Bronze Year 10


tec 411

Detective Comics #411 by Denny O’Neil, Bob Brown, & Dick Giordano (1971)

–Detective Comics #411
A former League of Assassins member turned informant sets up a meeting with Batman atop Gotham’s Statue of Justice (a Statue of Liberty analogue). At the meeting, the informant is fatally wounded by League of Assassins ninjas, who immediately flee the scene. With his dying breath, the informant tells Batman that Ebenezer Darrk will be traveling on the Soom Express in the Himalayas in a few days. After disguising himself as an old lady, Batman boards the mountain train and trails Darrk, who travels with a beautiful young woman at his side. It’s Talia!![1] After leaping from the train to chase a fleeing Darrk and Talia, Batman is surrounded by kendo stick-wielding assassins and beaten into unconsciousness. Batman awakens in a Buddhist Monastery, unmasked and badly bruised about his face, in the care of Talia, who introduces herself. She says that Darrk kidnapped her from the University of Cairo where she studies, and now holds her hostage. She further explains that the League of Assassins is locked in a bitter civil war between two factions: the Demonfang group led by Darrk versus the Brotherhood of the Demon led by Talia’s father Rā’s al Ghūl aka “The Demon’s Head.” Darrk and his men place Batman and Talia into a makeshift arena where they Caped Crusader fends-off a charging wild bull. Batman takes out the guards, captures Darrk, and flees the monastery with Talia. Back by the train tracks, Darrk pulls a knife and begins fighting Batman. As the Soom Express approaches, Talia shoots Darrk, who falls onto the tracks and gets crushed by the speeding locomotive. Trembling, a teary-eyed Talia falls into Batman’s embrace. So begins the legendary and incredibly captivating “Saga of Rā’s al Ghūl”—and I can think of no better way to kick-off Bat Year Ten!

JL of A 89

Justice League of America #89 by Mike Friedrich, Dick Dillin, & Joe Giella (1971)

–Justice League of America #89
After a regularly scheduled JLA meeting, the heroes go their separate ways. In Hollywood, famous TV writer Harlequin Ellis approaches Black Canary on the street and asks her out for a cup of coffee. (Harlequin Ellis is an amazing analogue for legendary writer Harlan Ellison, although—as per DC Comics Presents #41—Ellison himself also exists in the DCU.) While Ellis and Black Canary are on their date, a wildly jealous Green Arrow shows up and starts shoving Ellis around. (Green Arrow and Black Canary, in case you’ve forgotten, are pretty much an item now.) An over-emotional Ellis returns home and begins typing up a new screenplay about the JLA. As he does, the barriers between fiction and reality break down. Everything Ellis imagines begins to happen in real life! While Superman fights a cyclops, Aquaman dies and the JLA disappears. After Ellis himself briefly replaces Superman, the writer realizes his newfound power. Frightened, he reverts everything back to status-quo and goes out to a club to collect his thoughts. But, soon Ellis alters reality again, siccing a minotaur-centaur hybrid upon Green Arrow. Ellis then makes himself Batman and rescues Green Arrow. With Black Canary watching, Ellis unmasks. Ellis stops his daydreaming at the club, which causes everything to revert back to status-quo once again. However, Green Arrow’s injuries remain. Black Canary meets with Ellis at the club and tells him that she’s Green Arrow’s gal, but they can be friends. With his jealously transcended, Ellis’ powers fade as well. Our meta-story ends with a fourth-wall-shattering meta-panel, featuring the writer of this issue, Mike Friedrich, who not only appears as an illustrated character, but also speaks directly to the reader (and to Harlan Ellison) about the power he wields over the DCU every time he picks-up pen and paper. A weird bit of metalepsis, but also kind of amazing.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America #90-91. Green Arrow and Black Canary are so affected by the Harlequin Ellis episode, they ask their fellow JLA teammates for a roughly monthlong leave of absence from the team. The JLA grants their wish.


–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America #90. Bruce watches Clark deliver a news report on TV, which tells of a US military gas transport sinking off the Atlantic Coast. Unknown to Bruce and Clark, the sunken transport destroys part of the undersea city of Sareme, home to the Atlantean-adjacent race known as the Pale People. The fear-mongering Saremite prince, Nebeur Odagled, seizes the opportunity to stir up pro-war sentiment among his people. But instead of attacking the surface world, the Saremites weaponize the remaining gas and threaten Atlantis, starting a Cold War under the sea.

–The Brave and The Bold #98 Intro
Batman, receiving word that his good friend Roger Birnam (father of Batman’s godson) is dying, rushes to his side. At the Birnham estate, way out in the boonies, Batman comforts the family and tends to Roger along with family physician Dr. Malthus. A couple days later, Batman attends Roger’s funeral. Batman gives Roger’s wife Clorinda the number for his hotline phone.

wfc 202

World’s Finest Comics #202 by Denny O’Neil, Dick Dillin, Joe Giella, & Ben Oda (1971)

–World’s Finest Comics #202
Morgan Edge (don’t forget this is an evil clone planted by Darkseid) sends Lois to do a TV news story about an archeological dig at the ancient tomb of King Malis, located in a war-torn Middle Eastern country. Meanwhile, at the Fortress of Solitude, Superman mothballs all of his Superman Robots, which have begun to malfunction due to the poor ecological state of the planet. After shutting them all down permanently, Superman realizes one of the bots is missing. (The missing bot has gone to Lois’ location, but, confused, got taken-in and manipulated by bandits.) The bandits use the Superman Robot to kidnap both Lois and the lead archeologist. They then use the robot to enter the tomb. When Bruce hears about the trouble on TV, he flies across the globe to help out only to get captured by the robot too. Eventually, Superman arrives and begins fighting his robot until the ghoulish mummified King Malis—complete with a glowing mini red sun for a head—is revived. Malis blasts Superman, who collapses. Batman is able to cover Malis’ head with his cape and then fully destroy the damaged Superman Robot. Back on his feet, Superman defeats Malis by knocking-off his head, revealing Malis as a killer robot placed in the tomb eons ago by unknown aliens.

Batman 232

Batman #232 by Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams, & Dick Giordano (1971)

–Batman #232
Bruce receives a phone call alerting him that Dick has been missing from Hudson University for a few days. When Bruce is mailed a picture of Robin with a note challenging him to make a rescue, Batman takes the evidence to the Batcave to do a detailed analysis. (He doesn’t have the proper tools in the Penthouse.) Inside the Batcave, the Caped Crusader is shocked to find Rā’s al Ghūl and the latter’s manservant Ubu. They introduce themselves and provide a picture of Talia, saying that she has also been kidnapped by the same unknown party. Immediately, Batman realizes that there’s a game afoot, that Rā’s al Ghūl must be behind the kidnappings and impending charade that is sure to follow. But the Caped Crusader keeps his thoughts to himself and plays along. After a spectrographic exam, Batman determines that Robin and Talia must be in Calcutta, victims of the Brotherhood of the Demon. He agrees to accompany Rā’s al Ghūl and Ubu on a rescue mission. When Batman prepares to depart, Ubu throttles the Dark Knight, warning him never to walk in front of his master. Upon arrival in Calcutta, Batman beats information out of some folks and soon finds himself wrestling with a trained leopard. After kayoing the big cat, Batman fakes evidence that the abductees have been taken to a specific spot in the Himalayas. This leads to Rā’s al Ghūl and Ubu taking Batman to the Brotherhood’s Mount Nanda Devi stronghold. While climbing, Batman is shot at by a Brotherhood soldier. Batman swings to safety, clobbers the sniper, and marches into the compound at the top of the mountain to find Robin alive-and-well. Batman and Robin take down the Brotherhood soldiers and Batman knocks-out Ubu solo. Rā’s al Ghūl and Talia then enter, prompting an angry demand for an explanation from Batman. Rā’s al Ghūl explains that Talia is in love with him, and all has been a deadly test to see if the Dark Knight has been worthy to be his son-in-law. Talia leans-in and kisses a speechless Batman on the cheek. Batman and Robin return to the States, unsure of what will happen next in the “Saga of Rā’s al Ghūl.”

–Flash #207
Flash completes his JL Satellite monitor duty and is replaced by Batman. Barry and Iris then go to a rock concert, headlined by the band Washington Starship, which is led by pregnant singer Grace Brady. During the show, strange demons arise thanks to Grace’s uncle, Sargon the Sorcerer, who has gone insane due to years of exposure to the magickal Ruby of Life, which is now on display at the Flash Museum. (Sargon is a former Golden Age superhero from Earth-2. Along with his unnamed brother, Sargon moved to Earth-1 in 1950.)[3] Sargon is able to temporarily control Flash to regain his precious gem, but is horrified when he realizes that he has put his niece (and her unborn baby) at risk. Embarrassed and distressed, Sargon disappears.

tec 412

Detective Comics #412 by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown, & Dick Giordano (1971)

–Detective Comics #412
Bruce receives a cable from his distant uncle Lord Elwood Wayne, whom he’s never met before, asking him to join the remaining living Waynes at Waynemoor Castle in England. Bruce tasks Alfred with doing Wayne family research, after which, they travel to Waynemoor Castle along with distant cousins Wilhelmina “Mina” Wayne, Emelyn Wayne, and Jeremy Wayne. (Presumably, Bruce’s other distant relatives—Vanderveer Wayne Sr, Vanderveer Wayne Jr, Jane Wayne, Bruce N Wayne, and his kin from Scotland—would have been invited too, although none of them appear in this story. Van, Jane, and Bruce N are outsiders and likely didn’t want to come. And the Scots probably hate the Brits.) In a thunder storm, a hearse driver gives the gathered Waynes a lift to Waynemoore, telling them some history about their family: Lorin Wayne first took control of the castle in the time of the Crusades when his brother Harold Wayne was killed under mysterious circumstances. On his deathbed in the candlelit estate, Elwood tells the three Wayne cousins that, in his will, he has split among them his fortune. Everyone is escorted to their separate rooms, but creepy Bruce flirts with his cousin Mina and they go to his room for a nightcap! (Okay they are distant cousins, but still.) After an in-between-panel ellipsis that implies Bruce bangs his cousin, Batman sneaks around the castle, coming across an ancient Templar “ghost” that tries to kill Mina and Jeremy. After narrowly evading a death by lance in a swamp outside the castle, Batman confronts the knighted warrior inside the castle walls again, removing his helmet to reveal Asquith, the butler of the manor. He’s been possessed by the legit spirit of Harold Wayne. The possessed Asquith leads Batman into the dungeon, revealing to him an inscription that proves Lorin murdered Harold all those years ago. Asquith drops dead, and the ghost of Harold moans that it will seek revenge on the current proprietor of Waynemoor. In his room above, Elwood drops dead. Harold’s ghost is seemingly exorcised. The next day, a funeral is held. Batman later records the details of the supernatural case into his audio-journal.

–Detective Comics #416 Intro
Batman attends the wedding of Kirk Langstrom and Francine Lee, giving them a wedding present of a case of anti-Man-Bat serum. They must take small doses of the serum periodically, moving forward, or they will revert into monsters.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #234 Part 2. Dick’s girlfriend Terri Bergstrom is a psychic. Using her telepathic abilities, she learns that Dick is Robin. After a cop is shot on Hudson University campus, Robin is tasked with bringing the wounded officer’s daughter, Nanci Beeker, home from an Upstate hippie commune. Terri, sensing danger, visits Batman and tells him about Robin’s case. Batman does some investigative work and learns that the shooter (Nanci’s boyfriend Pat Whalon) is hiding in the hippie commune. He writes a note to Robin and sends it along with Terri, who surprises Robin at the commune and delivers the communiqué.


Justice League of America #92 by Mike Friedrich, Dick Dillin, & Joe Giella (1971)

–Justice League of America #90-92
First off, we must ignore the summer season. This arc goes here because it takes place immediately after Batman’s involvement in Batman #234 Part 2. The secret Saremite-Atlantean Cold War has gone on for a month now. When an Atlanean spy is killed and washes up on shore, Batman examines the corpse and calls the JLA. Noting that Flash is missing, Batman decides to go look for him. Meanwhile, Superman and Hawkman visit Sareme and fight off some of the city’s defenders. Concurrently, Atom and Hal Jordan visit Atlantis only to find that the Saremites have taken Aquaman and Mera hostage, installed Nebeur Odagled as new king, and now control the entire kingdom. Soon after, Superman, Hawkman, Atom, and Hal are engaged in all-out war against a Saremite-protected Atlantis. The four heroes defeat the entire Saremite army and restore power to Aquaman. When Superman tries to celebate the victory, Aquaman angrily blames the surface world for starting the conflict, with its gas ship, in the first place. A memorial service is held for the forty-three dead Atlanteans that perished during the war. Soon after, a similar memorial service is held in Sareme. The leaderless Saremites beg for the JLA to act as their new gods, but Hawkman gives a strange religious sermon, urging them to act as their own gods, and offering them a ecumenical-esque communion. Back aboard the Satellite, Batman arrives, having found a beaten-and-battered Flash just north of Gotham, with the unconscious speedster in his arms. Green Arrow and Black Canary end their leave of absence, returning to the Satellite just in time to witness Flash awaken to tells his teammates that an alien beast mauled him just outside of Hudson University. With Iris Allen caring for the injured Flash aboard the Satellite, Aquaman (secretly controlled by Deadman) catches wind of some League of Assassins malfeasance. Deadman (via Aquaman) summons Batman and Green Arrow to help him work on the case. They immediately travel to several port cities. This leaves Superman, Hal, Hawkman, and Atom to join Robin in New Carthage, NY to search for the beast. When Hal’s ring senses Earth-2 energy, he contacts the JSA. Soon, the JSA’s Superman, Atom, Jay Garrick, Hawkman, and Earth-2 Robin arrive, revealing that a menacing alien boy (A-Rym) is running rampant in Slaughter Swamp on their planet. (The alien boy is symbiotically-linked to his pet beast, Teppy, and if they are not reunited they will rampage for thirty-seven hours until they both die.) The heroes decide to mash-up special teams and split up between Earths. Hal leads two Robins and two Hawkmen onto Earth-2 where they confront A-Rym, who has stolen Alan Scott’s power ring. After the alien boy pummels Earth-1 Robin, Hal sends both Robins to the Earth-2 Batcave. A-Rym then easily takes down the other heroes as well. Back on Earth-1, the story is a bit different. With the power of two Superman, Teppy is rather easily contained. Earth-1 Superman and Jay Garrick go to assist the Earth-2 team. Soon, the heroes find themselves facing off against Solomon Grundy, who has taken A-Rym into his protection. Grundy knocks-out Earth-1 Superman and Jay. In the Earth-2 Batcave, the Robins bond! Elder Robin gives young Robin a cool prototype costume (designed by Earth-2 costume-maker Neal Adams!) that he once considered using but never wore. Soon after, the Hawkmen and the Robins take on A-Rym once again, this time restraining him. The Green Lanterns defeat Grundy. Seeing that A-Rym is dying, the heroes on Earth-2 bring him to Teppy on Earth-1. Once joined together, A-Rym and Teppy are revived and calmed. Their family arrives in a space ship and collects them. Robin decides to keep his alt-Robin costume as a souvenir. Meanwhile, Batman, Green Arrow, and a Deadman-controlled Aquaman continue working their League of Assassins case in the New England city of Porttown, fighting deadly the killer M’naku.

jla 94 merlyn

Justice League of America #94 by Mike Friedrich, Dick Dillin, & Joe Giella (1971)

–Justice League of America #94-95
Batman, a Deadman-controlled Aquaman, and Green Arrow take down M’naku. Meanwhile, at a secret lair, the Sensei, who has now been solely in charge of the League of Assassins splinter group known as Demonfang ever since Ebenezer Darrk’s death, chats with his top man, archer assassin Merlyn, about M’naku’s defeat and the League of Assassins Civil War. Rā’s al Ghūl believes that his opposition has subsided due to Darrk’s death, but the Sensei still plots against him and secretly pushes his own agenda. The current agenda on his mind is the death of Batman. Clark and the Atom travel to Porttown to do a story on pollution for GBS. There, Merlyn makes his audacious debut, taking down Superman and the Atom all by himself! Merlyn then leaves a corpse with an arrow stuck in his back and a note challenging Green Arrow and Batman. Batman, the Deadman-controlled Aquaman, and Green Arrow track Merlyn to a nearby house, which is rigged with booby traps. Batman realizes Aquaman is being mind-controlled or possessed, but doesn’t know who’s pulling the strings, so he takes the Atlantean king down. Meanwhile, Green Arrow gets sucked-up into a booby trap. Luckily, Superman and the Atom rescue Green Arrow, who then takes on Merlyn one-on-one. They duel to a stalemate until Merlyn flees. (The entire Merlyn versus JLA fight is shown via flashback from Black Lightning #2 as well.) On rocky New England shoreline, Deadman reveals that he’s been in control of Aquaman’s body this whole time. Deadman tells Batman that the Sensei leads Demonfang, the opposition against Rā’s al Ghūl within the League of Assassins. The civil war could escalate, which is bad news for the entire world. (As referenced in The Brave and The Bold #104, Batman and Deadman come up with a strange but unique way of forging future contact with each other: via a specific coded message in ad space in a major national newspaper.) Later, Hawkman swaps out the main JL Satellite teleporter with a bigger one that will allow multiple people to teleport at once. Green Lantern, Flash, and Hawkman take it for a trial ride but wind up disappearing without a trace. Batman investigates what could have gone wrong with the new teleporter, discovering that Adam Strange’s Zeta-Beam pulled the heroes to Rann. Meanwhile, Green Arrow and the Atom rush off to a charity gig in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, doing stunts as an opening act for Vietnam vet turned pop star Johnny Dune. Dune, angry at a recently failed bid to become a candidate for the Mayor of NYC, uses his telepathy to cause the audience to attack Green Arrow and the Atom. Batman and Black Canary try to help out, but Dune takes control of Green Arrow and the Atom, using them to best Batman and Black Canary. Dune marches the entire crowd and whips them into a riotous frenzy. After Green Arrow frees his hero comrades and strikes at Dune, the latter, who had only wanted to command his followers to create a utopian commune, realizes the error of his ways. In an act of self-punishment, Dune orders an attack on himself. The crowd swarms and pummels him into unconsciousness. The heroes rush Dune to the hospital and he is saved. Later, Dune, with his powers permanently gone, tells the heroes that he will run for office. Meanwhile, across the cosmos, Superman flies to Rann to see what’s up with the missing JLA trio. (As seen in the Batman-less Justice League of America #96, Superman, Hawkman, Hal Jordan, and Flash save Rann from the threat of the debuting Starbreaker and his robo-hench-insects called Mechanix. Starbreaker, a cosmic vampire, is of the alien species known as Sun-Eaters.)

jla 98 starbreaker

Justice League of America #98 by Mike Friedrich, Dick Dillin, & Joe Giella (1972)

–Justice League of America #97-98
Superman fills-in the rest of the JLA about the Starbreaker, who soon attacks Earth. After Starbreaker easily defeats Superman, Flash, and Hal Jordan and then begins a chain reaction that will push the entire planet into the sun, the JLA is forlorn and dumbfounded. Feeling total defeat, they crew visits the Satellite library and watches an old team journal video about how they initially formed as a team after defeating the Appellaxians seven years ago. Black Canary had never even heard the story before. Pumped up, the JLA prepares for a rematch against Starbreaker. All of a sudden, Sargon the Sorcerer appears! After Sargon, who has been a super-villain as of late, easily dispatches with the Atom and Superman, the rest of the JLA stands down. Sargon proposes a truce to stop the greater threat of Starbreaker’s galactic destruction. Sargon tells the JLA that he can stop Starbreaker if they find two other magickal rubies, counterparts to his Ruby of Life. Aquaman and Black Canary travel to the Latin American nation of Sierra Verde where they successfully defeat Leftist rebel fighters and receive the first ruby from the Sierre Verdean President. Without giving a second thought to the actual sociopolitical situation (or plight of the rebels) in Sierre Verde, Aquaman declares “mission accomplished” and heads back home. On a West German film set, Batman and Hawkman meet world famous actor Brick Ford, who owns the other ruby piece, and his brother Jimmy Ford. Jimmy explains that Brick has been threatened by Communist arms dealers and is afraid for his life. Jimmy lures the East German hitmen out into the open, allowing for Batman and Hawkman to take them down. A reinvigorated Brick saves his brother’s life and hands over the ruby to the heroes. Aboard the JL Satellite, Sargon makes a vow to himself to forever more be a superhero. (After this, he’ll wind up a villain again, unfortunately.) With the rubies united atop an enlarged Green Lantern power ring, the heroes join hands for a magickal ritual. (The ritual scene is also shown via flashback from DC Comics Presents #26 Part 3.) With remote assistance from Hawkgirl and Supergirl, Sargon powers up the JLA, who charge into battle. The Atom shrinks down and enters Starbreaker’s brain to mess with him. Starbreaker then tries to help his odds by time-traveling with three of the heroes to the distant past. After being defeated there, Starbreaker tries his luck against three more heroes in the distant future. After suffering a second defeat, a weakened Starbreaker appears back in the present before the waiting Batman and Superman. Starbreaker tries to flee into the alleyways of Central City, but Batman swings down and delivers the kayo punch. Back aboard the Satellite, Sargon de-powers Starbreaker and puts him into a comatose state. Green Lantern delivers him to the Guardians of the Universe to be imprisoned on Oa.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America #9. February. The JLA holds its annual anniversary party to commemorate the founding of the team.

