Hey everybody, welcome to another pulse-pounding week right here in Ye Olde School Café! In this week’s edition, we’ll be focusing in on the Caped Crusader himself, Batman! Yes, he and the Boy Wonder, Robin, form the dynamic duo and will show the seedy underground of Gotham why they’re the best crime fighters in the world! This book, Batman Showcase Vol 1 TPB, will focus on an array of different villains, including the greatest villain of all time – The Joker! Let us begin our journey back to the Silver Age of DC’s premiere hero right now!
So, for anyone who doesn’t know (and shame on you if you don’t), Batman’s alter-ego is billionaire Bruce Wayne. He pretends to be a fun loving playboy by day, but dons his costume and attitude by night to fight crime. He’s joined by a young man named Dick Grayson. Bruce agreed to become the guardian of the young boy when his parents were killed in an accident while working for a circus. Bruce mentored Dick in everything imaginable, including busting heads on the low-lifes of Gotham! By this time in comics, the Dynamic Duo had been together for a while and were a solid team against any threat they faced.
Our story begins with Bruce and Dick going to Gotham Village (a section that is still not yet modernized like the rest of Gotham). They are making their way until a woman that recognizes Bruce starts to shout at him. She tells him that she hates him because he’s on the committee to preserve the area, but she wants it torn down. Bruce calms her and then asks her to sit with him and talk about it. She tells him about how her fiancée wants to stay living in Gotham Village, but she wants to move uptown. She goes on to tell him that lately, when he drops her off at night, she tries to phone him later, but gets no answer. She’s afraid that he’s gotten mixed up with the criminal element in that part of town. She then shows Bruce a map of the Village, and it has an ominous “X” circled in the middle of it. This reminds the dynamic duo of their latest crime fighting adventure. We then see the clock turn backwards and watch as Batman and Robin are on the trail of a gem thief. They catch up to him of course, but when they do, they are paralyzed and can’t move a muscle.
They later deduced that the thief branded them with some kind of chemical in the shape of an “X” on their foreheads. Through this, he was able to control them when they came within a short distance. The team goes to the only lab in Gotham that has this specific chemical, and find that it was purchased by a man named Frank Fenton. They go to the address he provided, and when they get there he’s waiting for them. He uses his powers to paralyze them again, and then taunt them with the fact that they can’t stop him. After he leaves, the effect slowly wears off, and Batman and Robin retreat to the Batcave. After they devise a plan to thwart Fenton’s plan, they head to Gotham Village where we move the clock forward back to Bruce and Dick talking to the young woman.
As they finish their conversation, the young girl notices her fiancée going into a strange doorway. Of course, Bruce and Dick tell the girl that they’ll handle this, and duck into a shadowy area to change into their costumes. As they make their way into the building, they watch as Jimmy goes into a room and shuts the door. They wait for a moment, then follow inside to find a closet. It’s actually a fake, which they open up into a staircase that leads to a lower level. We see in this lower area that a collection of hoods are down there that sought refuge from the Gotham Police and Batman. Suddenly, one of the crooks shouts that he saw Batman and Robin take out a couple of guards and that they’re heading this way. Fenton tells everyone to calm down, and that they won’t be a a problem. Once the dynamic duo busts into the room, they are once again frozen against their wills. Robin remarks about Fenton’s “queer power” over them, and Fenton laughs. Just as the crooks are about to shoot them, Batman surprises Fenton with an uppercut that knocks him out. Batman was playing possum, and then he and Robin put a beating on the thugs.
Later, Fenton wonders how Batman defeated him. Batman tells him that he figured out that Fenton used the chemical on his victims, and had a device that would emit a signal to the spot where the chemical was on the forehead, thus rendering the brain’s motor skills useless. Batman simply put a strip of lead under his mask to stop the signal. As the police are mopping up, Batman notices Jimmy (the sobbing girl’s fiancée) talking with them. The police tell Batman that he was an informant that was helping them all along to discover the crooks’ hideout. Jimmy remarks about how much he loves Gotham Village and that he would do anything to help save it from the crime that has infested it.
Well, that’s it for part one of this great book, but come back next week for more of the caped crusaders and the battle against crime in Gotham City!