” Along for the trip are Batman, Robin, and 30th century Legionnaires Duo Damsel, Lightning Lad, Mon-El, Star Boy, Princess Projectra, Phantom Girl, and Shadow Lass. During the tour, the heroes accidentally wind up on Earth-117 where they are spied-on by the Jor-El of Universe-117, who is a super-villain called Dr. X. Superman is able to quickly return his group back to Universe-1 where they continue the guided tour.

–FLASHBACK: From The Untold Legend of the Batman #2. Batman and Robin bust up some gangsters at a grocery store.

–Detective Comics #371
Bruce gets tickets to Gotham’s fancy medieval costume ball known as The Royal Happening, which is set to occur in a few days. He also arranges a date to accompany him. When the Sports Spoilers—a sports-themed gang—evade Batgirl while playing radball, Batman and Robin nab a few of them. A dejected Batgirl—complete with Bat-purse—blames her “feminine instincts” for allowing the crooks to get the better of her. Hoo boy, here we go. Over the course of the night, the Dynamic Duo makes eleven more busts. The next day, Batman and Robin chase after the Sports Spoilers again. At a saw mill, the heroes fight the log-rolling villains but get defeated when Batgirl arrives and gets startled, letting out a shrill scream. Again preoccupied with her “shortcomings” as a woman, she fails. For the next few nights, the snakebitten Batgirl gets made a fool of by the Sports Spoilers. When the vile gang kills Batman and Robin’s informant Stuffy, Bruce cancels his plans to attend the Royal Happening, giving his tickets to Jim and Barbara Gordon. There, the Sports Spoilers strike again, this time in jai alai gear. Batgirl decides to use her feminine wiles to her advantage this time, showing off her sexy legs to distract the baddies. The move works like a charm and the Spoilers get kayoed. Thank glob this one is over.

–The Brave and The Bold #76
When Batman faces-off against the Molder and his Plastoid robots, Plastic Man saves his life! Batman quickly returns the favor, piecing together Plastic Man when the Molder cuts him to bits. Later, the Molder causes Plastic Man to uncontrollably and rapidly expand his body, drowning Batman in rubbery flesh. Commissioner Gordon orders his men to bazooka Plastic Man, which causes his head to fly off into the Molder’s lair where he fixes himself by drinking a chemical solution. Free of Plastic Man’s body, Batman defeats the Molder.

–Batman #199 Part 2
Batman and Robin go on an unspecified case with Batgirl, after which they upgrade the Batcave and Batmobile with the latest anti-bugging tech. Later, when a new crime-wave rolls over Gotham, Batman and Robin are on the case, but are unable to locate the criminals. A few days later, Bruce gets his picture taken as part of a newspaper story about Wayne Enterprises. The following night, the Dynamic Duo catches up with the perps at an art gallery. When Robin gets kayoed, the baddies get away. But back at the Batcave, Robin is unmasked as one of the villains—a switcheroo has occurred with a disguised little person having replaced the kidnapped real Robin. With his secret ID exposed, Batman springs into action, knocking out the impersonator and dumping him back at the art gallery. After rescuing Robin and busting the rest of the gang, Batman returns to the art gallery and wakes up the little faker. The Dynamic Duo is able to trick him into thinking his experience in the Batcave was all just a dream.

–Action Comics #359 Part 1 Conclusion
Bruce serves in the jury selection for Superman’s murder trial (for the death of a fighter during an exhibition boxing match a couple weeks ago) in Metropolis. However, the crafty prosecutor DA Kroll boots Bruce off the jury right away. Bruce stays as an audience member to watch the trial of the century as it unfolds over the course of the next few days. Despite having the aid of paraplegic top lawyer Earl Barton, the case goes badly for the Man of Steel. Eventually, Superman is able take the entire court room faster than the speed of light into deep space to view the images of his fight with the boxer that left the Earth weeks ago. Don’t ask how this works scientifically. While viewing the images, Superman spots evidence that links Dr. Frost to the crime. Back on Earth, Batman dresses up as Superman while Barton calls Frost to the stand, forcing him to reveal his suicide pills. Clark volunteers to eat a pill and does so, feigning death by stopping his own heart from beating. Not only is Superman exonerated, but the deceased boxer is also revealed to be a crook, much to the dismay of his wife, Mrs. Noble. With Frost in handcuffs, the fake Superman “revives” Clark. Later, in an alley, Batman returns the Superman costume to Clark. To show his appreciation, Superman helps cure Barton’s paralysis.

–Detective Comics #372
By day, Bruce plays playboy, meeting and becoming romantically involved with the lovely Andrea. By night, Bruce plays Batman, investigating a series of robberies. When Dick is forced to study for weeklong exams, Batman goes on the case solo. After a clue leads him to the Royal Karonian restaurant, Bruce takes Andrea there. While on their date, Bruce ditches Andrea (prompting her to furiously dump him) to interfere in an alleyway fight adjacent to the restaurant. Bruce stops two men, dressed in traditional Balkan garb, from attacking another man, who flees. The Balkan-garb guys tell Bruce that he has allowed Karonian criminal Zoldin to escape. The next night, Bruce makes-up with Andrea, who accompanies him to the Karonian Festival where an acrobat performs an acrobat show, nearly injuring Bruce “by accident.” Bruce pops Andrea in a cab and sends her home again, prompting another furious break-up. Batman then tails the acrobat to a house where he finds a beaten-up Zoldin, who reveals he is a Karonian revolutionary hoping to overthrow the dictatorship in his nation. Before dying of his wounds, Zoldin admits that he has stolen the money to help fund his cause. At the Rainbow Hotel, Batman busts a bunch of Karonian nationalists and recovers the loot. Later, Zoldin’s wife speaks to Batman and Commissioner Gordon, exclaiming that she will carry on her husband’s mission. Batman and Goron show her no sympathy at all.

–Justice League of America #61
Green Arrow, having nearly been permanently body-swapped by an escaped Dr. Destiny, worries about Dr. Destiny pulling the same trick on his pals. Thus, Green Arrow tells the JLA that he’s retiring as a hero and that they all must do the same or face dire consequences. Unsure of what is going on, each hero (except for Wonder Woman and Snapper Carr) disguises themselves as Green Arrow in an effort to investigate. Batman—as Green Arrow—busts a Penguin, who instantly transforms into Green Arrow while Batman transforms into Penguin. Trapped in Penguin’s body, Batman goes to jail. Similarly, the other JLAers go to jail, each stuck in the body of villains—Lex Luthor, Tattooed Man, Cutlass Charlie, Captain Boomerang, and IQ. (All of these villains are fake, merely dream constructs created by Dr. Destiny.) The real Green Arrow trails the Atom and watches him combat a dream version of “Plant Master” Jason Woodrue. Before the false Woodrue can do the switcheroo, Green Arrow knocks him out. Green Arrow then busts Dr. Destiny, which reverts all the heroes to their normal state. At the Secret Sanctuary, Green Arrow explains all to his teammates. Dr. Destiny then unleashes the real villains—Penguin, Luthor, Tattooed Man, Cutlass Charlie, Captain Boomerang, IQ, and Jason Woodrue—upon the heroes. The JLA defeats them and stands victorious.

–Batman #200
February 3-4. In a big jailbreak, Scarecrow, Joker, Penguin, and Killer Moth all escape from prison. Scarecrow debuts a drug that gives one the metapower to instill great fear upon others. Pumped-up with the drug, Scarecrow reduces Batman and Robin into sniveling crybabies, who run home to Alfred. The ever-faithful butler gives motivates his surrogate sons to shake off their fear, strip down, sweat it out in the gym, and then take back to the streets. After easily apprehending Joker, Penguin, and Killer Moth, Batman finds straw on each villain—clues as to Scarecrow’s next heist. (During the Killer Moth bust, Robin name drops Sugar and Spike—the titular toddler characters of Sheldon Mayer’s beloved long-running DC series. While this is likely nothing more than a fourth wall-breaking Easter Egg moment thrown in by writer Mike Friedrich, I guess it is technically possible that the Boy Wonder could’ve met the little tykes at some recent point.) Batman and Robin soon confront Scarecrow and his goons again only to succumb to fear, resulting in capture. After escaping a death trap, the heroes scare Scarecrow right back to jail. Afterward, Scarecrow’s straw clues get filed into a special cabinet in the Hall of Trophies.

–The Brave and The Bold #78
February. Batman is tasked with guarding the Golden Casque of Montezuma at a museum, so he places a laser alarm grid around it. Later, snake-themed super-villain Copperhead debuts in Gotham and publicly bests Batman twice, the second crime a daring theft of the visiting Queen Elizabeth II’s tiara. Mayor Taylor is so embarrassed he puts Commissioner Gordon’s job on the line and threatens to disavow Batman unless Copperhead is brought to justice. Cue a ridiculous sexist plan! The Dark Knight gets Wonder Woman and Batgirl to agree to publicly feud over his affection in order to make Copperhead think Batman is distracted. As if under the influence of a philter, Wonder Woman and Batgirl declare their love for Batman and begins showering him with Amazonian treasures and a hot new pink car. Batgirl, who currently knows Batman’s secret ID, gives him a new cape on his birthday. Batgirl is so carried away in her role that she openly says “happy birthday” to Batman in public—a dangerous hint at his secret ID if anyone puts two and two together. Batman collects more gifts (all paid for by himself of course), including a golden Batman statue and diamond-encrusted utility belts. As Wonder Woman makes-out with Batman and Batgirl tries to get some action too, Copperhead steals the Montezuma helm, which has a homing device hidden inside. Despite this, Batman is unable to track the wily Copperhead. Batgirl and Wonder Woman, still in their acting roles, nearly expose their secret IDs to Copperhead as part of the ongoing ruse, but Wonder Woman prevents this from occurring. (Bizarrely, despite only acting to ensnare Copperhead, the gals are still shown with thought balloons that don’t reflect the fact that they are acting. Furthermore, why the hell would they expose their actual secret IDs as part of the plan? Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, why in sweet hell would they make publicly humiliate themselves by ingratiating the egotistical Caped Crusader, who basically gets off on the two women crawling all over him? The plan is also just one big dirty excuse for Batman to buy himself some gaudy-ass Bat-gear.) Eventually, Copperhead captures Wonder Woman in a swamp. Batman beats up Copperhead and restrains him, but is injected with a fatal poison. Batgirl arrives just in time to give Batman the anti-venom. Mercifully, this inane story ends.

–Detective Comics #385
February. Mailman Herbert Small (who coincidentally is Bruce’s postal carrier) happens to overhear a bunch of random bad guys (whom Batman has busted before) conspiring to kill the Dark Knight. After trailing three of the conspirators, Small witnesses them ambush Batman while Batman is in the middle of a random arrest. The Caped Crusader kicks their asses anyway. Knowing that more killers are coming, Small, who has also just learned that he only has a month to live due to a nerve disease, decides to go out like a hero and save Batman’s life by taking the heat off of him. Small disguises himself as one of the busted conspirators and tells the others that he’s learned Batman’s secret ID: that of a mailman named Herbert Small! Soon afterward, Bruce’s birthday party commences at Wayne Manor—(the actual day of his birth was a few days ago). It’s quite the shindig—a packed house that includes Alfred, Aunt Harriet, Dick, Commissioner Gordon, Babs, and more. Late into the festivities, the doorbell rings and a realistic mannequin dressed in a Batman costume stands on the doorstep, secretly delivered by Small. Upon inspection, the party guests find a note saying that Batman will be dead within 24 hours. After unmasking the mannequin, everyone sees that the dummy has clearly been modeled after a real person, but no one recognizes who it is. Not long after, however, Bruce realizes that the face belongs to his mailman. After tracking down his address, Batman crashes into Small’s apartment to help him fight off his attackers. Small dives in front of Batman, taking a fatal bullet. After taking down the bad guys, Batman unmasks before Small, who dies with a proud smile on his face. Batman then sheds rare tears for the fallen postal worker.

–Detective Comics #373 Part 1
Billionaire Ralph Porter acquires a new painting, after which he invites Bruce to come view it at his office. Later, Mr. Zero—with his prior sub-zero condition returned—publicly returns with a new name: Mr. Freeze! Coincidentally, Mr. Freeze steals Porter’s painting while Aunt Harriet falls ill and requires an emergency cryosurgery. Mr. Freeze’s use of his cryo-gun at the same time of Aunt Harriet’s surgery causes the latter to fail, putting Harriet in severe fatal danger. While Batman busts Mr. Freeze, Robin steals his freeze ray and delivers it to the surgeons, who use it to save Harriet’s life. After Bruce and Dick visit Harriet, Batman and Robin visit Harriet in the hospital the very next day.

–Detective Comics #373 Part 2
With Batman and Robin out of town on an unspecified case, Elongated Man fills-in and busts an escaped Riddler.

–World’s Finest Comics #174
When a scientist named Dr. Madden creates two supposed perfect replica androids of Batman and Superman, the real Batman and Superman offer to test them out. After uploading copies of their own brain maps and memory banks into the androids, Batman and Superman build a fortress in Canada that is filled with death traps, killer robots that look like the heroes’ dead parents, and Kryptonite laser grids. The androids (who really think they are the real Batman and Superman) are lured to the fortress where they are beaten, assaulted, and pummeled until captured. Batman and Superman then brutally torture the androids, forcing them to reveal their secrets. Having failed, the teary-eyed androids are shot to death by the merciless Batman and Superman. Sheesh. This is maybe one of the darkest single issues of the 1960s.

–Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip 11/12/1967 to 3/18/1968 (“Shivering Blue Max, Pretty Boy Floy, and Flo” Part 2)
Commissioner Gordon charges the Dynamic Duo with the task of checking in on suicidal billionaire Tyrone Koom, who has locked himself in the penthouse of his downtown tower ever since the death of his astrologer three weeks ago. Gordon also wants the Dynamic Duo to retrieve Koom’s annual donation to the GCPD Youth Center. Batman and Robin crash into Koom’s penthouse (which has the air conditioning on full blast, despite the fact that it is winter time, so ignore that). Meanwhile, Pretty Boy Floy seemingly kills Blue Max Baron with plans of stealing his idea that involves Pretty Boy’s sister Flo Floy learning astrology to pose as “Madame Zodiac” to manipulate Koom. Batman and Robin spend a week building a brand new Bat-copter, which is faster than ever, has unlimited flight range, and is completely silent and fireproof. It also has a ultra-zoom camera, a retractable electro magnet, a super-borate mist sprayer to put out fires, and—as referenced in Batman #201—retractable suction-cup towing arms. Soon after, Flo, as “Madame Zodiac,” encourages Koom to sell off his oil holdings. Pretty Boy then blows up one of his refineries, making it look like an accident. Batman and Robin see that is was arson and immediately visit Koom, who tells them about Zodiac’s prediction. After a quick visit with Barbara at the library, the Dynamic Duo tracks down Zodiac and delivers her to Koom. After learning that Zodiac is actually Flo Floy, Batman confronts her, but she has manipulated Koom into pointing a gun at Batman. Flo knocks-out Batman, but Koom refuses to kill, instead offering the idea of imprisoning Batman at his remote private island resort of Xandu. While Pretty Boy and his henchman Ape take the kayoed (and now drugged) Batman to an airstrip north of Gotham, Alfred and Dick follow thanks to Batman’s utility belt transmitter signal. With Batman en route to Xandu, Robin is confronted by a returning Blue Max, who offers his help, wanting to get revenge against the Floys. Together, they chase after the Floys’ plane only to witness Batman get dumped out the back. Robin sky dives and grabs Batman, parachuting him to safety. As they hit the ground, Robin breaks his leg, allowing the villains to recapture the groggy Batman and strand him on the luxurious island of Xandu. A few days later, a doctor tells Dick that his leg will take six weeks to heal. (This amount of time off just isn’t feasible on our timeline. Robin’s healing and rehab period has to be closer to half that time, meaning his injury must be quite less severe than a break.) Blue Max, having traced the license plate of Alfred’s car to Wayne Manor, successfully deduces the secret IDs of Batman and Robin! Blue Max—back in villain mode—visits Alfred and Dick to threaten them and then joins the Floys at Koom’s penthouse. There, the villains activate a self-destruct mechanism that will sink Xandu with an atomic bomb blast. Distraught, Koom presses a suicide button that fills his penthouse with cyanide, killing everyone.

–Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip 3/19/1968 to 4/12/1968 (“Diabolical Professor Zinkk” Part 1)
Our story picks up where the previous arc ended. With Batman stranded on a doomed Xandu, the injured Robin calls Superman for help. The Man of Steel flies to Wayne Manor, but oddly loses his powers and collapses upon arrival. Superman contacts Aquaman to search for and rescue Batman. Aquaman collects Batman, whom he finds Batman swimming away from the island. Together they watch (from a safe distance) as an atomic mushroom cloud billows over Xandu. Later, Batman, Robin, and the still powerless Superman chill in the Batcave. (They talk about the supposed only “known piece of Kryptonite” left in the world existing in the Smithsonian Institute, which is complete bullshit since both Batman and Superman have stashes in their respective vaults. Not to mention, villains seem to get their hands on Kryptonite pretty easily.) When Superman’s powers mysteriously come back, he flies home. Meanwhile, new super-villain Professor Zoltan Zinkk, claiming responsibility for Superman’s condition, tells a bunch of gangsters that he will get rid of Superman for good.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #294. Batman defeats the debuting Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

–REFERENCE: In The Brave and The Bold #79. Batman becomes aware of smalltime drifter and jack-of-all-rackets Whitey Marsh.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #371. Batman and a still-injured Robin go in-disguise as guitar-playing hipsters in order to build rapport with some members of Gotham’s seedy underworld. They befriend a loudmouthed card-player named Stuffy, who gives them dirt on a bunch of squalid characters.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #372. Bruce has a fancy dinner at the plush Royal Karonian restaurant. For anyone wondering, Karonia is a dictatorship in the Balkans.

–REFERENCE: In Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip 8/14/1968 to 8/23/1968 and Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip 12/21/1968. Bruce arranges for a tutor Mr. Murphy to help Dick with his studies. Mr. Murphy works out a deal where he will live in Wayne Manor, along with his teenage daughter Gazelle Murphy, for the duration of Dick’s tutoring. The Murphys agree to come in a few weeks’ time. Bruce also sets up a round-the-world-cruise for the Murphys and Dick, along with a London trip for Alfred so he can visit his elderly mother—all scheduled to happen in a few weeks’ time as well.

–Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip 4/13/1968 to 8/6/1968 (“Diabolical Professor Zinkk” Part 2)
Late February. A couple weeks have passed since Robin’s injury while dealing with the Floys. He finally gets his cast off and begins rehabbing. Batman goes on routine solo patrols for a couple more weeks. Meanwhile, Superman continues to suffers from random power loss courtesy of Professor Zoltan Zinkk. Batman and a fully-recovered Robin visit a powerless and now dying Superman at his Fortress of Solitude. They decide that consultation with a famous doctor, Dr. Harris, is the only course of action. Thus, a blindfolded Dr. Harris is brought to the Fortress where he determines that Superman has contracted fatal Kryptonite radiation poisoning. Back in Gotham, Batman equips Dr. Harris’ office for treating the Man of Steel. When a crazed and glowing Superman attacks Robin and runs-off in a panic, Batman and Robin chase him down. They knock down Superman with the spinning rotor blade of the Bat-copter, which seemingly kills the Man of Steel! (His heart has slowed to crawl that is undetectable by humans.) Unsure of what to do, the freaked-out Dynamic Duo wraps his lifeless body in lead-sheeting and drags it back to the Fortress. The Dynamic Duo then goes to the Smithsonian’s Kryptonite exhibit, which they learn has been visited and photographed a lot by a peculiar man. After some testing, Batman discovers that radioactive Kryptonite salt crystals can be made from exposed film emulsion of photos of Kryptonite! Meanwhile, Superman, thanks to the lead shielding, comes back to life, switches back to Clark mode, and returns to Lois. Batman then learns that the K-crystals are being sent into the air via radio waves. After an info-gathering meeting with one of the FCC heads and a brief investigation, Batman pins the attempted murder of Superman on Zinkk. The Dynamic Duo watches from afar as Clark visits with Zinkk and mercilessly toys with him. After revealing himself as Superman, Zinkk makes a successful escape by disassembling his molecules using a strange machine. Zinkk goes free, but at the cost of his body, becoming nothing more than an eerie floating disembodied voice.

–Detective Comics #364
March 1-5. Batman and Robin agree to ride on a float for Founder’s Day, for which a parade is scheduled to occur in a few days’ time. Later that day, Bruce reads about gold doubloons being stored at the Marine Warehouse. Later still, Bruce’s friend, Kevin Jackson, tells him that his family is departing for vacation. At night, Batman and Robin bust an escaped Riddler only to find a strange riddle left for them by another villain. The next day, Batman and Robin protect the gold, but find another riddle. The day after that, the Dynamic Duo prevents a robbery at the Jackson mansion and finds another bizarre riddle. Batman realizes that the riddles are hinting that their Founder’s Day parade float is rigged for death. After building and placing audio-animatronic versions of themselves on the float, the thing blows up. A disguised Batman and Robin collect a shocked Alfred from the crowd and realize that he is responsible for the riddles and the death trap! A sliver of the Outsider has remained in Alfred’s subconsciousness, causing him to act as a super-villain once again! The next morning, Alfred wakes with no recollection of his actions. Bruce and Dick don’t tell him a thing, hoping the Outsider is gone for good.

–Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip 8/7/1968 to 12/15/1968 (“Breathing Underwater”)
Early March to mid March. (Note that this item picks up immediately where “Diabolical Professor Zinkk” Part 2 concludes. However, we must retcon-in a five day gap in which Detective Comics #364 can take place. This means that Batman, Superman, and Robin must return to the ruins of Zinkk’s lab to follow-up on the case five days later.) After wrapping-up the Zinkk case, the heroes head home. At Wayne Manor, Dick meets his new live-in tutor Mr. Murphy and his daughter Gazelle. When former party girl cum oceanographer Penny Candy does a death-defying stunt, swinging from a bridge without a safety net, Batman saves her, but they fall into the river below and are presumed dead by the media. Penny takes Batman to the oceanography lab of her father, Dr. Archimedes Candy, who was testing a serum that allows humans to breathe underwater when he was kidnapped by villains looking to get their hands on the stuff. After testing the miraculous serum, Batman phones Dick and tells him to send out a radio signal to contact Aquaman. Batman and Penny follow a small lead that takes them out to sea where they soon find Penny’s dad aboard the submarine of Cap’n Wolf and his gang of smugglers, including first mate Mr. Grimm. Once aboard the sub, Batman and Penny learn that fatal flaw in the serum, once you ingest it, you can only breathe out of water for an hour! Batman and Penny escape from the sub and get back on dry land. They hike through the mountains and barely manage to stay alive, eventually making it to a Coast Guard station and then back to Dr. Candy’s lab where Aquaman is waiting for them. Aquaman orders a pod of whales to force Wolf’s sub to the surface. Dr. Candy then reunites with his daughter after the effects of the underwater breathing serum wear off. Later, in order to teach Penny a lesson (for her stunt she pulled at the bridge), Batman has a judge give her a 90 day suspended sentence for interfering with police work. Batman then returns to the Batcave to find the self destruct mechanism on the Batcave elevator has been set off. (Dick set it off when Gazelle discovered the secret entrance.) Elsewhere, mobster Killer Killey, who has been studying Bruce Wayne for years, begins planning a crooked impersonation stratagem with his girlfriend Kitten and underworld plastic surgeon Dr. Bela Frankenstein.

–Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip 12/16/1968 to 5/30/1969 (“I Want Bruce Wayne’s Identity!”)
Mid March to mid April. Bruce gathers with the Murphys, Dick, and Alfred, all of whom are set to depart on their trips abroad (Alfred to London and the others on a cruise of the world). Despite their reservations, Dick and Alfred leave with the Murphys. That night, Killer Killey’s men break into Wayne Manor and knock-out and kidnap Batman, discovering his secret ID in the process. At Killey’s lair, Batman fibs that he is simply wearing the Batman costume to attend a masquerade. Nevertheless, the villains kayo him again and prep him for surgery. Six hours later, a bandaged Killey is cut to look like Bruce while a bandaged an unconscious Bruce is cut to look like Killey. (Their faces were already homogeneous, so only the noses have been swapped.) Dr. Frankenstein has even surgically swapped their fingerprints! While Dick, Alfred, and the Murphys continue their long vacations incommunicado with Bruce, the villains keep Bruce drugged and sedated for a whopping six weeks! (There’s no way there’s room for this long of an absence—this has got to be closer to two or three weeks tops.) Oddly enough, the villains opted not to snuff out Bruce during his weeks in a coma, but instead dump him into the river. Thankfully, residual effects from Dr. Candy’s underwater breathing formula allow Bruce to survive. Soon after, Killey kills off Dr. Frankenstein and his henchmen. Meanwhile, Batgirl investigates Batman’s disappearance. A dazed and confused Bruce (with Killey’s nose and partial amnesia) returns to the Batcave, suits up, and sends his fingerprints to the FBI, who ID them as Killey’s. Despite being mixed-up about his true ID, Batman goes on patrols just like old times anyway. Meanwhile, Killey (posing as Bruce) and Kitten (posing as Bruce’s new live-in secretary) greet the returning Alfred, who is immediately suspicious. To prove he is the real deal, Killey lists the birthdates for Bruce, Dick, Aunt Harriet, and Alfred. Note that the dates given are incorrect since they contradict the 1976 DC Calendar—(although not all of the birthdays given in the Calendar are correct either). Batgirl confronts Batman in the Batcave. Learning of his strange state, she vows to help him. After exposing Killey as a phony, Batgirl gets kayoed by Kitten and thrown into a dungeon. Dick returns home from abroad and immediately begins helping Alfred figure out what is going on, but is unable to prove “Bruce” is a fake. However, Killey gets exposed when his fingerprint skin grafts slough off. Turns out Dr. Frankenstein’s surgery was semi-botched and not permanent. Robin and Alfred confront the outed baddies only to get a gun pointed at them along with evil bloviation. Batman, listening-in, recovers his lost memories and joins Batgirl to save the day. Killey and Kitten drive-off, but blow up in a car bomb planted by the latter. While Batman and Robin wrap up the case, Paul and Paula Vanderbroke show up at Wayne Manor. Paula plans to propose marriage to Bruce!

–Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip 5/31/1969 to 6/22/1969 (“My Campaign to Ruin Bruce Wayne” Part 1)
Mid April to late April. Bruce—still with a “broken nose” i.e. Killey’s nose—and Dick meet with Paul and Paula Vanderbroke. Paula explains that she and her bro are now penniless. She asks Bruce to marry her, to which Bruce scoffs. The broke Vanderbrokes leave, vowing revenge. Later, Bruce gets his nose surgically repaired, putting him out of action for nearly two weeks, during which time Alfred fixes the damaged Batcave elevator shaft with the aid of workers coming in and out in a sealed van. Healed-up, Batman joins Robin on routine patrols. Meanwhile, the Paula collects a priceless ruby from a family safe deposit box, sneering at a supposed curse attached to it. Despite being rich again, Paula is obsessed with revenge. She begins the first steps of a plan to ruin Bruce by taking scuba lessons.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #381. Late April. Batman learns that his friend Captain Cyrus Spume has recently retired from being a sailor. Spume has moved into and taken a job manning the Gotham Harbor Lighthouse.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America #62. The longtime crime-gang known as The Pyrotekniks (led by led by supposedly deceased incognito gangster Leo Locke) commits a series of robberies in Ivy Town and Gotham, getting the better of both the Atom and Batman.

