Comic Books · Dc Comics · Golden Age

1954 Feb

Batman 81

“Two-Face Strikes Again” (earth-one)

This is an Earth-one tale, though at the time of writing Dc (or what would become DC) didn’t yet know they would be making two distinct universes, so it is still written as if it were Earth-two. Earth-two Harvey Dent never returns to crime.

Getting to the actual thing you are here to read, Harvey Dent, face whole from his plastic surgery, passes by a store and sees that it is being robbed. Feeling moraly obligated to stop them he rushes forward, and the explosive charge for the safe goes off right in Harvey’s face! (We are all super stunned by this) Taking this as a sign, and knowing the surgery couldn’t be done again (his doctor told him so) he once again becomes Two-Face. He flips his coin to make sure though.

The very next night he robs a circus, which I don’t think is a good idea because he needs time to both heal and plan. He doesn’t steal from the box office, but from one of the clowns, who has a collection of diamond stickpins. An hour after that crime (boy he’s moving fast!) he robs a collection of jewels from a deep sea diver.

The next day Batman and Robin are told of yet another crime by Two-Face, this time he stole from a man who specialized it portraying Abe Lincoln and he had taken papers that had belonged to the real Abe. The Duo are as confused as I am about why the double themed villain such objects, until Bruce gets an idea. He points out that all of the victiems have had ‘two faces’ themselves. The actor who sometimes looks like Lincoln, the deep sea diver and his breathing mask/helmet, and a clown.

Our heroes begin a search for possible victims and we have a funny scene where Two-Face is hiring people to his gang based on flips of his coin. He also tells the reader that since Batman has two faces he will be he climax of his crimewave. Two-Face and his men are spotted as they head for Gotham Point, where only four men live. We know that they are going for the gambler, but Bruce doesn’t yet. See, his  second face is his poker face. Batman figures it out on the drive over.

Now this guy has one weird house. I’ll put a pic on the Tumblr version of this blog. Basically the place is filled with giant versions of gambling stuff, light a humongous billiard’s table. While atop this table Batman and Robin slide into on of the holes to escape the pool balls being rolled at them, and inside the slide Robin gets his foot caught. Batman makes a net for the incoming ball and saves his ward. Though Two-Face escaped once more, this time it was without the loot.

At home, alert for anything that may be able to be seen as someone having two faces Bruce sees in the paper that a Japanese man had ‘lost face’ and he and Dick conclude that must mean he must have had two- making him a viable target. They rush to the embassy where there is a gargantuan statue which a battle is soon waged on. Also it is not Japanese by any stretch, but I couldn’t tell you what Asian country the outfit the statue is wearing is form. Once again Robin is more a hindrance than a help (which we know him to be most of the time. Everyone has bad days!) and must be saved by his father figure. Unfortunately this lets Two-Face escape again.

Returning home Bruce remembers that he has an appointment with some nearby Sioux, to be made an honorary chief which would make him have two faces, well three, Paleface, Sioux, and Batman. (about that being made a chief thing. I did a tiny bit of  research and found this: For the Sioux, the title of Chief was viewed as a medal earned for outstanding performance during times of war or peace. To be Chief was considered an honorary title. It did not mean, however, that the Chief was solely “in charge” of his people. Rather than a linear chain of command, the Indians traditionally ruled by unanimous vote of a council of Chiefs of “Headmen” from a variety of bands. Decisions made by the council served to guide rather than command the people. But I have no clue how he’d have earned this)

Looking around the site as Batman before he must appear as Bruce, Robin spots a plane with two engines landing, and they know their trap is ready to spring. Before they can though they are blinded by the sand that the landing plane kicked up and are captured. Awww, Harvey ties them to a giant coin, making me relive fond memories, and then has them flipped by a truck with a sort of launcher on the back. Using their belts to form a magnetic field Batman and Robin do not land on the bed of spikes prepared for them, and manage to free themselves from the ropes and then handily take out the gang in two panels and take them to jail.

“The Boy Wonder Confesses” 

Dick Grayson is late for school one day, and a classmate jokes he isn’t there because he is heartsick over Maria, another kid in class. Maria it seems likes Robin you see, so Dick would have no chance. But Dick does turn up, and he tells the class he was late because he was chasing a crook, as he was Robin.