Batman #235

Batman #235 by Denny O’Neil, Irv Novick, & Dick Giordano (1971)

–Batman #235
Rā’s al Ghūl sends a horribly decayed corpse in a crate to Bruce’s penthouse, arriving himself to explain shortly thereafter. One of the League of Assassins’ scientists, Striss, has stolen a chemical that can weaken molybendum steel. Rā’s al Ghūl mentions that Striss killed him, but he was immediately revived—a quick aside that Batman doesn’t blink an eye at. Unknown to Striss, the stolen chemical also turns into a deadly plague-like virus when exposed to oxygen. The corpse, killed by the plague, had been Striss’ assistant and accomplice. Rā’s al Ghūl tells Batman that Striss is loose in Gotham, and Talia, unaware of the plague aspect and believing her father dead, is chasing after Striss. Batman goes to Solomon London’s mansion, which has a stockpile of molybendum, and finds Talia’s Brotherhood of the Demon henchmen there. After taking them down and chatting with the housekeeper, Batman determines that Talia has chased Striss to Louisiana. Soon, Batman and Rā’s al Ghūl are in flight to the bayou. Batman infiltrates London’s fallout shelter to find Talia holding a gun at Striss. Batman punches-out a lunging Striss, who gets infected by the plague and dies. With the plague contained within the airtight shelter, Batman, Talia, and London exit. Rā’s al Ghūl is waiting with his own League of Assassins medical staff, which cures the infected trio.

–Justice League of America #99
The JLA meets and decides to offer Sargon the Sorcerer honorary membership on the team! In Central City, Black Canary helps clean up rubble left behind in the wake of last week’s battle against Starbreaker. All of a sudden, giant invasive plants begins sprouting all over the planet courtesy of Bür Sëd and Kēr Sēd, alien “Johnny Appleseeds” that are trying to help out Earth by restoring ecological balance. After saving Hal Jordan’s life, Batman joins up with him to confront Bür Sëd, but they are powerless against him. The JLA meets to discuss a plan of action to deal with the plants. During the meeting, Hawkman says that the natural yearly vibrational convergence between Earth-1 and Earth-2 is coming up soon (in three or four months), and he’d like to be prepared for it for a change. Batman comes up with a plan to stop the plant aliens, which the JLA immediately puts into action. Superman goads the aliens into using their staffs (the source of their power) to blast energy waves toward the JL Satellite, which, for the first time, they move out of geosynchronous orbit with the Earth with Hawkman piloting the Satellite like a ship. The energy wave bounces across Outer Space and shakes through various points on the Earth, causing destruction across widespread areas. Batman’s plan, which was to have the aliens blast themselves, is a failure. Trying a new approach, the JLAers pretend they want to help Bür Sëd and Kēr Sēd, and begin planting a bunch more of their invasive plants for them. This over-oxygenates the air, causing them to lose their power staffs. Seeing the error of their ways, Bür Sëd and Kēr Sēd destroy their plants and leave Earth.

–The Brave and The Bold #97
The Mexican Government asks Batman to break up a criminal cartel run by El Grande. Thus, Bruce takes a vacation to Acapulco. While there, he watches famous diver Luis Mercado cliff dive. During Mercado’s dive, Bruce spots a sniper and switches to Batman gear to take him down, saving Mercado’s life. Batman tails Mercado and helps him fight off yet more would-be assassins. After spotting a poster advertising a boxing match featuring who appears to be Wildcat, Bruce decides to check out the event. That night, at the local arena, Bruce watches as Wildcat (going by “El Tigre”)—with Mercado in his corner—challenges El Machete. In between rounds, more assassins show up and drug Wildcat’s water, which knocks him out. The crowd becomes instantly livid and a riot breaks out as the lights go black. Batman rushes the ring and fends-off the assassins while hauling-off Wildcat’s unconscious body. Later, Mercado explains to Batman that Ted Grant, who is a family friend, came to Mexico to help his father secure the lost treasure of Choclotan. El Grande’s men fought them, killing his dad and wounding Ted, causing the latter to have amnesia. Mercado found the Wildcat costume among Ted’s belongings and started managing him as “El Tigre” in order to hide from the gangsters. Batman, Wildcat, Mercado, and Mercado’s friend El Sordo spend the next few days traveling through the Sierra Madre in a jeep. After fighting some of El Grande’s men, the foursome continue their mountainous desert travels and wind up at the location of the treasure. There, El Sordo reveals that he is actually El Grande. His men arrive and hold Batman, Wildcat, and Mercado hostage, forcing Wildcat to fight his top man, El Buey. During the fight, Wildcat regains his memories. Knowing that the treasure is booby trapped, he sends El Grande and his men down the path towards Choclotan. El Grande and his men are drowned. With the treasure recovered (for a museum) and El Grande dead, Batman’s mission is accomplished.

–Batman #236
Bruce returns from his Mexican vacation (in The Brave and The Bold #97). Upon his flight home, he reads about the 1930 unsolved mystery surrounding the death of Corrine Hellbane March, a woman that went overboard on a cross-Atlantic ship and drowned. Her husband, Axel March, was suspected of committing the crime, but no charges were pressed. Corrine’s body was never found. After dozing off, Bruce awakes to see the ghost of Corrine beckoning him to solve her cold case. Back in Gotham, Batman patrols and is assisted by Corrine’s ghost in busting a crook. The next day, Bruce checks his mail with Miss Tuite and finds an invitation from Agatha Tyler-Tilford to attend a charity razing of the old Hellbane mansion, Corrine’s former Gotham home. Bruce goes to the Hellbane home and joins the gaggle of other filthy rich jerks dressed up in construction gear, who all begin sledgehammering walls for fun. Soon, Batman finds himself upstairs fighting goons, confronting an elderly Axel March, and discovering the skeletal corpse of Corrine hidden in a wall. Batamn deduces that Axel killed Corrine and hid her in the wall to gain access to her vast fortune in 1930. Then, accomplice Agatha posed as Corrine on the ship until Corrine “disappeared overboard.” Having never been told the body was hidden inside the house, Agatha had no idea that inviting dozens of people there was a very bad idea. (Why didn’t Axel simply call Agatha and tell her to cancel the charity event? Who knows. Oof.) With Agatha and Axel behind bars, Batman, having already broken several walls in this issue, breaks the fourth wall and muses aloud that the ghost of Corrine must have simply been his overactive imagination willing him toward brining justice to the victim. But Batman has already dealt with ghouls, ghosts, and goblins before. I don’t know why he continues to maintain this Scully-like level of skepticism. Oh well.

The Brave & The Bold #98

The Brave and The Bold #98 by Bob Haney & Jim Aparo (1971)

–The Brave and The Bold #98
Batman runs into the late Roger Birnam’s physician (Dr. Malthus), but the doc claims to be someone else. Later, Batman meets with Commissioner Gordon and coroner Mac, who shows the the Dark Knight a mutilated corpse of a man that he suspects was killed as part of some strange occult ritual. Upon examination of the body, Batman recognizes the deceased as a mourner at Roger’s funeral. After visiting the deceased man’s work, the guy’s boss turns over a chicken foot found in his desk. Batman then gets an emergency call from Clorinda Birnam, prompting him to rush to the Birnam estate. There, he sees a strange ghostlike form that attacks him before fading away. After a chat with local cop Walt Higgins, Batman views a photo of Roger’s funeral, but the victim from the morgue is clearly not among the mourners present. The apparition again appears before Batman as the latter leaves, urging him to return to the house. When Batman returns, he sees what appears to be a strange ritual going on inside. After getting conked in the head from behind, Batman goes out only to wake up among Clorinda, Enoch (her 10-year-old son/Batman’s godson), and a bunch of their friends. One of the ladies gets Batman’s autograph. Dizzy, Batman lays down in a bed and has a dream that little Enoch is trying to kill him with a Satanic trident. Batman awakens to find the Phantom Stranger hovering above him. The Phantom Stranger explains that Clorinda and Enoch are the leaders of a coven of witches! The autograph given allowed for the witches to hex Batman. The Phantom Stranger undoes the hex and further explains that he was the apparition guiding Batman, Enoch is basically a demon-child, the dead man in Gotham was magickally killed for trying to leave the coven, and Dr. Malthus is an evil witch doctor that conspired with Clorinda and Enoch to murder Roger. Batman goes to get the help of Officer Higgins, but Higgins reveals himself to also be a coven member, capturing Batman and presenting him before the others at a Black Mass, featuring little Enoch sitting on a demonic throne. With Enoch about to sacrifice Batman on a ritual altar, the Phantom Stranger appears in the guise of Lucifer and commands the coven to stand down. He scoops up Batman and flies away with him. The next night, Batman kidnaps Enoch and brings him to a psychiatric hospital. Batman, the Phantom Stranger, and a doctor observe Enoch for days, even trying to provoke him with occult objects, but the boy just cries and whimpers. At the end of several days of torturing the kid, the doctor begins to worry if he and the heroes will be charged with abduction of a minor! Batman does some research and discovers that Enoch has a secret twin brother, Roger Junior. They actually have kidnapped an innocent boy and tortured him for days! Batman and the Phantom Stranger crash into the Birnam estate and fight Higgins, Clorinda, and Enoch. The latter two fall down the stairs to their deaths. Later, Batman accepts Roger Jr as his new godson. He takes Roger Jr to his father’s grave and promises the boy he will always be loved and protected. Since we never see Roger Jr again, we must make assumptions. The traumatized boy likely goes into care of foster parents, and Batman will likely (hopefully) check-in on him from time to time.


–REFERENCE: In Superman Annual #11. Late February. As he does every year, Batman gives a birthday gift to Superman.

–Detective Comics #414-416
Batman follows Arnie, a courier for the Gotham arms dealer group he’s been tracking for the past five months, down to the Florida Keys. There, Batman breaks up a gun shipment destined for General Ruizo in South America. Arnie’s gal Loosy begs Batman to go easy on Arnie, citing that he’s just an errand boy. In exchange for mercy, she offers to help Batman get his hands on Ruizo, leading him to the drop point at a haunted lighthouse. There, Batman gets the jump on Ruizo’s lieutenants. Ruizo shoots Loosy in the arm and tries to flee, but she sabotages his boat, allowing for a confrontation between the general and the Dark Knight. Ruizo is about to kill Batman, but a deus ex machina occurs in the form of a ghost that blinds Ruizo with the lighthouse beam, knocking him into a watery grave. Batman, as a man of honor, presumably puts in a good word for Arnie after wrapping the case.

Batman spots some men posing as city sanitation workers. After running a background check, Batman IDs them as out-of-town hitmen Jo-Jo Weems and Tag Callum. The Caped Crusader trails them and makes the save when they try to eliminate their target, “Consumer Crusader” Tom Carson. Carson tells Batman that his next exposé is on Magna Industries. After dropping Carson off with Babs (at Commissioner Gordon and Babs’ house), Batman confirms that Magna Industries president Ben Ames paid for the hit. In an attempt to find out why, Batman disguises himself as the ghost of Carson and “haunts” Ames. Ames reveals that Carson had blackmailed him, saying he’d give a bad consumer report even if his products were safe unless he paid up. Batman visits Carson’s Consumer Commandos HQ, which shows that lab tech Joan Wilde, along with a few others, is running an extortion ring right under Carson’s nose. Batman busts Joan and her cronies. Later, Batman busts Ames for attempted murder.

Batman creates a new extra-potent version of the anti-Man-Bat serum. With the opening night of the Gotham Opera coming up, Bruce invites Marla Manning to join him. Batman sends the Langstroms tickets to the opening night of the opera as well. At the performance, Kirk, having forgotten to take his anti-serum, turns into Man-Bat. Batman chases Man-Bat into the subway. A train makes an emergency stop, causing a flash fire on the tracks. Batman convinces Man-Bat to help him rescue commuters, which he does before flying away. At his lab, Man-Bat shoves aside his wife and attempts to drink a new even more-powerful version of the Man-Bat Serum that he’s invented. Batman does a switcheroo and Man-Bat drinks Batman’s new anti-serum instead, reverting back to human form.

–REFERENCE: In The Brave and The Bold #144. Robin tells Batman all about a recent Teen Titans case (Teen Titans #35-36) in which the team traveled to Italy, got into a conflict with the Della Loggia family, and discovered that both Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest were based upon true stories. Robin also tells Batman that, while they were in Italy, Mal Duncan stayed behind and dealt with a returning Gargoyle (Bromwell Stikk) all by himself, sending him back to his limbo prison. (The Gargoyle’s limbo is actually the early 15th century CE.)

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Batman #249 by Frank Robbins, Irv Novick, & Dick Giordano (1973)

–Batman #249
March 8-15. An anonymous tip is given to police about gun-runners operating out of an abandoned riverside castle north of Gotham. After Batman confirms the tip, the anonymous tipster phones in a second time, claiming that the mastermind behind the gun-running operation is a member of the Gotham Men’s Club. As a member of the Gotham Men’s Club himself, Bruce decides to expose the villain by purchasing a million dollar yacht and hosting a huge party on Gotham River. But, Bruce hasn’t exactly been present and engaged with the Gotham Men’s Club for quite some time. Needing to penetrate the senior ranks of the club, which consists of assholes that do horrible things to “prove their superiority,” Bruce gets in better standing with them by donating a paltry $100 to Marla Manning when she asks for funding assistance for a kids after school recreation program. After Marla publicly shames Bruce on TV, some kids egg him as he enters the club the next day. Marla herself rushes into the club with some of her students, who drop cups of pennies in Bruce’s lap. The senior members of the club are so impressed, they invite him to be a senior as well. The night of the big Men’s Club-sponsored yacht party, Bruce preps for a big bust, attaching a blacked-out barge (containing a surprise fireworks show) to the back of his boat. Just as the yacht pulls alongside the castle, Bruce starts up his fireworks show, which illuminates the gun-running activity. The vile Stanford, outed as the leader of the illegal operations, flees the party with Batman chasing after him. Batman fights Stanford and his whole crew, taking them down. After the gun-running boat crashes into the fireworks barge and explodes, a sopping-wet Stanford crawls back into the yacht. Bruce, with not a hair out of place, is already back in his party tux, waiting to kick Stanford out of the club and into prison. Stanford’s wife tells Bruce that she was the anonymous tipster. Later, Batman sends a $100,000 check to Marla.

–REFERENCE: In World’s Finest Comics #218. Bruce orders a vegetable cocktail at a healthy smoothie bar. He loves it and will begin frequenting the smoothie bar regularly from now on.

–Detective Comics #417
Commissioner Gordon invites Bruce to accompany him to an exhibition boxing match. Jan Paxton, for his latest “Tell It Like It Is” article, has challenged himself to become a pro boxer for a day. As such, the current heavyweight champ has agreed to give him two rounds before a packed arena crowd. After the fight, Gordon and Bruce visit with Jan in the locker room. Jan tells Bruce he digs his Victims Inc Program and then asks Gordon if he can meet Batman. The next night, Jan meets Batman and asks if he can play the role of Batman for a day. Batman blindfolds Jan and takes him into the gym of the Bat-Bunker beneath the Wayne Foundation Building. They spar for a bit, with Batman handing Jan his ass. Nevertheless, Batman agrees to let Jan do his thing. A night later, Jan is dressed-up as Batman and patrolling in a Batmobile. Jan winds up confronting some hijackers and pulls a gun on them, prompting Batman to swing in and take them down. Batman then chews-out Jan for brandishing a firearm. The next day, Jan’s sister Trina is shot and killed during a bank robbery. After combing through police files, Batman deduces that Stacy Brand is the killer. Batman shakes down the usual haunts and gets more info about Brand. Soon after that, Batman and Jan (also dressed as Batman) stalk Brand at a bowling alley. Jan, wanting complete revenge for himself, punches Batman knocking him out cold. Jan then busts Brand solo. Later, Batman and Jan attend Trina’s funeral. Presumably, Jan writes his article about walking in Batman’s shoes.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #422 Part 2 and Detective Comics #423 Part 2 Intro. When a US Congressional seat opens up, a special election is scheduled. Commissioner Gordon is encouraged to run and reluctantly accepts the nomination. Shortly after Jim sets up a campaign platform and headquarters, Babs finally unmasks and reveals her Batgirl secret to him. (He already knew, but hadn’t said anything.) Babs, seeing her father’s continued mild antipathy in regard to the campaign, also asks if she can run in his place. Dad agrees, and the switch is made. Barbara Gordon is officially running for US Congress!

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World’s Finest Comics #207 by Len Wein, Dick Dillin, Joe Giella, & Ben Oda (1971)

–World’s Finest Comics #207
Dr. Light is able to hone-in on Superman’s brain-waves and convince him that he needs to die. Thus, Clark begins randomly blacking-out. During one of his episodes, Clark meets with hired assassin Nicholas Slye and puts a hit out on Superman. When he comes-to, Clark has no memory of what he’s done. Worried, he visits Batman, who busts some random villains, and asks for a tail. Batman, in various disguises, spends a day surveilling Clark, but nothing happens until nightfall, when Clark blacks-out, attacks his pal, and then flies off. After a possessed Clark delivers a magickal weapon called the Satanstaff to Slye and his men, Batman combats the baddies, but gets captured in a magickal net. Later, Slye and his gang atttack Superman at the planetarium, using the Satanstaff to turn a painting of a Kryptonian leech lizard into the real thing. The monster strikes, killing the Man of Steel! Using the Satanstaff, Slye puts Superman’s corpse into a giant block of amber. Back at Slye’s lair, Dr. Light reveals himself. When Slye and the boys double-cross Dr. Light, he kills them. Batman, having escaped captivity by using yoga to painfully contract his muscles, realizes that the Dr. Light before him is merely a astrally-projected hard-light construct, meaning the real Dr. Light is pulling strings from afar. Batman feigns defeat in a fight against the construct, secretly using the Satanstaff to bring Superman back to life! Superman is able to track the real Dr. Light to his HQ, located inside Aurora Borealis! There, Dr. Light tries to subdue the Man of Steel with a red-sun lamp, but fails and gets busted anyway. After jailing Dr. Light, as referenced in Justice League of America #149, Clark tells Bruce all about the fantastic red-sun lamp. Later, Clark and Bruce watch Zatanna perform a magic act.

–Green Lantern Vol. 2 #87 Part 2
This story explicitly occurs in summer, but thanks to Sliding-Time, we must be in winter, so ignore the setting, including Bruce being poolside. The Mayor of Star City, Jack Major, has decided not to run for another term. (Bear in mind he still has three years left in his current term!) Along with his top aide, Mayor Major pitches the idea that, in three year’s time, Oliver Queen should run in his place on the Democratic ticket! Unsure of what to do, Ollie calls some friends for advice. Dinah, Bruce, Hal, and Clark all tell him to say no. Later, Green Arrow tries to make peace at a downtown race riot between the Black community and racist cops. During the conflict, a young Black boy is shot and killed by the police. Influenced by what has occurred, Green Arrow visits Dinah at her apartment on the other side of town. With tears in his eyes, an exhausted Ollie tells her that he will be running for mayor in the next election. (Note that both Green Lantern Vol. 2 #87 and World’s Finest Comics #210—published in 1971 and 1972, respectively—make it seem like the Star City mayoral election is either this calendar year or next. However, it isn’t until World’s Finest Comics #255—written seven years later in 1979—that the election occurs! Maybe this story thread was dropped and then editorial decided to be complete it much later down the road? I don’t know. But, in any case, because of the delay, the Star City election won’t be for another three years on our timeline.)

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Detective Comics #418 by Denny O’Neil, Irv Novick, Dick Giordano, & John Costanza (1971)

–Detective Comics #418-420
The Creeper, unstable and unable to revert back to his Jack Ryder persona, begins to go extra-insane. Unsure of what to do, the Creeper turns to Dr. Ismael Yatz, the son of the scientist that originally turned him into the Creeper. Yatz, hoping to manipulate the Creeper into stealing monofragilic acid for him, orders the theft and firebombing of a handful of drug wholesalers. After five are firebombed, Batman stakes out a sixth to learn that the Creeper is behind the attacks. The Creeper, laughing as he goes, kicks Batman’s ass. Batman checks his crime-files and learns that Dr. Vincent Yatz died just after turning Ryder into the Creeper. Thus, Batman decides to visit Yatz the Younger at his lab, forty miles outside of Gotham. The Dark Knight must be incredibly bored because he disguises himself as an old homespun farmer and drives an antique car to the front gate. There, he introduces himself to a guard as “Ossgood Grotty.” After a short but unpleasant exchange, the old farmer knocks-out the guard. Then Batman ditches the disguise and simply enters Yatz’s lab anyway! Why the hell did he do the farmer bit?! Inside the lab, the Caped Crusader finds a poisoned Creeper fighting a henchman and Yatz, who is jacked-up on Creeper Serum. While Batman fights the henchman, the Creeper chases after Yatz, who meets with foreign agents to sell them a formula he’s made out of the stolen acid. Batman catches up with Yatz, the foreign agents, and the Creeper at an half-built bridge. There, Batman takes out the whole bunch. The poison in the Creeper’s system causes his unstable condition to switch-off and he turns back into Ryder.

Batman and Commissioner Gordon examine the scene of the murder of crook Jacky Mutell, who Batman recognizes from his crime-files. Mutell has been drowned, weighted down by thirteen golden Batman statues. Arthur Reeves shows up in an attempt to throw around what little weight he has, but, as usual, Batman bullies him, hanging him from a pole by his collar. Batman goes to Mutell’s neighborhood, an Irish settlement called Erin Hill, where he finds golden Batman statues being sold at a street fair/carnival. After being attacked in an alley by sailors cum smugglers, Batman roughs them up, learning that they were expecting a gold shipment at the pier tonight. When the final smuggler begins to spill more beans, a sniper shoots him dead from afar. Batman phones-in to police HQ and the cops soon have their hands on the gold. But Batman realizes that the man in charge of the operation has purposefully set up the gold smugglers to draw attention from his real moneymaker: a big drug (either heroin or cocaine) shipment. After disguising himself as a drunk Irishman, complete with slurring Irish accent, Batman finds his way toward the ringleader/sniper, one of the organizers of the street fair, Liam McCourt. McCourt traps the Dark Knight in a giant cage, explaining that he killed Mutell because Mutell betrayed him. McCourt points his rifle at Batman, but McCourt’s giant son, who loves Batman, attacks him. Batman punches the giant, who goes unconscious and flops on top of his dad, knocking him out too. Our story ends with Batman still in the cage, but, presumably, he escapes.

