Hey everybody, welcome back to Ye Olde School Café! This week, we’ll be wrapping up Showcase Presents Batman vol. 1. In the past two weeks, we’ve seen the caped crusader take on the seedy underworld of Gotham City. This week we will see a few of the regulars get in on the action. Joker, Penguin, and other villains from Batman’s rogues gallery will be appearing along with one of his fellow crime-fighters, Elongated Man!
As we jump forward to Detective Comics #330, and we see a few citizens of Gotham getting edgy with each other uncharacteristically. People even go as far as to swerve at each other on the roadway! The next morning, Batman and Robin are reading the newspaper and make a connection between the people involved and a certain downtown restaurant. They agree to go to the restaurant incognito to check it out. After eating their meal, Dick comments that they haven’t seen anything abnormal. Bruce then tells Dick not to jump too quickly, and glances out the window to see the Bat-signal. As Bruce calls Commissioner Gordon, they both get temperamental with each other. The Commissioner tells Batman that two hoods have broken out of the local penitentiary and vowed revenge against Batman and Robin. Batman and Robin return to the Bat-cave and change into their costumes. They run into the crooks downtown and give them a beating. Just as Batman is turning around, he realizes Robin is about to punch him in the face. Robin then tells Batman that he hates him, and that he’s his enemy.
As Batman returns to the Bat-cave, he contacts Robin, and then he returns to the cave as well. Robin tells Batman that he doesn’t remember anything about attacking him. Batman then tells Robin that they’ll head back to the diner in disguise to do some more investigating. Robin has his “paperboy” outfit on, while Batman poses as a food inspector. After smelling a certain odor in the coffee, Batman then lines up every one of the employees for an inspection. He notices that same odor on one of the employees, and tells Robin that he’s found out who is behind it. They tail the hood to the local art gallery, and then make their move inside. Batman and Robin then find out that some crooks are selling the drug to the highest bidder. After a quick beat down on the hoods, the dynamic duo are honored by Gotham City for their heroics, and also apologized to for the mistreatment earlier in the issue.
In issue #331 of Detective Comics, we see Bruce Wayne in an old time wax museum. He is startled by the flash of a nearby camera. As he stumbles around, he can’t remember who he is, or what he’s doing there. Robin is a little concerned with Bruce’s whereabouts, but then receives a call from Commissioner Gordon about some jewel thieves that need to be stopped. As Robin is trying to deal with the thieves, Bruce finally figures out that he has had amnesia. He shows up just in time, as the thieves are beating the crap out of Robin. Batman tells Robin that something is up with that museum, and they need to investigate. We then get a peek on Elongated Man and his wife after they have visited the same museum. As they look at some pictures from the excursion, Elongated Man notices that one man had entered the museum, but came out with a different face.
Next, Bruce realizes that his bank account is a little smaller than the day before. Someone came in and withdrew half a million dollars that looked exactly like Bruce. After a quick look at the signature, Bruce and the vice-president realize it’s a fake. Another bank customer comes in and nearly explodes when he learns that his safety deposit box is empty. And not only that, but that he and several others had visited a certain museum within the last few days. Elongated Man is also talking with the men who were robbed and thinking about what can be done to stop it. The dynamic duo then run into Elongated Man, and the heroes decide to work together. Before long, though, Elongated Man starts acting strangely and blames a ghost in the museum. As Elongated Man gets zapped by the camera, Batman and Robin take matters into their own hands. As they finally find the secret room where the inventors of the camera are, Elongated Man is still kind of fuzzy on who he even is. Robin convinces him that he’s a hero and needs to help. As the inventors are trying to get away, Elongated Man reaches out and grabs them from behind. Batman and Robin then knock out the crooks, and then try to help Elongated Man get reacquainted with his wife.
In the next issue, we see Batman and Robin cruising around in the Batmobile. They get a message from Commissioner Gordon about a disturbance downtown. The disturbance is the Joker riding a giant chicken around, and then he and his associates are robbing people. When the caped crusaders show up, they get gassed by the Joker, and he rides off with his stolen items. The cops and Batman are left laughing in the street and can do nothing to stop it. As the two heroes are back in the Bat-cave, they figure out how to counteract the Joker’s noxious poison. They head back out to the streets, and find the Joker in broad daylight robbing people. As they approach the Joker, he douses them with another form of his gas. This one induces crying, and the dynamic duo are weeping like babies. The Joker then escapes, but Batman and Robin have the coherency to follow him.
When they catch up to him, they grab him and walk him to the local police station. The two then try to lock up the Joker, but he switches the cell’s bars around on them, and they end up on the inside of the cell. The Joker taunts them with the key, but then just leaves them there. Batman has a photographic memory, though, and using the wooden stool in the cell and a pocket knife, whittles out a “key” to open the cell door. As they escape, they find the Joker again robbing people in the middle of the day. This time, though, the dynamic duo rush him so he doesn’t have time to cook anything up. Batman then punches out the Joker, and deposits him back in the Gotham City Penitentiary.
Batman #169 brings the Penguin into the mix. Detective Comics shows us Batman versus a Witch! Batman #171 is a showdown with the Riddler! Whatever your tastes, this book has it all. Small time hoods, big time crime syndicates, and supervillains galore! Don’t just pass on this because some of the stories are a little hokey. It really is a decent book, and should you give it a try, you won’t be disappointed!
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