Detective 85 – the Joker’s Double, the Crimson Avenger vs Lone Wolf, and the Boy Commandos vs Agent Axis
Bill Finger and Dick Sprang provide the first of many variations of this story, in which a criminal adopts the guise and/or style of crime of the Joker, in order to deflect suspicion from themselves.
The double of the Joker commits murder, using spades and clubs, to frame the famous felon, but Bruce Wayne is suspicious from the start.
Although he does not say it, the Joker has stopped murdering people, so that would be the reason the crimes are out of character.
Batman and the Joker wind up working together to find the imposter. We get to see the Joker’s hideout, with his arsenal, monitoring equipment, and costume room, mirroring Batman’s.
There is an enjoyable fight between the two Jokers to conclude the tale, and the real one escapes.
The Crimson Avenger gets another named foe in this story, Lone Wolf, but again it’s simply a masked man whose identity is unknown.
The villain drops an old photo, with a faded phone number on the back of it, and Lee approaches the typesetter for the newspaper to scan old phone books to find the identity of the man.
There is some action right towards the end, but the Lone Wolf was not a strong enough character to warrant a return.
Jack Kirby did the pencils on this Boy Commando story, which pits them against a plot by Agent Axis. She was their major enemy in their own book, and only recurring foe for a while, but this was her first appearance in Detective Comics.
The Boys are performing as part of a USO show, and Agent Axis is brought in to take them out and destroy morale. But once she has assembled her crew she vanishes from the story.