Issue #69, Detective Comics (November 1942)
Batman & Robin: “The Harlequin’s Hoax!”
Moody!Monday Tempestuous!Tuesday, Batfans. Apologies for being a day late. A migraine yesterday put me out of commission.
I have to admit, I was a bit trepidatious about doing this post. For those of you who haven’t already heard, at a Friday morning premiere of The Dark Knight Rises, one of the dregs of society decided it was time to gain his 15 minutes of fame by tear gassing and opening fire in a packed theater in Aurora, Colorado. He claimed 12 lives and injured 60 more theater goers, including children, and effectively sucked the joy out of going to see TDKR for many fans. Warner Bros was stunned, hell, the whole country was, and now there’s another gun control /violence in comics and movies debate raging in the media.
Added to this mess? Dood claimed he was The Joker (despite apparently dying his hair red, not green).
*drags out the soapbox*
As a long time comics fan, this is appalling and disturbing. But even more so, the fact that comics and guns (not the clearly evil human responsible for gunning those people down) will be held up as scapegoats just breaks my heart. I’m not a gun advocate. I don’t own any (blades are more my flavor). But it’s the right of those who choose to do so. The weapons this guy used aren’t to blame. They were merely tools in his hands to inflict the atrocities he deemed appropriate to his demented plan. Gun control will always be a hotly debated subject, and I’d just as soon stay out of it, since they aren’t my thing anyway.
But comics? C’mon. Media of all types have always been under a microscope, with people claiming that everything from comics to video games to the music on your radio being to blame for someone misunderstanding/misinterpreting/internalizing/rationalizing their own special brand of crazy. The fact that he did this at TDKR doesn’t make it any less horrific, but for those of us who are Batsy fans, it’s the very antithesis of what our beloved hero stands for. There were people in that theater who were there to be entertained. There were children who were getting their first taste of the wonder of Batman, and now, their lives have been irrevocably scarred. All because one individual decided he didn’t want to play by the rest of society’s rules.
My heart breaks for those theater goers. It breaks for the families, and it breaks for the fans everywhere, who, like me, came home from the movie in our own cities and towns, thrilled by what they’d seen take place, only to immediately have that good feeling crushed in the onslaught of the terrible news from Colorado.
Comics are art. They are entertainment. They are escape from the daily grind. They are uplifting morality plays about good and evil and even the morally grey. They exist because we need them to. We need heroes who are larger than life to inspire us to do what’s right when everything seems bleak and hopeless. We can’t all be police and firefighters, EMTs and Military personnel.
But we can, each and every one of us, be the goddamn Batman in our minds and do right by this crazy world.
*puts soapbox back in the corner*
So, I’m going to go ahead with this post. Because right now? The world needs a little levity.
And I’m the goddamn Snarkstress.
When last we saw our titanic team, they were busy tying up loose ends with Two!Face. And as it always goes in Gotham, just when ONE crazy cog gets removed from the wheel, another one spins right ‘round to take his place:
That same day, around Gotham, people are getting gifts from our villain Du Jour, all of which are missing a key component: A radio without a loudspeaker, a car with only three wheels, a telescope without a lens, a clock missing an hour hand. All of them arrive unexpectedly with a little love note from Joker that no one seems to understand EXCEPT the recipient of the gift itself.
Will we be able to figure out The Joker’s dastardly plot before Batman? That seems to be the question of the hour. Especially since our hero is taking a little time for himself for a change:
Linda wants to ride the parachute jump, so our hero begrudgingly agrees:
As they begin their descent to the ground, something goes wrong:
Down below a crowd gathers and eventually, an hour later, while crews continue to try to fix the broken ride, they decide it’s time for refreshments:
Another hour passes, and dusk encroaches. In the distance, the Bat!Signal appears in the sky:
He knows he’s got to get down somehow, but with his companion so close and the crowds down below, the question is how:
So he does what anyone in his situation might do:
Before he becomes a Bruce!Smear, he reaches out and grabs a nearby cable:
He puts on a “scared carnival goer” routine that gets him in a car and away from the fairgrounds, ditching Linda and racing home to change. Then it’s back to business as usual:
Gordon fills him in on the deets, seemingly ignorant of Batman’s tardiness:
Our hero is flummoxed but determined:
But while Batsy steels himself for the upcoming mental gymnastics, Joker decides the next night that it’s time to get out and mingle.
Meddling officer dealt with, Joker returns to his thievery, making off with a rather spectacular haul. The next morning, the papers have all the deets about the deed, catching the eye of our plainclothed heroes:
Later that night:
Meanwhile, at the storage warehouse of the Shutter Camera Co., one of the night workers gets a surprise visitor:
They head to grab some expensive cameras, but they aren’t the only ones surprising people:
The Joker makes a break for it while his goons get thrashed, but Batsy is hot on his heels:
Thusly knocked senseless, it seems the caper is at an end. They stuff Joker in the back of the Bat!Mobile and get ready to take him to jail.
But our baddie isn’t so easily thwarted:
Moments later, there’s a bang:
When Batman goes to investigate, Freed!Joker clubs Robin and tosses him from the car, disappearing into the night with their ride:
Our heroes watch him go…and then:
Disciplining done, they head to the Saunders residence to do a little investigating:
Shot fired, they head next to the Fordney residence, where he’s busy staring at his three-wheeled car:
He lets loose with a shot:
And thirdly? They hit up the Morsey household:
Robin finally calls him on his shenanigans:
But Batsy isn’t done with his investigating, rounding out the circuit with a trip to see Jim!Brown’s clock:
The clock slamming against Brown’s hand doesn’t hurt him, though, and we soon find out that it’s due to Brown’s arm being artificial:
Crazed!Batsy confronts Jim about the truth and gets it quickly enough. Apparently, the quartet of gift receivers were all cellmates together in another city when an explosion maimed them:
Suddenly, the news interrupts with a flash about the Joker having just robbed the J.I. Wolf Fur company and Brown swears he’ll just tell the police about everything. Unfortunately for him, Joker and his goons burst in. With a gun on Robin, Batman immediately gives up, leaving Joker and his thugs to secure them all to a nearby radiator so they can make a quick getaway:
Batsy tries his best but is unable to reach it:
Acting quickly, Brown boots the bomb out the window:
Apparently, the explosion knocked the radiator free, making it easier for our heroes to untangle from the wreckage in time to head for the aircraft plant. Seems Brown gave Joker the combination to the safe there when Joker threatened Brown’s wife. We fast forward to said plant, where Joker and his goons are already hard at work, opening the safe to steal the diamonds inside:
Suddenly, our heroes burst in and everyone scatters:
The battle rages along the assembly floor, with Robin working to take down the fleeing goons while Batsy focuses on his main quarry who is trying to make good his escape in a nearby Bomber. But unfortunately for our hero, Joker gets in one good last hit and manages to get away:
Strangely unfulfilled, I leave you until Thursday!Be nice and share, cheesy grins, comic book madness, Comic Review, DC Comics, DC Girl, DC LOVE, DC Snark, DC Universe, omg obsession!, Running late, synopsis, The Batman, too good to keep to myself, utterly hilarious, wtf Snarkstress?