Batman and Robin welcome the Boy Commandos to the pages of Detective Comics on the cover of issue 65 (July 42). One might wonder why they didn’t do that last issue, when the Commandos series began. Do you often welcome people a month after they have been in your house?
This issue has the first Batman story in Detective that neither Finger nor Kane were involved in. The art is by Jack Burnley, who is good, but apparently thinks Batman can hold Robin aloft by his armpit. Even if possible, it would be horribly painful for the boy.
Bruce and Dick are on vacation again, and in a neighbouring state encounter an honest cop who despises Batman. He blames the hero for the death of his father, a criminal.
It’s all fairly predictable, as the cop learns that Batman is actually a good guy, and together they bring down the real villains. Batman and Robin use special uniforms in this issue that can be attached to skis, providing a glider effect.
Joe Simon and Jack Kirby bring Nostradamus into this story, and his supposed prediction of Hitler, adding to it a prediction of the Boy Commandos.
The boys are enrolled in a school in England to continue their education. At least Rip Carter cares about that, and is not just using the kids as cannon fodder.
It turns out the friendly gardener at the school is actually a spy working for the Nazis. The Boy Commandos figure that out, and fight off the Nazi attack he has prepared.
Kirby’s work on the panels of combat is just exceptional.
The Spy story in this issue features a murderous genius who implants explosives while pretending to be a repairman. Despite not actually being a foreign agent, in the splash for the story he is wearing a big swastika armband. The stories following this were written after the attack on Pearl Harbour, and until the end of his run Bart would be dealing with sabotage and weird plots to destroy America.
One thing you can’t help but notice in the dozen or so tales is that anyone at all could be a Nazi plant or sympathizer. The candy shop owner, wrestlers, lunch wagon staff, monkeys, there are Nazis everywhere you turn, all plotting the downfall of the US.
While I can understand the fearful reaction to Pearl Harbour that resulted in this, I see the ground being laid for the communist witch hunts in the decade that followed.
The evil professor with the big head who tried to short out Air Wave a couple of issue back returns. He now has a proper name, Professor Gurn, but has lost some of the details on his oversize head. In compensation, he has built a “machine man,” essentially a robot suit, that he uses to attack Air Wave.
It could be a decent tale, but the art really lets the story down. The Machine Man suit looks more silly than threatening.