Friday, September 4, 2009

Batman #216

Batman #216 (On Sale: August 28, 1969) has a cover by Irv Novick and Dick Giordano.

"Angel -- or Devil?" is by Frank Robbins, Irv Novick and Dick Giordano. Really gooRemove Formatting from selectiond art in this one and another winner from Frank Robbins. His work throughout the DC line a this time gave them a scripting boost that they needed to move past some of the excesses of the past.

The Old Avon Players are in town and Alfred is wondering when he will hear from his brother Wilfred, a veteran thespian and a long standing member of the troupe. Meanwhile batman has has a run in with some thugs threatening bodily hard to a beautiful young woman outside of the theater where the Avon troupe is staged. the woman takes off, but Batman tracks the thugs to the theater where he loses them in the throng of costumed players. On the way back the the Batcave he finds the young woman hitch-hiking to Wayne Manor. She is Alfred's niece, Daphne.

Batman takes her to Alfred then makes a hasty change into his civilian duds. Dick, who has been nursing a nasty cold, jumps up at the sight and sound of a pretty girl and shows Daphne around Wayne Manor and its collection of Shakespeare artifacts, including one of Bruce's prize possessions, the original manuscript of Romeo and Juliet. That night as everyone sleeps Daphne removes an candle from the candelabra and the next morning she has left early, but Alfred notices the shortened candle and some wax droppings on the floor.

At the theater Daphne gives one of the thugs a wax impression of a key. That night, Daphne takes Alfred, Bruce and Dick to the theater for the troupe's final performance of Romeo and Juliet, but during intermission Daphne sneaks off. Alfred suspects something is up and follows her to Wayne Manor where he catches her trying to steal the Shakespeare manuscript. She and Alfred tussle and the gun goes off and Alfred sinks to the floor. Meanwhile Bruce notices that Alfred has not gone back stage like he said he was and also finds out that Daphne left during intermission.

Back at Wayne Manor, Daphne faints seeing Alfred's prone form and Alfred sits us and picks up the gun, which is a prop using blanks. As they had fought over the gun Daphne had said something about not wanting to have to choose between Alfred's life or that of her father.

Bruce heads back to Wayne Manor and Alfred returns to his "death spit" as Daphne wakes up. Thinking Alfred is dead she grabs the manuscript and exits. Moments later Bruce finds the manuscript is missing and changes into his Batman duds.

Back at the theater we find that the "thugs" have been holding Daphne's father hostage in order to get Daphne to steal the manuscript. Daphne learns that the gun she "used" on Alfred was a prop and her father pushes her onto the stage before anyone can stop him. He thinks he has saved her, since no harm could come to her while on stage, but he finds out that the prop knife that Juliet is to kill herself with is not a prop.

Alfred shows up and attempts to break thinks up but is interrupted by Batman. eventually it is Dick who saves Daphne and after the bad guys have been taken away Alfred forgives Daphne for "killing" him and the whole thing seems so much like a Shakespearian play. Reprinted in Best of DC #9.

The two-page back-up is "You be the Detective" from Gangbuster's #51 and is only notable for the Ed Robbins artwork and the trick of printing the solution to the crime in the last set of panels which are printed upside down.

Edited by Julius Schwartz

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