–The Brave and The Bold #77
When signs point to the potential hijacking of the Brotherhood Express, a special unity-themed train exhibit, Batman is on the case. Despite tight security, the entire train completely vanishes thanks to members of Dr. Dulcamora’s Grand Imperial Circus—little person Lilli de la Pooche, the human cannonball known as The Cannoneer, and superhuman strongman Dum-Dum. Lilli had been shrunk down to atomic size and blackmailed into committing the caper, which involved swapping a replica Brotherhood Express for the real deal. When the circus reports their replica is missing along with the Cannoneer, Dum-Dum, and Lilli, Batman and Atom are on it. Soon Batman and the Atom are aboard the real train where they defeat the villains and their henchmen (with a little help from the circus folk). Afterward, Lilli is turned into a giant and her sentence is suspended, both of which she is more than happy about.

–Justice League of America #62-63
May 5-6. Flash’s brother-in-law, journalist Marley Thorne, reports on the discovery of a decades-old lockbox, which reveals that engineer Harold Loomis’ biological father is crime-boss Leo Locke and that archeologist Homer Gridley is a fraud. Both men attack Thorne on the street, prompting the case to get bumped up to Justice League status. After the JLA busts the Pyrotekniks, Leo Locke is unmasked as their leader. Locke reveals that he has been in a twenty-five year feud with rival gang The Bulleteers. He long ago faked his death to escape a hit put out on him and his family, thus sparing his son’s life. Locke was responsible for releasing the information from the lockbox in a stupid attempt to lure the Bulleteers out of the woodwork, using his son as bait. Having botched things up badly, Locke begs the JLA to protect Loomis. The JLA then joins up with Loomis and Gridley to bust the Bulleteers. Back at the Secret Sanctuary, the team puts the lockbox into their Hall of Trophies. In a corner of the room, the Key’s cosmi-key has finally finished charging. (The Key, still in prison, mentions that three years have passed since he last fought the JLA, but in actuality only a year-and-a-half has transpired.) From jail, the Key is able to use the cosmi-key to mind-control the JLA, trapping them inside their HQ and forcing them to battle each other in a group duel to the death, which will commence in an hour’s time. The heroes can’t leave the Secret Sanctuary, so Superman smartly uses his powers to travel back in time and swap places with himself from a random point three years ago—technically never leaving the Santurary to do so! The Superman from three years ago, after being explained the situation, lightly beats up his teammates and tosses them out of the Secret Sanctuary. Soon, outside of the UN Building in NYC, the JLA fights an escaped Key and his Key-Men. With the hour about to run out, 1971 Superman knocks out his pals so they can’t kill each other. He then beats up the Key-Men and forces the Key to countermand his mental-commands. After locking the Key in suspended animation in the Fortress of Solitude, 1971 Superman revives his teammates, who destroy the cosmi-key. (This entire battle is also visually referenced in Justice League of America #240.) Afterward, 1971 Superman switches back with current day Superman. In a bit of extra Gardner Fox meta-narrative (as if this story needed any more), some time-traveling history buffs from the distant future watch this entire JLA/Key fight—a fight in which the JLA actually dies! But thanks to a “time storm,” the result is changed to what you’ve just read in this summary above. Wild stuff!

–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America #71. Taking notice that Martian Manhunter skipped-out on the last JLA missions without so much as a peep, the JLA begins to worry. After discussing J’onn’s unexcused absences, they realize he’s likely been missing since February. Where is J’onn? He has returned to fight in the secret Martian Civil War that has been raging between the Green and the White for the past nine years.

–FLASHBACK: From Justice League of America #240. Dr. Anomaly (Phineas Quayle), a scientist originally from the early 20th century, time-travels backward from the early 1980s to right now in attempt to defeat the JLA. After capturing Superman, Batman, Hawkman, and Aquaman by turning them into pure energy, Dr. Anomaly fights the rest of the JLA. Soon, the four trapped heroes are freed and Dr. Anomaly goes on the defensive. In order to escape, he goes into the timestream, trapping himself until eventually getting freed in 1985.

–Detective Comics #374
With his constant knowledge of every tiny change to Gotham’s infrastructure, Batman easily corners and busts the Lemon Brothers in a recently boarded up apartment building. Returning to the adjacent alley, Batman finds a beaten up and unconscious Robin on the brink of death! After rushing him to a nearby hospital, the Dark Knight swears vengeance with a grim demeanor we haven’t seen since he confronted Joe Chill face-to-face. Blinded by rage, Batman beats up suspect Jim Condors, showing no remorse and pulling no punches. Upon learning that he has an iron-clad alibi, Batman tucks tail and darts off as the angry dude curses him out with threats of restraining orders and lawsuits! Later, Batman discovers that Robin’s real attacker is Jim Condors’ twin brother Ed Condors, whom the Boy Wonder busted on a prior solo case. Batman busts and disguises himself as Ed to expose Jim as being in cahoots with his bro. With both brother behind bars, Robin soon heals up and is back in action.

[2]

–Batman #201
A bevy of super-villains escape from prison when they learn that a West Coast syndicate is trying to take their place in Gotham’s underworld. Realizing that secretly helping Batman take down the syndicate is the best course of action, Mr. ESPer uses his hypnosis powers to organize a super-villain team-up that includes Penguin, Joker, Catwoman, Cluemaster, Mad Hatter II, Johnny Witts, and Getaway Genius. (Mr. ESPer, despite manipulating the group, stays hidden in the shadows.) In quick succession, Penguin, Mad Hatter, Witts, Cluemaster, and Getaway Genius all help Batman survive near fatalities as he cleans up the new mob. All the while, Mr. ESPer (as a disembodied voice to hide his ID) guides Batman to victory.

–Detective Comics #375
Clairvoyant Pete Maddox can see the future when he subjects himself to extreme cold temperatures. After organizing a botched diamond exchange robbery that Batman and Robin break up, Maddox has an ice cold vision of murdering Batman. Shortly thereafter, Maddox sets up atop a roof with a sniper rifle as Batman Day celebrations begin. The Dark Knight and Boy Wonder, a part of a parade, are honored by Governor Morris, Mayor Taylor, and Commissioner Gordon before a live televised audience and crowd of tens of thousands. Before Maddox can fire off a single round, the diamond heist gang, having escaped from prison, attacks him. Batman swoops in a busts everyone. A few days later, Maddox—out on bail—freezes to death in a butcher shop vault while trying to induce another vision.

–REFERENCE: In World’s Finest Comics #175. Batman goes on an unspecified mission and obtains a wearable muscle amplifier—a cyborg-like arm that gives its user the strength of a thousand men. Later, Batman and Superman prepare for the fourth annual Duel of Wits challenge, simultaneously announcing that this year’s competition will be a three-day one-on-one affair with Robin and Jimmy Olsen sitting on the sidelines. Bruce purchases an obsolete tanker ship and an atom bomb (!), which he preps for a Duel of Wits challenge against Superman. He also preps a target practice challenge with explosives as well.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #202 Part 1. Bruce reads about the wealthy Bennett Family erecting a mausoleum for themselves at Gotham’s Eternal Gate Cemetery, the very same resting place as Alfred’s dad, Jarvis Pennyworth.

–World’s Finest Comics #175
Mid May. An unnamed criminal that Batman once busted joins forces with Cash Carew, the Flamethrower, and Barney the Blast to form the Batman Revenge Squad, complete with amazing purple Batman costumes that have skull-face Bat-symbols. Before they can act, enter the Superman Revenge Squad—now with shaved heads à la Lex Luthor and wearing Superman costumes containing Kryptonite S-symbols. The two Squads join forces with plans of interrupting the upcoming Duel of Wits. The next day, after trophy bets have been turned in, Batman and Superman begin Duel of the Wits IV. Unknown to all, the Revenge Squads are able to boobytrap the trophies with remote-controlled bombs. Challenge for challenge, including one where Batman insanely detonates an atom bomb on an unflinching Superman, the heroes remain tied. Meanwhile, the two Revenge Squads begin to bicker and even secretly aid their rivals from afar. When Flash calls Batman and Superman to an emergency JLA meeting, the Duel of Wits ends in a draw. Batman and Superman each take a trophy, but they recognize that something is off and quickly discover the bombs. The Revenge Squads celebrate the apparent explosive/Gold Kryptonite death of Superman, but soon realize it was just a dummy as Batman and the real Superman crash into their lair and bust them all. Since this is the last Duel of Wits we ever see, we must assume that Batman and Superman decide that their little games aren’t worth exposing themselves, thus cancelling their annual tradition.

–REFERENCE: In Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #111 Part 1. The Mystery Analysts welcome their newest member (and first non-Gothamite), Clark Kent!

–REFERENCE: In Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #111 Part 1. Batman and Robin build a new two-seater mini super-sonic Bat-jet. They also construct and perfect a mini voice simulator that can replicate any voice.

–Batman #202 Part 1
When the media-named “Psychic Plunderer,” strikes Gotham with a series of supernatural robberies, it isn’t long before Batman and Robin are on the case. At home, Alfred listens to Bruce talks about the case and realizes he knows who the Plunderer is. However, Alfred immediately suffers a spasm and collapses, only able to utter the words “Eternal Gate,” before slipping into unconsciousness. At Gotham’s Eternal Gate Cemetery, the Dynamic Duo enters a mausoleum to find that the Plunderer is a British telekinetic stage magician called The Great Norman. Batman and Robin easily take down Norman and his two henchmen. Later, Alfred reveals that Norman was an old friend that saved his life during WWII. The shock of someone Alfred respected so much being outed as crook had caused his ataxia.

–Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #111 Part 1
The Mystery Analysts—Batman, Clark Kent, Commissioner Gordon, DA Danton, Kaye Daye, Marty Tellman, Art Saddows, and Hugh Rankin—gather to decide on adding another member: Jimmy Olsen! Jimmy is interviewed by the group and gives a stirring presentation, which includes films of his adventures. When Jimmy is denied membership, he storms off in a fit of rage. Batman immediately departs for a weeklong Justice League mission against Lydra and her Scorpion Gang. With Batman and Superman away, Jimmy—still fixated on his Mystery Analyst denial—gets Robin to train and disguise him as the replacement Boy Wonder. After swapping places, “Robin” greets Batman. During the night, Batman sneaks into Dick’s room and confirms that it is Jimmy in disguise. Jimmy, still disguised as Dick, goes to school in the morning. There, Jimmy notes to himself how weird it is for him to be back in high school at his age—(he’s probably around 22 at this point). However, I guess creepo Jimmy isn’t too weirded out to get a kiss on the check from an underage junior! Later, Batman takes “Robin” into battle against a fake Lydra and a fake Scorpion Gang, all played by Mystery Analyst members, as part of a test of Jimmy’s mettle. Eventually, all parties involved see through all the layers of ruse. Gordon explains that the only reason Jimmy was denied membership is because he is under 25. Thus, Jimmy is made the first honorary Mystery Analyst—basically the group’s official sidekick.

–Detective Comics #376
Batman and Robin investigate the theft of crook Harve Pelley’s top secret FBI file from Commissioner Gordon’s car. They soon find a fingerprint of the possible culprit, Yo-Yo Yates. As the investigation wears on, Batman keeps noticing someone dressed in a Batman costume watching in the distance. After serving Yates a police warrant to search his home, Batman and Robin punch-out the arriving Pelley and his men. The heroes soon find Yates’ key to a locker, in which is the stolen file. Case closed. But who was the man in the Bat-costume, watching the entire time? It was Tomas Wayne, Bruce’s time-traveling non-direct descendant from the mid 22nd century! In Tomas’ time, the Null-Nuclear War has ravaged the Earth, leading to an unsure period where people (at least Tomas’ people in the area where they live) reside underground and have lost the majority of recorded human history. As leader of the Batmaniacs, Tomas went to the 20th century in an attempt to piece together some of this lost history, specifically in regard to the Dark Knight.

–REFERENCE: In Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip 10/15/1969 to 10/16/1969. Batman invents the world’s smallest atomic motor, which he encases in a small underwater propellor device called the Batmotor. He also upgrades both his and Robin’s scuba gear.

–REFERENCE: In Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip 9/20/1969 to 9/22/1969. Alfred does some minor construction in the Batave. While drilling through the rock floor, he discovers a new tunnel filled with sea water underneath.

–Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip 6/23/1969 to 12/25/1969 (“My Campaign to Ruin Bruce Wayne” Part 2)
Late May. About one month has passed since “My Campaign to Ruin Bruce Wayne” Part 1. Since that time, Paula Vanderbroke has learned how to scuba dive and has purchased her ancestors’ property in downtown Gotham, which she has donated to the city as a public historical landmark. Meanwhile, Bruce finalizes his luxury cruise program for low-income families. The maiden voyage—aboard Wayne Line’s SS Wayne Castle—departs from Gotham Bay. Batman and Robin watch as the ship begins to sink immediately after departure. Paul and Paula Vanderbroke have set off bombs underneath the ship. With the ship half sunk into the shallows of Gotham Bay, Batman orders (on Bruce’s behalf) salvage operations to begin. The Vanderbrokes escape through underwater tunnels back into their historical landmark building. After a thirty six hour investigation, Batman and Robin return home, leaving a beeper number for police scuba divers to ring if they turn up anything. After evidence points to Paula Vanderboke, the Vanderbrokes quickly strike again, blowing up Wayne Trust Company Bank and stealing millions of dollars. Batman and Robin confront the Vanderbroke’s at their home, but cannot link them to the crime. Paula then discovers that Bruce is Batman and has Paul, using a disguised voice, phone Wayne Manor with threats. In the Batcave, the Dynamic Duo jackhammers down into the tunnel Alfred recently discovered below the rock floor. Knowing that this tidewater tunnel likely connects to the miles of undersea tunnels that the Vanderbrokes must have used in their bombings, the heroes flood the tunnels with a “harmless” radioactive material. Using a special camera, Batman and Robin attempt to map the tide tunnels from the Batcopter. Meanwhile, the Vanderbrokes pay for two hundred billboards in Gotham, which each tease the upcoming public reveal of Batman’s secret ID. Batman and Robin swim the now-mapped underwater tunnels and find that a pathway leads to the Vanderbroke historical home. Alfred then reports that he has matched the voice from the phone threats to the voice of Paul Vanderbroke. Batman and Robin confront the Vanderbrokes, who say they won’t publicly reveal their IDs if they let them walk scot-free. While Commissioner Gordon and Chief O’Hara recover the stolen money from the Vanderbroke mansion, Batman and Robin chase after the greedy Vanderbrokes, who bomb another bank and steal a bunch more money. Luck is not on the Vanderbrokes’ side, however, as they run into ongoing construction at the end of their escape tunnel and wind up drowning in cement. Robin tries to save them but is unable. While Robin cleans off, Batman surveys the construction site.

–Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip 12/26/1969 to 3/19/1970 (“Batman’s Back is Broken!”)
Late May to Late August. While surveying the site of the Vanderbrokes’ deaths, Batman is accidentally struck by a free-falling wrecking ball, which instantly breaks his back. The comatose Batman is rushed into emergency surgery, but the injuries are so severe, nothing can be done except to stabilize him. After speaking with worried reporters outside of the hospital, Robin returns to the Batcave and calls Superman for help. While Robin sits by Batman’s side, Superman goes to Mexico City to recruit the best surgeon in the world, Dr. Renaldo Herrara. Within hours, Herrara and his medical staff are in the Batcave medical bay operating on Batman, who has been secretly moved by Superman. Superman then puts on the Bat-cowl and slides into Batman’s place in the downtown hospital bed. “Batman” makes a “miraculous recovery” and leaves the hospital with Robin. Meanwhile, the real Dark Knight undergoes a six hour life-saving operation. With Batman bedridden and fading in and out of consciousness, Superman dons the Bat-suit again to substitute for him on Gotham patrol. Superman winds up busting more crooks in one night than Batman ever has before! Days pass as Batman regains consciousness and is tended to by Dr. Herrara’s sexy nurses. Eventually, the nurses leave, but not before traveling the country with Superman. Despite being in a body cast and practically immobile, Batman still trains regularly, hitting a punching bag and riding an exercise bike. After three months in a bed, Dr. Herrara returns to release Batman from his body cast. Everyone is tense, but Batman is able to stand, weakened and a bit out-of-shape, but fully healed! In celebration, Alfred tells the Dynamic Duo that he has taken the liberty of renting out the traveling circus for them to use as a rehab/training center. The next Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip, entitled “The Circus is Still Not For Sale,” immediately follows, taking Batman and Robin to the circus to train. However, “The Circus is Still Not For Sale” takes place after Dick has graduated high school, so it must go later on our timeline. Even so, we can still assume that Batman now begins training/rehabbing at the circus.

–Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #125
Late August—the anniversary of the destruction of Krypton. While scuba diving in the Caribbean, Jimmy Olsen finds a lost manuscript by Nostradamus, which details a magickal formula consisting of the tears of a king, a Kryptonian, a clown, and a killer. Jimmy visits the Caribbean island of Dominia where he gets a job as a royal cook and is able to steal some of the king’s tears. A few days later, Jimmy visits the circus in Gotham where Batman has been tasked with accompanying famous actress Gina Sophia to protect her diamond necklace. Looking to get the tears of a clown, Jimmy waits in the wings, but an escaped Joker shows up and steals Gina’s necklace. Jimmy nabs Joker, who is so embarrassed at being caught by a regular guy, he breaks down in tears. Jimmy collects his tears. Not long afterward, Jimmy accepts a Daily Planet assignment in the Middle East to interview an imprisoned Death Row assassin. The assassin is unrepentant until the bitter end, but thankfully for Jimmy, the executioner sheds some tears, which Jimmy happily collects. Next, Jimmy asks Superman to take him to the Fortress of Solitude. There, Jimmy plays footage of Krypton exploding (which Superman took using a special camera that can capture bygone events) and a documentary about Smallville (which shows the graves of Ma and Pa Kent). The Man of Steel begins to weep, allowing Jimmy to collect his tears. Jimmy combines the tears into a phial, but nothing seems to happen. Later, Superman examines the mixture and discovers that it’s nuclear! Superman takes it to a deserted planet and detonates it safely.

–Batman #216
It’s still summertime, hence the out-of-order placement here. With Dick sick in bed, Batman goes on solo patrol, coming across a dude named Kevin and his bud rouging up the former’s girlfriend in an alley. The girlfriend seems displeased at Batman’s interference and runs off, leaving a stunned Batman to chase the two toughs into a Shakespeare rehearsal where they blend in with the costumed actors to remain uncaught. Batman catches up with the girl, who reveals herself as Alfred’s estranged niece (whom he’s never met in person), Daphne Pennyworth! Batman brings her to Wayne Manor and leaves her in Alfred’s care. But it’s a smitten and horny Dick that smothers Daphne with attention, reciting poetry to her and showing her all of Bruce’s (and “his”) Shakespeare collection. Early in the morning, Daphne makes a wax impression of the Wayne Manor key, which she gives to Kevin, who has been blackmailing both she and her dad Wilfred (Alfred’s estranged brother). Bruce, Dick, and Alfred then watch Daphne, Kevin, and Wilfred act in a performance of Romeo and Juliet. Alfred, realizing that Daphne is bad news, follows her to Wayne Manor during intermission, catching her red-handed as she attempts to steal a Shakespeare folio. Panicked, Daphne shoots Alfred and passes out. Thankfully, and unknown to Daphne, the gun was a prop from the theater. Alfred, however, pretends to be dead. Daphne returns to the play and delivers the folio to Kevin, who forces the play to go on. Batman comes backstage and starts kicking asses while Wilfred runs on stage to stop Daphne (as Juliet) from stabbing herself with a real knife, which has been swapped out by Kevin. With Kevin and the other bad actors arrested, Alfred reunites with his brother, whom he hasn’t seen in nearly 25 years.

–World’s Finest Comics #176
During a private interview with famous actor Ronald Jason, Clark is stunned as the actor reveals his knowledge of his secret ID. Ronald also tells Clark that he is actually the alien Dur, on a top secret mission against an enemy agent from his home planet called Tiron. Superman takes Dur into the safety of the Fortress of Solitude, but easily sees through the ruse. Jason has learned the secret IDs of both Superman and Batman, but he is dying of radiation poisoning and wants to go out pulling off the best acting performance of his career, a fun gag that will fool the heroes. Feeling bad about the situation, Superman decides to play dumb. He fills in Batman, who agrees to play along as well. Thus, Batman befriends Tiron—also played by Jason—and begins a “war” against Superman. To make things seem even more legit, Batman recruits Supergirl onto his side while Superman recruits Batgirl onto his. Of course, neither the Caped Crusader nor the Man of Steel bother to tell the gals the truth of the matter, so they really start fighting one another. Meanwhile, Robin and Jimmy Olsen, who have secret cameras in both the Batcave and Fortress of Solitude, watch from afar and learn that Jason is playing both alien rivals. By the time Robin and Jimmy arrive at the scene of the battle, Jason unmasks, spills the beans to those who were unaware, and then dies a happy man. A few days later, everyone goes to a memorial service for Jason.

–Detective Comics #377
Batman and Robin read about a famous Indian diamond on display at the museum. A few days later, when Batman is summoned to the library to pick up a book he never checked-out, he examines the text from a distance, setting off a bomb intended for him. Thanks to a librarian’s Polaroid photo, Batman and Robin see a temporary clue given off by an escaped Riddler. Shortly thereafter, the boys bust Riddler and put him back behind bars. Somehow, the city allows Riddler to post bail. After he walks free to await trial, Batman finds another temporary clue in his cell. One more battle and clue at the diamond exhibit at the museum leads to a glass shop and Riddler’s second and final arrest of this issue.

–REFERENCE: In The Brave and The Bold #83. Bruce goes on a trip to Peru and brings home some Peruvian vases, which he displays in Wayne Manor.

–The Brave and The Bold #79
When a new big crime syndicate takes over Gotham’s underworld, assassinations begins happening day and night. Batman and Commissioner Gordon take on the case, starting with research on big time bosses from other states and ruling out any Gotham criminals that definitely aren’t a part of the new crew. During their casework, they are trailed and hounded by obnoxious reporter Carleton Kaine (aka Kubla Kaine), who dubs the leader of the syndicate “The King of Gotham.” No one knows who the King is, but Batman and Gordon have different opposing ideas on who it could be. After crook Whitey Marsh is killed, Batman and Gordon inspect the body and learn from a witness that he was offed by a Hook-handed assassin. Deadman, the superhero spirit of deceased circus aerialist Boston Brand, watches above with keen interest. (Not long ago, Brand was killed by the League of Assassins‘ hook-handed hitman, the aptly named Hook. However, instead of passing into the afterlife as do most ghosts, Brand’s spirit met with the goddess of the mystical Tibetan city of Nanda Parbat, Rama Kushna, who turned him into a superhero with the power to take over other people’s bodies. Deadman has since sworn revenge against Hook.) When Batman scoffs at the witness’ testimony, an angry Deadman hops in the witness’ body and starts fighting Batman, much to the glee of Kaine. Deadman then hops in Batman’s body and, as coincidence would have it, gets a ride home from Alfred. Using Bruce, Deadman records a audio tape detailing his origin and current predicament. After hearing the plight, Batman decides to help Deadman. Bruce sets up a dinner with Kaine so that Deadman can peruse the reporter’s crime-files. Afterward, Batman and Deadman shake down Willie Pigeon, who says someone named Monk Manville killed Marsh on behalf of Big Jim Coltrane. The heroes soon learn that Kaine has announced his candidacy for mayor and that Manville is actually Joe Chill’s brother, Max Chill! Shortly thereafter, Batman and Deadman fight Chill, who gets accidentally fatally injured. Before dying, Chill tells Batman that the King told him to dress up as Hook when offing Marsh. Clues soon bring our heroes back to Kaine’s mansion where it is revealed that the new mayoral candidate is the syndicate King. During an epic fight, Kaine gets accidentally shot dead by his butler. The syndicate falls to pieces without its leader. The search for Hook will continue another day.

–Action Comics #365-366
An escaped Lex Luthor, before going back to prison, poisons Superman with Kryptonian leprosy, which proves to be fatal. With only days to live, Superman decides that he will rocket his dying body into Flammbronn, the hottest sun in the universe. The world mourns with a global public funeral. The Justice League pays tribute to their doomed friend. In a space-coffin, Superman speeds across the cosmos. When he passes Bizarro World (or rather, as this should correctly say, passes an interdimensional gateway to Bizarro World, which is technically in another universe), two Bizarros pelt his coffin with multicolored Kryptonite in a bizarre tribute. White Kryptonite cures him of his disease! Meanwhile, while Superman has traveled on this journey, global crime on Earth has spiked. In order to put the world at ease, Supergirl and the JLA come up with a plan wherein which they publicly announce that Superman is back and A-OK! Each JLAer then takes turns dressing-up as and playing the role of Superman. The JLA begins their Superman shifts and the world celebrates. When the real Superman returns to Earth and witnesses one of his replacements working a case with Batman, he is stupefied. After watching his doubles perform several more heroic feats, Superman soon unearths what is going on. The Man of Steel thanks his chums and retakes his position as the lone Superman of the DCU.

–REFERENCE: In The Brave and The Bold #80. Controversial national TV news host Jack Ryder gets in hot water with his network after some shady journalism and unethical interviewing tactics. Bruce reads about Ryder’s situation and doesn’t approve of him one bit. Bruce also reads about a flamboyant new Joker-like vigilante, The Creeper, who is wanted by both cops and crooks alike all over the US. Unknown to Bruce, Ryder and the Creeper are one and the same!

–World’s Finest Comics #177
After a near escape from Metropolis Prison, Lex Luthor is transferred to the supposedly more-secure Gotham State Prison. A few days later, Joker dresses up as Batman to gain access to Luthor, then frees him using is own high-powered fake Batmobile. Batman, Robin, and Superman soon fight the two villains, but they escape after shooting Robin in the arm and blasting Superman with Kryptonite gas. At one of his secret lairs, Luthor shows Joker a new device he has built, based upon blueprints given to him by Brainiac. The device can summon famous people from throughout all time. Hoping to build a historical super-villain team, they summon Benedict Arnold, Leonardo da Vinci, and (by accident) Baron Münchhausen! After tricking the benevolent Leonardo into scripting a heist for them, the bad guys spring into action a few days later, stealing the Mona Lisa from right under the noses of Batman and Superman. A few days after that, a Leonardo score works again, as the baddies steal an entire bank building whole. However, Benedict Arnold manipulates a feuding Joker to have a gun duel with Luthor, during which the Clown Prince of Crime uses his locoweed Laughing Dust spray for the second time ever, although this time he refers to it as its proper name: Joker Venom! Batman and Superman, disguised as the duel-seconds, take the downed villains (after they take each other out) back to Luthor’s lair. There, Münchhausen and Leonardo switch sides and help the heroes bust Joker, Luthor, and Benedict Arnold. All the time-displaced folks go back to whence they came.

