It’s not for nothing that Batman is the world’s biggest superhero, but … literally? Well, yes, in Detective Comics No.243 (May 1957, “Batman the Giant”) the Caped Crusader is inadvertently struck by a “Maximizer Ray,” part of a pair of inventions created by the philanthropist scientist Dr.Greggson.
When Greggson calls a number of top lawmen and scientists together – including Batman and Robin, who are a little of both – to exhibit his Maximizer and Minimizer devices, Gotham’s boldest and arguably most successful crook Jay Vanney interrupts the whole shmear so as to make off with the giant-making gadgets. It’s pretty ballsy to steal something right out from under Batman’s nose, but it all works out to Vanney’s benefit. He makes off with the Minimizer, but drops the Maximizer, bathing Batman in its size-changing rays.
|Being really big is no excuse |
for being inconsiderate, Batman.
In short order, Batman grows to thirty feet and becomes more of a menace to his hometown than anything else. To my way of thinking, fighting crime at five times your normal size can go one of two ways; either it’s a terrible hindrance due to your lumbering frame and oversized presence, or it’s a terrific boon because you can just pick up crooks in your bare hands and fling them outside of the city limits from central downtown.
For Batman, it’s the former, and he spends the story at family-size while seeking Vanney and the missing Minimizer which can restore his modest profile. In the meantime, he shows little interest in curtailing his crimefighting activities, so attaches a siren to his belt in order to warn traffic that he’s approaching. He also sets up the world’s most intimidating roadblock checkpoint-slash-tourist attraction, as he straddles Gotham Bridge and peers into every passing vehicle, searching for Vanney. The drivers of Gotham City are either a brave or understandably curious lot, being willing to drive right between Batman’s big legs like that without so much as a paralyzing panic attack.
Batman ultimately must leave Gotham, but – still possessing the Maximizer which Vanney desires, and without which he can only make things smaller – he sets himself up outside of the city limits, leering at the town for hours until Vanney takes the bait. Using the Maximizer to enlarge Vanney, the Dark Knight Detective engages in enormous fisticuffs, overcoming the career criminal and turning the Minimizer on the pair of them, reducing them to normal size.
Once that’s accomplished, though, the “rare element” which powers both devices are burned out, and off the now-useless gadgets go to the Batcave Trophy Room. Personally, considering the potential benefits of both devices, I’d probably just go find more rare elements, but that’s just me. It’s also worth noting that Vanney’s hat was knocked off during his gigantic struggle with Batman, and he wasn’t wearing it when he was shrunk, so sitting somewhere outside of Gotham City there’s a white fedora in which you can park a tractor trailer.
|"You know he's been wanting to for years!"|