After the intial shock the students think it’s a joke, so he whips off his over clothing and tells them to go outside where he will preform Robin-level stunts. He does, and then, as the class watches there is a car accident and Robin truly shows his skill by jumping off a building and using a flag pole to catch himself so he can land safely and save the people trapped in the cars. One of the kids called the papers, and with Dick being Robin, Bruce Wayne must be Batman! When asked the billionaire replies ‘no comment’.

There is a panel where it says Dick has a good reason for confessing, and we go to a flashback from nearly a year before. They had dealt with a criminal known as Mr. Camera, and he had given the quite the runaround, until they met up with him in a theater. Changing clothes in the nearby alley they rushed back in. Seeing where they came from Mr. Camera laughed with glee. He fled, and took film from a camera in the alley with him.

They were able to catch up with Mr. Camera and his men not too much longer, but the film showing their identities had been hidden. Mr. Camera mocked them with the knowledge would be revealed once he was released from prison and there was nothing they could do about it. Skip forward nine months, and a friend of Mr. Camera’s is coming into town, and he knows where the film is. It would be shown next month.

They figure they can make an excuse for Bruce and Dick being in the alley, as long as they can prove they are different people. They planned on having Alfred dress and Batman, and the two meet, but Alfred would be gone next month. So they decide to up the time table.

We see Bruce with some reporters and, getting annoyed, he says he’ll get in touch with Batman, and they will prove the story silly. But Alfred fractures his leg on the way back from shopping because of the snow and can’t play Batman. Bruce comes up with an idea on the fly, and has Dick change to Robin and get the batplane ready. He is told to set the plane’s auto pilot and take a car or something to the Newell building then he use the remote for the plane to send it to the gray building across the street at 8:50. Bruce says Batman will be there, and he must fly the plane away at 9:05.

Next we see Robin on a roof, with the remote as he lands the plane. Soon both Bruce and Batman are there. Well Batman’s on the roof, Bruce is on the street with a mega phone. They chat briefly, laughing that some people think they are the same person. The plane takes off and people investigate. Robin was across the street, he couldn’t have flown the plane. There was one set of foot sets from where Batman had stood to the plane, and it all looks legit. Alfred’s in the hospital, and Batman wouldn’t hire an actor or else they would know. The only question was, why did Dick start the fuss? A girl.

So the explanation was it was a snow-batman, which was melted with a thermite pill. The uniform was designed to dissolve as well. Batman had made the footprints when he made the figure and erased any extras he had made. Oh and they told the papers Dick had asked Robin for a favor, and it really was he who did the stunts outside the school.

“The Phantom Bandit of Gotham City”

There has been a robbery at a bank in Gotham, though there had been no sign of disturbance until the vault was opened in the morning and it was almost empty, with writing on the wall that said “Thanks! The Phantom Bandit!” We see two other victims of the Phantom, valuables having vanished with only a written thanks as a trace. Vicki Vale gets assigned to the case, and Batman and Robin are called in.

A suspicious masked figure  was seen near the dragon vault, a place where all the Tong members keep their savings. (who are the Tongs? is it a family? an organization?) As Batman and Robin arrive they see the figure leaving the vault with a large bag. They attack, causing the Bandit to drop his takings but in doing so they activate a mechanism in the vault which shoots fire at them, letting the thief escape.

At another site of robbery (the Gotham Racetrack) Vicki finds a model polar bear with ice skates, which Bruce knows is a souvenir for the Polar Bear Club, which means they are going in. Dick complains about the suits, but Bruce knows they may recognize the Bandit.

By the way Vicki is also at the club, and the main attraction is a ‘swami’ who can read minds. Bruce notes that the assistant’s corsage is wilting wrong, and ruins the act by destroying the mic hidden in it (it transmits the sound to the swami). Later Batman tells Robin he’s checked into it and all the victims had been to the club, and all had their minds ‘read’. So they begin to follow all the people who had participated the previous night. They have a run in with the Bandit again, but he gets away. Once more it is shown that he can get into any vault, no lock can stop him.

While Dick is home reading one night Vicki asks him to help her set up a trap for the Bandit. Dick masquerades as a young, rich South American man (he looks ridiculous!). They go to the club, and have his mind read. Then they return to the hotel to wait. We then see two people come up to the door, the swami and his helper. The Bandit puts something in the air conditioner to knock out the people in the room.