–Batman #206
The Cat-Crook—a villain that wears a Batman costume with cat’s eyes—debuts, running circles around the GCPD. Meanwhile, the Dynamic Duo are invited to a fancy testimonial dinner held in their honor. A few days later, Batman and Robin investigate a robbery, which lead them to shake-down a racist Native American-themed “hippie” music band. After busting the band, the Dynamic Duo attends their testimonial dinner, during which private-claims investigator EG Never publicly claims that Batman has consulted him on every case since his debut. Never challenges Batman to see who can first solve the next few high-profile cases. (As referenced in Detective Comics #378, Gotham club owner and crime syndicate boss Salvo has his man Light-Finger Harry pose as a waiter at the event. During Never’s accusation, Harry is able to swipe Robin’s water glass, from which he gets the Boy Wonder’s fingerprints, delivering them to Salvo.) The next night, the challenge begins between Batman and Never as both are called to work a robbery case. Unknown to all (including the thieves themselves), Never is actually the Planner, the very mastermind that has planned the robbery, setting up his hirelings to get nabbed. (The Planner set up the Native American-themed band as well.) After leading the Dynamic Duo to bust the hired thieves, Never claims a round one victory. A night later, Never pulls the same stunt, setting up the costumed Cat-Crook to fail, thus claiming a round two victory. Batman is so pissed he attacks Never and then trails him. The Cat-Crook, who heard Never’s voice at the police station and recognized it as the Planner’s, escapes custody and goes after Never as well. At his junkyard lair, Never attempts to gun down Batman, but shoots the Cat-Crook dead instead. Batman and Robin then bust Never, who gets fast-tracked into the Gotham court system. A week later, he is convicted and put on Death Row.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #388 Part 1 Intro. Joker breaks jail. Not long after, on the night of a full moon, a series of bizarre moon-themed crimes are committed by a mystery villain the media dubs “Public Lunatic Number One.” Batman can’t locate Joker, not can he tie him to the lunar crimes, but he’s pretty sure the moon man is Joker. (He’s correct.) Joker remains at large and goes into hiding.

–Justice League of America #65
Evil scientist Thomas Oscar Morrow (aka TO Morrow) has just traveled to Earth-2 and fought the Justice Society of America (as seen in Justice League of America #64). By inserting his own creation—the android Red Tornado—into the JSA lineup, Morrow was able to manipulate the team’s defeat and cause their apparent deaths! Following his victory, Morrow hops back to Earth-1 to take on the JLA. He sends fake versions of Steve Trevor, Midge, Jean Loring, Mera, and Hawkgirl into the Secret Sanctuary. After the fakes take out their respective partners, the rest of the JLA goes into battle against Morrow’s cosmic creatures—a dragon, a griffin, and a demon. After that, Morrow uses the JLA trophies against the team: activating the Pthisthinian panacomputer, which brings Super-Duper back to life; reanimating the diamond Appellaxian, Amazo, Starro, and a dummy of Dr. Light; and using the power of the Green Bell of Uthool. With all these threats, the JLA is defeated and put into suspended animation, taken as human prizes by Morrow, who claims ownership of the Secret Sanctuary. Meanwhile, Red Tornado, gaining autonomy with every passing second, awakes and travels through the Bleed to Earth-1. Upon discovering the lifeless JLAers, Red Tornado does a bit of research and locates Steve Trevor, Midge, Jean Loring, Mera, and Hawkgirl. He imbues them with “reverse future-energy,” which allows them to kiss their significant others back to life. Jean kisses the Atom, which is funny because she doesn’t know that her fiancé Ray Palmer is the Atom! Red Tornado takes the awakened heroes into the Bleed between Earths-1 and 2, which has lit up as bright as a sun thanks to Morrow, who is using a device that can cause evil vibrations to permeate both worlds, leading to multiversal war! The heroes bust Morrow and his faceless android henchmen, ending his sinister plot. Back on Earth-1, Morrow is jailed. Red Tornado releases the other Earth-1 heroes from suspended animation before returning to Earth-2 to do the same there. Awakened, the JSA offers team membership to Red Tornado. He was created to be a tool for a super-villain, but he’s now become a genuine bonafide superhero!

–Detective Comics #378-379
Batman and Robin argue while on a case, which leads to Robin punching Batman in the face! The whole squabble is photographed by a pressman. Dick is so mad that he packs up his stuff and moves into a cheap motel, sharing a room with teenage gangster Chino, who has just left his mentor, syndicate boss Salvo, following an argument of their own. Batman is so upset that he gives a tell-all interview to the Gotham News, stating that Robin is no longer wanted! The next day, Chino, in a plan to kill Batman, forces Dick into a store-bought Robin costume. Meanwhile, Salvo has the same idea. He puts his bodyguard Chopper into a Robin costume as well. With two Robins—one real and one fake—being held captive in two different locations, the situation calls for two Batmen! Thus, Alfred dons a spare Bat-costume. While the real Batman exposes Chopper, the other Batman (Alfred) tries to rescue the real Robin, but gets knocked into the river by Chino. The real Batman then arrives to save both Robin and Alfred. Chino escapes in a carjacked Batmobile, but soon runs into a still-angry Salvo, Chopper, and a hitman known as The Icer. Batman drops a net from the Bat-copter, nabbing all the baddies. Later, Batman and Dick give testimony on behalf of Chino, convincing Commissioner Gordon not to proceed with any criminal charges. Batman and Gordon use their combined pull and pair Chino up with some foster parents. Bruce and Dick put their differences aside and become partners again.

–The Brave and The Bold #80
Batman and Commissioner Gordon track racketeer Ace Branigan, who goes missing after rivals Big Al Dalko and Bronk Boyle take a hit out on him. Later, reporter Jack Ryder’s presence during a fight between Batman and an arsonist nearly leads to disaster. After the successful bust, Batman gives Ryder hell, but Ryder simply tells him to tune into his show. Batman and Gordon watch the show, which features Ryder doing a story on new bug-themed super-villain Hellgrammite. Later, Ryder reveals himself as the Creeper to Batman! After Batman and the Creeper team-up against Hellgrammite, the villain flees the scene. Gordon orders Batman to bust the Creeper and to protect Dalko as a possible material witness in the disappearance of Branigan. Batman ignores Gordon’s former request and joins the Creeper. Together they chase after Hellgrammite, who has kidnapped Dalko, but the villain evades capture again. Later, the Creeper is captured by mob boss Turk Trask, but Batman saves him just as Hellgrammite kidnaps Trask. Soon after, Batman and the Creeper find Branigan, Boyle, and Trask in an unused subway tunnel, each having been trapped inside cocoons by Hellgrammite. After saving the gangsters, Batman and the Creeper bust Hellgrammite.

–Justice League of America #66
Batman, Green Arrow, and the Atom argue with their fellow JL teammates over which cases to take on from the mailbag, eventually splitting to go help Snapper’s Happy Harbor College professor, who has been robbed of an experimental “morale machine.” But when the heroes arrive, they find strange things are afoot. After fighting off a crazed football team, the heroes save Snapper’s professor from a suicide attempt. After he snaps out of his weird funk, the professor reveals that his mood-altering machine was stolen during a recent trip to the tiny Mediterranean nation of Offalia. Sure enough, an Offalian generalissimo named Demmy Gog has lifted the device and now uses it on campus for his own nefarious ends. The JLA easily defeats Gog and his troops.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #210. Catwoman is released from Gotham’s Women’s House of Detention.

–The Brave and The Bold #81
Batman becomes aware of the dastardly actions of extortionist and crooked labor union guy Milo Manning. Shortly thereafter, Detective Barry Allen goes to GCPD HQ as an official visitor from the Central City PD, meeting with Batman and Commissioner Gordon. Batman then bears witness as international fugitive Carl Bork, having been gifted with invulnerability, beats up Manning and his goon squad, taking over his rackets. Bork then proceeds to beat the stuffing out of a dozen cops and Batman all at once. Within hours, the entire city is abuzz about Bork, who declares himself the new political labor leader of Gotham, initiating a general strike until his demands—which include banishing Batman, limiting police presence, and replacing the city council with his men—are met. While Batman tracks Bork through Gotham and meets with the city council, an African commando hit-squad attempts to kill Bork as revenge for crimes he’s committed in their country. Flash zips around the globe in an attempt to find out how and where Bork got his powers, finding the source of his power—a magick tribal woodcarving—on a remote volcanic island in the middle of the ocean. While Flash studies the carving and tries in vain to destroy it, Batman and Gordon manage to throw Bork into a jail cell, but he smashes his way out. As Mayor Taylor begins to panic, Batman challenges Bork to a one-on-one rematch. Bork has the upper hand until Flash melts the carving in the heart of the sun, stripping him of his power. Batman punches out Bork, who gets extradited to Africa by the commandos.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America #68. Batman thinks about concepts for a new updated Bat-submarine. However, much too busy, he won’t actually get around to drawing up any schematics or blueprints. Not to mention, he already has a perfectly-functioning Bat-sub already.

–Detective Comics #380
When a woman named Ginny Jenkins shows up at Wayne Manor claiming to be Bruce’s newlywed wife, Bruce questions her, learning that her brother Jim has been threatening to kill him. Ginny lied and told Jim that she married Bruce, hoping that Jim would be leery of killing his own brother-in-law. Bruce leaves Ginny in the care of Aunt Harriet and Alfred. Then, recalling the name “James Jenkins” as a part of his routine Wayne Foundation affairs, Bruce visits company treasurer Eugene Driscoll, learning that the Wayne Foundation has repeatedly turned down Jim’s grant applications. At night, Batman pays a visit to Jim’s organization, the Geriatric Research Institute. At the Institute, Jim fights the intruding Batman. A second mystery man enters and shoots Jim dead. Ginny then arrives, giving the mystery man the opportunity to flee. After finding a clue on site, Batman soon finds himself shaking down Driscoll, who reveals that he and Jim were old bank robbing pals decades ago, but Jim had been blackmailing him as part of a scheme to obtain all of Bruce’s money. Driscoll reveals that he has altered Bruce’s will to make himself the receiver of Bruce’s millions, hence Jim’s true desire to commit murder. Batman punches out Driscoll just as he shoots Ginny in the arm. Later, Bruce visits Ginny in the hospital. Presumably, Bruce fixes his will as well.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #391. Bruce pays for physical therapy for Ginny Jenkins with his own massage therapist Tim Clark. It’s not long before Tim and Ginny hit it off and begin dating.

–Batman #206 Epilogue
EG Never’s fast-tracked Death Row process comes to his final day in the slammer. Having lost his marbles, Never demands that they let him wear a Batman costume while being executed. Warden Crichton calls Batman in to discuss the situation. Batman tells the warden to let Never wear whatever outfit he wants to on execution day. Not long afterward, “Batman” fries in the electric chair.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #207. Big Brill takes over Gotham’s crime syndicates, splitting up the city’s underworld into sections run by domino-masked “district captains.” Batman and Robin try their best to connect Brill to wrongdoing, shaking down he and his men—including doorman and crooked croupier Snake-Eyes—in the pool room of the syndicate’s luxurious penthouse suite. Unfortunately, the heroes are unable to make charges stick to the untouchable Brill.

–Detective Comics #381
After an unspecified JLA mission, Batman returns to Gotham to prepare for the arrival of a Dutch ship carrying diamonds. As such, the Dark Knight patrols the harbor in his Bat-copter. Using infrared contact lenses, Batman sees a morse code flashing signal message regarding the assassination of Robin emanating from the Gotham Harbor Lighthouse. He immediately radios Robin to abandon his patrol across town and head home, which the Boy Wonder does. Batman then visits his old pal Cyrus Spume, who mans the lighthouse. Spume acts oddly, so Batman surmises that he is being held against his will. Ascending to the top of the lighthouse, Batman spies on the crooks that sent the message about killing Robin. Back home, Robin shows Batman a pair of infrared goggles he got off wharf crooks Looey and Mush earlier in the night. After a call from the cops, Batman and Robin head to the pier and get the jump on Robin’s would-be assassin, Looey and Mush’s hitman pal Dead-Eye. Batman disguises himself as Dead-Eye, fake assassinates Robin, and dumps his “corpse” into the bay—all in plain view of the infrared criminal mastermind’s view. Shortly thereafter, Batman is captured by the villainous gang and presented before their leader, Batman’s old chum, Spume! Instead of hiding in their bayside auxiliary Batcave (aka the “sea cave”) as planned, Robin joins Batman to duke it out with Spume and his men. The fight ends with Spume falling to his death.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #207. Mayor Taylor, for unspecified reasons, steps down as Gotham’s top political leader. His title and position goes to Mayor Hayes, who immediately meets with Batman and Robin.

–Batman #207
Batman and Robin meet with Commissioner Gordon, Mayor Hayes, and top officials from the US Armed Forces, CIA, Atomic Energy Commission, and Nuclear-Demolition Team. They report that a miniature hydrogen bomb has gone missing from a plane crash and a hefty ransom has been asked for in exchange for its safe return. Batman and Robin immediately visit the syndicate penthouse and kick the crap out of Big Brill’s whole gang. But Batman doesn’t want to bust Brill. Instead, he plays the tape of the ransomer for Brill and his captains, hoping they will recognize the voice. One of them is able to hear a noise that is specific to his turf. Batman and Robin go to the area in question and soon learn from a neighborhood kid that transient Bertram Smith is the villain. Batman and Robin locate the bomb in the trunk of a car, but a note says that it will be remotely detonated if tampered with. Smith, meanwhile, calls in a request to GCPD telling them to fly his money in an airplane over the ocean and to await further instructions. At the airport, Batman and Robin flush out Smith, who winds up getting run over by the plane on the tarmac. With his dying breath, Smith tells Batman that the remote trigger is hidden in a bouncy ball. The heroes realize that the neighborhood kid has Smith’s ball. They rush to his house and deactivate the trigger. SIDE NOTE: We never hear from Big Brill and his well-oiled untouchable racket organization again. This probably means Batman busts it up.

