|"The Ice Crimes of Mr. Zero!"|
|First Published:||February 1959|
|Previous Issue:||Batman #120|
|Next Issue:||Batman #122|
"The Body in the Bat-Cave!"Edit
While heading through the Bat-Cave en route to the Batmobile, Batman and Robin discover a dead body in the Bat-Cave's depths. Batman determines the cause of death as a blow to the head, and Robin, identifying him as Alec Wyre, a criminal electronics genius, blurts out that whoever killed him knows their secret identities. A notebook Wyre carried gives them the names of three of his criminal "customers" who brought inventions from him: Jigger Mulane, Don Dolson, and Hank Purdy. Batman and Robin apprehend each of them in turn, and accuse each of Wyre's murder, but each claims ignorance of Wyre's death. Since a guilty man would have tried to bargain with the threat of disclosing Batman's identity, they realize they have drawn three blanks. But the manner they used to track down Hank Purdy, a high frequency transmitter, gives them an important clue; they discover similar signals coming from the Bat-Cave, and trace it to a banded Bat--the same bat Batman had earlier sent to Hank Prudy, with a message to get out of town. Batman reconstructs what must have occurred: Purdy was entertaining Wyre in his room when he received the bat-package, and Wyre, realizing it came from Batman, banded the leg with a high-frequency transmitter. Then, unknown to Purdy, Wyre sent it back home and trailed it to the Bat-Cave. But, once within it, his flashlight disturbed the bats and they fluttered against him en masse, causing him to strike his head on a stalagmite--the one which, even now, has a chip out of it--and killed himself. Batman reflects on how a bat gave away his secret identity, and another bat, or mass of bats, saved it.
"Crime Rides the Rails!"Edit
Gangster Duds Decker is handcuffed to a detective and taken on board a train that will send him to an upstate penitentiary, but he promises he will never be taken to the pen. To try to stymie any escape plans, Batman and Robin board the train as aides to Wilson, a railway policeman. At one stop, as the threesome search the cars for hobos, they come upon a trio of Decker's thugs disguised as transients and subdue them after a short battle. Also, finding a young boy running away from home because of a poor report card, Wilson convinces him to return to his parents and study rather than face the cold, hungry life of a hobo. Later, Batman uncovers a thug masquerading as a conductor--he gives the time as "two minutes after two," rather than a conductor's "2:10"--and subdues him. Still further on, Batman and Robin dismount the train briefly to catch a lion escaped from a circus train, thanks to Decker's gang, and catch up with the train again to find it stopped. Wilson, who has been unconscious, revives to tell him he was jumped by Decker's men, who took their boss and the handcuffed detective along with them. Batman and Robin track down the gang in a railroad maintenance yard, and, signaling Wilson with a special whistle used by trainmen, capture the crooks and save the detective. They see the train back on course, waving to Wilson as he waves to them from the back platform of the caboose.
"The Ice Crimes of Mr. Zero!"Edit
Mr. Zero, a new super-villain, starts pulling incredible robberies in Gotham with the help of his gang and his "ice gun," one barrel firing acetylene flame and the other emitting a fast-freezing gas. Batman and Robin try to stop one of his capers as his gang robs diamonds--"ice" in criminal slang-- from a jewelry exchange, but Mr. Zero freezes the street under the dynamic duo's skates and stops them. Later, in his lair, which is kept cold except for a warmed bench for his gang, he explains to a new member of his group of the accident that befell his when he was saturated with the cold-gas solution used in his gun. He immediately lost the ability to breathe or survive at normal room temperature, such and had to dwell in and artificially cold environment, such as his refrigerated lair or his "air-conditioned" Mr. Zero costume. Batman and Robin try to stop a subsequent Mr. Zero robbery of a visiting prince and princess's diamonds, but their bat-ropes are frozen in mid-swing and, when the heroes attempt to use an ice-slide to reach Zero's getaway car, the frigid felon melts it. Batman and Robin attempt to follow Zero to his lair in whirly-bats, but Zero freezes their propellors, takes them prisoner, and freezes them in giant cakes of ice. Batman manages to rock his ice cake enough to smash it open, along with Robin's icy prison and a steam pipe as well. He manages to slug Zero before the villain, enveloped in a steam bath, can use his ice-gun. Seconds later, outside, Zero is gratified to find the steam-bath has restored his normalcy, and Batman hopes the law may be able to normalize his criminal mind as well.