Tuesday, April 15, 2014

BATMAN LEADS AN INTERESTING LIFE : BATMAN VS DR DOOM


Nope, it’s not the Fantastic Four’s armor-plated nemesis trading blows with the Caped Crusader and his boy chum in this April, 1950, issue of Detective Comics No.158, but rather a balding jewel smuggler whose assumed appellation raises more questions than it answers. “Dr Doom”, you wonder, looking at the bespectacled baldie, “How exactly does he doom people?” Perhaps it’s his given surname, he’s Roy Howard Doom, of the Connecticut Dooms, or maybe he just holds a lot of sway in the jewel smuggling business and can really damage a guy’s long-standing rep with so much as an unkind word. There’s really no way for us to know because he’s dead now.

The fatal adventure begins with the Dynamic Duo dusting their dearest souvenirs – a locked camber in the Batcave plays host to (according to the story) literally 1,000 trophies of their cases against crime. Included in this total is that famous giant robot dinosaur (here, a sneering but inarguably vegetarian brontosaurus) and the giant penny , plus some enormous chess pieces, a mechanical dice-roller the size of the QE II, a musical note (?), the Joker’s Mardi Gras mask , some cannons, a buncha dumb umbrellas from the Penguin’s personal collection and one souvenir they had to give back because the police needed it for evidence. So not only is the announced total a huge lie, also isn’t all of this evidence? Batman and Robin, springing criminals for life!

"Plus one time we went to Six Flags."
Meanwhile, the pair’s spring cleaning is interrupted when they’re called to bust up the alleged smuggling efforts of Dr.Doom down by the waterfront, discovering DESPITE HIS CLEVER PLOY that the Doctor had been hiding jewels in fake Egyptian artifacts. No one was concerned he was smuggling in Egyptian artifacts? Apparently not, Commissioner Gordon even gives a sarcophagus to Batman to hide away in his goodie pile back home.

In the meantime, Dr.Doom has plunged into the icy waters of Gotham Harbor as is presumed drowned, only little does anyone realize that he’s not only alive, he’s hidden himself in the sarcophagus and is allowing himself to be smuggled into the Batcave!

Once installed in the Trophy Room, which is locked from the outside, Doom uses his “criminal genius” (that’s a two-year course at DeVry) to rig the assorted trophies to murder Batman and Robin the next time they enter. Appropriately, pretty much of all the trophies which were getting a good scrubbing earlier end up either almost slaughtering the duo or serendipitously save their lives, although we’re given a peep at a bombproof “midget mansion the wee people of tiny town” gifted the Dark Knight Detective as a souvenir and I WANT TO READ THAT STORY.

Doom is killed when an errant bomb locks him in the airtight sarcophagus, suffocating him, which – hold it, someone died in the Batcave? Now what? Batman doesn’t call the city’s ME down there to investigate the scene, does he? Does he move the body? That’s not kosher, we only have his and Robin’s word on how the crook snuffed it, the state would have no choice but to prosecute a charge of tampering and manslaughter at the very least.

Unless … the Commissioner did say that Doom was lost at sea and presumed deceased, would Batman and Robin just … dump the body? There are big pits in that cave, they could do it? Or is the mummified corpse of Dr.Doom the real … one-thousand and first display in Batman and Robin’s Hall of Trophies?

"Tell no one."


2 comments:

BillyWitchDoctor said...

“midget mansion the wee people of tiny town” gifted the Dark Knight Detective as a souvenir and I WANT TO READ THAT STORY.

No. You don't. And it's an actual Batman story.

would Batman and Robin just … dump the body? There are big pits in that cave, they could do it?

ALSO an actual Batman story from that era. At least two, in fact. Schmucks found the Batcave all the time! One managed to stave his own skull in before Batman even knew he was there (leading to a "murder" investigation); another found out Bats' identity and attempted to escape through the cave's underground river--which turned out to not be such a clever plan, but at least the body turned up far, far away.

BillyWitchDoctor said...

Follow-up: But if you should insist, the Tiny Town story is in Batman #41, (June 1947). Of it, the author at The Real Batman Chronology Project wrote: ...(W)hile Bill Finger’s concept of Midget City is ludicrous (and offensive) enough, artist Jim Mooney takes it even further and envisions the little people in this tale as grossly lilliputian creatures–most of them are barely one or two feet tall and they drive toy cars. Sheesh. Had Jim Mooney ever even seen a little person before?

ANNNND, I might as well plug Seanbaby's hilarious Cracked article leading off with Dr. Doom: "5 Batman Villains Too Lame To Survive a Single Issue." (Warning: SB makes everything obscene, including shielding oneself with a midget mansion.)

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