Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Batman #218

Batman #218 (On Sale: November 11, 1969) has a cover by Murphy Anderson. This is the last issue to feature this long-running Batman logo.

We begin with "Batman and Robin's Greatest Mystery" which is reprinted from Detective Comics #234 and created by Ed Hamilton, Sheldon Moldoff and Stan Kaye. Batman and Robin track down a crook, Jay Caird, who has stolen a sonic weapon. When the weapon is turned on the Dynamic Duo, they are knocked out and begin suffering from amnesia. Commissioner Gordon allows them to search the police files for clues to their secret identities in hopes that it will restore their lost memories.

Batman finds several clues while reading the files. He learns that he is wealthy, is a pilot, and a polo player. With the possibilities narrowed, Batman is able to guess that he is Bruce Wayne. He drives to Wayne Manor where his memories begin to return. With his recovery, he remembers where Caird was headed, and together with Robin, Batman captured the crook.

Next is "The Hand from Nowhere" reprinted from Batman #130 and created by Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris. A giant hand appears above a factory. The hand is controlled by two alien creatures. Batman confronts the aliens who are making the hand steal metal ore. Batman is unable to capture the aliens because the giant hand protects them.

Batman follows the trail of the aliens as they steal several other metals. The aliens make a raid on some valuable platinum, and Batman is able to uncover their scheme. The whole setup has been a hoax. The aliens are really disguised crooks. Batman locates the hideout and finds that Superman’s frequent foe, Lex Luthor is behind it. Batman takes control of the hand, which Luthor invented, capturing Luthor and his gang.

That is followed by "The Man Who Couldn't Be Tried Twice" reprinted from Batman #118 and created by Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff and Ray Burnley. Batman testifies in a murder case to help free the defendant, James Lee, who is accused of killing his former trapeze artist partner. Lee is acquitted, then brags that he did kill his partner, Wyler. Batman’s name is ruined, but he uncovers evidence proving that the circus owner, David Dial, is the real killer. Dial bribed Lee to brag so that no one would find him. Batman then brings both men to justice.

That brings us to "The Body in the Bat-Cave" reprinted from Batman #121 and created by Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris. Batman and Robin discover the body of electronics genius turned criminal Alec Wyre in the Bat-Cave. They believe wire and an associate discovered the cave, then the associate murdered him. Batman then tracks down three suspects, despite the fact that one must know his secret identity. All three suspects prove to be false leads. Batman then deduces that Wyre found the Bat-Cave on his own and was knocked dead when he hit his head on a stalactite. The location of the Bat-Cave and Batman's secret identity therefore remains a secret.

Next is "Four Hours to Live" which originally appeared in the Sunday Batman newspaper strip from June 11 to July 30th, 1944.

We end with "The League Against Batman" from Detective Comics #197 and created by David V. Reed, Dick Sprang and Charles Paris. A new hooded criminal known as the Wrecker strikes against Batman by destroying objects dedicated to the crime fighter. He destroys Batman toys, signs, and sculptures, claiming to seek revenge for his three brothers who were executed after Batman captured them.

Dwight Forrow, a man who wrote a book about Batman, receives a death threat and is assigned two police bodyguards. The Wrecker still succeeds in carrying out the threat, apparently killing Forrow.

Batman and the police believe that the Wrecker is Skip Denton, who had three criminal brothers. However Batman finds a clue that proves the real identity of the Wrecker. Police apprehend Denton, but Batman clears him by finding Forrow alive. Forrow and his brother were running an insurance scam and set Denton up. A sunburn on Forrow's hand gave the crook away and allowed Batman to apprehend him.

Edited by E. Nelson Bridwell.

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