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Detective Comics #420 by Frank Robbins (1972)

Late March to early April. Batman takes on the case of a mystery crook called The Nemesis, who has been threatening famous diamond merchant Piet Van Doorn for months. Batman meets with a paranoid Van Doorn, who tells him that his old partner, Allan Trevor, who supposedly died ten years ago, must be alive and acting as the Nemesis. He shows Batman the most recent threat, which says that Van Doorn will die in exactly one week. After a week of detailed examination of the evidence and preparation, Batman deduces that the Nemesis is a one-eyed uranium miner from South Africa. Batman waits for the Nemesis to disembark a ship in Gotham Harbor, with plans of IDing him via a geiger counter scan. Batman accidentally IDs the wrong guy, but he turns out to be a cigar smuggler, so the Dark Knight busts him anyway. Batman then sees a coffin come off the boat and get loaded onto a hearse, which he tails. At the funeral home, the Nemesis comes out of the casket, right into Batman’s waiting arms. However, at the police station, Batman realizes that this Nemesis is a fake. At Van Doorn’s mansion, the real Nemesis, dressed as Batman to get through the police cordon, appears and attacks. Batman crashes-in just in time to hear Nemesis’ accusation that Van Doorn tried to kill him and failed ten years ago. Batman busts the Nemesis and saves Van Doorn, but the latter has a stroke and goes into a permanent state of catatonia.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #307. April 6. News of the death of famed billionaire recluse Howard Hughes hits mainstream news outlets. With Hughes’ death, the equally eccentric Gregorian Falstaff takes over Hughes’ infamous position as America’s number one billionaire recluse.

–Detective Comics #421
April 6-7. With former ADA Carlton Quayle set to be released from prison, Batman plans a meeting with him. However, the night before his release, a jailhouse riot breaks out and hostages are taken. Commissioner Gordon and new head of Gotham Prison, Warden Howe, call Batman for help. Marla Manning is also on hand to report. Batman infiltrates the prison and finds Quayle being held hostage by Newley, a Black Panther leader and political prisoner (and thinly-veiled analogue for Huey Newton). While Batman negotiates with Newley, another inmate, hired to make sure a free Quayle doesn’t spill the beans on his bribery accomplices now that he’s served his time, tries to assassinate Quayle. Batman charges-in and all hell breaks loose. Newley holds a gun at Quayle and Batman, telling them he will walk them both out of the building together. Soon, Batman, Newley, and a badly concussed Quayle fly off in the Bat-copter. As Newley’s men arrive below to pick him up, Newley talks about what it means to be Black in America and to be a political prisoner. Batman Whitesplains to Newley that not all radicals have faced injustice, citing specific examples (exceptions to the norm) of the Chicago Seven trial and the “Eleven trial,” which might be a reference to Bobby Seale’s 11 to 1 jury acquittal during the New Haven Black Panther trials, but I’m not entirely sure. Then, Batman—a radical vigilante who is also one of the most-privileged and richest White men in America—then spouts some awful racist/ableist bullshit about how justice is color-blind before taking control of the helicopter to bust Newley and his pals.[5] Later, Quayle reveals microfilm that exposes corruption at the top of Gotham’s political machine. Several higher-ups in government and police are jailed thanks to Quayle’s evidence.

–REFERENCE: In DC Special Series #1 (5 Star Super-Hero Spectacular 1977) Part 5. Bruce sells his stock in Burr Industries.

–REFERENCE: In World’s Finest Comics #248 Part 1. Bruce befriends Senator Jack Clayton. They will become quite close, hanging out from time-to-time, moving forward.

Batman 240

Batman #240 by Denny O’Neil, Irv Novick, & Dick Giordano (1972)

–Batman #240
When prominent scientist Dr. Mason Sterling’s corpse is found with its brain surgically removed, Batman is on the case. Cigarettes in Sterling’s coat pocket lead Batman to Night Owl Smokes. There, Slinky Davenport and another guy Batman has previously busted attempt their revenge strike upon the Dark Knight, but Talia al Ghūl shows up and saves him! Talia’s father, for his own reasons, has sent her to assist Batman on the Sterling murder case. After a kiss on the cheek, Batman and Talia—flirting with each other as they go—check-out a lab belonging to Sterling’s partner Keener. Batman busts Keener, who admits to having Sterling killed, and the hitman. But when Batman tries to interrogate Sterling about the missing brain, Talia “accidentally” wipes Keener’s mind with an amnesia serum. After dropping Talia off at her pop’s yacht, which is moored in Gotham Harbor, Batman knows the treacherous Talia is up to no good. Alfred and Batman use helicopter sonar to track Talia to a secret underwater base hidden at the bottom of the Gotham River. Batman infiltrates the base to find Rā’s al Ghūl and one of his top scientists Dr. Moon speaking to Sterling’s re-animated brain! Sterling is about to tell them top secret government information about the Vietnam War, which Rā’s al Ghūl wants to use for his own nefarious world-changing means.[6] Batman, seeing Rā’s al Ghūl as a villain for the first time, lashes out. He kayos Moon, but pauses before attacking Rā’s al Ghūl and Talia. Talia asks if he loves her and he says “maybe”! The al Ghūls make their escape while Batman tends to the brain. Sterling instructs Batman to press a red button, telling him it will help him escape the base. Batman presses it, but it destroys Sterling’s brain. In his final words, Sterling says he couldn’t continue living like that.

–Detective Comics #422
April—we are told it is late winter, but it has to be April by this point. Bruce reads about several truck drivers working for Compass disappearing without a trace, along with their vehicles. A few days later, trucker union leader Buzz Riley visits Bruce, who holds significant stock in Compass, at his penthouse. Buzz gives a firsthand account, saying that his men have been disappearing into a blaze of supernatural flames. Buzz also laments that he was fired after reporting the bizarre nature of the abductions. Batman flies out West the very next day. After calming down some drugged-up Compass drivers, Batman gets them to teach him how to drive a big rig. Batman then disguises himself as a long haul trucker and visits a shady local coffee shop, where he suspects the Compass men were drugged. There, a waitress gives Batman a bar of soap to use in the bathroom, which he does. Later, out of the road, Batman begins to hallucinate multicolored flames, a result of the drugged bar of soap. Having not ingested the drugged coffee too, Batman is able to fight off the hallucinations to see a Chinook helicopter steal his trailer. Batman goes along for the ride, watching the trailer get dropped into the Pacific Ocean. Batman rides beneath the copter, eventually arriving in the mountains where he listens-in on the con. The truck manufacturer has organized the elaborate scheme because there’s a brake defect on his vehicles and he doesn’t want a recall to occur. Batman pops out and fights the manufacturer and his men. The main guy tries to escape in one of his own flawed trucks, but the brakes don’t work and he crashes to his death.

B&B 101

The Brave and The Bold #101 by Bob Haney & Jim Aparo (1972)

–The Brave and The Bold #101
April—a calendar says it’s September, but, due to Sliding-Time, it cannot be. Conrad Fairbairn invites Bruce to attend a private auction to bid on the sale of his luxurious historical home, the Fairbairn Mansion, located a few miles outside of Gotham. Not long afterward, Batman investigates some recent airport heists, connecting his informant Reddy Link to the crimes. Link tells Batman that the Bounty Hunter is back in town. A day later, Batman and Commissioner Gordon investigate the murder of the Bounty Hunter’s first victim, the first on a list of five others, including Bruce Wayne and Sapphire Stagg. In other news, no one has seen nor heard from Metamorpho in “over three years” (two years and eight months to be exact—again, thanks narrative compression caused by Sliding-Time). Where’s the Element Man been? He’s been in an inert state akin to suspended animation while undergoing what is supposed to be a four-year-long ammonia ray treatment in Simon Stagg’s lab. But when Batman tells Simon Stagg about the Bounty Hunter’s hit list, Stagg pulls Metamorpho out of treatment early. The next night, while Batman guards one of the men on the list at a boxing match, the Bounty Hunter kills someone else right under Gordon’s nose. The following night, Bruce decides to head out on the town in an effort to bait the Bounty Killer. Sapphire, feeling pent-up and overprotected, sneaks out of her mansion and visits an illegal gambling den where she nearly gets offed by the Bounty Hunter, but is saved thanks to the last second intervention of Metamorpho. Later, Bruce visits the Fairbairn Mansion for the auction. Sapphire is also there for the auction. Both Bruce and Sapphire get locked in separate rooms by Conrad Fairbairn’s brother Derwent, who doesn’t want the place to be sold. He’s the one who hired the Bounty Hunter to kill all the secret bidders. Soon, Batman and Metamorpho fight the Bounty Hunter, who shoots Derwent dead and takes Sapphire hostage. Metamorpho rescues his gal, but the Bounty Hunter makes a clean getaway. Since we never see the Bounty Hunter again, he lives on as one of the few men to face-off against Batman multiple times and never get caught!

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Batman #241 by Denny O’Neil, Irv Novick, & Dick Giordano (1972)

–Batman #241
When top secret files are stolen from a Gotham government building, Commissioner Gordon and the FBI call in Batman, much to the chagrin, of course, of Arthur Reeves. Batman promptly locks Reeves in a closet to shut him up. After examining some evidence, Batman fingers diplomat Howard MacGuffin as a suspect. At MacGuffin’s apartment, Batman discovers that MacGuffin is being held captive by armed gunmen. Batman takes down four bad guys and rescues MacGuffin, who tells him that he stole the files for international spymaster Colonel Sulphur, who has kidnapped his wife Mary and blackmailed him with her life in the balance. (Batman knows about Colonel Sulphur from his crime-files.) When Sulphur calls, Batman answers and pretends to be MacGuffin, but Sulphur sees through his ruse, tells him that he’s just doomed Mary, and hangs up! Batman eventually traces Mary to a hotel where he defeats Sulphur and saves Mary’s life.

–The Brave and The Bold #95 Part 3
Ruby Ryder loses an appeal, causing her execution, which is scheduled to occur in twenty four hours, to move ahead as planned. Batman finally realizes that the murder victim that put Ruby on Death Row, Kyle Morgan, is actually Plastic Man. Batman also realizes that Plastic Man had been secretly helping him during last year’s Ruby Ryder case. Batman alerts Governor Putnam and the District Attorney and then rushes down to the prison just in time to stop the execution. Plastic Man himself appears as well. In the warden’s office, Plastic Man explains that he was tired of being a stretchy clown and wanted to life the good life. So he invented “Kyle Morgan” and soon he and Ruby fell in love. But when he realized he was a villain, he faked his death, starting the chain of events that has led us to this very moment. Murder charges are dropped and Ruby walks free. The DA tells her that she’ll still face attempted murder charges, but she says that her lawyers will make mincemeat of the new charges in light of the new revelations. Batman walks with a saddened Plastic Man, who wonders if he is a relic of another era—if the 70s hold any place for him. Don’t worry Plas, you’ll always be the best in my eyes!

–Detective Comics #423
A man named Ivanescu has been outed as a Soviet spy and detained by the US Government, which wants to trade him for a US spy (Davis) the Soviets have detained in Russia. A US right-wing nationalist group called the “101% Super-Patriots” wants to kill Ivanescu at any cost. Thus, the Pentagon asks Batman to run through a series of simulations to test their capability to sneak Ivanescu out of Gotham undetected. Batman preps and then gets the better of the federal protection team in the sims, nailing his target (a professional actor named Riggs) twice. Batman sees right through plan three, which is Commissioner Gordon’s plan, nabbing Riggs yet again. Batman summarily dismisses plans four, five, and six merely after reading about them. He acknowledges that plan seven is the weakest on paper, but the strongest if executed to perfection. So, it’s game on. Talking on open radio to make it seem as though the Feds are doing yet another trial run, Batman takes the real Ivanescu and pops him with a paintball gun as he leaps from a helicopter onto a transport plane. Later, with Ivanescu already en route to Russia, and with Davis having been delivered by the Soviets, Riggs acts as bait, luring the terrorists out into the open where Batman easily busts them.

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World’s Finest Comics #211 by Denny O’Neil, Dick Dillin, & Joe Giella (1972)

–World’s Finest Comics #211
When an armada of alien ships from the planet Krush enter Earth’s atmosphere, several nations preemptively fire missiles into space. With diplomacy thrown out the window, Superman finds himself fighting the armada. Eventually, the alien leaders speak with Superman and Batman, claiming that they had been visiting Earth peacefully before they were fired upon. The Krushers also reveal that they are police seeking to extradite a criminal that is located in an unknown prison on Earth. After giving Batman and Superman pictures of the criminal, a gorgeous raven-haired woman, the heroes go out in search of her. After coordinating with prison wardens all over the globe, the heroes learn of a released inmate in Metropolis that matches the description of the woman they are searching for. The Krush Police then attacks Superman. The Man of Steel fakes defeat and swaps places with a decommissioned Superman Robot, which is taken captive by the Krushers. The aliens then declare to the world that they want to test the best human’s ability—sans superhuman assistance—to carry out the task at hand. Batman goes to the woman’s apartment, busts up a counterfeit ring operating there, and meets with her only to find that it’s not the right person. The Krushers then publicly declare that they will destroy half the planet unless Batman finds the criminal they seek. Batman then calls Supergirl and asks for her help in visiting a Kandorian prison. After shrinking down and entering the Bottle City, Batman finds the woman he seeks. However, she tells him that she became an outlaw on Krush only because she spoke out against militarism and war. Upon exiting Kandor, Batman is happily surprised to find Superman waiting for him. Superman then dresses up as Batman and challenges the Krush Police to a duel in the desert. “Batman” easily kicks the Krush Police’s asses and sends them packing.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #443. Batman is asked to assist private eye/ninth-degree black belt Dan Kingdom in teaching a martial arts class to police officers at GCPD HQ. Batman agrees and begins teaching with Kingdom. Classes will continue regularly for the next few months, during which time Batman will become extremely close with Kingdom, close enough to label him a “best friend.” Once the class ends, Batman will hang out with his fellow judo detective bestie on-and-off.

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The Brave and The Bold #102 by Bob Haney & Jim Aparo (1972)

–The Brave and The Bold #102 Part 1
Late April to Early May. Batman decides to check out the freshly blossoming spring trees in good ol’ Barclayville, the oldest neighborhood in Gotham, and a place Batman hasn’t set foot in for years. After grabbing a mugger named Fast Frankie, a local gang called The Young Aquarians (Jamie, Needles, Ben Ahmed, Lawyer, and Mother Earth) demand Batman turn Frankie over to them. The Aquarians tell Batman that Barclayville has gotten extremely grim over the past few years, neglected by police and city officials simply because it is a poor lower-class community. Only they make sure the hood is safe and orderly. The Aquarians cut a deal with Batman: they’ll let him take Frankie if he returns and sees firsthand how they run law in the hood. With no evidence to keep him detained, Frankie walks, much to Batman’s chagrin and the I-told-you-so of the Aquarian leadership when the Dark Knight returns to Barclayville the next day. The Aquarians point out Frankie laundering his stolen money with Angel Lee, who is running the operations of her boyfriend Sonny Trask, a Gotham Prison inmate Batman knows from his crime-files. When Frankie slaps around Angel, Batman and the Aquarians intervene. Asshole cops show up and immediately go to attack the Aquarians without asking any questions, which gives Batman cause to push the cops back and give them an earful. Batman says he’s going to talk to Commissioner Gordon about their ignorant policing methods. When notice is given that a large portion of the neighborhood will be razed and gentrified, the residents of Barclayville are only given until May 10 to clear out. (The internal timeline is screwy in this item, which clearly only spans a few days yet is supposed to somehow begin in late April and end on May 10. We must assume that the flyer that read May 10 was supposed to have read May 1 instead.) At a tense City Hall meeting, the Aquarians—along with Batman—protest Mayor Hayes’ decision to no avail. A day later, Batman calls in the Teen Titans for assistance. As the bulldozers rumble toward the hood, the Teen Titans stage a “die-in” and lie down before their path. Soon the Aquarians, Angel, and even elderly resident Carl Lefferts join in. Batman gets the bulldozers to stop just as a pissed-off Mayor Hayes arrives. Batman scolds him, throwing out the possibility of impeachment if he continues down his anti-community path! Flustered, Mayor Hayes gives Barclayville thirty days to clean up its own hood before an official inspection that will determine the residents’ fate. Batman assigns the Teen Titans and Aquarians to clean up the hood. The Dark Knight will check-in in a month’s time!

–REFERENCE: In Batman #245 and World’s Finest Comics #218. It’s an election year in Gotham and, as such, the corrupt political bosses have crawled out of the woodwork. The specific mayoral situation in Gotham is vague, but here’s what we do know. Mayor Hayes is the current mayor. A corrupt candidate named MacCutcheon, who is backed by an equally-corrupt political boss named Bilker, is a leading contender in the race. The opposition, promoting an unnamed candidate, is backed by an also highly-corrupt political boss named Jeffers Harvey. As seen in WFC #218 and The Brave and The Bold #113, the unnamed candidate has a full head of auburn hair and looks a little like Robert Redford from The Candidate. Batman speaks of both candidates as being corrupt. Choosing the lesser of two evils, Bruce publicly throws his support in for the Harvey-backed candidate anyway. Bruce will follow the mayoral campaigns closely.

–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America #115. Superman meets with the JLA to report on some big news. As seen in the Batman-less World’s Finest Comics #212, the Man of Steel has just met with Martian Manhunter on the planet Vonn where he helped free all the Martians from the enslavement of the Thythen race, after which the Martians proclaimed the start of a new permanent home for their civilization, renaming Vonn as New Mars!

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Detective Comics #424 by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown, & Dick Giordano (1972)

–Detective Comics #424
After a bank robbery seemingly gone awry, ending with the masked crooks running off empty-handed but with a security guard accidentally shooting a banker dead, Batman and Commissioner Gordon study the tape. Batman sees that the security guard killed the banker on purpose, so he tails him and learns that he was indeed in cahoots with the robbers. After busting the robbers, Batman visit’s the banker’s wife and, via spying on her with binoculars, learns that she is in cahoots with her lover, Burgess. They set up the whole fake robbery to kill off her hubby, and now she wants Burgess to get rid of the loose end: the security guard. In the subway, Batman watches as Burgess shoves the guard onto the tracks. Batman saves the guard, cuffs him, and takes his clothes. Disguised as the guard, Batman returns and freaks-out Burgess, who admits to his malfeasance. Burgess, the banker’s wife, and the guard all go to jail.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #423 Part 2 and Detective Comics #424 Part 2. Mrs. Gordon goes to Washington! The special Congressional election is held and Babs wins, becoming the youngest-ever US Congresswoman at only 22-years-old! (One must be 25-years-old to be a House Representative in real life, so we must assume that’s not the case in the DCU.) Babs bids adieu to her dad and breaks-up with her boyfriend, private eye Jason Bard, in order to move to Washington DC and focus on her new career. Babs also retires as Batgirl—or tries to, anyway. It won’t be long before she’s going on Batgirl adventures in the capital city.

–Detective Comics #425-426
Bruce gets a backstage pass for the annual Shakespeare in the Park performance, which is Macbeth, directed by Del Sartre. When someone tries to kill the lead actor Barry Johnstone, Batman is called-in to act as security. Sure enough, an errant gun shot nearly takes down Johnstone on stage, but Batman saves him and chases the would-be killer, a masked man that escapes in a horse and carriage. After investigating the cast members as both Bruce and Batman, no one stands out as a clear suspect. The next day, Batman realizes that the culprit is actor Ezra Jimson. Batman also realizes that Jimson has put explosives into the cauldron set piece. During the performance, the Dark Knight runs on stage and throws the cauldron into the woods where it explodes. An unhinged Jimson, angry at Sartre’s bastardization of Shakespeare, wanted to kill everyone involved.

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Detective Comics #426 by Frank Robbins & Ben Oda (1972)

Batman busts a would-be burglar and comes across the dead body of J Arnheim, one of Gotham’s most famous citizens, who has committed suicide. At police HQ, Batman learns that two other famous Gothamites have committed suicide within the past few days. Batman asks gossip columnist Gingie if she has any dirt on the dead men, and only gambling debts seem to link them together. After some investigation, Batman disguises himself as debonair playboy John T Hazard and visits Fortune Wheel, an illegal casino on a yacht moored in one of Gotham’s bays. After reckless bets and collecting big wins, “Hazard” draws the attention of Conway Treach, who invites him to a private cabin in the woods for a high stakes game of Russian Roulette. Treach had played against the three suicides and won thanks to a rigged gun. Treach preps for the game, but when he turns around “Hazard” is gone and Batman sits in his place. Calling Treach’s bluff, Batman challenges him to a game of Russian Roulette! (For as much as I’ve dunked on him, this Russian Roulette scene is one of Frank Robbins’ finer moments, both narratively and artistically. It’s wild. Cool stuff.) In the end, the rigged gun never goes off and Batman has enough evidence to put Treach away for a long time.