They open the door once Dick and Vicki are unconscious, saying they have the key. The assistant came along to help search for the riches, as they don’t have a set place like a vault to grab from this time. Seeing that Dick was down for the count via his binoculars Batman rushes into action. He smashes through the window and beats both the crooks. The girl would pickpocket the people she talked to and make a wax form of the keys, before returning them.

Comic Books · Dc Comics · Golden Age

1953 Dec

Batman 80

I don’t know where we left the Joker, but he opens the issue by robbing a circus train. But wait, oddly- even for him- he is filming it. The Joker has started a movie company to get himself publicity, and to show criminals how to pull crimes he devises. I see a problem with this already. If he produces these movies won’t the police know how to guard against these?

Bruce and Dick hear about the odd crime very soon, as they are always on the look out for the clown. They get called to a museum where the Joker is filming another movie. The Bat is able to capture some of the crew with the use of some fake mummy bandages and his batarang, the Joker however made it away.

The Joker decides to take in a film and in a really crappy disguise he goes to see “The Return of Batman and Robin”. He is infuriated at the depiction of himself, or at least, of how Batman and Robin trounce him in the film. So he undertakes a new task, to film how to deal with Batman and his sidekick. Because of the captured crew members the crimefighters know what the Joker has been doing, but they refused to give up where he was. But they disnt have to find the Joker, for he found them.

In this battle it was the clown who came off better for sure. Somehow they managed to switch the utility belts to be filled with useless artifacts and even blew up the batmobile! A few nights later the Joker goes to a swank city party, and naturally it isn’t long before Bruce shows up to take hins down. But the Joker has many hostages, and so our heroes are helpless. He has them dance as he shoots the floor, and once again escapes. Now Bruce and Dick are quite discouraged, and the older is brooding upon it. And so it continues… Again and again Bruce and Dick find themselves out smarted by the wily criminal.

But wait, it seems as though Bruce had discovered the hideout long before, and waited to capture him until the list of people who were to receive the film was written, so he could go after them all. Then he makes a point of saying he only pretended to fall for everything the Joker pulled, but I think that unlikely. Evil, sometimes silly, insane, though he may be that man is a genius.

2

Batman is heading out of town for a murder trial, and he wants to get the mansion repainted while he is gone. Dick asks where he is supposed to stay, and how he’ll be active as Robin, since the entrance to the batcave will be unaccessible. But of course Batman has a solution. Dick is to stay at a friend of Bruce’s, who is currently out of the country. It is near enough so that Robin can use one of the other exits to the cave.

When he arrives though he finds the cabin to be, well, creepy. While resting in the house he begins to read a horror novel, as it is the only reading material around. The next day a woman he has never seen before calls him over and hands him an envelop full of money,  telling him he knows what to do with it. He hurries back to the cabin, where he narrowly dodges a knife thrown at him. He sees a face through the window, but when he turns to face it, it has gone, and so has the money.

So he goes to the police to explain what has been going on. But the other men there knew exactly what he was going to say, and blamed it on the stuff he’s been reading and where he was staying making his mind play tricks on him. He leaves, indignantly telling them all he’s going to tell Robin. So the signal is flashed and Robin goes to see the commissioner, who tells Robin not to bother with Dick’s story. So Dick goes home, well to the cabin, and there he sees a light on in the neighboring warehouse. He goes to investigate and finds a devil, a witch, and other such people stealing the art stored there. They pull off their masks and laugh at Dick, telling him how his story will never be believed, after the tricks they had pulled on him.

But, he is not just a boy, but the Boy Wonder. So he goes home, changes costume and hurries back to fight crime. He is dropped through a trapdoor, where they begin to pump gas. Identifying the type of gas with his training he lights it on fire before it reaches him. Sneaking out of the trap he decides to reverse the trick and pull on over on the crooks. So he lets one of the men see him. They cry out, and Robin vanishes. When they others turn away he knocks out that one. And so he takes out the entire gang, and delivers them to the police.

3

A bank robbery, preformed by a giant machine has Batman and Robin summoned to downtown Gotham. Thinking it was being controlled from within Batman tries to flood it with tear gas, but as it grabs for Robin they have to flee to the Batmobile. Even the awesome car has to dodge from the thing as it tries to bore into it. Having forced the dark knight to retreat the machine then digs into the ground and vanishes.

As it says in comic- this is only the beginning, and soon many more such crimes are accomplished. One failure- or even several- is not enough to stop our boys though. When they are following one of the machines and it’s loot back to base we catch our first look at the criminals behind this. They are aware that Batman is following, and unperturbed by this, saying that when he gets near their secret island they will turn on the electrical disrupted and crash the batplane.