–Justice League of America #68
In the mesozoic era, a freak mutation causes a single-celled amoeba to grow into a sentient but childlike monster of huge proportions. The creature, which writer Denny O’Neil calls “Neverwas,” is able to unwittingly time-travel to present day where it begins terrorizing a heavily-populated urban area. When Hawkman fails to stop the towering monster, he gets help from his fellow JLAers. The giant amoeba accidentally teleports an an entire hotel and its inhabitants through a time gate billions of years into the past. Superman follows, but gets trapped in the past. Aquaman then takes a crack at Neverwas, but the blob spilts in half to defeat him. After blanketing the entire continent of North America in a shroud of darkness, Neverwas accidentally summons the ghosts of hundreds of dead soldiers from throughout history. Splitting into an army of blobs, Neverwas strikes at the heroes along with his army of ghosts. The time gate reopens, allowing Superman to return. Realizing that the blob is just acting out because it is nothing more than a scared child, Superman builds a giant toy robot and tosses it through the time gate. Playing fetch, Neverwas follows it back to the mesozoic era, ending his threat.

–Detective Comics #382
The hydra-headed nature of mob villainy never seems to dissipate in Gotham. When one syndicate falls, another takes its place. The Smokescreen Mob (led by Fingers) and their rivals The Blowtorch Mob (led by Muscle) both debut, quickly becoming dual targets for the Dynamic Duo. Eventually, the Dynamic Duo roughs-up the Smokescreen Mob, but is unable to locate their stolen loot, which has mysteriously disappeared from their safe. Later, the Smokescreen Mob confronts their rivals in the Blowtorch Mob only to discover that someone has been cleaning-out both of their safes for weeks. Unknown to both, their shared gunsmith (known as The Armorer) has been secretly bugging their weapons in order to listen-in, allowing him access to their safes. The two mobs decide to take a break from crimes for a week, during which time Batman and Robin get so bored on patrol they start harassing litterers. When the mobs break their respite, they make a big heist, stealing a priceless diamond from the airport. Robin tracks them solo to a funeral home front where he comes face-to-face with the Armorer, who makes it seem like he was forced to work for both mobs. He leads Robin to the Blowtorch Mob’s hideout, presenting him before a safe rigged to shoot a hail of bullets should it be opened. Batman realizes the Armorer is a liar and swings in, pushing Robin out of the way at the last second. The boobytrap fires and kills the leaders of the twin mobs, who are waiting in the entryway. The Armorer goes to prison.

[3]

–World’s Finest Comics #181
Batman goes on unspecified Justice League business, leaving Gotham under Robin’s protection. He asks the Boy Wonder to write up a detailed patrol report for when he returns. When Batman gets back, Superman has left him a note warning him to make himself literally disappear for the next twenty four hours. His Kryptonian super-computer has predicted that a terrible fate awaits the World’s Finest heroes unless they make themselves scarce. Batman disguises himself, flees from Robin, and goes into his top secret time-travel experimentation lab at the Wayne Foundation, which he has been overseeing (as Bruce) for the past two years. At this point, the Wayne Foundation time-travel machine still doesn’t work properly—and without Carter Nichols’ guidance, the machine likely never will. (It can indeed send someone through time, but only randomly and only for random trip durations.) Nevertheless, heeding Superman’s warning, Batman uses the funky machine and winds up in 1896. Batman is stuck in the past long enough to lay down some roots and get a job as a circus performer, so we can assume he was there for at least a week or so. Eventually, Superman appears in 1896 along with the supposed threat they were running away from—a cosmic stranger named Kralc and his alien bloodhound, Kyr-2. The heroes are taken back to the present day of the technologically-advanced flat planet of Orr. There, Batman and Superman flee and discover a museum dedicated to their adventures. After dispatching some robots, the heroes are re-approached by Kralc, who calls them “The Founders of Orr.” Batman and Superman then complete feats of strength before a packed arena. At night, they sneak into another side of the museum and find ancient artifacts from Bizarro World. Superman realizes that Orr is an evolved Bizarro World from thousands of years into the future. Kralc has used cosmic technology to switch 20th century Bizarro World with his future world of Orr in order to capture Batman and Superman as “living museum exhibits.” The next day, Batman and Superman behave like Bizarros, causing a ruckus, fighting, and making inane threats. They are so unruly and out-of-order that Kralc expels them into space and swaps 20th century Bizarro World with his own planet, returning everything as it should be. The stupid Bizarros, having no idea they were even gone, protest Superman and Batman’s presence, demanding they go home, which they happily do.

–Batman #208
The woman that raised Bruce after his parents’ murders, Alice Chilton, breaks the fourth wall to show off a scrapbook of the women that have been in Bruce’s life. In a bit of cheeky meta fun, she speaks directly to us (the readers), going through flashbacks from old comics to detail the history of Bruce’s love-life. Of course, taken literally, the elderly Mom Chilton is a bit nutty, talking to herself. Eventually, Bruce and Dick drop by for a quick visit before heading out to patrol.

–Detective Comics #383
Batman and Robin stop for a patrol break at Tommy Chee’s Chinese Restaurant. While there, Robin gets a message in a fortune cookie saying that someone is being held hostage at a nearby bakery. Thinking it’s a lark, he pockets it to keep as a funny gift for Aunt Harriet. However, two brutes knock-out the Dynamic Duo and steal the fortune. While Batman heads to the freight yard to check out the next shipment of fortune cookies, Robin goes to the bakery where Tommy purchases his cookies. There he finds a woman, Hu Shi, held captive, but it’s all a setup designed to get the jump on an unsuspecting hero. Hu Shi and her brother Yin Yan knock out Robin. Meanwhile, Batman finds the thugs from Tommy’s at the freight yard collecting a box full of the gag fortunes. The Dark Knight takes them down and opens the crate, revealing smuggled pearls. Batman, realizing that Yin Yan has concocted a complicated smuggling and fraud plan with the pearls, rushes to the bakery, rescues Robin, and busts the scheming siblings.

–Detective Comics #388 Part 1 Intro
Joker returns to commit more lunar-themed crimes on the night of the full moon, getting the best of the Dynamic Duo at the planetarium. Later, Bruce joins Dr. Doomer at his Wayne Foundation lab for an important anti-gravity demo for military higher-ups. (Doomer has already presented several failed experiments to the military over the past couple of years.) When the latest experiment fails yet again, the military guys leave in a huff, but Bruce and Dr. Doomer find that the tech has been stolen and replaced with a fake. Joker remains at large.

–The Brave and The Bold #82
Heartbreaker Bruce begins dating the a lovely gal named Honor, but after meeting super model Ailsa Dubois, Bruce is smitten. When Ailsa sends him a love note attached to a photo of herself, he sets up a dinner date with her. Later, Batman investigates Gotham’s “New Marine City Development,” which is being built by suspicious millionaire fleet-owner Orm Marius. (Unknown to Batman, Marius is the famous Atlantean super-villain Ocean Master.) After witnessing a frogman murder one of the other funders linked to the development, Batman gets stabbed in the shoulder and sees a disguised Aquaman on the scene before passing out. Once revived by police doctors, Batman runs off to make sure he’s on time for his date with Ailsa. After getting stitched up by Alfred and blowing-off Honor via phone, Bruce dines with Ailsa and quotes Lord Byron to her. Ailsa reveals her true intentions and allegiance to Marius, asking Bruce for money to help fund the development. She then attacks, slapping Bruce in the face and pushing him off a balcony. Bruce soon confronts Ailsa and Marius (revealed to be Ailsa’s boyfriend), who are planning to steal the development funds. Aquaman shows up and knocks-out Bruce. After carrying him to the site of the development, Aquaman whispers that Marius is watching and he has to pretend to be helping him. Marius shoots at both men, mistakenly leaving them for dead. Later, at police HQ, Aquaman explains that Marius is his half-brother. Aquaman also explains that he (Aquaman) has accidentally killed a man, which has led to his wife Mera being “taken away from him.” Sensing that Marius is behind causing Aquaman to falsely believe these things, Batman comes up with a ruse to help his friend. Since Honor is a dead-ringer for Mera, Bruce begs her to help he and Gordon. Soon after, Aquaman is administered hallucinogenic drugs and spoken to by “Mera” (played by Honor) and the supposed murder victim (played by Gordon). A re-focused Aquaman then joins Batman and the GCPD to take on Marius, who switches to his Ocean Master costume. Ailsa is shot dead by cops and Aquaman chases Ocean Master into the deepest depths of the sea, leaving the world of the surface-dwellers behind, for now.

–Batman #209
Five major gangs—including The Sewer Rats and The Second-Story Aces—join together to form a new crime syndicate in Gotham. Despite their numbers, Batman and Robin make mincemeat out of the new syndicate underlings. One of the syndicate heads, Brainwash (a disguised Mr. ESPer), meets with Commissioner Gordon under a false name and puts a device that will allow him to mind-control Gordon under his office desk. After a keynote speech at a human rights dinner attended by the Dynamic Duo, Gordon is mind-controlled and summons the heroes into a Sewer Rat trap in the sewer. While the heroes punch-out some baddies, Mr. ESPer sneaks one of his devices under the Batmobile. Using the device, the villain makes the heroes rush home. Under the evil influence of Mr. ESPer, Batman and Robin have a hallucination inside the elevator connecting the Batcave with Wayne Manor. Both heroes visualize an intense jungle scene and Alfred appears to them as a vicious tiger and then an elephant. Eventually, Batman and Robin snap themselves out of the hallucination and find the device under their car. They interrupt a syndicate robbery-in-progress, bust up the bad guys, and bring Mr. ESPer to justice.

–World’s Finest Comics #182
Bruce heads to Metropolis on unspecified business. While there, Superman reaches out to him asking if he will join him for a charity stunt event for orphans. The heroes put their performance on hold when a man in a flying rocket-powered armored suit steals a priceless magick medallion from the museum. The heroes bust the bad guy, but he is able to use the medallion to place a 48-hour curse on the Man of Steel. If he is alone within the next two days, Superman will commit suicide! Knowing the only way Superman will stay by his side, Batman pretends the curse has been placed on himself and begins acting like a raving lunatic in public. Superman quickly flies Batman to the Fortress of Solitude where they “learn” that the curse only affects him when he is wearing his Batman costume. The next day, Clark takes Bruce with him under the guise of doing a story on the famous billionaire Daily Planet stockholder. In civilian clothes, Bruce and Clark visit the world-famous Costume Castle, which has been recently robbed of diamonds. Clark sneaks-off to bust the bad guys as Superman, but Bruce swipes a Batman costume from the store and begins raving, forcing Superman to help him. The next day, at an experimental car show, Superman nearly leaves Bruce’s side until the latter dons his Batman costume and pretends to be insane again. Meanwhile, Batman has Robin and Supergirl cover all of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude Kryptonite stash in lead paint, rendering it harmless. Superman tries to kill himself, but fails just as the curse wears off.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #210. Selina Kyle starts up a new beauty business called The Selina Slenderizing Salon. Batman and Robin begin patrolling by her storefront. They will swing by for nine nights in a row, overlapping with the next batch of stories below. Likewise, the Dynamic Duo will case every cat-themed or tangentially cat-themed business in Gotham for the next nine nights, but Selina will remain criminally inactive.

–REFERENCE: In World’s Finest Comics #187. Batman begins keeping a tiny Green Kryptonite pebble (encased in a lead container) in his utility belt—just in case.

–Justice League of America #69
Tattooed Man is seemingly murdered and all signs point to Green Arrow as the killer. (Tattooed Man isn’t actually dead, merely in a deep state of suspended animation.) After assembling the JLA, Diana delivers the news about the murder, to which Green Arrow exclaims his innocence. Diana also tells the team that she is resigning, effective immediately! As seen in Wonder Woman #178-179, the Amazons have left the Earthly plane, causing Diana to lose her powers. Superman rejects her resignation offer, instead placing her on extended leave of absence. Diana won’t be an active Justice Leaguer anymore, but she will continue to fight crime as a fashionable Emma Peel-esque super-spy. A saddened Flash notes, via thought bubble, the terrible losses the team has suffered as of late: Aquaman’s wife Mera has been missing for months now, held captive by Atlantean thieves (as seen in the pages of Aquaman); and the love of Hal Jordan’s life, Carol Ferris aka Star Sapphire, has been engaged to someone else for a couple years (as seen in the pages of Green Lantern Vol. 2). (Interestingly, at this point on our timeline, the Justice Leaguers—except for Superman and Batman—don’t know each other’s secret IDs. They have long had a pact to mind-wipe each other in the event of somehow finding out. However, since Flash seems to have knowledge of some of the personal lives of his teammates here in JLA #69, we must assume that the superb detective has found out on his own and will be getting a voluntary mind-wipe shortly.) While Green Arrow goes on the lam, Batman and Flash examine Tattooed Man’s body. After being lured into a local planetarium, Batman and Flash are taken captive by a returning Headmaster Mind, who is responsible for the fake Tattooed Man murder and Green Arrow frame-up. Taking dubious legal action as a concerned citizen (using a fake name), Headmaster Mind is able to get a court order prohibiting Superman from working the Green Arrow case due to a conflict of interest. With Superman out of the way and the majority of the team in captivity in his Redwood Forest lair, Headmaster Mind has his henchmen dress up as the captive members and begin a crime spree. The Atom rescues the restrained heroes and helps them bust Headmaster Mind and his frauds.