–Adventure Comics #423
An evil alien named Gur partially mind-controls both Superman and Supergirl via special sci-fi glasses that are stuck on their faces. Aboard Gur’s submersible hideout, Gur orders Superman to convince the JLA to put on the glasses as well. When Superman departs, Supergirl takes down all of Gur’s men until he is able to control her again. Gur then tasks Supergirl to brutally execute a disturbed alien creature. Feeling bad about Gur’s actions, Gur’s brother orders Supergirl to do it using heat vision, knowing that she will melt off her glasses. With the glasses gone, Supergirl is free to take down Gur. Aboard the JL Satellite, Superman does a creepy oleaginous sales pitch, telling his teammates to put on the glasses. Supergirl crashes into the Satellite and, soon, she is allied with the JLA against the Man of Steel. Hal destroys Superman’s glasses, ending his threat. Meanwhile, back aboard the alien sub, Gur is defeated and restrained by his own men.

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Detective Comics #427 by Frank Robbins, Irv Novick, & Dick Giordano (1972)

–Detective Comics #427
When a toy manufacturer is shot dead by a remote-controlled doll, Batman and Commissioner Gordon are on the case. While Batman and Gordon interrogate the toy manufacturer’s partner at the scene of the crime, Adam Cornelius, head of the League to Outlaw Violence (LOV), a consumer watchdog group that regulates toys and games, arrives to meet with the deceased. While Batman and Gordon talk to Cornelius, the gun-toting toy descends the side of the building and escapes. Batman nabs a thief on a window-washing rig outside of the window, but he’s got nothing to do with the murder case at hand. After learning about disgruntled former toy factory employee Anton Gralnik, Batman visits Gralnik’s workshop. There, the remote-control toy doll fires his gun at Batman, but the Dark Knight is saved by a cupid statue, which he has used as a makeshift bulletproof vest. Batman then follows the doll to the LOV Institute, tracking it to its master Cornelius. Batman confronts Cornelius, who accidentally activates the doll, who seemingly calls Cornelius by name before shooting him dead. Was the doll Cornelius’ puppet? Or was the sentient doll the one really pulling the strings? Those are hypothetical questions. The End.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #245. Bruce decides enough is enough and publicly withdraws his endorsement and support for the corrupt mayoral candidate associated with dishonest political boss Jeffers Harvey.

–REFERENCE: In World’s Finest Comics #232. Batman gets word that Whitey Lewis has died in Gotham State Prison.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #417 and Detective Comics #437. It’s been about three months since the Victims Incorporated Program was last mentioned in any comics (in ‘tec #417), and even longer since we’ve seen Bruce involved in any Victims Inc cases. And we won’t hear mention of Victims Inc in the future either. Therefore, we must assume Bruce either now becomes totally hands-off with the program or that the program now ends. I’d lean toward the latter. Furthermore, Bruce decides to dive headlong into his cosseted playboy act like he’s never done before. Wanting to further distance the Bruce persona from Batman (and also because he needs a break every once in a while), Bruce pumps-up his effete snob routine to the max. Commissioner Gordon notices that Bruce has changed and he doesn’t like it one bit. While not necessarily seen on our timeline below, Bruce will piss-off Gordon here-and-there, moving forward through the rest of the calendar year.

–REFERENCE: In World’s Finest Comics #268 Part 1. As part of his move to pump up his playboy persona, Bruce begins purchasing rare coins at public auctions. Bruce (or at least writer Cary Burkett) thinks that rare coin-collecting is a dicty effete endeavor that hoity-toity rich folk are into. Is it? Maybe. I don’t really know. Is comic book collecting? Never mind. Don’t answer that. Anyway, Morgan Edge is legitimately into rare coins. Bruce and Edge purchase coins at the same auctions and talk about coin-collecting. (By the way, this is the real Edge, whose evil clone was recently killed.)

Batman #243

Batman #243 by Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams, & Dick Giordano (1972)

–Batman #242-243
Batman decides that he must bring down Rā’s al Ghūl and the League of Assassins at any cost. After doing some research and prep work, Batman puts his plan into action. Not knowing how long his war against the League of Assassins could take, but not wanting his Bruce Wayne obligations to interfere, Bruce fakes his own death in a South American plane crash. Presumably, a funeral is held. Batman then tells Commissioner Gordon that he’ll be going off the radar for an unspecified amount of time. Then, the Dark Knight begins recruiting specialists to aid him on this mission. First up is mobster Matches Malone. Upon being approached by Batman, Malone flees and winds up accidentally shooting himself to death. Undeterred by this setback, Batman simply disguises himself as Malone and moves onto his next recruit, scientist Dr. Harris Blaine. “Malone” saves Blaine from Lo Ling, a League of Assassins hitman, before inviting him to join Batman’s crusade against Rā’s al Ghūl. Ling strikes again, which leads to a fight between the killer and Batman. Eventually, Ling falls off a roof and Batman saves his life, causing him to becomes confused as to whom he should pledge allegiance. Unsure of whether to carry out Rā’s al Ghūl’s bidding or join up with Batman, Ling determines that if the Caped Crusader can best him in an official martial arts match, then he will ally with the side of good. Sure enough, with Robin (disguised as Malone) watching, Batman bests Ling, who joins Team Batman. Nineteen hours later, Batman (as Malone), Ling, and Blaine arrive via private jet in Switzerland. At the airport, the trio spots Talia and Ubu. Batman fights Ubu and confronts Talia, but gets clobbered by international ski champion Molly Post, allowing for Talia and Ubu to run off. Molly apologizes for her actions and, upon learning of Batman’s mission, joins up with his team, citing that her fiancé’s life was ruined by Rā’s al Ghūl and she wants revenge. Shortly thereafter, the foursome travels to the base of Rā’s al Ghūl’s Swiss Alps stronghold, fighting their way to a cable car and besting several Brotherhood of the Demon soldiers. After scaling a mountain, they enter the Brotherhood compound. There, Batman takes out Ubu before Talia enters. She kisses him and reveals the corpse of a deceased Rā’s al Ghūl! Dumbfounded, the Bat-team exits with their mission seemingly done. After leaving, Rā’s al Ghūl’s body lowers into a Lazarus Pit and he is resurrected!

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Batman #244 by Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams, & Dick Giordano (1972)

–Batman #244-245
Picking up directly from Batman #243, Batman, Dr. Harris Blaine, Molly Post, and Lo Ling descend from the Brotherhood of the Demon chalet with a captive Talia only to witness a raging out-of-control Rā’s al Ghūl charging toward them. A shocked Ling exclaims that the rumors are true—that Rā’s al Ghūl is an immortal that has been resurrected from death countless times! Having just been revived, Rā’s al Ghūl is under the temporary drug-like frenzy of the Lazarus Pit fluid. He crushes Ling with one punch and tosses Batman aside like a child before Talia calms him down. Father and daughter take off in a hovercraft. Batman and Molly put on skis and take to the slopes, chasing after them. Molly glides ahead and manages to disable the hovercraft, but injures herself. Batman abandons the chase to get Molly medical help. Batman then tracks the al Ghūls to a Saharan desert camp. Impressed at his detective work and persistence, Rā’s al Ghūl challenges Batman to a sword duel. In the heat of the setting desert sun, the shirtless warriors face off. In one of the most famous and epic moments in the history of Batman comics, swords clank and clash until a scorpion bites the Dark Knight’s ankle. Rā’s al Ghūl claims victory and leaves Batman to die. A teary-eyed Talia kisses Batman and gives him an anti-venom. Rejuvenated, Batman storms back into the League of Assassins camp and takes out Rā’s al Ghūl with one swift punch to the face. After passionately kissing Talia, Batman hauls a captive Rā’s al Ghūl through the desert and into custody. Upon returning to Gotham, Batman finds that corrupt political boss Bilker has used the “death” of Bruce Wayne to his advantage by accusing his rival Jeffers Harvey, head of the oppositional campaign, of murdering Bruce. Batman talks to both Bilker and Harvey before visiting candidate McCutcheon’s campaign HQ. There, Bilker produces a hand signed note, autographed by Bruce himself on Wayne Enterprises private stationary, saying that he is worried that Harvey is coming after him. Batman immediately sees that it’s a forgery and visits the inventor of a handwritten letter simulation machine, Osgood Peabody. Peabody electrocutes Batman, nearly killing him, but the Dark Knight survives. Batman tails Peabody, who meets with Bilker and the latter’s henchmen. Batman saves Peabody’s life from Bilker and his man, after which Peabody delivers a full confession. McCutcheon is scandalized and drops out of the race. Gordon tells Batman that Harvey’s candidate—despite also being corrupt—will all but surely win the mayoral election as there is little to no other opposition. Batman then flies down to South America where Bruce makes a miraculous return, having been “lost in the jungle” after his “crash.”


–The Brave and The Bold #102 Part 2
Early June. Batman returns to Barclayville to find the neighborhood revitalized and cleaned-up thanks to the combined efforts of the local residents, the Young Aquarians, and the Teen Titans. After learning that Sonny Trask is set to be released from prison, Batman does some investigating and then visits Angel Lee and to drop a bombshell on her. Batman makes her take a closer look at her ledger book for Trask’s illegal business dealings. She is clearly being set up to take the fall for him. The next day, a huge block party is held in Barclayville. Trask and his goons accost the Aquarians and a fight breaks out. As Batman intervenes, Trask pulls a firearm. Angel pulls her own heater and shoots (non-fatally) Trask down. The next day, Batman visits City hall and gets approval to make Barclayville a government-protected historical site. The Dark Knight, the Teen Titans, and the Aquarians erect a special historical marker in the center of the neighborhood.

–REFERENCE: In a flashback from Teen Titans #44. With its membership seeking to focus on individual endeavors, the Teen Titans disband. Batman likely hears about this directly from Robin.[8]

–REFERENCE: In Green Lantern Vol. 2 #85–86 and Green Lantern/Green Arrow #5-6. The famous “Snowbirds Don’t Fly” arc occurs. Batman isn’t a part of this item, but he and (especially) Robin would surely be in the know. Green Arrow learns that his sidekick Speedy (Roy Harper) is a heroin user. (Speedy has been doing heroin for a while now, but the loss of the Teen Titans, combined with the fact that Green Arrow has been spending more time with Hal Jordan than him lately, has caused him to spiral out of control.) Green Arrow busts a bunch of drug dealers and forces Speedy to quit cold turkey. Tough love.

–REFERENCE: In Batman with Robin and Galexo News Strip 4/8/1972 to 4/25/1972. Batman is visited by one of his biggest admirers, an alien superhero named Galexo, who forges a psychic link with the Dark Knight and speaks to him via ESP. The strange visitor explains that he first made contact with humans during a NASA moon landing (likely the Apollo 15, 16, or 17 missions in 1971-1972) and has been a government secret ever since. After showing Batman some alien tech, Galexo warns the Dark Detective about expedited global climate change, revealing that Earth’s weather patterns are rapidly changing and water levels are dramatically rising thanks to the actions of an unknown party (the super-villain known as The Khan). He shows Batman a photo of an Antarctic volcanic fissure—opened-up by the Khan—that is causing all the ice to melt. Galexo tells Batman that the Earth will be flooded unless they stop the villain responsible for causing the magma flow. Batman tasks his new pal with continuing the investigation, citing that he will call upon him in the near future.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #439. Bruce is awarded an honorary degree from Yale Law School.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #272. Mid June. Bruce attends another annually held charity ball held by JP Vandermeer.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #330. Batman intervenes in an altercation between some opposing redneck clans, busting one clan’s leader after he kills his rivals, the Cooper Brothers.

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Justice League of America #102 by Len Wein, Dick Dillin, & Joe Giella (1972)

–Justice League of America #100-102
The Justice League celebrates its official 100th meeting by deciding to hold a party in the old Secret Sanctuary. Everyone is invited, including the entire current lineup, Elongated Man, Martian Manhunter, Diana, Metamorpho, Snapper Carr, Adam Strange, and Zatanna. J’onn and Adam Strange are too far away to attend, and Snapper is still too embarrassed about his betrayal of the team, so he declines as well. After finishing patrol in Gotham, Batman picks up Diana and they arrive at the party together. At the party, everyone takes notice as Green Arrow and Hawkman don’t get along very well. (This is the start of bad blood between the two, mostly due to political differences.) Before the heroes can even cut the cake, they are all transported to the JSA HQ on Earth-2! Dr. Fate tells the Earth-1 heroes that they need their help, showing them that a giant demonic hand—courtesy of a super-villain called The Iron Hand—is literally gripping and crushing Earth-2. Through his scrying ball, Dr. Fate sees a flickering image of the tombstone of the “Unknown Soldier of Victory.” Seeking more information, Dr. Fate, Yz, and Zatanna join hands and perform a summoning ritual that brings forth the towering bearded cosmic being known as Oracle. Oracle tells the heroes that, years ago, a great battle was waged on Earth-2, pitting the cosmic monster known as Nebula-Man versus The Seven Soldiers of Victory (Earth-2 Crimson Avenger, Earth-2 Green Arrow, Earth-2 Speedy, Earth-2 Vigilante, Shining Knight, Star-Spangled Kid, and Stripesy) and Crimson Avenger’s sidekick Wing How. The Seven Soldiers—aka Law’s Legionnaires—defeated Nebula-Man, but at a great cost. They were not only erased from the collective memories of everyone on Earth-2, but each member of the team was lost in time. Oracle tasks the heroes with traveling through Earth-2’s timeline to rescue each of the Seven Soldiers. Only Diana decides to stay behind with the Oracle (although she’ll soon be joined by Earth-2 Robin, Alan Scott, and Mr. Terrific). As the heroes split into groups and prepare to depart, Oracle shows them the origin story of the Seven Soldiers, who joined together to take on a team of super-villains led by The Hand (aka The Iron Hand) in 1941—as originally seen in Leading Comics #1. Dr. Fate, the Atom, and Elongated Man travel to the 15th century Aztec Empire to rescue Crimson Avenger, who has become the king of the Aztecs. Superman, Sandman, and Metamorpho travel to 13th century Mongolia to rescue Shining Knight (and his flying horse Victory). Shining Knight has become Earth-2 Genghis Khan‘s personal bodyguard. Dr. Mid-Nite, Hawkman, and Earth-2 Wonder Woman travel to 13th century Nottingham to help the Earth-2 Merry Men rescue Earth-2 Green Arrow, who has replaced an injured Earth-2 Robin Hood. Batman, Starman, and Hourman travel to Ancient Egypt (during the reign of Akhenaten) where they rescue Stripesy, who has been enslaved. Green Arrow, Black Canary, Johnny Thunder, and Yz travel to the Wild West to rescue Vigilante from being executed by Native Americans. Aquaman, Hal Jordan, and Earth-2 Wildcat travel to 50,000 BCE to rescue Star-Spangled Kid from some angry cavemen. Flash, Zatanna, and Red Tornado travel to Ancient Greece where they save Earth-2 Speedy, who has turned into a centaur, from Earth-2 Circe. Back at JSA HQ, the three superhero teams assemble. Crimson Avenger reveals that the “Unknown Soldier of Victory” is Wing How, the unofficial “eighth soldier” that died while fighting Nebula-Man. All of a sudden, the Iron Hand appears with Diana as a hostage. But before he can make demands, Diana kicks his ass and takes him down. Unfortunately, he is unable to stop his giant hand, revealed as made up of the energy remnants of Nebula-Man. The “Nebuloid Hand” continues squeezing the planet to death. The JLA and JSA help the Seven Soldiers construct a Nebula-Rod—the missile weapon that they used to defeat Nebula-Man years ago. Knowing that delivery of the Nebula-Rod is a suicide mission, the heroes argue over who should go. But before they can decide, Red Tornado selflessly acts, exploding the Nebula-Rod to destroy the hand and save the world, seemingly sacrificing himself in the process. The heroes mourn the loss of Red Tornado. SPOILER: Red Tornado isn’t actually dead.

–REFERENCE: In The Brave and The Bold #144. Batman isn’t a part of this item (which occurs in Flash #217-219), but he would be well aware of its details. After Green Arrow accidentally kills a crook, he decides to reset his life, joining a Zen Buddhist monastery under the tutelage of Master Jensen. Green Arrow will spend the next two months at the monastery. He and his “Arrow-Family” comrades will always be linked to this monastery, moving forward.

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Detective Comics #428 by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown, & Dick Giordano (1972)

–Detective Comics #428
Commissioner Gordon tasks Batman with secretly watching over hotheaded and violent GCPD Detective Steve “Shotgun” Smith, who has the most successful narcotics busts in Gotham, but who also often uses unnecessary (and sometimes lethal) force. Batman helps Shotgun take down some drug pushers, witnessing Shotgun’s reckless police brutality first hand. After Batman complains to Gordon, the Commish tells the Dark Detective that it’s cool and to stick with him. When Batman suspects Shotgun might be on the take, he (as Bruce) tails him. As night falls, Batman watches as Shotgun apparently makes a drug deal. Batman swoops-in and begins fighting Shotgun, who pulls his punches but hits hard enough to knock the Caped Crusader silly. Shotgun then meets with top drug peddler Big Wheel only to turn the tables and make the bust. Unfortunately, Big Wheel’s men have kidnapped Shotgun’s teenage daughter Maryanne, forcing Shotgun to back down. Batman enters, saves Maryanne, and helps Shotgun arrest the bad guys.

–World’s Finest Comics #214
Batman begins restudying the latest in occultism and supernaturalism. Meanwhile, across the country, in the Badlands of Montana, Clark does a WGBS documentary feature on a rodeo. Clark interviews several cowboys, including instructor Vigilante (Greg Sanders). After his film reels get trampled by cattle, Clark decides to visit Batman. After watching the Dark Knight bust some Gotham crooks, Superman asks if Batman can fix his reels. He only has the correct tools in the closed Batcave, so they go there and pull the covers off of the film equipment. After the reels are fixed, Superman and Batman watch the doc footage. Batman notices that one of the cowboys is a werewolf! Superman then rushes back to Montana to find Vigilante, sure enough, engaged in combat with a cowboy werewolf. Together, they fight the werewolf until Vigilante shoots him dead.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #457. June 26. Batman, as he does every year, goes to visit Dr. Leslie Thompkins on Crime Alley to honor the anniversary of his parents’ deaths. Upon arrival, Batman rescues an unnamed drunk from some would-be muggers. Afterward, Batman hangs-out with Leslie for a bit.

–Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip 11/5/1971 to 1/28/1972 (“The Secrets in Grandma Chilton’s Scrapbook”)
Alice Chilton has a heart attack and winds up in the hospital. Presumably, Bruce and Dick visit her there. Later, Mom Chilton’s hospital stay draws a visit from her semi-estranged grandson Mike Chilton (Joe Chill’s son)! Mike rummages through his grandma’s attic, finding her Bat-scrap book, which reveals Batman’s secret ID to the young man. Via connecting dots in the scrapbook, Mike is shocked to discover that his dad killed Batman’s parents. Instead of feeling bad, Mike becomes enraged, blaming Batman for his own dad’s death and vowing revenge. After studying geological maps of the Wayne Manor property, Mike enters the closed-up Batcave and finds definitive proof that Bruce is Batman. He also steals blueprints for the Wayne Foundation building and the Bat-Bunker in its basement. After infiltrating the Bat-Bunker and navigating around all the alarms, Mike taps into the hotline phone and calls Bruce up in the penthouse to anonymously threaten him. The ingenious Mike then leaves a false clue before boobytrapping some spare utility belt supplies and taking-off. Batman follows the false clue to the abandoned mine shaft hideout of international criminal Fancy-Foot Frankie (Francois LeClerc). Batman, recognizing Fancy-Foot Frankie from his crime-files, immediately busts him. Soon after, Mike leaves a Riddler-esque note in the Bat-Bunker, which challenges Batman to come to the local carnival fun house. In the House of Mirrors, Batman wanders through a razor-walled maze (like the one at the end of the original Tales From the Crypt film) while Mike—using the name “Mike Chill”—reveals who he is over loudspeakers. Mike switches off the lights. When Batman grabs his flashlight, he can tell it’s been tampered with. Throwing it into the darkness, it explodes. The blast fatally wounds Mike. With his dying breath, Mike tells Batman that he’s sent the truth about his secret ID to a major news outlet. Back home, Bruce calls Robin to tell him about what has occurred. In the morning, Clark calls Bruce and tells him that he has been mailed Mike Chill’s information about Batman! The Dynamic Duo’s secret is safe. (A Bruce thought bubble incorrectly tells us that Alfred doesn’t know Superman and Clark are one and the same. Alfred would definitely know, so we should ignore this.) Meanwhile, at Hudson University, Dick is kidnapped by crooks that want to get a million dollars of ransom money from Bruce. Since the next Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip arc, which deals with Dick’s abduction, is non-canon, we must simply assume that Bruce prepares the ransom money, but winds up (as Batman) saving Dick and busting the kidnappers without spending a dime.[9]

–Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip 3/8/1972 to 4/3/1972 (“Dick Grayson: Skyjacked!”)
Following Dick’s abduction ordeal, Bruce and Dick go to the penthouse. Alfred returns the unspent ransom money (a million dollars cash) back to the safe—because, yes, Bruce and Alfred keep millions in cash inside their apartment! The next morning, Dick takes a short passenger flight back to New Carthage (even though it’s only a couple hours away by car). He has classes to attend at Hudson University, so that means he must be taking summer courses. Dick’s flight is hijacked by a desperate man with a bad heart condition, who has been stalking a famous cardiologist, Dr. Baker, that is also aboard the plane. The hijacker tells the pilot that he will blow up the plane unless they land in Cuba and gets treated by Dr. Baker. The pilot agrees, but only after negotiating a landing to let the other passengers off. When the passengers disembark, Dick calls Batman for assistance, but he is on unspecified business with Commissioner Gordon. (We learn via reference in Batman with Robin and Galexo News Strip 4/5/1972 to 4/11/1972 that Bruce’s longtime business manager has died, forcing Bruce to step-up and really be a present and active face at Wayne Enterprises, the Wayne Foundation, and his other company holdings. Knowing that he’ll need to take a short break as Batman so sort out his affairs, Bruce—as Batman—meets with Gordon to tell him that Batman will be taking a short hiatus and Galexo will be subbing for him! Batman also decides that, after sorting out his business stuff, the Bat-Family crimefighting operations will “go global” in order to deal with the weather pattern case that Galexo has been working on.) Before the hijacked plane can takeoff again, Dick blocks the runway with a commandeered utility truck. Inside the plane, the hijacker has a heart seizure and keels over, ending his threat. Dick then phones Bruce to tell him what happened. Bruce tells Dick that he will be coming to Hudson to speak with him about an important matter (the Galexo thing/weather pattern problem) tomorrow.


