This one starts in the middle of the action, with Calendar Man robbing the Metropolitan Museum. It doesn’t really look like Calendar Man because he’s dressed as Odin; why is he dressed as Odin? Because it’s Wednesday and Wednesday is named after Woden, who was also known as Odin. Calendar Man has gone all out in his dress-up, even riding an eight-wheeled motorbike in reference to Odin’s eight-legged horse, Sleipnir. Batman swoops in on his whirly-bat and goes after Calendar Man, who tries to flee into a tunnel. Batman uses smoke bombs to confuse him and Calendar Man blasts the whirly-bat. Batman jumps onto the motorbike, but Calendar Man detaches a normal bike from the eight-wheeled monstrosity and takes off, leaving the remaining six wheels and chassis to crash into a brick wall. Batman saves himself from splattering by grabbing a convenient lamp-post. We find out that Calendar Man s basing his crimes on the days of the week and get flashbacks to his first two heists: on Monday, he donned a giant moon on his head and stole some stamps that had been “hand-canceled by astronauts on the last lunar voyage”. Then on Tuesday, he dressed as Tiw, the war-god, and stole Ulysses Grant’s medals from the Military Museum. Batman vows he’ll be ready the next night for Calendar Man’s Thursday crime. Early Thursday night, we see some guys breaking into a military installation. They kill the guards with nerve gas and a stereotypical hacker breaks into the computers to retrieve the binary code for the nuclear defense system; his boss is thrilled. At first, I thought this was supposed to be Calendar Man, but it’s not. We’ll pick up this thread at the end of the story. We check in with Batman, who has set alarms all over town at places he thinks Calendar Man might strike. One of them goes off and Batman heads to an art gallery, where Calendar Man (dressed as Thor, naturally) is stealing a painting called “The Storm King”. Batman jumps him and Calendar Man uses a weapon he calls “Thor’s hammer”, but Batman disarms him. Calendar Man activates a device in his helmet that gives off “ultrasonic thunder”, which almost scrambles Batman’s brain. He finds the discarded “hammer” and shatters Calendar Man’s helmet, but the crook takes off when the cops show up, leaving Batman half-dead—and half-deaf. Commissioner Gordon says Batman should rest, since they have until Sunday to catch Calendar Man. Later at home, Bruce Wayne’s doctor tells him he risks making the ultra-sonic damage permanent if he doesn’t take it easy. Alfred forces him to heed the doctor’s warning and Bruce stews as Calendar Man’s spree continues. On Friday, he dresses like Frigga and robs a high society wedding (since Frigga was the goddess of love and the future). Bruce tries to get out of bed on Saturday to do some business, but Alfred has already let Lucius Fox know Bruce isn’t to leave his bed for anything. Lucius is booked of the Western Sun Express to Central City to oversee a merger and tells Bruce he can handle it just fine on his own. That night, Calendar Man strikes again, dressed as Saturn. He steals the take from an Ecology benefit, because Saturn was the god of agriculture. Bruce has had enough lying around, but Alfred tells him there’s not much for him to do. He reminds Bruce of Lucius’s trip and Bruce puts two and two together. He fakes out Alfred and heads for the train station, where he finds Calendar Man in his civvies, getting ready to board the Western Sun Express. Makes sense, since it’s Sunday; plus, Sunday is a day of rest, so Batman figured Calendar Man would use it to skip town. Calendar Man lives up to his name by tossing a sheaf of calendar pages to distract Batman and running into the railway tunnel, where he changes to his usual garish outfit. That gives Batman time to catch up and he tackles Calendar Man. They struggle and Batman’s boot gets caught in the rails, so he leaves it there and goes after Calendar Man again. He throws his bat-line and misses Calendar Man by a wide margin … but it turns out his target was a railway switch. He pulls it and a metal flag conks Calendar Man out. I don’t know how he’ll live that one down in the prison yard. Elsewhere, we see the thieves from earlier and their boss, who tells them he’s demanded a $22 million ransom from the government for the stolen binary nuke codes, and offered the same codes to a “foreign government” as well. His henchmen object to such treasonous activity, but he says it’s all part of a double-cross, and we see the big boss is Two-Face. I guess the whole “binary missile codes” should’ve tipped me off, but I’m a bit slow sometimes. We’ll see what happens with Two-Face’s ultimatum next issue.
- When Calendar Man is shown stealing the stamps, he seems to be ripping them out of the display case like a maniac. I’m thinking they wouldn’t be worth much after he was done with them.
- I’m not sure why Grant’s medals are in a Gotham museum.
- Frigga is a goddess, but Calendar Man’s outfit is definitely male.
- Calendar Man’s real name is Wilbur Day, which is pretty on the nose.
This one starts with Batman rushing to check out a fake Bat-signal. He finds the projector in a park and it shoots out a bolt of lightning, totaling his car and injuring a couple of kids who were playing nearby. Batman climbs out of the wreckage of the Batmobile and checks on the kids. (They’re fine.) At the Olympus Building, the man behind the lightning bolt trap, crime-lord Maxie Zeus, says the trap wasn’t meant to kill Batman, just lure him into attacking. Zeus has an archer called Odysseus ready to skewer Batman when he shows up, plus a few other surprises. Some of Zeus’s underlings think he’s nuts, but they don’t care since his criminal genius makes them a lot of money. At the Wayne Foundation, Batman prepares his assault on the Olympus Building. He explains to a worried Alfred that Zeus will be expecting him, so he’s going to hang-glide onto the roof in complete silence. Sure enough, Zeus has men waiting on the roof, but Batman’s noiseless approach works and he gets the jump on them. He pounds them before they can sound an alarm, but he assumes Zeus is already aware of his presence—which he is. So Batman goes down the side of the building and crashes through a window, taking some more gunmen by surprise and pounding them. Batman searches the building for Zeus and finds himself in a room full of antiquities. The ceiling starts moving down toward him (which he thinks is a bit cliché), and a set of whirling blades block him from retreating out the door. When he turns, three wolves greet him with bared fangs. Maxie Zeus comes in through a hidden door to gloat; he says the wolves are trained to attack as soon as any part of the ceiling touches the floor. He also says the ceiling weighs a thousand pounds, so Batman might be able to support it on his back for a while, but sooner or later it’ll either crush him or he’ll let one side fall and the wolves will tear him to pieces. Before leaving Batman to his fate, Zeus says he did all his criminal deeds because he’s a god and gods can do whatever they want. After Zeus leaves, Batman gets an idea; the ceiling that’s on his back doesn’t extend from wall to wall (I guess it’s more of an “area ceiling”), so he dips one end of it toward the wolves, who charge over the top and straight into the whirling blades, jamming the mechanism. A bit bloody for 70s Batman, but he didn’t really have much choice. Batman’s exhausted from holding up the ceiling, but has no choice but to press on. Odysseus is waiting and Batman takes him out without getting pierced by an arrow, but he’s about ready to drop from exertion. Batman knows Zeus will be trying to make a getaway and remembers seeing a radio antenna on the roof, meaning there must be a powerful transmitter in the building. He sends a message to Zeus, who’s at the docks about to flee the country. But he changes his mind when Batman calls him a coward and says he’s afraid to face a mere mortal. Batman waits at the Olympus Building and Zeus and his bodyguard come creeping in. Batman decks the gunman and Zeus gives up without a fight, saying combat with a mortal is beneath him but at least he’s no coward. Batman says Zeus’s pride was his downfall and Zeus agrees, saying pride is a flaw shared by all gods.
- Batman says Maxie Zeus is as dangerous as the Joker or Ra’s Al Ghul. That’s a bit of a stretch … obviously they were trying to establish him as a major villain, but in later years, his obsession with being a Greek god gets more and more goofy.
- Maxie Zeus started out as a history teacher specializing in Ancient Greece, so I guess that’s where the obsession started.
This one starts with Christopher Chance getting a phone call warning him not to help Floyd Fenderman avoid death. The only problem is, Chance has no idea who Floyd Fenderman is! He checks with the phone company for a lead, but notices a couple of goons outside his apartment building. He disguises himself as an old man, walking right past the goons and into a cab. In the cab, he changes disguises, this time to a roughneck dude. He observes a tailor shop (where the threatening phone call came from) and notices lots of people going in and out, but not carrying any clothes. He goes in and asks about Floyd Fenderman. The manager gets nervous and tells him he never heard of Fenderman, but when Chance snoops around outside, the manager and his stooge grab him. Chance beats the crap out of them and interrogates the manager about Fenderman; turns out Fenderman owns the tailor shop building and found out they were running numbers out of it. He threatened to go to the cops (I don’t know why he didn’t just go instead of warning them about it) and they put out a hit on him. The hit is scheduled for that afternoon and Chance heads for the spot. He notices a utility bucket strung between buildings that’s swaying even though there’s no wind. He heads up to the bucket and does a little tightrope walking, taking out the gunman. He thinks it’s weird that he saved Floyd Fenderman’s life and doesn’t even know what he looks like. Later he’s recounting the story to some babe and a waiter at the restaurant he usually frequents; apparently, Fenderman must’ve eaten there lately and the crooks assumed he was there o hire Chance. Chance is bitching about risking his life without getting paid, when another customer overhears him … guess who it turns out to be? Yup, it’s good old Floyd Fenderman, and Chance decides to tell him everything … and hit him up for payment for services rendered.
This one starts with Commissioner Gordon opening a package that blows up his office. Batgirl was on her way to see him (he’s her dad, remember) and is the first one on the scene. She takes him to the ambulance and when the cops say they’re calling in Batman, she says it’s her case. (They use the Bat-signal anyway, but Batman never shows up, probably because he’s too busy with Maxie Zeus.) Batgirl starts investigating and talks to the messenger who delivered the package. He’s pretty freaked, but says he picked it up from the post office and dropped it off. A forensics tech shows Batgirl the reconstructed envelope (that was fast!) and says it has no postmark or return address. He mentions Commissioner Gordon’s daughter Barbara (aka Batgirl’s secret identity) is in Congress and fighting to push through an anti-crime bill, so maybe someone was trying to get to her through her father. Batgirl decides to talk to a crooked politician named Ross Canton, who knows every bit of dirty business in town. His place is like a fortress, but Batgirl plays Spider-Man and overhears Canton talking about sending someone to the hospital to waste Gordon. She can’t arrest Canton without proof, so she races across town (jumping over a drawbridge on her motorbike on the way) and calls in police back-up. She bursts into her father’s room but there’s only a nurse there. Gordon almost gives Batgirl’s secret identity away (which I guess he knows at this point) and Batgirl notices the nurse is wearing a jangly bracelet. She figures that would be a no-no in a hospital, so she grabs the nurse, who decks her and tries to run. Batgirl catches her, but the nurse says she (and Canton) didn’t have anything to do with the bomb; they just decided to waste Gordon so the bomber would be blamed. Batgirl tells her father she was going to ask his advice about running for re-election, since she’s been getting threats over her anti-crime bill. Gordon says she’s not one to back down from threats and she wonders if the bomber is targeting her or her father. Then she remembers a clue that probably should’ve occurred to her before: the messenger said he brought the package from the post office, but there was no postmark on the envelope. She finds the messenger packing to leave town and learns he gave her father the bomb because Gordon arrested him twenty years ago and he spent the intervening years in prison. Batgirl pounds him and vows to herself she won’t let threats stop her from doing what’s right. I assume that means she will be running for re-election.
This one starts with a circus being set up at Hudson university. But it’s not just any circus, it’s the Haly Circus, in which Dick Grayson and his parents once performed. (Throughout this story, the name of the circus is spelled “Haly” even though I’m sure it was originally “Haley”.) Before Dick can get too nostalgic, a lion escapes and he changes into Robin and lures the lion back into its cage (which was tampered with) using some fancy acrobatic moves. A circus aerialist compliments him and says she’s a member of the Flying Graysons, which almost makes Robin shit a brick. She explains that her real name is Linda Gray (!) and she and her family use “Flying Graysons” as a stage name. Before Robin can sue her for trademark infringement, Pop Haly shows up and reminisces about the last time they saw each other. Remember, Robin, when you and Batman busted up that protection racket that tried to shut down the circus by killing the star attractions, the Flying Graysons? Of course, Haly doesn’t know the Graysons were Robin’s parents. Robin asks about using the Flying Graysons as a stage name and Linda says it was her step-father’s idea. Haly said he liked it, because the name might bring in more business. Haly says someone’s been sabotaging the circus again and we see a shadowy figure watching, thinking bad thoughts about Robin and his meddling. Later, Linda, her mom, and her step-father get ready to perform their trapeze act. They’re doing fine until Linda almost misses a jump and falls, but Robin catches her before she splatters. Naturally, Pop Haly pretends it was part of the act, getting a big cheer from the audience. Linda’s step-father says the trapeze didn’t swing right and Haly mentions the sabotage again, saying someone’s trying to force him to sell out. Robin goes back later to investigate the trapezes; being a former aerialist, he thinks that Linda’s mom looked much more professional than her step-father and realizes he was lying about the trapeze. The step-father shows up and says he’s the one who’s been sabotaging the show. He wants Haly to sell out to a bigger operation, where he can be the star attraction. He talks a lot of shit about Linda and her mom, making it sound like he only married her to get a shot at the circus. I don’t know what he’s talking about … Linda’s mom is pretty hot. Anyway, he sets the main tent pole on fire and leaves Robin to die, but the Boy Wonder uses a trapeze to swing out of danger. Unfortunately, there’s no one on the other trapeze to catch him, so he has to make a hell of a leap and it looks like he’s going to miss … but the trapeze swings toward him on its own and he grabs it. He catches Linda’s step-father outside and kicks his ass. Linda’s mom feels like an idiot for marrying such an asshole; I guess he won’t be getting any conjugal visits. Robin wonders if Haly will have to shut down the circus because of the fire damage, but Haly reveals he’s been getting anonymous checks for years. Robin recognizes the checks as being from a bank that Bruce Wayne deals with, so he’s obviously been subsidizing Haly all these years. We see that Haly recognized Robin as Dick Grayson because of his acrobatic moves, but doesn’t let on; he thinks Dick’s parents would be proud of him. Robin wonders why the trapeze moved toward him in the tent, but can’t figure it out. I guess we’re supposed to think it was the ghosts of his dead parents pushing it.
This one continues straight from last issue. Baron Tyme wants Merlin’s power to use the Book of Eternity, so he forced the Demon to lead him to Merlin’s tomb, then turned Demon back into Jason Blood. But when Tyme opened the tomb, it was empty. He figures Blood is screwing with him, but Blood is just as surprised as Tyme. They argue back and forth a lot and Blood tries to escape but gets trapped by a spell. Before Tyme can waste him, a bunch of angry villagers show up, headed by Inspector Stavic, who looks like he stepped straight out of the Franco-Prussian War—or maybe Doomstadt. The villagers (especially one mouthy bastard named Miklos) want to kill Blood and Tyme, but Stavic knows Blood and tells the villagers to calm down. Tyme attacks them and Blood turns back into Demon to stop him. The villagers really freak out and Miklos is ready to waste Tyme and the Demon, but Stavic points out that neither of them have actually harmed the villagers yet. That’s not good enough for these stereotypes (seriously, Miklos is carrying a pitchfork) so they go after the two sorcerers. Demon puts up a mystic flame barrier, but Tyme teleports away, leaving Demon to face the villagers. Stavic holds them back again and returns the Book of Eternity that Demon dropped. Demon takes off, leaving Miklos disappointed he didn’t get to murder anyone. Later, Tyme returns to Merlin’s tomb and gloats that the lid of the tomb has runes of power all over it, meaning he doesn’t need the Book. But before Tyme can exploit his newfound knowledge, there’s an explosion above him that collapses the tomb on top of him, squishing him. Outside, we see Miklos with a TNT plunger, happy that he finally got to kill someone. Later, Demon shows up at the office of someone named Beckermann (who I assume is related to the Beckermann who owned the bookstore from which Tyme stole the Book of Eternity) and later still, we see Tyme digging his way out of the rubble of Castle Branek.
