Welcome to #ComicEssentials, my new series where I am going to read through the most important parts of a character’s history and we’re starting with Batman. You guys can follow along by reading the given issue before this post and then you can come back. Regardless I hope it’s all going to be worth it in the end. Today we are looking at the very first debut of Batman. Read the end of the post so you can prepare by reading the next issue we’ll cover next week.
Batman: The Case of the Chemical Syndicate (1939)
Issue(s): Detective Comics #27
🖊Writer(s): Bill Finger
Penciler(s): Bob Kane
Bruce Wayne is chilling with Comissioner Gordon and talking about life. Suddenly Jim gets a notice about a murder of a wealthy business man, Lambert. No, not Adam Lambert. Gordon asks Bruce to come hang out with him because, why not? At the scene the police interrogates Lambert’s son who only saw someone jumping out a window just as his father collapsed to the ground. The main suspects were his former business partners: Steven Crane, Paul Rogers and Alfred Stryker. Bruce listens to the whole thing with the smuggest look on his face. Not allowed to be here? No f-bombs given.
Steve Crane (1 of 3 suspects) calls saying he too is in danger since he received an anonymous threat just like his now dead colleague. Sadly everyone was too late to save Crane. The criminal who shot him escaped with some letter to his pal in crime. Luckily they didn’t see the “Bat-Man”.
He beats the crap out of them, grabs the letter, police arrive just in time to see Bat-Man (who wanna capture him). Bat-Man escapes in his “Bat-Mobile”. We find out Alfred Stryker then send an assistant who knocked out the 1 of the 2 rich men left, Paul Rogers. Well, I guess it was obvious who the bad guy was given his last name was Stryker and the others had names consisting of Steve & Rogers.
Just as the assistant is about kill P. Rogers in a gas chamber *insert inappropriate holocaust joke here* Bat-Man comes right on time to save him. He then defeats the assistant, Alfred Stryker comes out himself to finish the job, Bat-Man yet again from behind gets to a bad guy. We find out the plan was to kill all former partners to gain the entire share of the Apex Chemical Corportation. Stryker wanted to get rid of the contracts to find a way out of paying for what he owes the men.
Stryker pushes the Bat-Man to reach for his weapon, the vigilante punches back so hard that the fat man falls through the metal bars into a vast of chemicals (Joker Identity REVEALED!). The hero runs home after being thanked. The next day Comissioner Gordon tells Bruce Wayne all about what happened. After Bruce leaves the reader finds out…..PLOT TWIST! Bruce Wayne was the Bat-Man! *GASP*
Absurd! This can’t be! I must go send some death threats to Bob Kane on Twitter. This revelation will be very controversial and will upset long time fans…..Ok, done playing bafoon.
STORY: Very surprised the very first Batman story ages very well. There are some gripes I do have like why was Paul Rogers placed within a gas chamber and not just stabbed or killed? And then there are the “point A to point B” story approaches which I’ll let slide given how it’s from the Golden Age.
ART: Very good for its time and shows off very nice scenes like the ones on the rooftop that are very readable thanks to the art work.
ACTION: Awesome, classic-like fighting scenes with memorable and diverse settings. We also get to see Batman who doesn’t have a moral code so he never holds back against criminals. Just adds a new perspective.
CHARACTERS: Other than Bat-Man no one seems to be super interesting. This issue is supposed to be an introduction his adventures but that doesn’t mean everyone else shouldn’t have a bit more to them.
Detective Comics #27 marks the debut of the Caped Crusader making it that much more of a must. Silly lines of dialogue were expected, the writing seems to impress by holding back on the ridiculous nature which will later be seen in the Silver Age. Overall it’s a narrative that moves fast, yet never rushed, always finely paced. Bob Kane and Bill Finger have build a very solid foundation of crime, mystery and action. Highly recommended for Batman fans, comic history lovers and just about anyone interested in what once was.
•28/40 = 70% = Good
•Favorite Quote: “A fitting end for his kind.”
•Next Bat-Time: Detective Comics #38