Synopsis for "Batman's First Case"
This story is reprinted from Detective Comics #265.
In Gotham City Park at exactly noon, a new "Batman Clock" is unveiled to celebrate the heroes Batman and Robin. The Batman Clock has been vandalized by a costumed villain called The Clock who says that Batman will die at 3pm. The Batman Clock collapses. The Clock appears and reveals that he destroyed the statue using a timer that released acid. The Clock leaps to a hidden motorcycle and rides away, but Batman recognizes his face.
Bruce Wayne remembers his childhood. He was strolling with his parents when they were approached by a mugger who demanded his mother's necklace. His father attacked the mugger, and the mugger shot both his parents. Bruce promised that he would dedicate his life to finding their killer, and to fighting all crime. He attended a school of criminology and trained his body to physical perfection. When he was ready for his career of crime-fighting, he knew he would need a disguise to instil fear in criminals. Just then a bat flew into his window, and he took this as an omen. He would become Batman.
The first criminal Batman saw on patrol was a thief sneaking into the Gotham Silverware warehouse. Batman swings down on his silken rope and punches the thief into a giant spoon. The thief feigns a leg injury, and punches Batman when he comes closer to look. The thief is able to escape, but Batman finds white particles where the thief ran through a freshly paved street. Batman identifies these as thallium, used in the manufacture of glass, and traces his quarry to the abandoned Gotham Glass Works. The thief suspected Batman would follow him, and throws a net on Batman when he arrives. This teaches Batman to never underestimate a criminal. Batman is left tied up in the basement, but he uses a bucket of rouge to help him slip out of his bonds. Batman confronts the thief who shoots at him. Batman tricks the thief into shooting a mirror while taking the thief out from behind.
Robin remembers reading a story about "Kyle" in Batman's Diary. They visit Kyle's former cellmate Tom Rogers for answers. Rogers explains that Kyle laughed at them for trying to go straight. Kyle developed an obsession with learning about clocks so he could use them to take ironic revenge on Batman, because Batman made him "do time" in prison. The prison warden confirms that Kyle was incarcerated years ago at 3pm, which is why The Clock chose that time. The Clock sits in his hideout full of clocks and vows that just like he was Batman's first case, he will also be Batman's last. The Clock leaves another warning for Batman that his next caper will be "the tiniest clock crime." The Clock disguises himself as a reporter to visit the Gotham Watch Co. These watches are easily damaged by acid, and The Clock throws a pocketful of orange peels to distract the employees. While they're busy, he steals a bag of valuable tiny watch screws. Batman and Robin arrive. The Clock accidentally drops his watch while jumping out the window. They pursue him outside onto a giant clock. The Clock knocks Robin off his perch, and Batman is forced to save Robin while The Clock escapes. Batman investigates the dust inside The Clock's wristwatch, and finds an unusual amount of flour. This can only mean the abandoned flour mill outside of town. They step inside and an alarm clock goes off. The Clock reveals that he knew the watch would lead them to him, and he set a trap. The Clock knocks Batman and Robin out by dropping flour bags on them.
Batman wakes up tied to a clock. The Clock explains that Batman will die at 3pm when the clock he's tied to explodes before leaving. Robin is tied to a pole and forced to watch. Batman is still wearing The Clock's wristwatch and he swings back and forth to smash the wristwatch against a wall. Using the tiny broken shards, he cuts his bonds and they both escape. The Clock sees the explosion while he's driving away, and assumes Batman and Robin are dead. The Clock goes to Gotham City's Clock Fair, where a giant pocketwatch replica contains giant real jewels. Bursting out of a giant cuckoo clock, The Clock throws smoke capsules so he can steal the jewels. Batman and Robin rush in to stop him. The Clock tears off the pocketwatch's giant hour hand and uses it as a weapon. Batman kicks the mainspring housing, and The Clock becomes trapped inside its coils. Robin remarks that The Clock was caught by a clock. Exactly 1 hour and 13 minutes later, The Clock is back behind bars in prison. Batman visits him and remarks that they've given The Clock a cell that faces the prison clock.
