[World of Bats] Batman Book Club: Bronze Age Bats! April-June 1972 (09/26/2020-10/02/2020)

Greetings, Bat-Fans! Welcome back to the early '70s!

I’m back with more World of Bats Book Club, and continuing our slow chronological look at Batman’s Bronze Age adventures. And indeed, people were concerned with the number of issues I assigned last week, so I’m cutting my planned assignments in half and making it a bit slower.

The Reading

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Batman with a gun on the cover? We know we’re in for something this week!


It’s fun to see Batman disguise himself like he does in the Highway to Nowhere story; it reminds me of Sherlock Holmes going undercover in his stories. Both were master detectives and masters of disguise.

Another thing that’s a little surprising to me is how enjoyable these backup stories are. Sierra Smith is a fun, if perhaps quaint, character and these police stories are entertaining. I’m also enjoying these Batgirl comics; I never knew she was elected to congress.

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Thanks for slowing this down, merciless Ming!

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I should note that the “Batman’s got a gun” issue is sorta a precursor to Ten Nights of the Beast, with Batman working to ensure that an important figure doesn’t get assassinated.

Also, this panel is the best:

Tec 423 Gordon

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OK, of these Bronze Age assignments to catch up on.

  • Detective Comics #422: Good mystery, bit of a gimmicky setup, but overall solid. Title got AC/DC stuck in my head and I’m OK with that. But seriously, Bruce? That bar of soap didn’t set off any alarm bells?
    As for the backup, the congress subplot seems to be out of order. We saw Babs’ campaign posters in the background of the previous issue, but until the end of this one she’s still working on Jim’s campaign, which in turn is introduced like it’s something we should already know about. This is despite both stories being written by Frank Robbins in consecutive issues of the same series. He also didn’t miss any issues of the backup, so I can only assume that the prison break story was somehow used ahead of schedule?
    It’s also beginning to occur to me that Batgirl’s cases seem to exclusively be ones that involve personal acquaintances of Babs. Honestly, she’s lucky that Jim is the only one that’s figured her out. Also I think she >sob<bed in a thought bubble. Also also, is this really a prison reform problem, or is Gregg just a jerk? Because I feel like Gregg is just a jerk.

  • Detective Comics #423: Wow, that was a really contrived way to deliver on the cover. The conflict is interesting, but it doesn’t work. Even putting aside that the “scare quotes” make it “obvious” what their real plan is, how are the bad guys able to tell the difference between the real and fake swaps in the first place? They protect the real swap by disguising it as another trial run, but what information are the bad guys using to distinguish the trials from the real thing? Meanwhile, in backup-land, a candidate with zero experience and a woefully insubstantial platform wins office through the power of slogans. Where’s this kind of realism in modern comics?

  • Batman #241: I just have to pause and note that while the gag is a little repetitive, Batman trolling Arthur Reeves never gets old. Somebody needs to bring him back. Batman punching a guy because his socks don’t match his clothes is pretty awesome too. Meanwhile, in the reprints, scratch another Robin. Bats goes through ‘em like toilet paper, doesn’t he?

  • Detective Comics #424: The clock is not quite the conclusive evidence the story wants us to think it is (the robber could’ve missed because he was panicking, a lousy shot in in general, and/or trying to scare the guard off without killing him), but it’s a good story otherwise.

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