Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Batman #213

Batman #213 (On Sale: May 6, 1969) has a cover by Bill Draut and Vinny Colletta hearkening back to the style of Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson for this 30th Anniversary special issue.

We begin with a new tale, "The Origin of Robin" by E. Nelson Bridwell, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. This story has been reprinted in DC Special Series #19 and Showcase Presents: Robin the Boy Wonder Vol. 1 TPB.

Next is "Here Comes Alfred" from Batman #16 and created by Don Cameron, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson. Crooks attack a recently arrived passenger from England. Batman and Robin are on hand to fight off the crooks, who manage to escape. The intended victim is an amateur sleuth named Alfred. Later, Alfred arrives at Bruce Wayne's home. Alfred's father Jarvis was Bruce's father's butler. Alfred intends to carry on in the family tradition. Despite Bruce's protests Alfred makes himself comfortable.

That night the crooks return trying to steal Alfred's valise. Batman once again chases away the crooks. While Batman follows them, Alfred accidentally discovers the Bat-Cave and the secret identities of the Dynamic Duo.

Having trailed the thieves to a music hall, Batman and Robin are captured. Alfred also follows and manages to rescue them. Batman then apprehends the crooks, who are after the crown jewels of Dorian. The Duke of Dorian was a passenger on the ship that carried Alfred.

The following evening, Alfred brings Bruce and Dick their uniforms, revealing that he knows their secret identities. Bruce is surprised, but decides to keep the trustworthy man on as his butler.

That is followed by "The Game of Death," a Robin tale from Star Spangled Comics #127 and created by David V. Reed and Jim Mooney.

Next is "The Man Behind the Red Hood" from Detective Comics #168, created by Bill Finger, Lew Sayre Schwartz and George Roussos.

We end with "The Challenge of Clay-Face" from Detective Comics #298 and the work of Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris. A mysterious new crook with the power to change shape, Clay-Face, arrives in Gotham and begins a life of crime. Clay-Face is really Matt Hagen, a crook who has found a pool of strange chemicals which allow him to change shape.

Clay-Face’s crimes put him at odds with Batman and Robin. His powers allow him to elude capture, but during one encounter they nearly fail him as they wear off. After escaping Hagen returns to the chemical pool and restores his powers.

To protect himself from further trouble Clay-Face hires two henchmen, but one leaves a clue at a crime scene which allows Batman to track him down. Batman captures the henchmen while Robin trails Hagen back to his hide-out. Together the Dynamic Duo stall Hagen until his powers wear off allowing them to make an easy arrest.

Edited by E. Nelson Bridwell.

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