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.
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.
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.