I’ve been in a Batman mood lately, and what says Batman better than some Neal Adams art! So I’ve pulled out Batman # 245, published by DC Comics and cover dated October 1972 from the comics vault. It is entitled; “The Bruce Wayne Murder Case!” and is written by Denny O’Neil, with pencil art by Adams, with the inking done by Dick Giordano.
Here is the cover: by Adams and Giordano:
The story opens with Commissioner Gordon trying to get between two politicians, Bilker and Harvey. Bilker is accusing Harvey of having killed millionaire Bruce Wayne! The Batman happens to be swinging by and swoops down to join the fray, and attempts to cool off the two politicians who are running for Gotham City’s Mayor. It seems that Bilker claims Harvey has killed off Wayne because he has disappeared and immediately prior to the disappearance Wayne had announced he was withdrawing his support from Harvey.
One the politicians leave Gordon asks Batman if he thinks Wayne was really murdered. He goes on to state that reports have said that Wayne’s plane had crashed in South America. Batman leaves Gordon with a promise to look into the situation.
Batman swings by Bilker’s place and asks to see Bilker’s proof, but Bilker sets a “goon” upon Batman. Needless to say within four panels, Batman has knocked out the “goon”. He ask asked for the proof and this time Bilker hands it over. Batman looks over the proof, which is a note from Wayne to Bilker, on Wayne’s stationary saying; “I have reason to believe Jeffers Harvey plans my murder… should anything happen to me, please notify the authorities. Signed … Bruce Wayne!
The Batman is shocked, as it looks legitimate, but he knows he, as Bruce Wayne, did not write this note! So his next step is to visit Osgood Peabody, who recently was written up in a scientific journal and discussing his computer which can duplicate handwriting.
With just a little pressure, Batman gets a confession out of Peabody, but Peabody rips some bare wires out of the machine and tries to electrocute Batman. As the electricity surges through him completing a circuit, Batman is unable to let go (Remind me to tell you a story from my youth when I grabbed hold of an electric fence with one hand while holding a metal fishing pole with the other hand). Peabody knocks Batman out with a handy wooden stool and flees. But as Batman slumps to the floor the circuit is broken and he shortly wakens.
In the meantime Peabody has fled to Bilker’s office, where Bilker and his “goon” load Peabody into his car and drive down to the docks with the intention of killing Peabody and tossing his body into the bay.
It’s at this moment that the Batman climbs out of the trunk. Commissioner Gordon is called and arrives to take Bilker into custody and Batman leaves saying he has a journey to make.
The last page shows a Gotham Newspaper headline; “Bruce Wayne Found Alive. Gotham millionaire survives jungle plane crash!” and a picture of said millionaire. A kinda low key Batman adventure, but also a little out of the ordinary, which I think makes it great! O’Neil’s story is excellent and the team of Adams and Giordano is perfect! Well worth adding to your collection if you don’t already own it.
That’s all folks for this RETRO REVIEW, but hopefully I’ll be back next week with another Fabulous Find. Until then … be seeing you …