–World’s Finest Comics #183
Bruce goes on a new invention bender! First, he builds a secret vault in a rock wall on the outskirts of his property, just above the farthest reaches of the underground Batcave. This vault can be remotely opened and items can be sent into it via another new invention, a Batarang drone. While in creative overdrive, Batman also invents a robot bloodhound! The Dark Knight then calls over Superman and together they build a Superman-signal, which can be projected to call Superman to the Batcave in times of emergency. Inspired, Superman builds a Kryptonite-detector, which he begins carrying around with him at all times. A few days later, Batman is visited by the mysterious duo known as the Time Patrol, a duo of time-traveling ape-men that claim to be from the year 4069. They claim further that Superman, under the influence of Red Kryptonite, will commit a series of heinous crimes in a few days’ time, destroying most of the planet and then hurling a “de-evolution satellite” into the future, which will devastate the world over again in 4069. The ape-men take Batman to 4069 and show him evidence of their horrible world. Convinced by this “Minority Report,” Batman returns to the present and prepares for Superman’s arrest by contacting high officials at the UN and the new President of the United States, Gerald Ford. (Nixon’s impeachment and resignation would have happened less than two months ago.) With their approval, Batman summons Superman to the Batcave for an ambush. There, Batman and Robin subdue the Man of Steel with lead-screened Kryptonite, arresting him and presenting him before a UN security council hearing in NYC. A trial is held, during which Superman is allowed to fly to 4069 to see if the Time Patrol’s story holds up. Sure enough, it does. Back in the present, President Ford and a Nobel Prize-winning scientist speak on behalf of Superman, but he is still found guilty by the council. The Time Patrol chooses Superman’s punishment, an antic Kryptonite lobotomy. Prior to the surgery, the heroes realize that the Time Patrol are frauds. Batman takes part in a fake lobotomy of Superman, after which the Time Patrol are unmasked as an escaped Brainiac and Lex Luthor. The duo had indeed shown Batman and sent Superman to check out 4069, but they both saw a futuristic movie-set that was shooting a reboot Planet of the Apes film! With Superman cleared and the villains back behind bars, the UN honors the World’s Finest by permanently flying a Batman flag and a Superman flag alongside all the national flags outside the UN Building.

–World’s Finest Comics #185
Batman joins Superman on a patrol in Metropolis, helping him bust a gang wearing medieval armor. Immediately afterward, Batman and a supposedly de-powered Superman are transported to the gambling planet of Garenvol aka “The Planet of Chance,” where they are placed in various giant casino death traps so that the Garenvolians can place bets on their survival. Unknown to the Garenvolians, Superman hasn’t actually lost his powers. When the Garenvolians produce hostages Jimmy Olsen and Robin, forcing Batman and Superman to fight to the death in a large maze, each hero is given a rifle with a single bullet. With Superman secretly manipulating events, the heroes survive the rifle challenge and a subsequent grenade challenge. Then, the Caped Crusader and the Man of Steel are each paired with sexy patrons that bet large sums of cash on their respective partner for the next challenge: a gladiator duel to the death in the arena. After making-out with their patrons, Batman and Superman clash with battle-axes and shields. Superman, upon locating Jimmy and Robin, reveals that he still has his powers and kicks Garenvolian ass to make the rescue. Superman then forms an airtight ball and pulls Jimmy, Robin, and Batman back across the universe to Earth.

–Detective Comics #384
When billionaire newspaper magnate John Madigan dies, his granddaughter Heloise Madigan is willed his entire fortune. Soon after, with Robin on a long weekend Teen Titans case, Batman saves who he thinks is Heloise from would-be killers. But upon returning “Heloise” home, the Madigan estate exposes her as con-artist lookalike Colleen Kiernan. With the arrival of the real Heloise and mounting evidence, Batman takes Colleen to jail. Batman rushes back to the Madigan mansion just in time to prevent another assassination attempt. The next day, Batman realizes that the hit hasn’t been put out on Heloise, but on Colleen. Batman tracks her to real estate tycoon Kenneth Rogers’ office. Listening-in, the Dark Knight learns that Rogers put the hit out on Colleen, who worked for John Madigan, who was actually a very crooked businessman that was blackmailing Rogers. Colleen threatens Rogers, telling him to call off the hit, citing that she has couriers set to deliver incriminating evidence on him to the police in the event of her murder. Rogers scoffs and introduces a Colleen lookalike that he’s hired to take her place. (Yes, this is a lookalike of a lookalike!) Having heard enough, Batman swoops-in and busts everyone. Later, Batman testifies at Colleen and Rogers’ pre-trials and learns that the GCPD has collected enough evidence to put them both away for a long time. Batman then learns that Rogers, despite his criminality, had been donating $50,000 a year for the past few years to the Wayne Foundation, in an effort to make himself look like a legit philanthropist. (Ummm… this seems like a really bad scandal for the Wayne Foundation, but it’s treated with nothing more than a shrug. Hell, Robin even laments the loss of the funds when he hears about it.) The Caped Crusader then meets with Heloise, who gives him a $50K donation to the Wayne Foundation, and then tells a returning Boy Wonder about the case.

–World’s Finest Comics #186-187
Bruce reads about his Colonial ancestor, Mad Anthony Wayne, an American general in the Revolutionary War. Coincidentally, Batman is called to guard a priceless Colonial Era bust at the museum. Before its unveiling to the public, it drops and shatters. Batman calls Superman, who pieces it back together. Reassembled, the bust depicts a perfect Batman, complete with cape-and-cowl! The Man of Steel wastes no time in fashioning Colonial clothing for both himself and Batman. In a flash, Superman whisks Batman back to late 1770s Salem, MA! Soon enough, Batman and Superman come face-to-face with a hostile Anthony Wayne, who mistakes them for British agents. After fighting Batman to a stalemate, Anthony gallops away. Ditching their Colonial outfits, our heroes are come upon by a mob of colonists. The duo explains their superhero duds by saying they are a part of a traveling theater. Soon after, they rescue a supposed witch, Sylvia Ward, from being drowned in a pond (an act that includes Superman using his super teeth to gnaw through some wood). Batman takes advantage of the graciousness of the saved victim by making-out with her and then taking her out to the local pub! Superman, affected by a legitimate demonic force (an afreet), becomes insanely jealous and later accuses Batman of witchcraft, setting him up to get convicted. Batman is arrested, put in a pillory, and tried before the court of public opinion. Superman himself convinces the crowd to vote for a death sentence. As night falls, who should pass by but Benjamin Franklin himself, who vows to free Batman. Ridiculously, Franklin attempts to free Batman using a kite and a lightning rod, but Superman secretly thwarts him. The next morning, Batman prepares to meet his final fate via burning. Despite the protestations of Franklin, who produces an anti-witch hunt petition backed by all the signers of the Declaration of Independence, the pyre is lit. Batman begs for one final wish, which gets the locals to put out the flames. The Dark Knight is able to prove that Superman has super-powers, which causes the crowd to turn on the Man of Steel, throwing the latter into a rage. Freed, Batman and Sylvia go to meet Anthony. Meanwhile, the still demonized Superman joins forces with the British Army at a nearby encampment. Superman then kidnaps both Batman and Anthony and forces them to fight one another. Thankfully, foot-soldier Robby Douglas (who is implied to be Dick Grayson’s ancestor) arrives and is given a Kryptonite pebble from Batman. Robby shoots Superman in the head, which knocks the demon out of him. Back to normal, a pissed-off Superman defeats an entire British division all by himself. Afterward, Superman explains that Anthony had been possessed by an afreet, which jumped to Batman, then to himself, causing him to lose his marbles and turn evil. Sylvia pulls a perfect impression of Batman’s face from a mud bog, showing it to the heroes. Superman and Batman then return to present day, realizing that Sylvia made the bust of the Dark Knight following their time jaunt to the Revolutionary War.

–Batman #210
While patrolling, Batman and Robin spot some thieves driving away from a heist in Catwoman’s Kitty Car. After busting them, they reveal that they’ve purchased the Kitty Car from Selina and have nothing to do with her beyond that. Meanwhile, Selina debuts yet another new Catwoman costume—this one with black leather and an oversized pair of scarlet-colored cat’s eye infrared goggles. The next day, she picks up a bevy of paroled female convicts outside of the Women’s House of Detention and offers them spots on her new all-female team of henchwomen, the Feline Furies. At Wayne Manor, Bruce reads about a Tibetan potentate, the Nizam of Nepal, who will be visiting Gotham soon. Bruce then receives a letter from one of Mayor Hayes’ cabinet members asking him to attend a reception honoring the Nizam. Knowing that Catwoman will strike at the Nizam’s priceless gem, Bruce calls Commissioner Gordon and asks him to move the reception to Wayne Manor. Nine days later, the Nizam arrives and is generously hosted by Bruce, Commissioner Gordon, and many other high-profile Gothamites. With the reception set for the next day, the Nizam goes to sleep in the master bedroom. Catwoman and her Feline Furies, who are each dressed the same as Catwoman, arrive in a brand new Kitty Car (The Catillac) and soon swarm Wayne Manor. While the Dynamic Duo and the cops deal with the fake Catwomen, the real deal sneaks into the Nizam’s room. But Batman is more than prepared. A kitten placed in the room is enough of a distraction to slow down Catwoman, who gets nabbed after Batman tosses her a trick ball of yarn. Not only that, but the Nizam in the master bedroom was actually a disguised Alfred in Brownface, wearing a fake gem in his turban as well. Oof. With Catwoman and her gang back behind bars, the reception (presumably) goes off without a hitch the next day.

–World’s Finest Comics #189
This one’s a doozy. So, Superman and Supergirl have created, in the far reaches of the universe, a new planet Krypton, basically a synthetic version of the real thing upon which they’ve built actual cities and populated with androids representing actual Kryptonians in their family. When they get bored or lonely, they visit their “family.” It’s pretty twisted, I know. Anyway, the Big Four Syndicate, which hasn’t been active in a year, makes its triumphant return, once again robbing the Eastern Seaboard blind as they did before. In order to capture the Big Four, the heroes cook up the biggest ruse of them all. Superman borrows his lookalike android uncle from Fake Krypton and sacrifices him, having him dress up as Superman and crash to his very public death. After the world mourns the death of Superman, as per their plan, Batman announces that Superman’s last will and testament was to have his super-powered organs transplanted into “the most deserving person.” Naturally, this means Batman. Supergirl surgically removes Superman’s android uncle’s hands, heart, lungs, eyes, and ears. Later, a public funeral is held. Among the thousands in attendance are the JLA, Batgirl, Supergirl, and Robin. Later, while Batman and Robin go after some of the Big Four’s underlings, Superman—in a ridiculous alien warlord getup—meets with an escaped Lex Luthor. Posing as “Motan the Ruthless,” the Man of Steel tells Luthor that he was the one who killed Superman. “Motan” tells Luthor about the organs (which, despite being synthetic android parts, actually will endow temporary super-powers to a surgical recipient). So basically, Superman entraps Luthor and gets him to steal the parts, which he does. Batman and Robin put up a fight, but, as per the plan, they let Luthor win. Luthor then auctions the items off, which eventually fall into the hands of the Big Four. Luthor performs transplant surgery, implanting the various super-powered organs into each Big Four member. They begin a period of recovery that will last a few weeks.

–Justice League of America #70
Telekinetic teenage superhero Mind-Grabber Kid debuts, busting some big-time gangsters. Unfortunately, he gets no press due to a special live television event featuring Superman and Hal Jordan. Later, Batman tells the JLA that they must go after the Creeper to determine whether or not he is a hero or a villain. Batman will sit this one out since he isn’t impartial. While the JLA goes after the Creeper, a strange alien race makes random contact with Earth, linking minds with the still-jealous Mind-Grabber Kid. The rookie hero tells the aliens that the JLA are evil and that they should attack them. In Gotham, the Creeper busts criminals left-and-right until he is approached by the JLA, who see that he is on the side of good. Before they can have a conversation, the aliens—using special high-tech head-gear to replicate and amplify the powers of each JLer—defeat the heroes with ease. By the time Mind-Grabber Kid shows up on the scene, the gangsters the Creeper had been fighting try to kill a de-powered Superman, but he is able to regain his powers and defeat them. Seeing the error of his ways, Mind-Grabber Kid tells the truth to the aliens, who apologize and leave. We won’t see Mind-Grabber Kid again in the Silver Age. Presumably, the JLA reports back to Batman that the Creeper is a bonafide (albeit strange) superhero.

–Detective Comics #386
Bruce agrees, as a “civic gesture,” to publicly test pilot an experimental vertical-takeoff-and-landing-plane for the military. Bruce preps, familiarizing himself with the VTOL’s controls. But when the time comes for the real flight a few days later, Batman gets a letter in his GCPD box detailing an upcoming bank robbery. Bruce puts his celebrity test pilot duties on the back-burner, prioritizing his Bat-work instead. While Batman heads toward the pending crime, Alfred calls in Bruce’s ever-dependable body-double Mr. Morse to substitute. As Batman is fighting bank robbers, Morse drives to the airbase, but gets stopped en route by a disguised Carlyle Crane, who is after revenge against Bruce. Crane murders Morse (mistaking him for the real Bruce) and dumps his body. Crane, disguising himself as Bruce, then flies the experimental jet into the stratosphere and steals it, remotely piloting an exact double of the jet back to the base, making it appear as though there was an accident that vaporized Bruce. After busting the robbers, Batman hears of the supposed death of “Bruce Wayne” and investigates, finding Morse’s helmet in his car. After a short while, Crane returns to remove the evidence, but Batman pounces and makes the bust. Batman tells Commissioner Gordon that Bruce is still alive, that his double Mr. Morse was the one who was killed.