Batman with Robin and Galexo News Strip by EM Stout & Fran Matera (1972)

–Batman with Robin and Galexo News Strip 4/4/1972 to 8/26/1972 (“The Duo Becomes a Trio”)[10]
Bruce presumably attends the funeral service for his deceased business manager before heading to Hudson University. There, Bruce tells Dick what has happened and that they’ll be working with a new partner. Bruce then spends the week sorting out his company affairs and likely hiring a new business manager. Bruce also introduces Galexo to Gotham’s government and law enforcement officials, and starts “Project Save the World,” a Wayne Foundation-funded program designed to support Galexo in his effort to solve the climate change case. As part of this endeavor, Bruce’s scientists use Galexo’s alien tech to construct two nuclear-powered super-jets. At the end of the week, during which Galexo presumably patrols Gotham, Dick visits the penthouse to meet the newest member of the Bat-Family. Bruce and Galexo explain to Dick the full situation. The trio then flies in the super-jet to Antarctica where they run afoul of the Khan’s henchmen. Bruce and Dick flee in the super-jet while Galexo sneaks aboard an enemy plane. Hours later, upon landing in Outer Mongolia, Galexo discovers that the Khan is responsible for the weather chaos. Galexo joins locals Solaria and Paul to fight-off a horde of the Khan’s men. Meanwhile, as all the coastlines in the Western Hemisphere begin to flood, many of the major cities, including Gotham, lose power. As a couple days pass, mass riots begin all over North America—and President Ford even abandons the US capital. Galexo rejoins Batman and Robin to fly the super-jet to Antartica. There, they use smart-bombs to close-up the volcanic fissure, stopping the magma flow. Some of the Khan’s soldiers shoot down the super-jet, forcing Batman and Robin to camp-out while Galexo flies to Gotham to retrieve the other super-jet. In the blacked-out city, Galexo finds looters raiding the Wayne Foundation building. Upon busting them, Galexo discovers that the Khan has found out Batman and Robin’s secret IDs. Galexo picks-up the Dynamic Duo, fills them in, and returns them home. With global water levels holding steady, and with power restored and emergency services working overtime, calm and order returns to Gotham (and the rest of the US). Batman orders Robin to return to Hudson University. After helping Galexo stock-up the super-jet, Robin goes back to New Carthage. Bruce ramps-up security at the Wayne Foundation building. Galexo then flies toward the Khan’s Outer Mongolian HQ. En route, a saddened Galexo laments that, thanks to the Khan, several icebergs and glaciers have melted in Greenland, permanently hurting the planet. In Outer Mongolia, Galexo bombs the Khan’s camp and rescues Solaria and Paul. And so ends the arc! (Batman with Robin and Galexo continues onward until at least January 1973, but Batman and Robin don’t make any more appearances in the strip. The following arc, from Batman with Robin and Galexo News Strip 10/29/1972 to 1/28/1973, shows Galexo, Solaria, and Paul bring down the Khan’s entire army. But the Khan escapes and goes into hiding in Australia where Galexo, Solaria, and Paul become an official international crimefighting trio, even settling into a home-base in Darwin. Unable to locate a very well hidden Khan, Galexo and company simply move on, getting involved in local Outback affairs.) We must assume that Galexo is in constant ESP contact with Batman, filling him in on everything. Since the Galexo strips from 1973-1974 have never been archived, little to nothing is known about what happens to Galexo next. All we know is that we won’t ever see Galexo (or Solaria or Paul) again. Therefore, we must make some assumptions of our own. We must assume that Galexo, Solaria, and Paul find the Khan and bring him to justice (or kill him). It’s highly possible, if the Khan survives, that Galexo erases his knowledge of Batman and Robin’s secret IDs too. We can then either assume that Galexo stays-on as a permanent Australia-based superhero or that he departs to police a distant part of the universe. I’d assume the latter. After all, Galexo came to Earth to save it from the Khan. With his mission over, he’d likely venture forth to save other planets in need. Thus ends the strange saga of Galexo!

–REFERENCE: In World’s Finest Comics #234. Bruce accepts a NASA contract for the Wayne Enterprises to build a titanium skin for use on a special space project—a deep space vessel that will be piloted by androids in an effort to see if humans could permanently live in outer space (with the eventual goal of traveling to and colonizing Mars).

–The Brave and The Bold #100
July—our story is set specifically in July, plus it occurs after Speedy’s heroin addiction outing. So, here it stays, out of numerical order. Batman investigates an international drug ring run by a mobster named Belknap. After interrogating a dying dealer, Batman learns the group’s secret communication codes. While leaving a meeting at City Hall, Batman is shot in the chest by sniper linked to the cartel. With the bullet lodged near his heart, Batman is stabilized but in critical condition at Gotham Hospital. He must wait three days until Dr. Hellstrom, the best heart surgeon in the world, can arrive from Zurich. Upon regaining consciousness, Batman is told the news, and also told that he must remain immobilized until the surgery. But Batman demands a wheelchair and scoots out of the hospital. After being collected by Alfred, a bandaged Batman, unable to leave his chair, sits atop the Wayne Foundation Building and broods. The next day, Dick visits Bruce. Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Robin will take over protection of Gotham while Batman is out of commission. Before their patrol together, the heroes meet. Green Arrow mentions his heartbreak over Speedy’s heroin addiction. Guided by Batman on the radio, the four heroes go after Belknap’s men. From Switzerland, Belknap arranges several fake drug deals, which infuriate the heroes. After a few days, Batman goes under the knife, but Belknap himself has kidnapped Dr. Hellstrom and replaced him at the surgery table! Batman, seeing something is off, freaks-out and activates his emergency signal watch. Robin, Black Canary, Green Arrow, and Green Lantern, rush-in to make the save. Green Lantern then uses his ring to transport the real Dr. Hellstrom to Gotham. The heroes find Belknap’s drug shipment hidden in Hellstrom’s equipment, after which the doc performs successful surgery, saving Batman’s life.

–The Brave and The Bold #103-104
Pentagon officials call Batman into a secret briefing, revealing the existence of a military AI defense super-computer located in an impenetrable underground chamber hidden deep beneath the desert in the American Southwest. This AI, nicknamed “John Doe,” has the ability to control the entire American missile network, but it has just seemingly gained full sentience and gone rogue. But instead of Skynet-level rogue, John Doe is acting like a spoiled teenage robot, holding the entire American missile defense network hostage for no apparent reason. Batman visits the apartment of Dr. Brian Cosgrove, the scientist that created John Doe, only to find a butler speaking in hushed tones on the phone. Batman finds a shell at Cosgrove’s apartment, which leads him to Cosgrove’s other home in Annibel Island, Florida. There, Batman finds Cosgrove dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Thankfully, the paranoid Cosgrove has recorded all his phone conversations. Batman listens and hears the butler command Cosgrove to kill himself. Batman detects the butler’s use of hypnotic suicide-inducing frequencies courtesy of John Doe. Back at the Pentagon, Batman communicates with the AI, accusing it of murder. Later, as part of his investigation, Batman hears word about a Robot Liberation conference. He also hears word that the Metal Men will be in the audience. (The Metal Men haven’t been active as a team in over two years—not since their founder Will Magnus was captured and brainwashed by a foreign dictator. The Metal Men now believe Magnus to be dead, but he is actually recovering in a psychiatric hospital.) Secretly watching from the rafters, Batman bears witness as most of the DCU’s sentient robot community gathers to discuss the Asimovian singularity and promote revolutionary freedom from human oppression! A robot called X-174-Z delivers a fiery sermon about the dire need for robo-supremacy. Unknown to Batman, X-174-Z is Cosgrove’s butler and John Doe has organized the event! After the conference, Batman gives a copy of Magnus’ last will and testament to the Metal Men, which inspires them to help the Dark Knight. Soon afterward, the Metal Men descend into John Doe’s underground base. Upon arrival, they raise their fists and declare an allegiance with the powerful AI, citing the start of a robot revolution! Despite dangerously high levels of radiation, Batman descends into the caverns below and enters the base to find that the Metal Men are still on the side of humanity. The Metal Men and Batman then fight their way through the base and shut down John Doe’s memory banks. But the AI’s reserve memory kicks-in. While singing a silly song, John Doe begins a sequence that will launch all of America’s nukes. However, at the last second, the confused AI self-destructs, ending its threat.

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The Brave and The Bold #104 by Bob Haney & Jim Aparo (1972)

Batman (wielding an assault rifle that is loaded with blanks just for show) aids the police in busting a gang of car thieves. Once the gun smoke clears, Batman unmasks one of the thieves to reveal a surgically-altered Waxey Doyle, who had previously gone MIA almost a decade ago. While Mac does an autopsy to confirm Doyle’s ID, Batman checks national police records, learning that several recent Most Wanted DOAs have had surgical work done on them. After finding a matchbook clue among Doyle’s fake credentials, Batman visits Pygmalion Spa in the Florida Keys. Disguised as “Howard Sanford,” Batman checks-into the resort, which he believes is a front for a doctor that cuts crook’s faces to give them a second chance at crime. After relaxing and enjoying the amenities, Batman sneaks into the off-limits area where spa directors Richie Wandrus and Lilly Lang reside. After getting beaten-up by guards, “Sanford” is ejected from the resort. Batman then reaches-out to Deadman, who meets with him in Gotham (briefly taking over Commissioner Gordon’s body). Deadman visits Hill’s Brothers Circus and gets another message—this time a cryptic dialogue about love from Rama Kushna (through a possessed Vashnu). Then it’s off to the Florida Keys. Deadman takes control of Wandrus’ body and infiltrates the private side of the resort to discover an entire surgical center, document-forging operation, and training gym for criminals that want a fresh start. For several days, Deadman stays in his role as Wandrus—taking soundings, gathering evidence, and unfortunately, hooking-up with an unsuspecting Lilly. While we obviously don’t see any sex on panel, we do see them passionately kissing a handful of times—and it is also heavily implied that they sleep together. So, yes, in this issue Deadman uses his powers in the most unforgivably rapey way imaginable. After a couple more days, Deadman falls head-over-heels for Lilly. Likewise, Lilly, seeing a different and more loving side of “Wandrus” than ever before, begins to fall deeper in love as well. Bruce accuses Deadman of blowing the case, to which Deadman admits his feelings and begs him to let Lilly go free if he can convince her to shut down all illegalities. Bruce refuses. Later, Deadman tells Lilly the truth about who he is, but leaves out any parts about Batman or an ongoing sting operation. Surprisingly, Lilly is happy at what she hears and tells Deadman she loves him too. Deadman then sneaks into Bruce’s cabin and steals back the evidence against Lilly, prompting a furious Batman to enter the resort as a disguised crook. But Batman’s disguise fails and he winds up captured. Lilly orders Batman to be cut to look like a crook on the Most Wanted List. Deadman is able to fix-up Bruce’s face with make-up and drop him on the street, temporarily tricking Lilly into thinking that the surgery has been completed. After a confused Bruce takes a bullet in the arm from some cops, Deadman saves him and explains the situation before flying back to the resort. There, Lilly confronts Deadman and tells him she knows that he is working against her with the law. Angered, she pulls a gun on him, but Batman crashes through the window to stop her. Panicked and confused, Deadman pulls his own gun and shoots Lilly dead, hoping that somehow Rama Kushna will let her spirit join him. In tears of agony and frustration, Deadman flies away. Wandrus comes-to (with Deadman finally releasing control of him) and is shocked to find both his lover dead and Batman waiting to handcuff him. The resort is shut down and all’s not well that end’s very fucked up. Jeez, this one’s dark and unsettling across the board.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #301. Batman and Commissioner Gordon hear credible rumors about a secret crime kingpin in Gotham that has the power to mind-control sleeper agents in all facets of society. The rumor states that the secret kingpin controls his “wire-heads” via an ankh-shaped implant in the base of their skulls. Batman and Gordon take these rumors to heart, forming a task force within GCPD intelligence dedicated solely to investigating this threat. They also formulate a detailed plan of action, should this supposed puppet master activate his “wire-heads.” The task force will investigate for years to come, but will come up empty-handed. Batman and Gordon will periodically discuss the puppet-master and his ankh-enslaved “wire-heads,” moving forward.

–REFERENCE: In The Brave and The Bold #142. Batman becomes aware of a brand new drug syndicate in Gotham. After a cursory investigation, Batman is unable to discover the secret ID of the puppet-master running this new über syndicate. The Dark Knight will track this syndicate for the next few years. Unknown to Batman and the rest of the world, the leader of the syndicate is famous and beloved TV news anchor Montgomery “Monty” Walcott, who is basically a thinly-veiled analogue for Edward R Murrow (if Murrow were secretly a crook).

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Batman #246 by Frank Robbins, Dick Dillin, & Dick Giordano (1972)

–Batman #246
Batman is lured to Gotham’s tallest building by a fake Bat-Signal. Atop the tower, Batman finds a dummy of Robin with a striated arrow in it and a note that reads that Robin will “die again” the next evening at 11 o’clock. Panicked, Batman smashes into a nearby apartment and phones Dick in New Carthage, but can’t get ahold of him. The next morning, Bruce visits Hudson University, but can’t find Dick anywhere. At eleven o’clock, Batman visits the famous Striped-Arrow Country Club and bears witness to a live magic show wherein which a magician turns his assistant into a skewered dead Robin dummy. The magician extravagantly evades capture, leaving another note pointing to Gotham’s Cape Fear. The next night, by the pier, Batman finds yet another Robin dummy—this one drowned—along with a note that says the next night’s murder will be real. Twenty-four hours later, Batman finds yet another Robin dummy in St. Elmo’s Graveyard, where the taunting villain traps Batman inside a mausoleum. Batman escapes and realizes that his tormentor must be a serial-killer he’s sent to the clink in the past. After phoning Warden Howe, Batman learns that the Butcher (Emil Ravek) has been released from jail—his conviction overturned thanks to an appeal deeming the evidence used to originally put him away inadmissible. At Amos Raven‘s Waxworks Museum, Batman confronts the Butcher, who is decked-out in full medieval executioner garb and has an unconscious Robin captive and slumped in a guillotine. Batman takes down the Butcher and saves Robin.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #532. Batman busts some random crooks. This is a near impossible reference to place. In 1983’s Batman #532, Joker uses a bunch of random unnamed henchmen that Batman has busted, some even more than once in his illustrious past. We can assume he busts some of these guys here and now, but we’ll have to imagine others ahead on our timeline and, yet still, imagine Batman busting a random assortment of them for a second time as well.

–Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #128
After all these years, Lois still has the hots for Superman, and he is still coming up with elaborate ruses to dissuade her affection. This one is the topper. While Lois and Superman hangout at the beach to celebrate their friendship anniversary, Lois is attacked by frogmen assassins, but saved by the Man of Steel. Superman, as part of his plan, gives Lois an alien ring that causes her to phase into a parallel plane of existence. Basically, the ring-wearer becomes invisible and cannot be heard or touched by anyone, but can still see and experience everything around them as if they were physically present. Then, along with dozens of people (including the Justice League and Lois’ best friends Jimmy Olsen, Julie Spence, Marsha Mallow, and Kristen Cutler), a fake wedding is held between Superman and a Robot Lois Lane. Ghost Lois watches and can’t believe what she is seeing, following along as the “newlyweds” go to a mountain resort with all their friends in attendance for a big party. Eventually, two assassins disguised as wedding crashers blow-up the Robot Lois, prompting Superman to knock them out. The real Lois takes off her ring and becomes visible again. Superman and company then reveal what has happened. It’s unclear whether or not the frogmen and the wedding crashers were one and the same, or whether or not they were hired to be a part of the ruse. It would seem they’d have to absolutely be a part of Superman’s plan (in order for there to be a part of the plan that would serve as a warning to Lois). However, author Robert Kanigher implies that the assassins were not a part of the original plan. In either case, this is the last Lois Lane issue on our timeline. Thankfully, this throwback series, along with its ridiculous plots, and which seems to fit more in the 1950s than 1970s, can be put to bed.


Detective Comics #429 by Frank Robbins (1972)

–Detective Comics #429
A underground nuclear test preludes the appearance of a swarm of bats and a what appears to be a giant vampire bat near Hudson Dam. Shortly thereafter, a murder victim is found, seemingly drained of his blood. Batman and Alfred watch the news surrounding the events on TV, and when they see Kirk and Francine Langstrom being interviewed in Las Vegas, Batman suspects that Man-Bat is back. In Vegas, Batman preps for action and soon finds himself fighting against an evolved human bat creature, which, escapes capture. Batman realizes that it’s not Man-Bat, but She-Bat he’s dealing with! At Kirk’s basecamp, Kirk admits that Francine was bitten by a vampire bat, which triggered her mutation. Batman and Kirk chase She-Bat into the nearby caves and eventually subdue her. They rush Francine to a hospital where Batman demands that she get an emergency blood transfusion to remove the vampiric strain from her mutation. It’s unclear what happens to Francine legally—after all, she did murder someone. Since we’ll see Francine again in about a year’s time, we must assume that charges are dropped or that she gets a light probationary sentence. As we learn via reference in Man-Bat #1, Kirk decides not to give his wife the blood transfusion right away, citing that she is too weak. This delay will cause the vampire strain to remain active within her body.

–REFERENCE: In Swamp Thing #7. Businessman Nathan Ellery is hired as an executive at the Wayne Foundation. One of his first projects is to oversee the opening of a housing project called the Trans-European Homes for the Aged and Infirm. Bruce and Nate will work closely together, moving forward. Bruce will visit Ellery’s apartment on several occasions and meet his pet monkey. Meanwhile, Batman begins stalking a national criminal organization known as The Conclave. Unknown to Batman, the leader of the Conclave is none other than Ellery. Also unknown to Batman, the Conclave is secretly backed by the US Government.

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Detective Comics #430 by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown, & Nick Cardy (1972)

–Detective Comics #430
When a cold war between rival crime bosses Aldo Maxim and Pete Tanno starts to heat up, Batman goes undercover as criminal “Jobo Larch,” going so far as to plant a fake record in official police records (with his own fingerprints), alter his face using a heavy-duty semi-permanent disguise, and set up a fake residency in a seedy tenement. “Larch” then joins Maxim’s gang with hopes of preventing a gang war. When Maxim and his number one man Rack try to kill Tanno, Batman stops them, but he gets plunked on the head and suffers amnesia. Upon removing his mask at police HQ, Batman sees the strange face of a balding redheaded man staring back at him in the mirror. Combing through police files, Batman learns that he is Larch. Batman goes to Larch’s pad to find Rack and henchman Gort waiting to ambush him. But Batman knocks them out and finds his make-up kit. Still unsure of his true ID, Batman disguises himself as Rack and meets with Maxim. Soon after, Maxim and his men (including “Rack”) storm into Tanno’s condo, guns a-blazing. Batman switches back into his Bat-costume and takes down Maxim and company. Later, Batman removes all his disguises and sees good ol’ Bruce Wayne in the mirror. His memories are instantly jogged.

–REFERENCE: In World’s Finest Comics #215-216, World’s Finest Comics #221, and World’s Finest Comics #263. All of WFC #215-216 is a computer simulation run in the Fortress of Solitude, as revealed in WFC #263. Superman and Batman watch another computer-simulated adventure of their teenage Super-Sons. For this sim, Superman moves the clock ahead a few years to when the Super-Sons are around eighteen-years-old. In the sim, the Super-Adults feel their kids are out of line and in need of a challenge. Thus, the Man of Steel lifts an entire city, which is run by a crime boss, and moves it backward one day in time to use as a testing ground for the boys. Along with the crime boss’ jaded son, Batman Jr and Superman Jr successfully bring down the criminal element in the sim within the sim. Bruce Jr and Clark Jr then ride a motorcycle across the country together. In Barstow, California, the boys notice some strange behavior from the locals and decide to investigate in their crimefighting togs. After learning that a bunch of folks have gone missing, the heroes tussle with some cops before finding a hidden underground silo filled with the vanished people in cryogenic chambers. The mystery unravels, revealing that the town’s residents murdered some alien visitors and were putting themselves into cryo-freeze until they could reap treasure from a sealed UFO in the future. This led to a double-cross by one of the town leaders, who was trying to freeze everyone and steal the treasure for himself. Batman Jr and Superman Jr solve the case and bring the evildoer to justice. (Note that this item is not only a Super-Sons computer sim on Earth-1, but it also takes place in the “reality” of both Earth-154 and Earth-216.)