The crash doesn’t kill our heroes, and they must swim to the nearest land- which happens o be the base of the crooks. Batman also knows the man who owns the island (Golar) has the skill to make the machines that had been terrorizing the city. Before they are on dry land the two are scooped out of the sea by fishing nets, held by machines, and then dumped in a tank of water. Knowing how likely it was that they could escape the boss sent two men to knock them off.

It was a smart move, but too late. When the gangsters got there the dynamic duo were already free. Of course the two crooks are no match for a bat and bird, but one of the machines evens the playing field, trapping them in giant claws. They were then placed in a holding cell with Golar. (Why didn’t they kill them?) He explains how the criminals, on the run from the law had set upon the island, and the scientist had happily shown him what he had accomplished, as he was very proud of his work. Seeing new uses for the machines their creator had never intended, Golar was captured, and the crimes began.

There was a small window above the door where they were locked, and since it was a crossbar lock Batman was (after many tries) lift the bar with his batrope, and free them. They took out the men, and doused the machine that came after them with water, causing it to short out. Then all that was left was the boss. He tried to escape on a rocket thing, but Batman was on it as well, and good thing too, as the controls had been destroyed, and it was only by maneuvering with the air current both lived.

Comic Books · Dc Comics · Golden Age

1953 Oct

Batman 79

A man has come to Gotham, he is the leader of the country that contains the most uranium on Earth, and so it is vital that he be one good terms with them. Everything was going swimmingly until the Shah proposes to Vicki Vale as she is his ideal beauty. In a panic, she refuses by saying she is engaged to Batman. Now Bruce knows that if he tells the truth it is likely that the Shah will be offended. There are both good and bad things about being engaged to a superhero, they are always on call, are often late, and of course the fact that criminals go after you. But it is not a superhero problem that escalates the situation.

There is a woman who hates Vicki, though we don’t really know why, and she sends out invitations to the wedding and sets a date, planning to have them really marry or admit the hoax. Well the red head is all for making it real, until she hears that to marry Batman she would have to change her face and identity for her own safety. At this point the Shah no longer wishes them to wed as it would change Vicki, even though the law states he cannot marry someone who has been betrothed to another. And so Batman is able to resume his life of a bachelor.

*I hesitated tagging this as BruceVicki because the whole thing is very onesided.

2

First thing I find it necessary to introduce you to Professor Nichols. I’m fairly sure you haven’t met him yet. Honestly I though he might be gone for good, but I see that is not the case. He is a scientist who once developed the ability to send people back in time via hypnosis, but by now he has made an actual time machine. He believes that Bruce and Dick are simply history loves, as they go to him often, but he’s not sure if his invention works as they always talk about Batman and Robin in their sleep.

This time they are sent back to 1753, because they believe that the gold a man was claiming to be the treasure of Captain Lightfoot, was really from a gold theft a month before. The only way to prove it wasn’t the real treasure was to find the real one, and so Batman and Robin head to the past. Once there however they discover that Lightfoot wasn’t truly a highway man, but that was an identity he had taken up to keep shipments of guns going to a hostile tribe nearby. He explains that the tribe was once peaceful, but the merchant who was selling the guns was spuring them on the warpath for profit. Bruce and Dick join with Lightfoot to destroy the merchant’s supply of powder and rifles. While on this mission they find the powder is fake, and show it to the natives, as proof of the merchant’s treacherous tongue. Lightfoot was given a document that told of his great deed and the fact that he was no highway man, and this was his treasure. Returning to their time they found the document and the gold thieves went to jail.

3

Batman and Robin are asked to escort a group of convicts to the new prison that they were being transfer to. A relatively easy task for the Bat. Unless a hurricane starts up and sweeps them to seas where they are forced to crash land on an island. That complicates things; especially since the island they land upon is the hideout of a pirate that Batman has faced before (not in an issue). One of the criminals sided with the pirate, only to be killed by the vengeful man. After that the crooks were more than happy to use their special skills to help defeat the pirate.

However the still planned to doublecross  the duo as soon as they may. So once Batman found the pirate’s sub he and Robin hid in the torpedo tubes for a few days while the criminals brought them to shore. When they were close the crimefighters opened the tubes into open sea and alerted the police to the crooks arrival.