–Batman #211
The muckraking tabloid journalist known only as Scribe publishes an article in the newspaper It’s Your Bag claiming that he knows Batman’s secret ID, going so far as to name a handful of men that it could be, including Bruce Wayne. Facing possible exposure, Bruce comes up with a plan. Batman locates, contacts, and visits world famous recluse and richest man in the world, Howard Hayes, obtaining permission to use his name and likeness to fool the public. Two days later, before TV cameras and a live studio audience, Batman unmasks and, thanks to makeup and disguise, “reveals himself to the world” as Hayes. It’s Your Bag goes out of business the very same night. As the days go by, Batman runs around town sans his mask, but still disguised as Hayes. As Hayes, he even throws the first pitch out at a baseball game, rides shotgun in a parade, and moves into Hayes’ unused Gotham mansion. Within a week, “Hayes” is set to receive a “Man of the Year Award.” Meanwhile, the real Hayes, watching from his remote Pacific island, gets jealous and decides that he will replace Batman. After training with a martial arts master for a few days, Hayes thinks he’s good enough to take on Batman. I’m laughing out loud at the very thought, but, amazingly, Hayes returns to Gotham and actually defeats the Dark Knight! Hayes dons his own Batman costume and parachutes out of an un-piloted plane, leaving Batman to die inside. Luckily, Robin and Alfred are following in the Bat-copter and rescue the Caped Crusader. The Dynamic Duo surprises Hayes at the “Man of the Year” award ceremony, knocking him out and sending him to jail. Batman claims his rightful trophy.

–Action Comics #375
This issue continues an ongoing arc (from Action Comics #371-374) in which Clark was attacked by evil super-spy Agent Zero-Zero, who knocked him into an alien device, which gave him amnesia. Superman has spent the past two weeks trying to figure out his own secret ID, mistakingly believing he was President Ford, a pro wrestler, a mobster, a fireman, and a policeman. Cut to now. Something deep in his consciousness guides Superman toward a journalism gig and he soon realizes that he is famous reporter Clark Kent. Venturing to his apartment, Clark comes face-to-face with Zero-Zero, who has been masquerading as Clark for the past two weeks. Clark knocks out Zero-Zero and poses as him, meeting with his fellow agents, who take him to their femme-fatale spy-chief aboard a blimp. Superman then fools the evil agents and stalls while the FBI closes-in. With the spy ring busted, Superman meets up with Batman to ask for help in regaining his lost memory. Batman tells him to go to the Fortress of Solitude. There, Superman uses Bizarro Amnesium, which returns all his lost memories.

–Justice League of America #71
Diana and her new mentor I Ching attend a circus only to witness a strange masked man going berserk. Diana calls in a JLA alert, getting an immediate response from Green Arrow and Batman, who are able to subdue and unmask him as the missing Martian Manhunter! At the Secret Sanctuary, a calmed Martian Manhunter addresses his fellow JLA teammates, explaining his lengthy absence without any communication. J’onn explains that he had returned to Mars to fight in a secret civil war that has been going on for decades. Nine years ago, J’onn was defeated by his rival, Commander Benn Blanx, who banished him to exile. Honoring Martian law and tradition, J’onn’s exile not only meant he couldn’t live in any civilized areas of the planet, but he also couldn’t even seek out or have knowledge of anything related to Martian civilization, including news about the war. Shortly after being cast out of Martian society, J’onn was transported to Earth. (JLA #71 originally had J’onn’s exile sentence at thirteen years, starting in 1955, but that was before Sliding-Time retcons, which altered J’onn’s sentence to nine years in length and moved his first appearance on Earth to 1965. In either case, whether nine or thirteen years long, my feeling is that the only way J’onn would have abided by these restrictions—including not being allowed to ask others to intervene on his behalf—for such a long time is if the White Martians had placed some sort of magickal hex upon him, preventing him from breaking the terms of his exile.) Eight or nine months ago, J’onn’s exile sentence finally ended and he returned to Mars to find that Blanx had destroyed most of the Martian civilization via a horrific nuclear-like holocaust. J’onn rejoined the few remaining Green Martians and took up arms against the few remaining White Martians, including Blanx. After months of fighting, J’onn returned to Earth, landing at the carnival and snapping due to the trauma of combat, right before Diana and Ching’s very eyes. And that brings us to the present. A desperate Martian Manhunter recruits the JLA to fight in the Martian Civil War! After battling past orbiting defenses (and presumably cloaking devices attached to them), the JLA wails on White Martians inside a spaceship. Blanx, in an escape pod, rockets toward the Martian surface, which has become engulfed in a devastating wave of blue flames. Superman and Green Lantern snuff out the flames by smashing an ice planetoid into Mars and then literally ripping up the upper crust of the planet and hurling it into deep space. If Mars was a mostly dead planet before, it is now completely dead. All the White Martians perish, except for Blanx. The scant remaining Green Martians that are still alive blast-off in an ark built for them by J’onn. They become refugees, lost into the unknown cosmos. Ironically, all traces of Martian civilization are completely gone, except for the ruins of the Martian Cultural Museum. In the final battle of the Martian Civil War, amid the ruins, J’onn epically fights and kills Blanx, crushing him to death with a statue. In tears, J’onn laments the death of his planet. His JLA teammates console him, urging him to return to Earth with them, but J’onn refuses. The JLA is no longer his concern. His former team bids J’onn farewell as he flies-off on a mission to find the last of his race, the lost Green Martians aboard his arc. Great stuff. Truly a masterpiece by the legendary combo of Denny O’Neil and Dick Dillin.

–World’s Finest Comics #190
Several weeks have passed since Batman, Superman, and Robin tricked Lex Luthor into giving the Big Four super-powers via experimental transplant surgery. (I still can’t get over how weird this plan is.) The Big Four, donning garish super-villain costumes, debut, using their new powers to commit robberies. Out in the open, Batman is able to figure out the Big Four’s secret IDs. In the days that follow, the Big Four use their powers to pull off a few more dangerous heists, besting the Dynamic Duo in the process. After nursing their wounds and hitting the tanning beds (!), Batman and Robin publicly challenge the Big Four to a rematch at the Frontier Village amusement park. Just as planned, the Big Four’s android organ transplants fail, causing them to keel over. Ace Shane dies of hypoxia. Great job. Luthor arrives and attempts to kill Batman and Robin, but Superman shows up just in time to save them. This entire arc makes no sense and is definitely in the running for worst WFC story ever. Thankfully, it’s over and we can move on.

–Batman #219 Part 2
December 24-25. The Wayne Foundation initiates a Christmas charity drive for the blind. Meanwhile, Commissioner Gordon calls Batman into police HQ for a singalong with the boys in blue. The Dark Knight spends the entire night partying and caroling with cops! Batman leaves at six o’clock in the morning after a whole night of singing and not a single crime reported in all of Gotham. It’s a Christmas miracle!

–Batman #212
Yet another civil war for control of Gotham’s organized crime occurs. Batman and Robin watch closely as elderly mob czar Li’l Studs holds a tenuous grasp over multiple unruly and cutthroat mobs. After Studs has a heart attack and gets out of successful open heart surgery, the criminal underworld celebrates his health with a fancy gala. Bruce and Dick are invited to a special gala of their own, honoring Dr. Jennings at the hospital, but they skip it in order to go undercover as waiters at the mob party. When things seeming on the up-and-up, Bruce goes to the hospital, but stumbles across a robbery. He switches to Bat-gear and, following a struggle and a brief power outage, defeats the robbers. Meanwhile, at the mob event, Studs is attacked by three assassins (Big Jolt, The Silencer, and The Dart) at once, getting electrocuted, poisoned, and shot. Bruce eventually joins his peers at the gala, mentioning the robbery and power outage, to which Dr. Jennings demonstrates grave concern. He had performed surgery on Studs, implanting a pacemaker that was keeping him alive via remote power from the hospital. With the power loss, the device failed. Not long afterward, at the coroner’s lab, Batman and Dr. Jennings determine that Studs had dropped dead of a heart attack seconds prior to being electrocuted, poisoned, and shot. When Studs’ righthand man Quirk takes over his rackets, Batman and Robin peg Quirk as the guy who hired the trio of assassins. After putting on some insulated electric-proof boots, Batman and Robin head to Quirk’s residence, but are ambushed by the trio. After defeating them, Batman busts Quirk. Presumably, Batman and Robin then deliver to the police the evidence necessary to put Quirk and company away for good.

[4]

–Detective Comics #388 Part 1 Epilogue
On the night of a full moon, Joker and his gang re-emerge to rob Gotham Central Station. Using Dr. Doomer’s stolen anti-gravity tech, they knock out Batman and Robin. When the Dynamic Duo come-to, they are wearing custom-made Bat-astronaut suits and are stuck on a lunar set. The heroes take down Joker and his men, putting them back behind bars. (An editor’s note amazingly reveals that Joker’s white skin glows in the dark!) Later, Batman and Robin visit a devastated Dr. Doomer, whose anti-gravity machine and notes have all been destroyed, ruining years of work.

–Detective Comics #389
Ignore the full moon in this one! Seems like every single Detective Comics issue has one these days. Scarecrow is up for parole, so Bruce, hoping to fight recidivism, convinces the parole board to let him go, even setting up Dr. Jonathan Crane with a cush job at the Wayne Foundation’s Institute for Psychological Research. As Dr. Crane exits prison, Batman and Robin greet him. Unknown to Batman, Crane secretly injects him with Fear Serum while shaking his hand. Then its off to patrol for two nights in a row, with Batman noting to Robin how he’s been around for so long now that criminals still fear him, but only because of the fear of going to jail—not because of his Dark Knight image. However, at the end of the second night’s patrol, a few smalltime crooks freak-out after being caught, clearly under Scarecrow’s spell, blubbering like babies as Batman takes them to Commissioner Gordon. The next night, Batman faces-off against Scarecrow, who, thanks to the Fear Serum in Batman’s system, is able to induce the Caped Crusader to fear his own image. But Batman outwits Scarecrow and his men, defeating them all just as the Fear Serum in his body wears off.

–Batman #214
Batman agrees to go on a night out on the town with the winner of a Gotham beauty pageant. With live TV video cameras following, Batman and model Nicky Karr begin their club-hopping date. With Batman dancing—(could he be doing “The Batusi”?)—at discos all over town, a gangster named Strack decides the time is right to strike. Sure enough, with an absent Batman, crime peaks at a record nightly high, which Batman is upset to hear about after his marathon date ends. The next day, Strack enacts a bizarre plan to make sure Batman isn’t around ever again. Strack gives his gal Cleo Starr a bunch of money and encourages her to start up an organization called Women to End BATchelorhood (WEB). Cleo then visits an ad agency to get a massive heavily-funded campaign started. Within days, Gotham’s best “mad men” have smeared the city with WEB’s pseudo-feminist message: Batman, by remaining unmarried, promotes a male-chauvinist lifestyle, which looks down upon single females—or something like that. To be honest, their message makes very little sense. WEB, via its high-profile ads and flash-mob-style protests, also demands that Batman get married immediately. With swarms of angry women constantly surrounding the Batmobile, Batman and Robin are unable to fight crime, which allows Strack and his men to run rampant over Gotham. Only thanks to a few interventions by Cleo, who has legit fallen in love with Batman, are the Dynamic Duo able to free themselves of the protestors. Eventually, Strack and his men hold guns at Batman and Cleo, who express that they both have feelings for each other! Batgirl, who had gone undercover as a WEB member, saves the day. Batman and Batgirl bust Strack and then get a judge to go easy on Cleo, giving her a light sentence.

  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: This item occurs well before Dick has graduated high school and about a year prior to the death of Lew Moxon, hence placement here. This item is also attached to a mural splash page that shows images of many super-villains that Batman has yet to face. There is a slight implication that Batman has already faced all of them, but this is not the case.
  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: If it were canon, right about here is where we’d have spotted Batman and Robin: From Alfred to Zowie!, the cool Golden Press children’s alphabet book. However, it is non-canon since it seems to take place in the Adam West-Burt Ward Batman TV-verse, heavily referencing visuals from the show—especially with the look of the hotline phone (situated next to a Shakespeare bust) and an Alan Napier-styled Alfred. Bruce does keep a Shakespeare bust in Wayne Manor in the Silver Age comics, but it has nothing to do with Batman stuff. Anyway, in this cute little tale, Batman and Robin take on the escaped convict team-up of Joker, Mad Hatter (Jervis Tetch), Mr. Freeze, and Penguin! Robin gets abducted, but Batman frees him and takes down all the villains. Yet another unfortunate reason Alfred to Zowie can’t be canon is the anachronistic appearance of Jervis Tetch, who does not appear in-between his Year Two debut and his Year Sixteen return (in Detective Comics #510).
  3. [3]COLLIN COLSHER: There are a few publications from late 1968 and early 1969 that are worth mentioning because they feature Batman but are non-canon. These stories either take place on alternate Earths or simply feature reprinted material. First, all of World’s Finest Comics #178-180, World’s Finest Comics #184, and World’s Finest Comics #188 are non-canon. WFC #178 is the first part of an alternate Earth story, which concludes in WFC #180. WFC #179 and WFC #188 are “Giant-sized issues” containing reprinted material only. Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #89 and WFC #184 are both “imaginary tales,” which occur on alternate Earths.
  4. [4]COLLIN COLSHER: Detective Comics #387 and Batman #213 are non-canon. Detective Comics #387 is a special 30th anniversary issue that begins DC’s tradition of re-imagining Batman’s first ever story from Detective Comics #27 (1939), “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate.” The tradition of re-imagining this tale will continue in a handful of special issues, through multiple publication eras, well into the 21st century. Because ‘tec #387 is a re-telling, it is non-canon, merely moving “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate” from its 1939 setting to a 1969 setting. Likewise, Batman #213 is also a 30th anniversary issue, containing reprints only.

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