–Detective Comics #431
Bruce takes a vacation to a new Floridian resort called Maidstone Manor. After hanging poolside with the stuffy old patrons of the resort, Bruce sees some wanted action when a guest, businessman Mickey Ryan, is murdered and thrown off a roof. Batman nabs suspect Dr. Cheever Ballard, turning him over to local lawman Sheriff Al Carr. Ryan’s business partner Bernie Wilson says that Ballard had gotten into a rivalry with he and Ryan. Ballard admits wanting to kill Ryan, but says that he’s been framed. Batman quickly proves that Ballard is telling the truth and the good ol’ fashioned whodunnit begins. Batman first questions the deceased’s secretary Dorry Pitkin only to soon find her dead by a gunshot in her former boss’ ransacked room. Batman flushes-out the killer, Ryan, and busts him.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #304 Part 2. Bruce joins the Parkside Tennis Club (aka Gotham Tennis Club). From this point forward, Bruce will try to get in at least one hour of tennis a day, even while juggling Batman duties and Wayne Enterprises duties.

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Justice League of America #104 by Len Wein, Dick Dillin, & Dick Giordano (1973)

–Justice League of America #104
From his prison cell, Hector Hammond is able to use telepathy/telekinesis to awaken one of the Shaggy Men, sending him aboard the JL Satellite. There, Aquaman and Black Canary are bested by Shaggy Man #1 (who is aided by Hammond’s long-range telekinesis) in the Hall of Trophies. The Shaggy Man then rampages into the gym where Batman and the Atom are working out, besting them as well. Hawkman and Green Arrow—still not getting along—are able to set aside their differences to successfully blow-up the Shaggy Man, but he regenerates. The explosion damages the satellite’s life-support systems and causes it to fall out of Earth’s orbit. Once Flash goes down, it’s up to Superman to challenge the Shaggy Man. As they battle on the hull of the plummeting HQ, Green Lantern prevents the satellite from crashing into Earth. In an unnamed city, the Shaggy Man grows to King Kong size and climbs a tower. The JLA battles him with no success until Green Lantern is able to shrink him down to teeny tiny size, imprisoning him in a jar. As referenced in Justice League of America #186, the Shaggy Man jar is put into a safe location aboard the JL Satellite.

–Detective Comics #432
When an armored car is robbed of a million dollars, the four robbers tear the bills in half and send them in different directions (with plans of meeting up in a different city once the heat dies down). Batman busts some murdering muggers to find an attaché case handcuffed to one of the deceased robbers, Handy Andy Willis. On Willis’ person, Batman finds half of the torn bill loot and a plane ticket to Richmond, Virginia. After disguising himself as Willis, Batman goes to Richmond only to find that one of the other robbers wants to kill Willis with a car bomb. Batman detonates the car bomb himself and allows the half-torn bills to move onto the second robber. But she’s double-crossed and killed too. After the third robber is killed by the fourth, Batman takes down the latter.

–Batman #248
Batman gets word that an ex-Navyman named Friss, who went to jail for treason during WWII, is getting out of prison. During the war, Friss sold out his country for a large diamond, which was never recovered. Hoping to close the cold case, Batman goes to meet Friss as he leaves jail, but Colonel Sulphur has the same idea, sending one of his henchman to accost Friss. Batman takes down the bad guy, but Friss gets nabbed by Sulphur anyway. Batman takes down Sulphur aboard the carrier that Friss used to be stationed on. Friss finds the diamond, right where he hid it, but has a flashback freakout, panics, and dives off the edge of the ship to his death.

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World’s Finest Comics #217 by Bob Haney, Dick Dillin, & Murphy Anderson (1973)

–World’s Finest Comics #217
When Java re-programs Simon Stagg’s computer and throws his mail-order half-Batman/half-Superman costume into Metamoropho’s healing vat, Metamorpho emerges as a new Composite Batman-Superman, with the intellect and physical skillset of the Dark Knight, the powers of Superman, and his own Element Man powers. Calling himself “Super-Freak,” Metamorpho joins Superman in a search for a missing atomic bomb list in the Mediterranean. Metamorpho saves the day and rubs it in Superman’s face, much to the chagrin of the Man of Steel. When Batman gets a bullet in the arm from some kidnappers, Metamorpho heads to Gotham in an effort to show up the Caped Crusader as well, easily busting the bad guys. After gloating on the Johnny Larson Show (DC’s version of the Johnny Carson Show), Super-Freak receives a medal of honor from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Meanwhile, President Ford sees an opportunity to bring down Premier Rastinyak, dictator of the Soviet-aligned nation of Slavia. He tasks Batman and Superman with publicly pledging allegiance to Rastinyak, citing their jealousy of Metamorpho’s new fame. Thus, they can infiltrate his operations, find evidence of a supposed new super-weapon, and bring the totalitarian to justice. Of course, military intelligence being what it is, communications are not their strongest suit. High-ranking members of the Pentagon don’t know about the President’s plan, so, truly believing Batman and Superman to have gone rogue, they send Metamorpho to Slavia to fight them! In Slavia, Metamorpho fights Batman, who combats him in a MiG and a laser tank, and Superman. As per plan (in order to get Rastinyak to unveil his secret weapon), Batman and Superman both take a dive, letting the Super-Freak win. Rastinyak himself then challenges Metamorpho, unveiling the secret super-weapon, a giant spider-robot that shoots lightning and sprays acid and Fear Gas. Superman then destroys the super-weapon and deposes Rastinyak, delivering him into UN custody. Back in the States, the World’s Finest explains everything to Metamorpho just as his new power-set fades away.

–The Brave and The Bold #107
Willie Kresh, brother of one of the deceased former henchmen of Monk Devlin, hijacks a passenger plane and demands $3 million and the release of Devlin. Seeing no other option, Batman calls Governor Putnam and arranges for the money exchange and Devlin’s freedom. With the hostages off the plane and Devlin onboard, a disguised Batman (as a flight engineer) and disguised Black Canary (as a flight attendant) takeoff with the crooks to the South American nation of San Pedro. Black Canary is able to drug Devlin to sleep, but Kresh gets wise and viciously smacks her around. Over San Pedro, the bad guys parachute jump out of the plane, throwing Black Canary out with a chute as well. Batman follows suit, skydiving after them. While hiking towards the capital city, Black Canary is able to ditch her crook captors. In a mountain pass, Kresh turns a gun on Devlin. This whole escapade has been about getting revenge for the fact that Devlin had his brother killed. But before any bullets fly, a bandit named Emiliano arrives. Devlin offers him the money in exchange for help, but Kresh reveals that he’s hidden the cash somewhere along the trail. Soon, a battle ensues pitting Batman, Black Canary, Devlin, and Kresh against Emiliano’s men. During the chaos, Devlin and Kresh shoot each other dead. With the money lost, Emiliano arranges for the crooks to be put into coffins before departing. Batman and Black Canary bring the corpses back to the States. Later, Governor Putnam reveals to the heroes and Commissioner Gordon that the missing money has been recovered—it had wound up hidden in one of the very coffins that housed Devlin and Kresh.

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Detective Comics #438 by Archie Goodwin & Jim Aparo (1974)

–Detective Comics #438
Late September. Batman battles a smuggling ring, a fight that ends with one of the bad guys, Kolb, shooting his own partner dead. When news of a monstrous ghoul haunting the closed-up Wayne Manor reaches Bruce and Alfred, the latter goes to check things out. Inside the house, Alfred finds a muck-covered monster-man and Kolb. The former murders the latter and nearly kills Alfred too. With Alfred in the hospital, Batman and Commissioner Gordon investigate Wayne Manor. Bruce, still trying to make his effete playboy persona as annoying as possible, argues publicly with Gordon and allows pesky TV ghost hunter Dr. Strang to investigate his home as well. Soon after, Strang attacks Bruce, revealing himself as Varnov, proprietor of a Swiss health clinic that was near Rā’s al Ghūl’s old chalet. Varnov also reveals that the monster haunting Wayne Manor is none other than a Lazarus Pit-revived Ubu! After Batman’s capture of Rā’s al Ghūl earlier in the year, poor Ubu was left for dead, but was able to come back alive thanks to exposure to Lazarus Pit fluid. Varnov, Kolb, and company have trailed Ubu—obsessed with killing Bruce—across the globe with hopes of capturing him and finding out the secrets of everlasting life. Following, Varnov’s tale, Ubu emerges from the bowels of the Batcave and attacks Batman. During their struggle, Ubu falls and impales himself on a splintered stairway railing. Yes, the one and only Ubu is legitimately killed. Ubu, we hardly knew thee! Batman then brings Varnov to justice. Presumably, repairs are made to the heavily-damaged Wayne Manor interior.

–Batman #250 Part 1
After routine patrol, Batman turns his attention to strange occurrences at Amos Raven’s Waxworks Museum. As reported by tabloid journalist Gil Adams in The Gotham Mirror, recent stolen items have been mysteriously appearing in the hands of some of the wax figures—a hatchet placed in the hands of George Washington and a pair of pearls placed into the hands of siamese twins. Batman stakes-out the museum at night and spots the thief trying to place a crown on Richard III’s head. They scuffle in the cover of darkness, but the thief escapes. Later, cops tell Batman that a famous Notre Dame football and a fifth of Napoleon brandy have been stolen. Back at the museum, Batman examines Notre Dame football figures only to get jumped by one of them. The thief kayos Batman, leaving the football behind to mock him. The following night, Batman guards a wax Napoleon, but the thief no-shows. On night six, Batman steps away, allowing the thief to steal a six-year-old’s birthday cake to place in Marie Antoinette’s hands. Night seven sees a globe of Uranus (the seventh planet from the sun) stolen and placed in a wax astronomer’s arms. On night eight, Batman finds the thief wearing a medieval executioner costume inside the Waxworks Museum. The Butcher (Emil Ravek) pulled this exact same executioner stunt against Batman in the exact same museum a mere month ago! Having seen it all before, Batman easily busts the thief, preventing him from chopping off the head of a real live woman dressed up as Anne Boleyn. Unmasked, the thief/would-be killer is revealed to be none other than Mirror reporter Gil Adams. Adams, the unhinged son of axe murderers, was raised by Waxworks Museum owner Amos Raven and even helped found the museum. When the museum started to struggle financially, Adams cooked up his thievery and murder plan. He chose the woman as his victim simply because her name is Annie Boleyn.

–Batman #250 Part 3
Bruce, as an act of charity, takes three youngsters from the ghetto camping in the woods. As they sit by the campfire, the boys tell stories about how they each “see” Batman. The first kid tells a story about a gigantic bat-monster version of Batman who can make himself grow or shrink at will. The second kid tells tale of an African American “Batwing” Batman. The third kid tells a story that was told to him by crook Willie the Horse, who was once once busted by the Dark Knight. Bruce does a quick switch into his Bat-costume in an attempt to surprise the boys, but they simply think that Bruce is playing a joke on them and aren’t impressed.

Batman #251

Batman #251 by Denny O’Neil & Neil Adams (1973)

–Batman #251
Joker, having been transferred from a maximum security prison to a hospital for the criminally insane, easily escapes and begins his “Five-Way Revenge” scheme, which entails trying to kill his former gang. Joker kills Philly Jack Barton under a bridge, leaving him with a rictus grin and a signature playing card. Batman checks-in on Packy White at his boxing gym, but watches as White succumbs to Joker Venom right before his very eyes, having sipped from a tainted water bucket. After Joker murders Alby with a cigar bomb, Batman tries to convince Bigger Melvin to go into police protection. Melvin kayos Batman and goes back to his pad only to run into Joker, who leaves him dead and hanging from a noose. When Batman goes to Melvin’s pad, Joker ambushes him, but decides not to kill the Dark Knight and runs off. Batman tries to visit the last of Joker’s former gang, Bing Hooley, who has recently been checked into an old folks home, but finds that Joker kidnapped him before killing Barton. Batman deduces that Joker must be hiding at the abandoned Gotham Aquarium, which went out of business a month ago and is now slick with oil from a recent tanker spill. Inside the building, Batman chases Joker only to find a wheelchair-bound Hooley hanging above a shark tank. Both Batman and Hooley wind up in the tank. Batman uses a chain to kill the shark and then smashes out of the tank with Hooley’s chair. Batman then nabs Joker on the beach, sending him back to jail.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #495 Part 1. Batman meets expert criminal forger Elmo Kraft. Despite Kraft’s illegal operation, Batman comes to like him and respect him. While we won’t see Batman interact with Kraft on our timeline ahead, we should imagine meetings here and there on our chronology over the course of the next few years.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #445. Gotham Prison is moved into a brand new state-of-the art “escape proof” building. Batman tours the structure with Warden Howe, helping double-check the security setup. Most of Batman’s most notorious foes, including Rā’s al Ghūl, are moved to this new prison. Batman tailors a breakaway guard uniform, which he hides in a secret location, along with other supplies, inside the prison.


Detective Comics #434 by Frank Robbins, Irv Novick, Dick Giordano, & Ben Oda (1973)

–Detective Comics #434-435
Batman takes notice when several crooks escape from the brand new “escape-proof” Gotham Prison. The Spook reveals that he’s been behind the rash of breakouts, officially debuting by busting-out gangster Big Turk Ramis and leaving behind a cute little Spook doll in his cell. After wrangling a pair of fugitives, Batman drives them back to jail but stops when the ghostly Spook appears in the street before him. Batman confronts the Spook, who disappears in a puff of smoke. Upon returning to the Batmobile, the fugitives are gone too. Later, the Batmobile winds up in a police impound lot with a Spook doll inside of it. Batman digs through his crime-files and decides to stake-out Ramis at one of his syndicate’s garage fronts. Sure enough, Ramis shows up, and Batman beats him up. The Caped Crusader learns that all the escapees, including Ramis, have a homing beacon alert that allows the Spook to keep protective tabs on them. Batman then plans a trap to ensnare the Spook. With the help of Warden Howe and prison guards, Batman, disguised as Ramis, goes into solitary confinement. The Spook arrives inside the cell with Batman, who unmasks, thinking he’s got his man. But after pulling off the villain’s shroud, Batman finds a hypnotized prison guard wearing a two-way radio. From afar, the Spook mocks Batman, who rushes to Ramis’ real cell, four doors down, to find that Ramis is once again free! Batman realizes that the Spook has placed back-up trackers on each of his fugitives, but he still can’t explain how the Spook appears within the prison walls to poof away criminals without a trace—or how the Spook stole his car. Tackling both problems with new determination, Batman finds a secret exit out of the new Gotham Prison cells, through a fake flood drain. Batman also examines the scene where he first encountered the Spook and discovers a giant trapdoor under the street, leading to a section of the abandoned Old Gotham Subway Spur. Batman now knows that the Spook was involved in the construction of the new Gotham Prison and that he has the wealth and means to alter city infrastructure to his benefit. Batman follows the underground trail to the Spook’s lair, directly beneath City Hall. There, Batman and the Spook fight, with the latter displaying even more high-tech ghost trickery. Eventually, Batman gets the better of the Spook, brining him to justice. Commissioner Gordon runs the Spook’s fingerprints to find they match Val Kaliban, a killer who was supposedly executed ten years ago.

–Batman #252
Picking up right where ‘tec #435 left off, Commissioner Gordon has Val Kaliban’s file pulled and shares more info about the previously-thought-to-be-dead villain that is now believed to be the Spook. Kaliban was an architectural draftsman that worked for a large engineering firm contracted by the city, specifically to design Gotham’s prisons. Thanks to his scheming, Kaliban has installed secret means of escaping from all of Gotham’s prisons. As such, the Spook is soon at-large again. (These hidden escape routes might explain how so many of Gotham’s crooks have been escaping all these years!) Gordon and Batman are still perplexed as to how it’s possible that Kaliban is still alive, having been supposedly executed for killing his boss ten years ago. Expecting trickery of the highest caliber, Batman hires Gotham’s top private-eye for help. Jason Bard is on the case. Bard disguises himself as Batman and unearths Kaliban’s grave. Upon opening his coffin, Bard finds a cackling Spook inside. The Spook knocks-out the fake Batman with a shovel and buries him alive! Thankfully, Alfred has trailed Bard and digs him up. The real Batman, sensing what lies ahead, insulates his costume, making it electric proof. He then secretly follows the Spook to the abandoned Gotham Tombs Prison, the very place that Kaliban was executed. There, Batman gets trapped in the electric chair by the Spook. The Dark Knight has learned that Kaliban’s one true power, hypnotism, allowed for the villain to swap places with a lookalike just prior to his scheduled execution. With the world thinking he was dead, Kaliban set into motion his ten-year-plan, which culminated with the recent debut of the Spook. The Spook switches-on the death chair, believing that he’s won the day. But Batman rises up, alive and well, and busts him. Batman later finds a blueprint for an escape-proof cell in the Spook’s lair. Ironically, this cell is built inside the new Gotham Prison to hold the Spook.


–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America #109. Batman reads about a rare Eclipso sighting. We don’t learn any details about the case, but it’s notable because Eclipso hasn’t been active in about three years.

–REFERENCE: In World’s Finest Comics #248 Part 1. Bruce meets and begins doing business with the French industrialist Dulac. Bruce and Dulac will usually be on amicable terms and they will do business on-and-off, moving forward.

–REFERENCE: In DC Special Series #15 (Batman Spectacular 1978) Part 1. Mystery writer Archer Beaumont writes and publishes a new fiction book, the narrative of which contains the thinly-veiled story of real life Bucky Somoza, a professional weightlifter that has recently gotten away with murder. Being one of his favorite authors, Bruce reads Beaumont’s book and investigates Somoza. However, Batman is unable to find any hard evidence to convict Somoza.

jl of a 105

Justice League of America #105 by Len Wein, Dick Dillin, & Dick Giordano (1973)

–Justice League of America #105-106
October—it cannot be springtime, as the narration tells us. The JLA inducts Elongated Man onto the team! A week later, Ralph and Sue Dibny are visiting an art museum when mysterious Putty-Men appear and steal a bunch of frames. When the Putty-Men strike again in California, the JLA—sans Batman, Hawkman, and Aquaman—fights them. Eventually, in the Everglades, a returning Red Tornado (with a new human face) helps the team defeat the Putty-Men, who are revealed to be henchmen of Queen Bee. Aboard the JL Satellite, Red Tornado addresses the full JLA lineup, telling them how he survived his apparent death last time they saw him. When the nebuloid explosion occurred, Red Tornado’s circuitry went black, but he soon found himself in the care of a blind hermit in the Colorado Rockies, who sculpted him a human face. (Unknown to Red Tornado, the “hermit” was none other than a disguised TO Morrow.) The JLA immediately votes Red Tornado onto the team! The next day, Batman, Hal Jordan, Superman, and Flash assist Red Tornado in battle against some thieves (secretly in the employ of Morrow) operating a sci-fi super-tank. Aboard the Satellite, a distrustful Red Tornado accuses his teammates of not treating him as an equal. The JLA soon finds a deadly circuit hidden inside Red Tornado, placed there by Morrow. Hal removes the circuit. Taking the alias “John Smith,” Red Tornado goes to a NYC job placement agency looking for a day job for his new secret ID. There, he meets employment agent Kathy Sutton. They go out for lunch and she helps him find an apartment in the city. John and Kathy instantly fall in love with one another and begin dating. The JLA then defeats Morrow’s henchmen and locates Morrow’s HQ in the Rockies. After Hal tricks Morrow into thinking he’s won the day, the JLA easily apprehends the science-villain. Morrow explains that, twenty-eight days ago, his future-predicting sentient AI told him that he would “cease to exist” unless he killed the JLA within twenty-eight days. With his time now up, Morrow fades away and disappears right before the JLA’s very eyes. Morrow disappearing is also shown via flashback from World’s Finest Comics #265 Part 4World’s Finest Comics #267 Part 3, and Justice League of America #192. (What happened to Professor Morrow? The answers are given in Super-Team Family #11, World’s Finest Comics #265 Part 3, World’s Finest Comics #267 Part 3, and Justice League of America #192. Morrow’s AI freaked-out and tapped into future tech, causing his master’s consciousness to split in two and rocket across the cosmos, reassembling as two separate beings. The original Morrow gets transported to a faraway sentient alien planet. The second Morrow becomes the advanced super-villain Future Man, trapped in a realm outside of time and space.)

–Detective Comics #436
Bruce goes on a vacation to the Mediterranean, putting on an extravagant playboy show for the public. (He’s still scaffolding his extreme effete persona as much as possible these days.) Bruce really hams-up his pitiful side, going so far as to begin pretending he is afraid of the dark. At the end of his vacation, in the Gotham Airport, Bruce is hassled by a drug-smuggler named Cragg (who is disguised as Detective Shotgun Smith). While Bruce loads his luggage into his car, his personal stewardess Sandy (in cahoots with Cragg) does a suitcase switcheroo, leaving in its place a new attaché with baggies of white powder inside. At the penthouse, Alfred and Bruce discover that they’ve been used as drug mules. Bruce sniffs the powder (!) and has an immediate panic attack, finding that he is now truly afraid of the dark. Cragg (still dressed as Shotgun) smashes into the apartment and catches Bruce red-handed, clutching a baggie in his hand. Bruce’s strange panic attack continues, but he is able to get Cragg to leave, citing that he’s entered without a warrant. Strange that this works, especially since this isn’t a real cop. Batman immediately suspects Bruce’s personal pilot Rick is behind the suitcase swap. The Dark Knight shakes down Rick, discovering that he’s been illegally smuggling diamonds into the country on each flight. Stricken with fear again, Batman is unable to make a bust. Moving onto suspect number two, Batman shakes down Sandy, exposing both she and the fake Shotgun. Batman then busts them both. Later, Batman meets with the real Shotgun, telling him that the substance involved in the case was a new panic-inducing mind-control drug. Presumably, Batman doubles-back and busts Rick for the diamond thing too. (Bruce will use random pilots or fly Wayne Enterprises jets himself, moving forward.)

