Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Detective #249

I've always liked this particular issue, for several reasons. First, it features Batwoman and Robin working together. Why? Well, because Bruce Wayne is in prison!

It's something of a stock DC plot, with Bruce agreeing to be found guilty of being the fantastic new criminal, The Collector, in an attempt to befriend a prisoner who has somehow found blueprints to the jail. As in all such stories, though, only one person (Commissioner Gordon) knows that Bruce is not really guilty.

So when one of the convicts attempting a breakout with the plans accidentally kills himself, Bruce is accused of murder and sentenced to die. And of course, the Gotham legal system makes Texas look deliberate, so that Bruce is convicted and receives the last meal rapidly. Can Batwoman and Robin save him?

Well, Robin can, anyway. This was only Batwoman's third appearance and although she insists that the Boy Wonder work under her as he would under Batman, it is clear that Robin is the real detective on this case:

This is contrary to the usual Silver Age stories in which Robin is almost always second banana to the World's Greatest Detective.

Eventually Batwoman and Robin capture the Collector and the warden gets the governor to call off the execution. We never do hear that Commissioner Gordon has recovered from that nasty coma.

The story is unique in that Batman only appears in one panel; it's almost all Bruce Wayne.

The second story is The Ghost that Haunted Roy Raymond. The Roy Raymond stories were amusing little tales of a TV debunker of the supernatural. In this one, Roy proves that the ghost haunting him is actually a fake arranged by a couple of men trying to settle a bet.

The text story is actually pretty interesting, concerning the C.I.B., the Compliance and Investigative Branch of the Department of Agriculture. Yes, Agriculture had their own special cops, who bust people for some, shall we say, unusual crimes:

Yes, thank goodness those wily promoters are not allowed to make a profit on that wheat!

In the Martian Manhunter story, the governor is being threatened by gangsters trying to get a pardon for one of their members who is scheduled for execution. Two death penalty stories in one issue! Detective Jones impersonates the governor using his special power of being able to mimic any form (pretending he used makeup for the trick). The execution apparently goes forward, and the next day the crooks try to get revenge on the governor, but Jones manages to defeat them without revealing he's a Martian.

No comments: