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Batman Issue 118

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"The Merman Batman!"
General Information
Series: Batman
Issue Number: 118
First Published: September 1958
Previous Issue: Batman #117
Next Issue: Batman #119


"The Battle of Police Island!"Edit

When four convicts escape Gotham State Prison, Batman and Robin are called in to help investigate. They follow the convicts' trail and discover two scientists locked up in a nearby government atomic plant. Freed, the scientists tell the two heroes that the convicts who locked them up--Gavin, Gee-Gee, Moore, and Dalton--stole a truck containing radioactive specimens. The greater danger is that Gavin, having hid inside the specimens' container, has not only become radioactive himself, but will transfer radiation to anyone he comes in contact with if he is not treated within two or three hours. After discovering the abandoned truck, Batman and Robin trail their quarry to Police Island, the site of next week's Police World Fair. On the island, after freeing two captive watchmen and sending them for help, the dynamic duo tell Gavin of his condition, to no avail. Batman manages to trap Dalton and Moore within a model prison. Later, they disarm Gee-Gee and Gavin with a magnetic device that draws their guns away. Finally, using the air blast from a hydroplane's propeller and remote-control riot hoses, the heroes force Gavin and Gee-Gee into the basement cell of another model prison. Commissioner Gordon lands shortly after with a doctor to treat Gavin, and Batman comments upon the irony of the convicts' breaking prison just to land in another prison.

"The Man Who Couldn't Be Tried Twice!"Edit

James Lee, a circus acrobat, is standing trial for the crime of murdering his ex-partner, Wyler. Lee had been discovered by Willy Keyes, a clown, and a policeman in Wyler's trailer, fallen amidst Wyler's many paintings which he had done as a hobby; Lee clutched both the murder gun and Wyler, but claimed innocence, saying he had heard a struggle, come in, and picked up the gun. Paraffin tests indicate that Wyler had fired a gun. But Batman takes the stand, testifies that Wyler had called him in fear for his life and begged for protection in return for important information. Moreover, he reveals having seen Lee fire a pistol at a carnival shooting range some time before the killing. Finally, he demonstrates that if Wyler and Lee--who was recently dumped from their double-act when Wyler went solo--had struggled, then Lee's hat would have fallen off and been trampled, but it was in perfect condition. The jury pronounces Lee not guilty. Lee, laughing wildly at the verdict, publicly reveals to Batman and the court that he did kill Wyler and fired the carnival gun as a paraffin test alibi. And, since Lee cannot be tried twice for the same crime, he must now go free. In days to come, the public and even Commissioner Gordon criticize Batman for slipping. But Batman himself feels his instincts were right, and, returning to the scene, finds a painting of Wyler's with a "Minus Q" painted on the bottom. Since a telephone dial has no "Q", Batman realizes the real murderer must be circus owner David Dial. He captures Dial minutes later, and at police headquarters the circus owner confesses he had been smuggling wanted crooks out of various states and had been found out by Wyler. Lee was bribed for his false testimony. Commissioner Gordon tells Batman that Lee will be picked up and tried on conspiracy charges, and shakes Batman's hand.

"The Merman Batman!"Edit

Batman and Robin, searching the wharves for a clue to the dilemma of missing criminals, almost nab a gangster Vince Kenton, but only clip a piece off a calling card he holds with a Batarang. Batman climbs a tall flagpole to try and spot the fleeing felons, but is thrown into the bay when a lighting bolt strikes both him and the flagpole. Robin, unable to find him after diving, is convinced Batman has died, until he hears morse code coming over his belt radio. Obeying the strange orders he receives, Robin has a truck pull Batman out of the bay in a water-filled tank. It transpires that the electrical charge and the chemicals in his utility belt combined to change Batman into a human "fish," able to extract oxygen from water but not from air. Communicating with via a voice amplifier, he vows to go ahead with his work. Batman wears a water-filled helmet to enable him to work on dry land, and, using the torn card as a clue, traces Kenton to the offices of Carl Smarte, head of the Marine Construction Corporation. The heroes give battle, but Smarte figures out the use of the water-filled helmet and smashes it, leaving Batman gasping in the air. As the crooks escape, Robin saves Batman by holding a match close to the ceiling and activating the sprinkler system. In a new helmet, Batman checks out a hunch and finds the crooks' new lair below the floor of an aquarium. In the midst of the fight, Batman keels over and breaks his helmet. Amazingly, he gets back up and finishes off the criminals. Later, Batman explains to Robin that he felt the change wearing off and he pretended to faint in order to throw the crooks a curve. They prepare to haul in their catch to Commissioner Gordon.




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