–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America #103. Batman reads some Webslinger Lad comic books. Webslinger Lad, in case you didn’t figure it out, is an analogue for Marvel’s Spider-Man.

b&b 109

The Brave and The Bold #109 by Bob Haney & Jim Aparo (1973)

–The Brave and The Bold #109
When a demonic walking corpse murders two men, Batman is on the case. The undead monster man then attacks celebrated Gotham ad man Harry Matthews, who is a close friend of world-renowned occultist Jason Blood, who just happens to be the immortal human host vessel for the demon Etrigan! Blood cuts short a rendezvous with his gal pal Glenda Mark to turn into Etrigan. Etrigan then saves Matthews and chases away the zombie, but Batman shows up and nets Etrigan. Blood’s friend, well-known UN delegate Randu Singh, utters a mystic chant that turns Etrigan back into Blood. Batman is happy to meet the three famous men and learn that they are working together to stop the monstrous villain that is stalking the streets of Gotham. At police HQ, Singh uses his telepathic abilities to discover the history of the creature they are up against. The undead foe is Jack Dobbs, a murderer from the late 19th century that was turned into an eternal demon during a volcanic eruption in Krakatoa. Batman tries to take down Dobbs solo, but fails, gets captured, and is taken to Dobbs’ old ship. Etrigan skips an appointment with his mentor Merlin in order to fight Dobbs. Annoyed, the immortal Merlin temporarily takes away Etrigan’s power until Singh telepathically contacts Merlin and tells him what’s up. Etrigan defeats Dobbs and exorcizes his spirit.

jl of a 103

Justice League of America #103 by Len Wein, Dick Dillin, & Dick Giordano (1972)

–Justice League of America #103
October 31-November 1. It’s meta-Halloween time in Rutland, Vermont! Tom Fagan takes his pal Marty (an analogue of DC Comics writer Martin Pasko) to a séance, during which a medium claims that Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, and Hawkman will be dead within twenty-four hours. Batman brings down a drug-dealing ring in Gotham before teleporting up to the JL Satellite. There, Hawkman mentions that some members of the team are on Earth-2 to help the Seven Soldiers of Victory adjust to living in present day. Obviously, this comment is meant to link to Justice League of America #102, which was originally meant to directly connect to this issue. However, thanks to Sliding-Time and the topical Halloween setting of this issue, JLofA #102 and JLofA #103 must be separated by five months. Thus, we must either ignore Hawkman’s comment or simply rethink of it as some of the JLA members volunteering to go to Earth-2 to hang out with the Seven Soldiers. Aboard the Satellite, the Phantom Stranger appears and tells the heroes that Felix Faust is attempting to summon evil spirits in Rutland. The six JLAers that have been supposedly marked for death travel to Tom Fagan’s Halloween Parade where they catch up with Tom and meet Gerry Conway, Len Wein, Glynis Wein, and Steve Englehart! The gang is thrilled to meet the heroes, even mentioning that their pal Julie Schwartz is never going to believe that it actually happened. The JLA joins in the official festivities, which include various costumes, including an Incredible Hulk and an Alan Scott-styled Green Lantern. During the parade, the floats vanish into thin air thanks to the machinations of Faust. Glynis (dressed as Supergirl) and two others (dressed as Adam Strange and Commando America aka Captain America) are possessed by Faust’s summoned demons. The demonic cosplayers take down Flash and Hawkman. Meanwhile, Batman and Hal Jordan are bested by possessed Halloweeners dressed as Webslinger Lad (aka Spider-Man), Thor, and Robin. Superman is taken down by a possessed fake Captain Marvel while Green Arrow is defeated by a possessed fake Jay Garrick. Thankfully, the Phantom Stranger casts a spell, which counteracts a death spell cast upon the JLA by Faust. This spell also causes the demons to return to Hell. Faust steals Steve Englehart’s car to escape, but gets pulled over and arrested by local cops. With the case wrapped, the JLA invites the Phantom Stranger to join the team! But the Phantom Stranger disappears without giving a reply.

–REFERENCE: In World’s Finest Comics #218. Early November. The unnamed Jeffers Harvey-backed candidate is elected the new mayor of Gotham. This red-haired fella has already been linked to corruption throughout his campaign, but it remains to be seen how (or if) that corruption will affect his tenure in office. He will be inaugurated as soon as the new year starts.


–REFERENCE: In Superman #268. Bruce asks Commissioner Gordon how Babs is doing in Washington now that she’s a big-shot Congresswoman. Gordon says she is doing great, but she’s lonely and misses her friends and family in Gotham. Bruce gets Babs’ phone number from Gordon. (Unknown to Gordon, Babs is actually doing quite well, making lots of friends and even going on dates in DC.)

wfc 218

World’s Finest Comics #218 by Bob Haney, Dick Dillin, Dave Cockrum, & Ben Oda (1973)

–World’s Finest Comics #218
November. Commissioner Gordon, feeling sorry for a young burglar’s bad luck case, withholds evidence long enough to allow the kid to walk. A new telepathic super-villain known as Capricorn sends a letter to Gordon, saying he knows what he’s done and will ruin his career. Batman then finds the new Mayor-elect of Gotham about to commit suicide! Batman stops the mayor-elect, who confesses that Capricorn knows about a secret kickback scandal that illegally filtered government money to a close friend of his. At the penthouse, Batman receives a note from Capricorn that says he knows his secret ID. Batman puts out an ad in the newspaper, which leads to all the blackmailed parties—including Gordon, the mayor-elect, a US Senator, and Nobel Prize-winning scientist, and Bruce (a disguised Alfred)—meeting up. Batman and Superman vow to free everyone from the Capricorn’s oppression. Why they’d want to help the corrupt mayor-elect is beyond me, but oh well. After running some info through a police computer database, Superman fingers retired mind-reader Rick De Fabio as the top suspect. Batman, who knows about De Fabio from his own crime-files, agrees. Batman and Superman bust into De Fabio’s house and arrest him, but they find no evidence that he’s Capricorn. Upon his release De Fabio tells the news media about the heroes’ accusations, and Capricorn becomes a household name. After Capricorn shoots De Fabio dead, Batman and Superman ramp up their investigation, but can’t get any closer to finding out who he is. While Bruce sips a drink at his favorite smoothie bar, he worries what will happen if he is unable to catch Capricorn. Meanwhile, Capricorn sits nearby and reads Bruce’s thoughts. After Capricorn sends Bruce another threatening note, Batman is able to figure out the villain’s ID, that of terminally-ill physician Dr. Bogardus. Feeling the heat, Bogardus goes into hiding. Unable to find Bogardus, the heroes plant a false story in the newspaper claiming that he has died, hoping to goad him out of hiding. Bogardus sends an audio tape to Batman and Superman, mocking them. But the villain’s future plans are all for naught as he succumbs to his terminal illness. He dies alone in his hiding place, never to be found. Our heroes never solve the case, but they needn’t worry about Capricorn ever again.

–Superman #268
Senator Robert Thomas “Tom” Cleary tasks Batman and Superman with developing a solar disintegrator for the US Government. Batman and Superman begin this project, but put it on the back-burner to defeat Effron the Sorcerer, after which Superman keeps his magickal Golden Eye artifact as a trophy. When Clark tells Bruce he’ll be going to Washington DC to go a story for WGBS, Bruce asks him to check-in on Congresswoman Barbara Gordon. (Don’t forget, Batman and Superman don’t know that Babs is Batgirl, nor does Babs know their secret IDs either.) Clark phones Babs, telling her that Bruce has basically set them up to hang out. She accepts his invitation to an Ethiopian State gala at the White House. During their “date,” Clark accidentally mentions the solar disruptor project, which is supposed to be top secret. After dropping off Babs, Clark is attacked by hoodlums working for the international spy-ring known as MAZE. He fakes unconsciousness and allows himself to be kidnapped so he can find out about their operation. When news of Clark’s disappearance hits the mainstream media, Babs returns to her crime-fighting roots and once again dons the Batgirl costume. Babs goes out as Batgirl for the first time in six months and the first time ever since becoming a Congresswoman. Her investigation quickly leads her to MAZE HQ. There, Batgirl and Superman take down the entire spy-ring. Superman flies the head of MAZE into FBI custody. Later, Babs meets Clark, who has faked an injury, at the hospital. They hang out once more before Clark leaves town. At the Fortress of Solitude, Superman tells Batman that he accidentally blurted out top secret info because he was under the influence of Effron’s Golden Eye. They go to destroy the item only to find that it’s been stolen. The World’s Finest discovering the missing Golden Eye is also shown via flashback from Superman #273, which also reveals that it has been stolen by super-villain Gunther Jacoby. Presumably, Batman and Superman finish the solar disruptor project.

tec 437

Detective Comics #437 by Archie Goodwin & Jim Aparo (1973)

–Detective Comics #437
Alfred reminds Bruce of an invitation to an exhibit at the Gotham Museum. Bruce reads up about the exhibit, which will display the Mask of Matuchima (the Central American Xochipec tribe’s God of Death). Bruce invites two random gorgeous women to attend with him. The night of the event, Batman prevents the theft of the Mask of Matuchima from the Gotham Museum. Afterward, he switches into a tux and attends the exhibit gala below. Bruce continues to push his effete playboy persona to the max, talking smack about Batman to Commissioner Gordon, which enrages the latter lawman. But Bruce quickly switches back to Bat-mode when Matuchima himself appears in the form of a cloaked figure wearing the death mask itself. Matuchima kills a lingering thief from earlier before knocking Batman on his ass and running out into the Gotham night. Outside the museum, Batman and Gordon examine another victim, new museum director Marcus Wingate, who has seemingly died of heart failure. Batman soon fights Matuchima again, in the process saving the life of Austin Spires, the archeologist that brought the mask to Gotham. Back at the museum, Spires is attacked by Matuchima again, but shoots the death god dead, revealing him to be his rival, museum fundraiser Judd Thaxton. But Batman reveals the deeper truth to the case at hand. The Mask of Matuchima injects a strong tribal narcotic into its wearer, causing them to rage violently. Hoping to eliminate all his rivals, Spires put the mask upon Wingate’s face, which led to Wingate donning the Matuchima costume to kill the lingering thief. Of course, the drug was too much for him to handle and he dropped dead. Thaxton found the director and then put on the mask, went nuts, and attacked Spires. Exposed as being the person that started the chain of death and mayhem, Spires tries to flee by jumping from a balcony onto a giant replica of the death mask. It collapses, killing Spires and smashing the real mask to bits.

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Detective Comics #439 by Steve Englehart, Vin Amendola, Sal Amendola, Dick Giordano, & Jerry Serpe (1974)

–Detective Comics #439
November. Three burglars gun down a security guard and some innocent bystanders, leaving a young boy orphaned. Batman stalks the trio as they flee in a car into the woods. Enraged, Batman takes his sweet time, doing his best to freak out the villains. He arrests the first guy, making a big show of the bust to scare the other two, who he allows to continue fleeing. Batman then follows suit and brings the other two down in similar fashion. Batman finishes out the night’s patrol and arrives home to the penthouse in the morning. Emotionally exhausted and saddened at the thought of another young Gothamite having been orphaned, Batman takes off his mask and weeps before a picture of his parents.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #265. Bruce, as head of Seven-Star Pics, decides to back the latest Harry Zoe film, a detective series starring Robert Trenton. Hollywood director Hugh Larabee is slated to direct. Filming will begin next year in Gotham.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #443. Batman hears word of a new ruthless assassin known only as Manhunter (Paul Kirk).

Batman #253

Batman #253 by Denny O’Neil, Irv Novick, & Dick Giordano (1973)

–Batman #253
Batman hunts down a counterfeiting ring and gets some sniper-fire help from a mystery superhero, who laughs from darkness of a pitch black alleyway. Taking the counterfeit bills, Batman and Alfred temporarily re-open the Batcave to use the better microscopes there to analyze the evidence. Alfred finds a clue that gets Bruce packing his bags and going to Tumbleweed Crossing, Arizona. After checking into a hotel, Bruce bears witness to dune-buggy-driving hooligans running amok all over town. Batman confronts the gang, who admit they’ve been paid to cause trouble. Batman examines their pay, seeing that it’s more counterfeit cash. In the hotel, Bruce meets fellow guest Lamont Cranston. Later, Batman battles the counterfeiters in the Arizona desert, once again receiving cover fire from his laughing mystery assistant. When Batman is blinded after getting ink in his eyes, the mystery man steps into the light, guns a-blazing. It’s Cranston aka the Shadow! The legendary pulp hero—active from the 1930s through 1950s—has come out of retirement just to work a case with Batman! Twice more, the Shadow saves Batman’s life, allowing the Dark Knight to eventually bust the head of the counterfeit gang. Back in Gotham, Batman meets with the Shadow, who tells the Caped Crusader that he’s lived up to every expectation. Batman gushes and tells the Shadow that he was his biggest inspiration. They shake hands. The Shadow, despite being a septuagenarian, is officially back in action!

Justice League of America #107 by Len Wein, Dick Dillin, & Dick Giordano (1973)

Justice League of America #107 by Len Wein, Dick Dillin, & Dick Giordano (1973)

–Justice League of America #107-108
The Justice Society collaborates with the Justice League to build machines (“Transmatter Cubes”) that will allow both teams to travel through the Bleed whenever they want to. (The JSA and JLA have already had various means of traveling through the Bleed, but none have been foolproof and some have been linked to random moments of anomalous cosmic vibration. Now they will have a method of traveling through the multiverse at the drop of a hat and whenever/wherever need be.) After running tests, the JLA is able to send inanimate objects and lab animals into the multiverse and back. Red Tornado, eager to visit his home Earth, volunteers to try the machine, but, in what I can only determine to be a racist anti-machine response, Hal Joran tells the sad android that he can’t go because he’s not human. Thus, Batman, Green Arrow, and Elongated Man are the first to enter, hoping to swap places with Earth-2 Superman, Dr. Fate, and Sandman. A jealous Red Tornado swoops into the JLA’s transporter, which causes it to fritz-out and send all seven heroes to Earth-X, a timeline where the Nazis won WWII! Nazi panzers surround our surprised heroes, but they are rescued by The Freedom Fighters (Uncle Sam, Human Bomb, Phantom Lady, Black Condor, The Ray, and Doll Man). At the Freedom Fighters’ secret hideout, Uncle Sam explains that the Allies lost WWII and Hitler now reigns as Emperor of the World, using mind-control signal-towers to subjugate the global populace. Only the Freedom Fighters remain to combat the fascist oppressors. Soon after, Batman, Dr. Fate, the Ray, and Human Bomb battle atop the Eiffel Tower. After dispatching Nazi stormtroopers, they come face-to-face with one of Hitler’s giant sentient mind-control machines, which creates “adaptoplasm” humanoid warriors to defend itself. The heroes defeat the warriors and, despite succumbing to mind-control, are able to destroy the machine. Meanwhile, Earth-2 Superman, Green Arrow, Doll Man, and Phantom Lady fight Nazis in Japan, destroying a mind-control machine there. Likewise, Uncle Sam, Black Condor, Sandman, and Elongated Man battle atop Mount Rushmore, which now has an extra Hitler head attached to it. The heroes destroy a third mind-control machine and blow up Hitler’s bust for posterity. Back at the Freedom Fighters’ HQ, the Earth-1 and Earth-2 heroes succumb to Hitler’s mind-control, and begin combatting the Freedom Fighters. (The brainwashed heroes versus the Freedom Fighters is also shown via flashback from America vs The Justice Society #4.) Red Tornado flies into outer space and infiltrates a Nazi satellite to find an Android Hitler. After punching Android Hitler’s head clean off (!), Red Tornado learns that a secret singularity occurred on Earth-X only a few years ago. Hitler’s own sentient machines, which he used to win WWII, turned against him. All the Nazi leaders were killed and replaced with android replicants, which now rule over the Nazi Empire. Red Tornado destroys the final mind-control machine, which shuts down all the high-ranking Robo-Nazi leaders. Nazi troops stand down all over the globe. With freedom finally within grasp, the Freedom Fighters thank the Earth-1 and Earth-2 heroes before they return home to their respective timelines.

–Action Comics #429
Clark visits the Daily Planet‘s file room and discovers a file on himself that contains his entire history, including an obituary written in Kryptonese. Unsure what to make of it, he asks all his friends—Supergirl, Batman, Flash, and Hal Jordan—but they are no help. Superman realizes that his giant super-sci-fi Kryptonian diary, which he keeps in the Fortress of Solitude, must somehow be connected to his Daily Planet file. After writing a fake entry into his diary, Superman rushes back to the Galaxy Broadcasting Building to find that fellow journalist Ryan Lowell has added his fake diary story into the Clark Kent file. Lowell admits that his electronic ticker has always received a feed directly from the Fortress of Solitude’s diary, which is how he learned to read Kryptonese. For years, he’s been writing the complete history of Superman. Lowell promises never to tell anyone Superman’s secret ID.

–Supergirl #8
Linda Danvers has been taking acting classes at Vandyre University in San Francisco for quite some time now. While rehearsing for a play in which she will play Medusa, Linda is possessed by the spirit of the real Medusa, which causes her hair to turn into a tangled nest of live snakes. Medusa, however, is unable to further control the powerful Kryptonian. While protecting her professor from muggers, Supergirl accidentally turns the bad guys to stone. When the news gets into the mainstream that Supergirl is a gorgon, Batman, Hawkman, and Hal Jordan are tasked with apprehending her. They fight her outside of the Fortress of Solitude, but Supergirl turns them to stone. Soon after, the spirit of Perseus takes control of Mitch Baxter, an actor playing Perseus in the play. Supergirl fights the possessed Baxter, but is able to calm him down and come up with a plan. Supergirl travels to Greece and crashes into Medusa’s tomb where her corpse is buried. (Despite having lost her head by Perseus’ sword in ancient times, somehow Medusa was buried with it tied onto her neck mummy-style.) Supergirl and the Perseus-possessed Baxter cause a cave-in that crushes Medusa’s corpse, exorcising her spirit. The snakes disconnect from Supergirl’s scalp and disappear into a pit. Perseus departs back to the great beyond, leaving a confused Baxter to be flown back to the States by Supergirl. While not shown, Batman, Hawkman, and Hal obviously revert back to status-quo.

Swamp Thing #7

Swamp Thing #7 by Len Wein, Bernie Wrightson, & Gaspar Saladino (1973)

–Swamp Thing #7
Scientist Alec Holland has recently been turned into Swamp Thing! (More correctly, Alec Holland was killed, after which a Plant Elemental was born with Holland’s memories and personality implanted in its mind. All Plant Elementals are members of the Parliament of Trees, a group sworn to protect the Green, which is a mystic force that binds all vegetal life together.)[13] Swamp Thing, along with his pet dog Mutt, makes his first trip to Gotham in an attempt to track down the man responsible for killing him (i.e. gunning down Holland). (SPOILER: The man responsible is none other than Wayne Foundation executive Nathan Ellery, who happens to moonlight as the head of the criminal organization known as the Conclave.) Not only is Swamp Thing out for personal revenge, but Ellery has also kidnapped his friends Abigail Arcane and Interpol agent Matthew Cable. (Abby will later marry Matthew and then marry Swamp Thing, but that’s getting way ahead of ourselves.) It’s not long after Swamp Thing sets foot in Gotham before Chief O’Hara and his officers are gunning for him. While being briefed by Commissioner Gordon, Batman disappears mid-conversation—marking the first time the Dark Knight does what will become a signature move of departing as soon as all pertinent information has been received! Batman, who has been tracking the Conclave for months, follows Swamp Thing’s violent path through the city, eventually meeting Mutt, who leads him straight to the Conclave’s front door—at Ellery’s apartment. After rescuing his friends from torture, Swamp Thing, who has not yet re-mastered the powers of speech, fistfights Batman—with Swamp Thing getting the better of the Dark Knight. Mutt enters Ellery’s penthouse only to get shot dead by Ellery. When Batman and Swamp Thing enter next, Ellery panics and falls off a balcony. Ellery survives the fall but will have permanent paralysis from the waist down as a result.

jlofa 109 hawkman resigns

Justice League of American #109 by Len Wein, Dick Dillin, & Dick Giordano (1974)

–Justice League of America #109
Hawkman calls a special JLA meeting and announces that he is resigning from the team, effective immediately! His Thanagarian police force has permanently re-called both he and Hawkgirl back to their home planet. All of a sudden, Dr. Bruce Gordon arrives in the JL Satellite along with Red Tornado. Red Tornado explains that he’s been working as a lab assistant for Dr. Gordon. During a recent experiment, Eclipso escaped from Dr. Gordon’s body and split into three beings, attacking Red Tornado before fleeing in different directions. Dr. Gordon reveals to the JLA that he is the human host for Eclipso. The JLA computer determines that the very existence of three Eclipsos will cause the Earth to be torn apart within six hours. As current chairman, Batman splits up the team to search for the three Eclipsos. Green Arrow, seeing one last chance to set things right with his team rival Hawkman, asks to be paired with the winged space cop. Black Canary, the Atom, and Aquaman defeat the first Eclipso under the sea. Batman and Flash defeat the second Eclipso in Death Valley. Hawkman, Green Arrow, and Elongated Man defeat the third Eclipso in an unknown locale. In the JL Satellite, the JLA removes three black magick diamonds from the captive Eclipsos. Knowing they’ll make a play for them, Batman coats the diamonds with a chemical that will cause them to flare up with a bright light if they are merged. Sure enough, the Eclipsos grab the diamonds and merge together to form a single giant version. (This scene of the giant Eclipso aboard the JL Satellite is also shown via flashback from Metal Men #48). In a flash of white hot light, Eclipso is defeated and sent back into the prison of Dr. Gordon’s body. Afterward, everyone says a heartfelt goodbye to Hawkman, except for Green Arrow. Ollie doesn’t have the courage to face Katar. Black Canary finds Ollie alone and moping, with tears in his eyes.

