Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Detective Comics #379

Detective Comics #379 (On Sale: July 30, 1968) has a so-so cover by Irv Novick.

"Two Killings for the Price of One" is by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Joe Giella. Continuing from last issue, Batman receives two blackmail demands both claiming that Robin is a hostage. He must appear in two places simultaneously, so Alfred fills in for him to perform a rescue at the pier. Dressed as Batman, Alfred tries to save the real Robin who is being used as a decoy by the youthful crook, Chino. Alfred fails to rescue Robin and falls into the harbor.

Meanwhile the real Batman attempts to rescue a phony Robin from a rooftop. The decoy and a sniper try to kill him, but Batman manages to escape. Realizing that the real Robin is at the pier, he leaves the scene and rushes to help Alfred.

Chino believes that Batman is dead when he sees him fall into the harbor. He calls his guardian, Salvo who had arranged the other trap for Batman, to gloat. Salvo and his men then head for the pier to eliminate Chino. The boy then finds himself on the run from the real Batman and his former guardian.

The back-up Elongated Man story, "The Elongated Man's Magic Moment," is by Gardner Fox and Sid Greene. Zatara has opened a magic shop after retiring from crime-fighting. Crooks attack him, intending to use his magic for crime. The magician is knocked unconscious and has a dream about the Elongated Man. While talking in his sleep, he casts a spell that gives Ralph his magic abilities.

Ralph and Sue are enjoying a day of kite flying with Sue's nephew Robby. A cloud moves down the kite string and touches Ralph, giving him Zatara's magic. Ralph learns he has the powers when he accidentally conjures a lion from thin air. He dispels the lion, then seeks out Zatara for answers.

Ralph finds Zatara, but is hit in the head. The crooks attack him, so he tries to confront them with magic. He is unable to focus fast enough to speak backwards and effectively cast spells, so he resorts to using his stretching abilities to stop the crooks.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

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