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Batman Issue 136

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"The Challenge of the Joker!"
Batman136
General Information
Series: Batman
Issue Number: 136
First Published: December 1960
Previous Issue: Batman #135
Next Issue: Batman #137


SynopsisEdit

"The Case of the Crazy Crimes!"Edit

One night while patrolling the back alleys of Gotham, Batman and Robin are surprised by a clanking robot. The robot, in halting, mechanical speech, warns them of "Mr. X." Seconds later, a costumed man blasts the robot to pieces and, when Batman and Robin pursue him, brings down a fire escape with his ray-gun to block their path. Batman comments that they now have to solve the murder of a robot. In the wreckage, they find a slip of paper with the name of the S.S. Gotham City, currently docked at the Gotham piers. They board the ship and have to battle a pink, scaly sea-creature that replicates every time they hit it. Mr. X appears on the dock, makes the monsters vanish with his ray-gun, and takes off in a blimp. Two riderless horses rein up on the pier, bearing a letter signed "Your secret friend" and informing them that the horses will take them to the hideout of Mr.X. They do. The hideout is a hitherto unknown castle outside of Gotham. Inside, on a throne, sits a crowned gorilla. Beside him are four gorilla guards with medieval weapons and helmets, and Mr. X. One of the gorillas challenges Batman to a duel, hands him a sword, and then breaks it in combat. Batman vaults over his next stroke with a lance. Suddenly all the gorillas vanish and Mr. X is replaced by Bat-Mite. He confesses that he created the entire scenario just because he wanted to see Batman and Robin in action. Batman confesses that he's going to spank Bat-Mite just because he wants to. Bat-Mite and the entire castle vanish, leaving Batman and Robin standing on open ground. They go home.

"The Town that Hated Batman!"Edit

Batman and Robin pursue gangster Bert Collins off a ferry, forcing their quarry to swim to the shore, where he has a waiting getaway car. The heroes make land and reach their Batmobile, and follow Collins's trail to a nearby small town, once a played-out sulfur mining town, but now apparently a bustling country town. The mayor, one Mayor Cobb, does not recognize the photo of Collins that Batman displays. But Batman notices a strand of seaweed inside the door of the mayor's office and decides to stay, over the objections of the officials. Batman and Robin show the photo to other citizens, who all disclaim seeing Collins and insist strongly that both of them leave town. Finally, the two heroes face a mob led by Cobb, and are eventually overpowered and lowered into a sulfur well, with water pumped in through a pipe. The dynamic duo climb to safety on the pipe and, in hiding, see the mayor and townspeople greet Collins now that they are in the clear. The citizens and Collins enter another structure in which Batman and Robin see a spacecraft. "Cobb" and his fellows reveal themselves as bug-eyed, yellow-skinned aliens. They confess they intend to conquer Earth, but saved Collins to recruit an underworld army for them, and has not wished to kill Batman and Robin at first, fearing an inquest from the outside world. They display their deadliest weapon, the Grav-Ray, which can increase the force of gravity thousands of times in a given spot until even a metal tower can be demolished by its power. However, due to the scarcity of its power element, only one model can be built. Batman and Robin, setting a sulfur barrel afire, provide smoke cover for their assault and manage to gain control of the Grav-Ray. With it, they force "Cobb" and the aliens from the planet Vorda to leave Earth in their spacecraft. Afterwards, they destroy the Grav-Ray and take Collins prisoner once again.

"The Challenge of the Joker!"Edit

The Joker, listening in on a television lecture by Batman, hears the caped crusader mention that ancient science believed in four elements--earth, fire, air, and water--but modern science has rejected this belief, and modern science has made it impossible for criminals to escape the law for long. The Joker, incensed, challenges Batman by mail to a duel of wits, as he commits crimes based on the ancient elements. He sends as a clue to his first crime a bottle of air. Under analysis, it proves to have traces of burned kerosene, leading Batman to believe the Joker intends to rob a plane of its airmail. This proves to be the case, as the Joker scoops up mail at the airport with a giant vacuum cleaner, then reverses the suction to blow the approaching Batman and Robin into the air. They cling to the lines from a passing blimp and are safe, but the Joker makes a clean getaway. Subsequently, the Joker capitalizes on an earthquake to loot an amusement park and later traps Batman and Robin in a ring of fire shot from the mouth of a huge Joker-faced sky-sled. He taunts them with the information that he is to steal the Linden Necklace next, worn by Jenny Linden in her musical comedy-performance of The Arabian Nights. The performance takes place on a floating stage, suiting the Joker's crime-pattern. With an acrobatic stunt, Robin is able to flip over the fire-ring and drive the Batmobile through to convey Batman out of harms way. Then they arrive on the floating stage in time to thwart the jewel robbery and to trap the Joker in a huge genie-bottle prop. Batman remarks that the Joker forgot a fifth element--the element of surprise.

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