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.

Dc Comics · Golden Age

1954, Jan

Detective Comics 203

Batman

This is an earth-one tale, as earth-two Selina Kyle never returned to crime. Anywho, a newspaper decides to run a series about some of Batman’s greatest achievements; including one on Catwoman. To Selina Kyle, currently running a pet store in Gotham, this seemed like egotistical boasting, even though Batman had nothing to do with their running the story. That alone probably would not have tipped her hand, but two crooks came in just as she finished the story, and gave her a ribbing. Again, she’s tough, she can take some teasing, but before she could refute or fight back Batman and Robin ‘saved’ her, doubtlessly putting another blow on her pride.

He had come to tell her he had nothing to do with the story, but as she strokes one of the cats in the shop she looks especially catlike. As the duo drive home Batman worries that she is missing the excitement, the danger, and indeed in the very next panel Selina dons the iconic purple dress and green cape again. That night she pulls a daring crime, ‘cat’apulting onto a mail helicopter and trussing the pilot in her cat o nine tails. Batman, while watching over the city, sees the helicopter land somewhere it was not due, and drops down to see what’s going on.

Batman sees Selina and calls out to her to surrender, but she flees, correcting his use of her name to Catwoman. The next day the papers are full of her return, and the underworld once more respects and fears her. Commissioner Gordon asks if Batman would rather stay off the case, as he had once tried to make her go straight, but he refused. ( I adore Batcat, oh god I just stopped reading for an hour to go through the tag, oh shit these two are gonna kill me) Batman goes to investigate a possible crime at a circus and sends Robin to another potential target.

At the circus he hears what sounds like cats at the top of the tent and headed up to find the canopy filled with catbirds, to lead a false trail. Catwoman is really below, feeding gas into the tent that makes people sleep while she and her men steal the days take. Drowsy though he was Batman swung down from the tent top and locks the safe while hitting the alarm. He then succumbs to the gas. Her crony wants to kill Batman, but she says she couldn’t bear to have him die and instead they take him prisoner. She tells him that next she is going after the target Robin was to secure, a collection of cat’s eye gems.

While she leaves him alone Batman begins a plan to free himself. As he knew he would be dealing with Catwoman he had filled a pouch in his belt with catnip, and by holding his bound hands in front of that the cats themselves wore away his ropes. He then calls Robin, and warns him. Robin brings around the batmobile and they head for the yacht of the collector. not worried, as he believes his gems safe out on the water with the Bat on his way the owner of the boat starts fishing, which Selina says she will use to get aboard. Okay, she just made a giant catfish dummy and hid as he pulled her in.

Just then the duo leap from the bridge onto the ship. By lifting the anchor and forcing Batman and Robin to bring the ship under control she gains time to escape, though with no loot. Later they find the wreck of her boat, and are left to wonder if she perished, or truly escaped. (spoiler she escaped)

Roy Raymond Tv Detective

Audition time again, and our story is introduced with a man who claims to be fireproof. To prove this he stars a fire with a large magnifying glass and then replacing the burning log with his arm. After long minutes he is still unaffected, as are his clothes I might point out. Next the man prepares a tub of boiling oil, and dives on in. Startled Roy asks the man how this came to be and the man explains.

The fireproof man used to work in Vaudeville, but his fame turned, as happens and soon he was on the down and outs. A scientist who had seen his act and was a fan came up to him with a serum he had devised, and both planned to gain fame via Roy’s show. Roy feared it would spook the audience however, and truly he didn’t believe. Later he took a closer look at the gear the man had used. The magnifying glass had a filter that could be removed or placed via a button, and the boiling effect on the oil had been caused by dry ice.

Just then a man rushed in to tell Roy and Karen that the Fireproof man’s scientist had built a bonfire and the man was going to walk into it. Fearing that the scientist had tricked the Fireproof man into believing he was just that, Roy sped to the scene. They saw a figure walk into the flames, and when the fire died there was no trace. Here Roy knew something was wrong. No matter how hot the flame there would have been some sign. So he gives the police a picture of the man and has them start a drag net. Soon he is found and brought in to the station. Roy opens his bag to find a large amount of money stolen from he man’s work, and the man goes to jail.