–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #445. Batman busts Brick Milligan.

wfc 220

World’s Finest Comics #220 by Bob Haney, Dick Dillin, & Murphy Anderson (1973)

–World’s Finest Comics #219-220
Gotham City National Bank gets word of a wild story that they pass onto Batman and Superman: $2 million in Nazi gold and jewels, shipped to South America and lost after WWII, has recently been reappearing in poor South American villages, left behind by a Swamp Thing-esque mud monster called El Monstro. The UN and the World Bank tasks the World’s Finest with recovering the loot. Superman unearths a ton of sunken ships in search of the treasure, but is unable to find anything. He then decides to be “eco-friendly” and re-sink the old vessels into the deepest trench he can find. What?! How is that good for the planet, Supes? Why not throw them into the sun? Jeez. Meanwhile, Batman takes a few days and travels down the Amazon River only to be poisoned by natives and left in the deadly coils of an anaconda. Luckily, El Monstro saves Batman and takes him to her lair at the bottom of the river: an old Nazi sub filled with the gold and jewels in question. El Monstro speaks to Batman, telling him her origin story. After being wrongly convicted of murder, young Carlotta Esteban escaped jail thanks to some help from another prisoner, who told her about the Nazi gold and gave her a mystical herb. Upon escaping, the herb (possibly combined with something else) turned Carlotta into the walking monster Batman sees today. Soon after, El Monstro fights Superman until Batman tells the Man of Steel to stand down. El Monstro eats another magick herb, which temporarily turns her back into a human. Seeing Carlotta’s beauty, Batman vows to help her in any way they can. But Superman disagrees, saying that the money should be recovered and returned to Europe. To buy some time, Batman lies, saying that they should continue their search for the treasure (even though he knows where it is already). At Carlotta’s old ranch, Batman and El Monstro find the locals being oppressed by scummy landowner Don Ernesto Rivera. Batman deduces that Rivera framed Carlotta all those years ago. El Monstro, despite Batman’s plea to calm down, attacks Rivera and his men. Batman follows El Monstro as she chases Rivera. The villain slips on some rocks and tumbles along with a rockslide to his death. El Monstro carries an injured Batman back to the ranch. Concurrently, Superman finds the Nazi sub, but when he attempts to tug it out of the river, the local government militia blows it up along with the treasure inside. Likewise, the government militia bombs El Monstro with defoliant, killing her instantly. Our heroes go home empty-handed and crestfallen.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #269. Batman begins carrying a head-lamp in his utility belt.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #269. Batman sets up a radio-code system to use with the GCPD while out in the field. (It’s also possible that Batman simply begins using a code system that the GCPD already has in place.)

–Batman #262
Early winter. Both Batman and the GCPD are separately tasked with recovering money that was stolen from a charity ball a month ago. Batman finds the thief first, but the latter dies of fear, courtesy of an escaped Scarecrow! Batman and the GCPD trail Scarecrow to an off-season amusement park where the stolen loot is hidden. Despite Scarecrow wielding a new long-range fear-inducing device and employing a large group of henchmen, Batman easily busts him and recovers the loot.

–REFERENCE: In Batman #309. December 24. As he does every holiday season, Batman gives pipe tobacco as an Xmas gift to Commissioner Gordon.

jlofa 110

Justice League of America by Len Wein, Dick Dillin, & Dick Giordano (1974)

–Justice League of America #110
December 24. Batman and Superman hook-up with a mall Santa Claus in an effort to deliver Xmas gifts to orphaned kids. But just as they are about to depart, a bomb kills the Santa. Only a key and a threatening note are left behind by the culprit. (SPOILER: It’s the Key!) The note says the heroes must find the lock that goes with the key by midnight or else another bomb will detonate. The JLA assembles, but several members of the team are unable to come as they are celebrating the holiday. Barry and Iris are spending the holidays with Iris’ biological parents (Eric Russell and Fran Russell) in the 30th century. The Atom is in the Microcosmos (aka Microcosmic Universe aka Microverse).[14] Aquaman and Mera are celebrating in Atlantis. And Ralph and Sue Dibny are on vacation in the Caribbean. Hal misses the meeting because he slips on a bar of soap and hits his head! Green Lantern John Stewart subs for him! The JLA—with Stewart—finds the location of the bomb threat in East Saint Louis. There, they find a door for their key, but soon get stuck in a death trap. The Phantom Stranger appears and causes an illusion/misdirection that makes the Key think he’s killing-off Justice Leaguers one-by-one via various ridiculous holiday-themed death traps. Defeated, the Key monologues, revealing that he was recently diagnosed with a terminal illness and released from jail. With only a few minutes until midnight, the defiant Key activates his bomb. The JLA saves everyone within the bomb’s blast radius. Stewart uses his ring to reconstruct everything. Unable to locate the Key, the JLA assumes he’s been killed. In actuality, as referenced in Justice League of America #150, Stewart’s ring reconstruction also cures the Key of his terminal illness (although his body is shrunken and shriveled to the size of a baby’s). The mostly healthy Key simply goes into hiding. (Note that—as per the epilogue of this issue—Superman, Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Red Tornado will celebrate Xmas together aboard the JL Satellite in a few hours, during which Red Tornado will receive a snazzy new superhero costume. Batman won’t be present for this cheerful gathering, though, because he’ll be knee deep in a second Xmas Eve case, which begins right now in Batman #247.)

batman 247

Batman #247 by Denny O’Neil, Irv Novick, & Dick Giordano (1973)

–Batman #247
December 24-31. Having just wrapped up his JLA case in East Saint Louis, Batman immediately returns to Gotham (probably thanks to a super-fast lift courtesy of Superman). It was nearly midnight (Central Time) in the Midwest, so by the time Batman gets home on Xmas Eve, it’s around eleven o’clock (Eastern Time). Batman makes a quick pitstop at his penthouse to find that Bruce has received an invitation to a fancy New Year’s Eve gala at the Skytop Club’s Gotham Citytop Room. Batman also learns that thief Chimp Manners has stolen a vial of deadly experimental nerve gas from a government facility. The Dark Detective immediately heads back out on this very busy Xmas Eve. Batman quickly tracks Manners to a rural house just outside Gotham City limits. When Manners produces the vial of nerve gas and a handful of hostages, Batman is forced to back down. Manners marches his captives through heavy snow, but he is blinded by a flash of light in the night sky, which gives Batman all the opportunity he needs to take him down. One of the hostages swears that the light was from a shooting star. It’s a Denny O’Neil Xmas miracle! As Xmas Eve turns into Xmas Day, Batman drives Manners back into town, but gets run off the road by Manners’ henchmen, who knock-out Batman and free their boss. Batman wakes up to find the bad guys (and the nerve gas) gone. In their abandoned truck, the Dark Knight finds the same New Year’s Eve invitation he received. Manners sends a message to Commissioner Gordon demanding that Boss Halstrom be released from prison by New Year’s Eve or else they’ll release the nerve gas on the city. Ironically, Halstrom dies of a heart attack. Knowing that Manners will never believe it, Batman makes it is primary mission to locate and bring Manners to justice. Christmas is cancelled for the Bat-Family. Time to go to work! Dick, on winter break from college, goes in disguise as a police cadet to flush-out a mole that Manners has on the Force. Alfred begins investigating links between the New Year’s Eve party and Manners. And Batman pays a visit to his old pal Dr. Harris Blaine to ask him what he knows about the nerve gas. The next day, Batman learns all he can about Matches Malone’s personal life. Disguising himself as Matches Malone, Batman visits the deceased gangster’s old haunts and finds out Manners location. Batman takes-on Manners and one of his goons, during which Manners is accidentally shot to death. The next day, Robin discovers a wire tap inside GCPD HQ, but is unable to link it to anyone. The day after, Bruce, Dick, and Alfred temporarily re-open the Batcave so that Alfred can check out some files there. While Bruce and Dick exercise in the dusty gym, Alfred finishes his part of the investigation, reporting that three Gotham socialites recently received large payoffs in Swiss bank accounts from Halstrom’s mob. On New Year’s Eve, Bruce, Dick, and Alfred attend the Skytop Club shindig. At five minutes to midnight, they trigger a fake nerve gas bombing, which spooks one of the three suspects, Wilson Ennet. Batman and Robin take down Ennet and his chauffeur henchman. Batman then sees the nerve gas bomb, timed to detonate at midnight, attached to the New Year’s Eve ball. He swings out and rides the ball to the ground as he deactivates the bomb. The clock strikes midnight, but, thankfully, the Caped Crusader has ensured a safe celebration for all.


<<< Year Nine <<< | >>> Year Eleven >>>

  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: Talia is the daughter of Rā’s al Ghūl, leader of the League of Assassins. According to her Arabic familial history (and creator Denny O’Neil’s intention), Talia does not have a last name. However, the Westernized version of her full name, while incorrect in Arabic, is “Talia al Ghūl.” Since cultural lexicon basically trumps O’Neil’s original intention, especially by the time the Modern Age rolls around, the use of “Talia al Ghūl” (with surname) is basically acceptable grammar even though it’s technically wrong. Some might fight you on that, but I certainly don’t have the energy to engage in that debate.
  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER: The Brave and The Bold #96 was published around this point on our timeline, but it is non-canon on both Earth-1 and Earth-2, definitively one of Bob Haney and Murray Boltinoff’s Earth-B tales. Originally functioning as a sequel to The Brave and The Bold #84 (which is canon on both Earth-2 and Earth-B), this story, which features Batman once again teaming-up with Sgt. Rock, cannot be rationalized on any primary chronology. Here, Haney’s Batman not only fought in WWII, but he is now—over twenty-five years later—still a bachelor living in the Wayne Penthouse with Alfred as well. Only on Earth-B, baby.
  3. [3]COLLIN COLSHER: As referenced in Flash #207 and Justice League of America #220, Sargon and his unnamed brother were the first Earth-2 folk to permanently migrate from Earth-2 to Earth-1, and they did so way back in 1950. This was not only way before anyone else did this, but way before anyone else even really knew about the dual Earths as well. Pretty amazing. (Note that, as seen in World’s Finest Comics #250, Earth-2 Wonder Woman briefly traveled to Earth-1 back in August 1942—likely the earliest trip an Earthling-2 ever made to Earth-1. However, most collective memories of this event—including Diana’s—were erased, so it only kinda sorta counts.)
  4. [4]COLLIN COLSHER: The Brave and The Bold #99 is non-canon, which is probably for the best because how in sweet hell are you gonna top The Brave and The Bold #98? You just ain’t! Anyway, in The Brave and The Bold #99, we learn that Thomas and Martha Wayne were deep into the occult around the time of their murders, which led to their eternal souls, following their bodies being cremated, getting trapped in Purgatory. It’s up to Batman and Flash to exorcise the Waynes so they can rest in peace! You can see why this tale is non-canon. It takes place on Earth-32. And, of course, being that it’s an issue of The Brave and The Bold involving a creative team that includes “B-Boys” Bob Haney, Bob Brown, Ben Oda, and Murray Boltinoff, it also takes place on Earth-B.
  5. [5]COLLIN COLSHER: We’ve already addressed the oppositional politics within the DC writing staff in the early 1970s, but Detective Comics #421 warrants further discussion in this regard. Detective Comics #421 is one of author Frank Robbins’ more small-minded offerings—it ain’t no progressive Denny O’Neil script, that’s for sure. Here, you can really see the vast sociopolitical abyss that grossly split DC Comics. Robbins even used the N-word (first time ever in a Batman comic) in a way that conveyed shock value more than deep social critique or examination. While Robbins seemed to abhor incendiary politics of every ilk (both White Nationalism and Black Radicalism), he differed from his peers (i.e. Jack Kirby and Denny O’Neil) in that he couldn’t tell the difference between the hate of White Nationalism and the social justice activism of the Black Panthers. Don’t get me wrong, Robbins was a superb craftsman—skilled storyteller, illustrator, and inker—that tried his best to tackle youth issues with an open mind (he had Dick go to college and Babs go to Washington, after all), but compared to other writers of the time, his stuff feels a tad out-of-touch. There’s no sense, as a stalwart conservative, that he grasped the extent of systemic hyper-inequality, racism, or sexism inherent in 70s American culture. As stated before, this led to an unpredictable Batman that acts like an intolerant beat cop, as seen in ‘tec #421, while at other times behaving like a liberal partisan.
  6. [6]COLLIN COLSHER: A note about Rā’s al Ghūl and Mason Sterling’s brain discussing the Vietnam War. Due to Sliding-Time, stories get moved, sometimes, merely due to a seasonal reference or because there’s green on the trees when it should be the dead of winter. In more extreme topical cases, such as references to the Vietnam War, a handful of stories have already been slid back to fit within the real life timeline of the conflict in Southeast Asia. Batman #240, however, can stay here. The dialogue isn’t written in a way that speaks of the war as ongoing (despite the fact that it would have been at the time of publication). In fact, the dialogue from both Ra’s and Sterling is in past tense. So, for our intent and purpose here, we don’t even have to retcon the dialogue to imagine that they are talking about a war that ended a year prior—a war which, in 1976, would have had plenty of secrets still hidden. While the Pentagon Papers would have revealed some of the more shocking ones by this juncture, there would still be others. MKUltra, for example, would definitely be something Rā’s al Ghūl would be interested in.
  7. [7]COLLIN COLSHER: Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip 4/15/1971 to 10/5/1971 (“Too Many Riddles—Two Many Villains”) is non-canon. In it, all of Batman’s rogues have escaped prison and conspire against him with Two-Face leading the gang. It occurs in late May, with Dick just entering his first summer break from Hudson University. The reasons “Too Many Riddles—Two Many Villians” is non-canon are many. First, it ignores Batgirl’s status-quo. She appears in this arc, but she should be in Washington, serving her term as Congresswoman; Second, Kirk Langstrom and Francine Lee are shown preparing for their wedding. They are already married by this point. Third, Batman and Robin are surprised to learn that Clark Kent is now a TV reporter working for the Galaxy Broadcasting System. Clark has been a TV newsman for months now—and Bruce has watched him on TV before. Likeswise, the follow-up arc in Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip 10/6/1971 to 11/4/1971 (“Hideous Newlyweds”) is non-canon because it tells an alternate version of Detective Comics #407, showing a different Langstrom wedding, which takes place at the end of summer with Dick having just returned to Hudson University. As mentioned before, Langstrom is a Hudson University professor in the “news strip-verse.” He isn’t on our Earth-1 timeline.
  8. [8]COLLIN COLSHER: The Teen Titans series was cancelled in 1973, following issue #43. The series returned three years later in 1976 with Teen Titans #44, in which a flashback was shown explaining how and why the Teen Titans disbanded three years earlier.
  9. [9]COLLIN COLSHER: Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strip 1/29/1972 to 3/7/1972—entitled “Dick Grayson: Kidnapped!”—is non-canon because Babs plays a pivotal role in it, and yet no mention is made of the fact that she should be in Washington DC now that she is a Congresswoman.
  10. [10]COLLIN COLSHER: Is Galexo canon?! Maybe not, but nothing in the Galexo strips contradicts anything else, so technically they can be in-continuity. Of course, as detailed in the IDW-published trade of collected Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder News Strips and by historians Joe Desris and Steven Thompson, Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder is discontinued and officially ends in January 1972 (with “The Secrets in Grandma Chilton’s Scrapbook”). However, in January 1972, Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder is immediately (illegally) continued by the Ledger Syndicate, which hijacks the strip from National/DC and publishes the monthlong “Dick Grayson: Skyjacked!” arc. In April 1972, the Ledger Syndicate boldly debuts its own brand new character, Galexo, even going so far as to retitle the strip to Batman with Robin and Galexo. (Within a month’s time, by May 1972, the strip is no longer published in the US, for obvious reasons.) Batman and Robin only appear in the first Batman with Robin and Galexo arc, entitled “The Duo Becomes a Trio,” so that’s the only one we’ll list on our chronology. The adventures of Galexo continue into 1974, going on for roughly two years after this first arc—amazingly, still holding onto the title Batman with Robin and Galexo, even though Batman and Robin aren’t even in it! How’s that for a mind trip? In any case, most of the Galexo strips from 1973-1974 haven’t been archived and it is unknown if any remain in existence. If anyone has some, you’ve got quite the collectibles on your hands! Based upon all this, there’s no way that DC intended for Galexo to be in-continuity, so including him on the Silver/Bronze Age timeline is a personal headcanon call on your part, dear readers. I’m keeping Galexo because it’s one of the most interesting (and ridiculously strange) things to ever happen to an ongoing Batman title, and it doesn’t really mess with anything else.
  11. [11]COLLIN COLSHER: The Brave and The Bold #108, published at this point on our timeline, is another Bob Haney/Murray Boltinoff Sgt. Rock/Batman team-up tale, a continuation of the ongoing Sgt. Rock saga from The Brave and The Bold #96 wherein which our Batman supposedly fought in WWII. As such, just like The Brave and The Bold #96, The Brave and The Bold #108 is also non-canon on both Earth-1 and Earth-2, and only canon on Earth-B.
  12. [12]COLLIN COLSHER: The Batman-less Detective Comics #433 Part 2, which goes right around here on our timeline, features an unnamed blonde Mayor (or at least mayor-elect) of Gotham that looks neither like our new redheaded mayor-elect or outgoing Mayor Hayes. As site-contributor PurpleGlovez points out, he kind of looks like candidate MacCutcheon, who supposedly just lost the election. Make of this what you will.
  13. [13]COLLIN COLSHER: The awesome truth about Swamp Thing’s origin is revealed in Alan Moore’s seminal Swamp Thing Vol. 2 #21 (art by Steve Bissette, John Totlebon, and Len Wein). This 1984 issue, entitled “The Anatomy Lesson,” was not only the opening shot fired in the British Invasion of Comics and the start of revisionism as a means of storytelling rather than retcon, but also one of the greatest single-issues ever published in the history of the genre.
  14. [14]COLLIN COLSHER: The Microcosmos/Microcosmic Universe (or Microverse, which it was later officially renamed-to during the New 52 era, specifically in 2016), is the sub-atomic dimension that is comprised of various nano-structures and nano-locales. According to some views of superstring theory and M theory, the sub-atomic microscopic realm exists as the 11th Dimension, although it technically could also exist as one of the other imperceptible quantum dimensions beyond space-time.

7 Responses to Bronze Year 10

  1. James IV says:

    Just to point out, and sorry if I’m mistaken, the Detective Comics #414-416 section looks it covers #417 as well, what with it having four plot descriptions and all.

    Also, as a side note, The Brave and the Bold #98 really sounds like a hoot and a half. Phantom Stranger masquerading as Lucifer to trick a Satanic witch coven that consists of a police officer, a doctor, and Bruce Wayne’s own godson? Batman mentally torturing a 10-year-old boy because of a mistake for a period of a few days? I swear, the Silver Age is the best.

    • Thanks, James. And Enoch is BATMAN’s godson not Bruce’s, which is even better. I’d never read Brave and The bold #98 until now, and I can’t stop talking about it. It’s so bonkers in the best way possible. And all in one single issue! Morrison or Snyder would have done a similar story, but over 150 issues haha.

  2. James IV says:

    “Batman infiltrates the base to find Ra’s al Ghul and one of his top scientists Dr. Moon speaking to Sterling’s re-animated brain! Sterling is about to tell them top secret government information about the Vietnam War, which Ra’s al Ghul wants to use for his own nefarious world-changing means.”

    I enjoy Dr. Moon’s character. As little as he ever mattered, I like it when a writer deigns to use him. Anyway, the main point. Since the time-sliding retcons make this take place in 1976, meaning the Vietnam War has ended in an official capacity (as noted under the second Ten-Eyed Man appearance) what possible top secret government information regarding a war that is over could be given to Ra’s that could be used to change the world? Time-sliding is a nice semi-subtle way to retcon events, but it does leave to so many sticky issues like this.

    • I always try my best to take these things into account. Stories get moved, sometimes, due merely to a seasonal reference or because there’s green on the trees when it should be the dead of winter. That being said, I certainly didn’t miss the Vietnam reference here. A handful of stories from 1970-1971 have already been slid back to fit the timeline of the conflict in Southeast Asia. This one, however, can stay here. The dialogue isn’t written in a way that speaks of the war as ongoing (despite the fact that it would have been at the time). In fact, the dialogue from both Ra’s and Sterling is in past tense. So, for our intent and purpose here, we don’t even have to retcon the dialogue to imagine that they are talking about a war that ended a year prior—a war which, in 1976, would have had plenty of secrets still hidden. While the Pentagon Papers would have revealed some of the more shocking ones by this juncture, there would still be others. MKUltra would definitely be something Ra’s would be interested in, for example.

      And yes, Dr. Moon is fucking awesome. One of the great B-list villains in DCU history. But then again, most B-list or even C-list League of Assassins characters are pretty darn cool. Thanks for the comment, James! I’ll probably put a footnote up about our convo.

  3. James IV says:

    I do hate to nitpick, and I’ve just been waiting for a confirmed re-appearance, but it would seem to me that Ubu’s name should be bolded and scarlet-ed in his #232 appearance since he shows up later. That aside, I love the long story arc of Ra’s during this time. It gives it almost an epic feel, this period in Bat history.

    • You are hot on my heels! Yes, thought I was missing someone. How could I forget the original Ubu? Especially since he spawned a whole tribe of loyal Ubus (as there were in the Modern Age and later). “The Saga of Ra’s al Ghul” is a hallmark moment for Batman comics, a masterpiece that still holds up today. Probably, the first genuine (and worthwhile) long-arc in Batman’s history. It’s amazing how creators like Denny O’Neil, Jack Kirby, and Len Wein really transformed DC for the better in the early Bronze Age.

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