This is an “Unsolved Cases of the Batman” story, where Batman dictates a past case to Alfred for posterity. This one starts when the Wayne Foundation receives a bunch of artifacts for their collection, including one that concerns Galileo. A Professor Higley takes charge of it, saying it’s a formula for a Universal Solvent, a substance that can dissolve anything. The formula is in code and Bruce Wayne is eager to try and crack it, but he has a meeting. He figures he’ll get a shot later, but ends up mad at himself for not looking at the formula when he had the chance. (He claims he could’ve memorized it so it wouldn’t have been lost.) Later, a nosy guard walks into Higley’s lab where Higley has solved the code and reconstructed the Universal Solvent. Unfortunately, the Solvent accidentally kills the guard and Higley freaks out and takes off. Bruce Wayne figures it out when he sees the mess the next day; he knows the only thing that can contain the Solvent is a magnetic field and Higley had giant magnets in his lab. Bruce figures Higley must’ve killed the guard by accident and fled to the only other place in town with magnets that powerful … Gotham State University. As Batman, he finds Higley, who locks Batman in the magnetic chamber with the Solvent (which looks like a gas cloud) and tries to kill him. But since the chamber is open at the top, Batman just jumps out and grabs Higley. The Solvent somehow eats through the chamber wall and dissolves the papers containing the formula, then dissipates. Higley can’t remember the formula, since it was too complicated and he has a shitty memory. In his dictation, Batman says Higley never went to trial, but the knowledge of losing such a valuable scientific discovery is torment enough—torment Batman shares. I’m not sure how the Solvent ate through the chamber wall if it was contained by the magnetic field, and I’m not sure why it lasted just long enough to dissolve the papers, other than authorial requirement. Higley says the Solvent dissipates into a harmless gas once it’s outside the magnetic field, but then why is it so dangerous? Shouldn’t it dissipate any time it’s out of a magnetic field? I dunno, I just read ’em.
This issue has a cool Jim Aparo back cover featuring some super-villains.
This one starts with Batman outside the morgue, kvetching over two unexplained deaths. A couple of young people have died mysteriously for no apparent reason and Batman vows to get to the bottom of it. The next day, Barry (Flash) Allen and his wife Iris are on their way to Gotham as guests of Bruce Wayne. Iris is in a shitty mood, saying she and Barry hardly get any time together anymore, and Barry says this little trip is exactly what they need. At Bruce’s penthouse, Barry and Iris (and Bruce’s date, Rhonda) talk about liberated women and chauvinism and agree to go to a hot disco called the Stardust Ballroom. At the Stardust, the emcee is some kind of huckster and a lot of the patrons are dressed in really weird outfits. Sometimes I’m glad I wasn’t a teenager in the 70s. One of the weirdos is dressed like the Phantom of the Opera … not the hot Michael Crawford version, the original Lon Chaney freak. The emcee tells Bruce (who he refers to as “old-timer”) that the Phantom shows up and dances all night with one lucky gal, then disappears. Later that night, Barry has a weird vibe about the disco, so he goes to check it out, leaving Iris asleep. Batman gets an alert about another mysterious victim of strange malady that killed the first two girls. This one isn’t dead yet, but she’s close, and Batman recognizes her as the girl the Phantom danced with at the Stardust. He heads over there ad sees the Phantom dancing with the comatose girl he just left at the hospital, and Flash dancing with some fey-looking babe. Batman can’t get inside the disco, as there’s some kind of mystic force field around it. Inside, the Phantom tells Flash he’s dancing his girl to death and Flash’s witchy-woman is doing the same to him. Flash can’t break loose from her spell, so he speeds things up (which she seems to like), but it just wears him out. He finally uses the old trick of moving so fast he makes a double of himself; the double asks to cut in and he witch-babe falls for it, allowing Flash to vibrate through the wall to safety. The Phantom doesn’t care, saying the Stardust is enchanted and they’re “free to avenge the indelible past”. Outside, Batman fills Flash in on the comatose girl, whose life is slipping away as her spirit dances with the Phantom inside. At police headquarters, they find that one of the dead girls is the same weirdo babe that was dancing with Flash; she went from being the Phantom’s victim to being his ghostly accomplice. Batman and Flash head for Sea City, to an old amusement park, where they meet Guy Stanton, a dude who used to emcee dance marathons at the Stardust decades ago. When he learns about the Phantom and his ghostly dancers, Stanton tells them about a kid named Dawes whose girlfriend died during a dance marathon. Dawes tried to shoot Stanton, blaming him for his girlfriend’s death. Flash figures the Phantom is Dawes’s ghost, dancing girls to death to avenge his own lost love. All of a sudden, two guys start blasting through the windows with machine guns (Haney must be a Chandler fan) and Stanton is shot. Batman catches the gunmen and right before he croaks Stanton says the mob has been trying to muscle in on the Stardust (which Stanton still owns). Batman assumes the mob are behind the weird shit at the disco, but Flash believes it’s Dawes’s ghost, so they separate to pursue their theories. Batman starts slapping mobsters around while Flash zips back in time to the fatal dance contest to get a picture of Dawes’s girlfriend, Emily. Batman pounds the mobsters who were leaning on Stanton, but they swear they had nothing to do with the ghostly bullshit, so Batman decides Flash’s theory must be right. Flash shows Batman the photo he took of Emily, thinking they might be able to rig up a hologram, but Batman notices a resemblance between Emily and Iris. So they take Iris to the Batcave and make her up to be Emily’s double. Flash and Iris vibrate inside the disco, where Iris convinces the Phantom she’s his dead lover, Emily. She gets him to renounce his vengeance just in time to save the latest victim and he fades away—as does the spirit form of the girl he was dancing with. Outside, Batman finds a couple of mobsters trying to blow up the Stardust and he uses their own dynamite to knock them for a loop. The girl whose spirit was hijacked by the Phantom makes a full recovery. When Rhonda suggests they go to the Stardust again, Bruce, Barry, and Iris tell her to forget it.
- It was the late 70s, so I guess it’s inevitable that we’d get some disco stories sooner or later.
- We find out Alfred is familiar with the Latin hustle. Apparently, he’s quite a swinger.
- When Bruce kisses Rhonda good-night, she says he kisses like Batman; apparently, she smooched the Caped Crusader at some charity benefit a few years back. Batman thinks he must be getting old since he didn’t remember her; personally, I think a better indicator that he’s getting old is that he didn’t nail her.
- I guess the reason Batman can’t get into the Stardust when the ghost is there is because the whole building is shunted to some kind of otherworldly dimension. The charges the mobsters were planting wouldn’t have actually blown up the building, but might have trapped Flash and Iris in the other dimension forever … at least, that’s what Batman says.
- If you’re wondering how Batman knew about Guy Stanton, there was a poster outside the Stardust, though I’m not sure how he knew where Stanton was living now.
- I’m not sure why Flash is so eager to believe in the supernatural explanation; he is a scientist after all.
- When Flash goes back in time, he uses his super-sped to vibrate so nobody can see him, but then how does he take the picture of Emily? If his vibrations render him invisible, wouldn’t they make it impossible for him to get a Polaroid?
After killing his son Joshua last issue, Morgan has taken to wandering … and drinking, apparently. (Of course, we know Morgan didn’t kill the real Joshua, only a clone; but nobody knows that except Ashiya, who placed Joshua with a peasant couple to be raised as their son.) When Morgan comes out of a tavern, he’s jumped by thieves who think he’s too drunk to resist. He proves them wrong as he fights back, letting his savage instinct take over as he slaughters them. One of the robbers tries to backstab Morgan, but gets a silver crossbow bolt in the back. Morgan’s guardian angel turns out to be a woman who doesn’t speak, but whose eyes he finds haunting. She takes off and Morgan wonders how someone in the crappy section of the city can afford silver crossbow bolts. He takes the bolt and tells himself he’s not going to get involved, but immediately breaks that vow. He hears a scream and finds the girl getting mugged by four guys in armour. Morgan takes a couple of them out, but the others drag the girl into a tower and lock the door. Morgan blasts it open with his gun and heads inside. The tower is like a TARDIS, bigger on the inside, and the architecture looks like an Escher drawing—or maybe like one of Steve Ditko’s alternate dimensions in Doc Strange. Morgan is attacked by a giant snake and he impales it with his sword. It keeps squeezing him until he shoves a burning torch down its throat. Morgan heads up along the twisted pathways and soon realizes the burning snake has set the tower on fire. He considers leaving, but another scream compels him to keep going. He finds a chamber at the top of the path and dispatches the two guards without a thought, but when he bursts inside, he’s startled to find a huge werewolf waiting for him. He figures the girl is already dead and it’s all he can do to keep the werewolf from killing him. He uses the silver crossbow bolt to kill the beast and it turns out to be … yup, you guessed it; the girl he was looking for. The girl’s father appears and says the whole kidnapping was a ruse to get Morgan there so he could kill the girl and break her curse. I’m not sure if the thieves outside the tavern were part of the ruse, or just the kidnappers. Anyway, the old man thanks Morgan and says he’ll stay and burn with his daughter, but teleports Morgan outside. Morgan reflects that the girl almost seemed happy in death. So I guess Morgan does good deeds whether he wants to or not.