Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Shoot 'em both, I bet one of''em will turn out to be your man.
Can you imagine a world without a Batman? DC Entertainment's licensing division sure can't, and neither could the writers of this Batman story which originally appeared in Batman vol.1 No.127 (October 1959), "The Second Life of Batman." To be fair, Batman's name was on the title of the book, it's not like they could send the guy on vacation for a month.

One of the many stories released over the character's existence which postulates what young Bruce Wayne would have done if his early life had not been marred by tragedy, this story was released during the height of the Comics Code Authority, which is why the answer wasn't "heroin" and "plowing Princess Grace." In fact, when Bruce Wayne and his ward Dick Grayson visit their friend, irresponsible scientist Dr.Nichols, Batman's alter-ego is treated to a vision of "what path your life might have taken if you were not affected by something that happened to you when you were younger," according to Nichols' sales pitch.

All of this is prelude to Nichols' sales pitch for what appears to be a salad bowl made from a hollowed-out Sputnik. Donning the high-tech cap, Bruce is treated to a vision of his life had his parents not been gunned down in Crime Alley when he was but a boy. It turns out they would have died in a car crash a little bit later. That's the first shocking revelation - that the elder Waynes are fucked no matter how you look at it.

Yeah,and then they're gonna beat you to death.
The idle playboy billionaire which Wayne becomes is a disgrace to all the other idle billionaires of his acquaintance. Apparently, since his parents' sudden death, he's spent all his time hanging out in nightclubs instead of, I dunno, oppressing workers or spitting on doormen. What do his friends expect, he's going to dress up as a seatbelt and swear vengeance on cars? That trick only works once.

Attending a masquerade ball dressed as Superman, Bruce and his pals are robbed by the BLUE BAT, a daring criminal who happens to wear a costume identical to Batman's! In fact, the caption accompanying his debut declares "This then might have been the origin of the bat-costume - a disguise to hide the secret identity of a criminal!" Hold it, I wasn't aware we were signing on for the origin of the bat-costume. This story is all over the place.

The partygoers are rescued by the real Superman, whom Bruce assists by startling the Blue Bat's henchmen long enough for the Man of Steel to let the leader of the gang get away. I don't know, they're not a well-oiled machine, folks, they just met.

All it needs is a vulnerable boy to stand in front of it!
The intervention sparks in Bruce a sudden hunger for heroism, so when he later has his ass handed to him by the Blue Bat and a few of his gang on the street, he chooses to follow he assaulters to their secret headquarters.

Finding the HQ empty except for a spare costume and plans for the gang's next target, Bruce decides to dress up as the Blue Bat and drive around honking his horn and stuff until the police start  chasing him. The plan is to lead the cops to the criminal Bat's current heist, but probably I imagine they'd just shoot him dead. Oh well, the power of imagination!

Bruce, dressed as the Blue Bat, returns the beating he'd received earlier and hands the Blue Bat off to the cops. Neglecting that he'd just provided the guy with an amazing alibi, he decides nonetheless to continue dressing up as a crook to beat up other crooks. I assume he won't get shot dead by cops? Well, it's all in Batman's mind anyway, which is why I call this feature Batman Has An Active Imagination.

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