Appearing in "Batman's First Case"
- Batman (Flashback and main story)
- The Clock (First appearance) (Flashback and main story)
- Joe Chill (Flashback only)
- Martha Wayne (Dies in flashback)
- Thomas Wayne (Dies in flashback)
- Tom Rogers (ex-con)
- Gotham City
- Batman Clock (Single appearance)
- Batman's Diary (Single appearance)
Synopsis for "The Phantom Eye of Gotham City"
This story is reprinted from Detective Comics #192.
A criminal known as the Phantom Eye of Gotham begins to televise crimes as they happen and makes the Dynamic Duo look like they are inept. He goes further to disguise himself as Batman and get unmasked on TV as a wealthy big-game hunter, Byron King, forcing Batman to investigate who is behind the Phantom Eye broadcasts and discover why King would be masquerading as Batman.
To make things worse, the criminal manages to get footage from the Batcave and Batman decides that it's time to do some investigation as Bruce Wayne. Using his connections among wealthy Gothamites, Bruce learns that the Byron King is really an impostor that has been holding King and his son prisoner. After following the criminal to his secret island sanctuary, Batman learns all the details of the criminal scheme to use the Phantom Eye's broadcasts and King's perceived masquerade as Batman to occupy Batman while the real crime of stealing King's fortune was taking place. With the real crime and the real King's location revealed Batman emerges from hiding and captures the criminal before the plot is complete.
Appearing in "The Phantom Eye of Gotham City"
- Nails Riley (Single appearance)
- Jim (Single appearance)
- Ed (Single appearance)
- James (Single appearance)
- Byron King (Single appearance)
- Buddy King (Single appearance)
Synopsis for "The Last Days of Batman"
This story is reprinted from Batman #125.
Batman and Robin are sent back to 17th century Venice to successfully verify that a painting reputedly done by the artist Verillo was indeed his work, and that museum curator John Kirk has not erred in purchasing it. But, when the time comes for their return to the present, Carter Nichol's time machine is struck by a bolt of heat lighting. Batman is returned to his time of departure plus one hour, but Robin is shot forward in time three days, and picks up a newspaper whose headline tells of Batman's death falling from a TV tower in Bay City while saving Robin from a villain named El Bolo. Desperately, Robin realizes that he may yet have a chance to save his mentor, if he can change history when he returns to the present.
Nichols's machine, once repaired, retrieves Robin from the future, but he refuses to tell Batman about the headline, realizing his guardian would not be stopped from sacrificing his life for Robin. The heroes do encounter El Bolo twice, resulting in the bolo-wielding villain's escape each time. But, when Robin, acting on his own, is trapped by El Bolo on his TV-tower hideout in Bay City, a Batman-costumed figure swings toward them--and falls after his Bat-Rope is cut in two by El Bolo's bladed bolo. A reporter, seeing the fall, hurries to call in the story of Batman's apparent demise. But, seconds later, the real Batman swings onto the TV tower, having distracted El Bolo by a costumed dummy, and apprehends the villain with a bolo of his own. Robin reveals all to Batman, and they pass by a newsboy later who holds the erroneous report of Batman's death, more than slightly exaggerated.
Appearing in "The Last Days of Batman"
- El Bolo (Single appearance)
- Verillo (Single appearance)
- Signor Beri (Single appearance)
Synopsis for "Complete Sunday Newspaper Syndicated Story"
The Joker escapes from prison and he receives an invitation to join the gang of the "Sparrow". Joker refuses, inciting the Sparrow's ire and soon, a confrontation between two great criminals plagues Gotham City. Commissioner Gordon gets to work with Batman and Robin in order to stop the wave of crimes, but their efforts are futile.
Eventually, Batman and Robin manage to corner the Joker, but he is rescued by a gorgeous blonde, who reveals herself as The Sparrow. She had not rescued the Joker, but instead was carrying him to a deathtrap. Batman and Robin managed to arrive in time to save Joker, but but criminals manage to slip away.
Finally, Batman organizes the Gotham City Police Department to capture the Joker and true to Batman's predictions, the criminal is captured. With the Joker out of the way, The Sparrow moved in to capitalize on the opportunity, but the real Joker appears, informing her that the police arrested a decoy. However, Batman and Robin manage to capture both the Sparrow and the Joker at the same time, putting an end to the criminal rivalry.
Appearing in "Complete Sunday Newspaper Syndicated Story"
- Snake Eyes
- The Sparrow (Single appearance)
- Mince "Meat" Mulligan (Single appearance)
Synopsis for "Peril at Playland Isle"
This story is reprinted from Detective Comics #264.
Batman and Robin are invited to an amusement on the eve of its grand opening only to investigate the murder of its owner. They infer that the killer must be one of the other guests invited by the owner for the evening's inspections. When they Dynamic Duo find the killer, a great chase ensues until the heroes manage to capture the criminal. Afterwards, the amusement park is opened for all kids to enjoy, as its late owner would have wanted.
Appearing in "Peril at Playland Isle"
- Carter (Single appearance)
- Unnamed Captain (Single appearance)
- Charles Barden (Only appearance; dies)
- Edith Barden (Single appearance)
- Macklin (Single appearance)
- Wilton (Single appearance)
- Pete Conn (Only appearance; dies)
- Playland Isle
Synopsis for "The Batman of Tomorrow!"
This story is reprinted from Detective Comics #216.
Bruce Wayne injures his arm during a social event and among the witnesses of the accident is Vicki Vale. Bruce can't start working on the most recent criminal case without revealing his identity to Vicki due to his injured arm. In order to keep Vicki from discovering that Batman has the same problem, the Caped Crusader seeks out the Batman of the future to step in for him, but the future Batman almost gives away the fact that he is an impostor at every turn. Even though Robin does his best to cover for the future Batman, Vicki suspects that the future Batman isn't the real one and she gathers evidence to prove it. After the future Batman captures the criminals, the real Batman takes his rightful place after having recovered using future technology. When Vicki tries to expose the fake Batman, she is baffled to learn that the evidence she gathered is useless and she gives up her crusade. Later, the future Batman returns to his time and leaves the present to the real Batman and Robin.
Appearing in "The Batman of Tomorrow!"
- Martin Vair (Single appearance)
- Jackson Barrow (Single appearance)
Synopsis for "The Ballad of Batman"
This story is reprinted from Batman #95.
Sam Strong is a country singer whose dream is to go to Gotham City and create a tribute song in honor of his heroes, Batman and Robin. Sam's song becomes an instant hit and his name is recognized across the city. He doesn't make a profit from all the media with his creations, as all he wants is to create beautiful songs for the Dynamic Duo. However, Sam's devotion proves a bit troublesome when he learns one of Batman's secret plans and he creates a song which gives away details about the plan. When some crooks hear the song, they change their operations and Batman is unable to capture them. Sam's feat gives Batman an idea and he works together with the singer in order to lure the criminals into a trap, using one of Sam's songs.
After the criminals are finally captured thanks to Sam's contribution, he decides to return to the country side and leaves Gotham knowing that he helped his heroes and that his songs will always be remembered along with the Dynamic Duo's legacy.
Appearing in "The Ballad of Batman"
- John Martin (Single appearance)
- The fourth story are reprints from the Batman Sunday Newspaper Strip by the McClure Syndicate (1945.10.28 - 1945.12.09) This story is reprinted in The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told (1989).
- This Giant-Sized reprint issue is cover-dated January 1967, but the next regular issue, Batman #188, is cover-dated December 1966. To make things even more unusual, Batman magazine was not otherwise publishing January issues during this period, and would continue without them for years to come.
- Batman Recommended Reading
- Batman (Volume 1)
- Batman (Volume 2)
- Batman (Volume 3)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 1)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 2)
- Batman Confidential (Volume 1)
- Batman: Gotham Knights (Volume 1)
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: Shadow of the Bat (Volume 1)
- Batman: Streets of Gotham (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 2)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 2)
- Batman/Superman: World's Finest (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 2)
- The Brave and the Bold (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 2)
- Superman/Batman (Volume 1)
- World's Finest (Volume 1)