Posts tagged ‘Boy commandos’

Detective 150 – Batman fights a ghost, Robotman fights Robotcrook, and the Boy Commandos end

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A generic cover on Detective 150 (Aug. 49), which makes me wonder why Batman and Robin chose to shoot the rope so close to the Batsignal.  Batman is going to get blinded in another step.

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The ghost of an executed gangster starts appearing around Gotham, creating panic in the underworld, in this story with art by Dick Sprang.

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A renowned ghost buster, Paul Visio, joins Batman in the case, but has no luck proving the ghost a fake.

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But that’s because Visio is the one behind the fraud, an attempt to take over Gotham’s gangs by scaring them into submission.

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Otto Binder pits Robotman against a similar foe in this story.

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Robotcrook is exactly what he sounds like, but he is controlled from afar, rather than having an implanted brain.

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Robotman manages to hold off his rival, and find the controller, Gimmick Gus.

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The Boy Commandos end their run in Detective Comics with a heck of a trip, with Curt Swan handling the art.

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To fulfill the conditions of a will and gain a fortune for charity, Rip and the boys have to travel around the world without duplicating a means of transportation.  It does make for an entertaining little story, with plenty of interesting visuals.

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Although their series ends here, their own book continues, as does their series in World’s Finest Comics.

Detective 124 – The Joker listens to the radio, Slam Bradley comes to Canada, and the Boy Commandos lose one member and gain another

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A horrible cover for Detective 124 (June 1947), but the Joker story is better than his previous two outings in this book.

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Edmond Hamilton scripts and Bob Kane pencils this story, in which the Joker decides to base his new series of crimes on the top song of the day, as announced on the radio.

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Batman realizes the Joker’s crimes must have been planned before the songs were announced, and that the Joker is having his men send in votes for the winning song.

The unusual thing, for me, in this scene is that the votes are sent in by mail.  I assume this is an accurate detail from how the hit parade was chosen in 1947, but it relies on a really prompt mail service.

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So Batman and Robin try tracking the letters, but fail to stop the Joker, instead having to battle him amidst a huge electrical display, corresponding to the song “Stormy Weather.”

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Slam Bradley comes to Canada in this story.  The only remaining series that began in Detective 1, Slam Bradley’s series has not had any stories with interesting enough plot or story for me to mention for an awful long time.  Shorty’s role in the series increased, to the point where the stories are often more comedic than serious.  But a Canada story is always interesting, in the hopes of seeing something other than snow, trees, mounties and french lumberjacks.

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This story has snow, trees, mounties and french lumberjacks.  Figuring that their chances of catching an escaped felon would improve if they became mounties, Slam and Shorty ask to join for a limited time, and are allowed to.

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So then we get Shorty is the dress reds, which are far too big for him.  While the french lumberjacks are laughing, Slam catches the bad guy.

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The Boy Commandos are asked to be in a movie, filming in England, in this Curt Swan story.

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As soon as they arrive, Alfy gets a letter from his aunt (the one who refused to let him stay with her), informing him that she has enrolled him in Oxford.  He wants to stay with the team, but Rip insists he get an education.  Poor Alfy wanders off, but before the page is done, his replacement, Tex, is being introduced.

At least the fact that he is being enrolled in Oxford indicates that the “boys” are now adult age, despite not being drawn that way.

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Rip, Pierre and Brooklyn wind up stopping a plot to steal the crown jewels, aiding by Tex, a rodeo rider who also happens to be in England, and Tex is invited to join the team.

Alfy does appear again, in the following month’s issue of Boy Commandos, which retells the change in team membership.

Detective 118 – The Joker plays cards, Air Wave battles aliens, and Brooklyn becomes the Invisible Commando

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A better cover, and a better Joker story than the one a couple issues earlier, Detective 118 (Dec. 46) does feature Howard Sherman art on the Batman and Robin story.

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The Joker decides to base a series of crimes on making a royal flush in diamonds, going after a people who correspond to the concept – like a dime store tycoon for the 10, and the winner of a beauty pageant for the Queen.

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It’s not bad, not great.  Some nice art.

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The narrative informs us that radio contact with the Moon was recently achieved, and is the basis for this story.  Two goons somehow transport weird creatures from the Moon to Earth.  It’s totally not clear how this happened.  Maybe the creatures came on their own, they do have a rocket ship at the end, but the hoods were watching them first.

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Anyway, Air Wave’s costume has changed, not for the better.  He no longer has the cape, and I have no idea what the new symbol on his chest is meant to represent.

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Static is still around from time to time, and he still skates on telephone wires.  At the end of this story, he somehow manages to make guns jump out of men’s hands with “broadcast power.”

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Continuing the story from last issue, Curt Swan makes this almost Brooklyn solo story, as we follow him in his quest to stop being invisible.

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He falls into the hands of gangsters, who con him into thinking they can fix him, and then use him to deliver bombs.  Really dumb move on Brooklyn’s part, but perhaps the invisibility serum is messing with his brain.

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He winds up cured after falling into a vat of chemicals.  A bit of an easy way out, but overall, not a bad story.

Detective 117 – Batman helps a builder, and the Boy Commandos battle an invisible man

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The Batman and Robin story in Detective 117 (Nov. 46) has to do with steeplejacks, which mean people who build the metal frames of high rises.  I always thought it had to do with horse racing.  I learned something from this issue.

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That likely is the only thing one would learn, though in this piece with art by Bob Kane and Ray Burnely.  The story largely focuses on Bob Skelly, who owns the company that builds these things, but is scared of being around them due to an old gypsy prophecy.

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And there are criminals working for him, who are using their high rise access to pull off robberies.  Batman gets on their trail, but gets captured.

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So good old Bob has to overcome his fears and swoop down to rescue Batman, so he can stop the bad guys and everyone can live happily ever after.

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With no war to fight, it’s hardly surprising that the Boy Commandos series started wandering into other territory.  In this Curt Swan tale, they meet a man who develops an invisibility serum.

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The story plays out much like The Invisible Man, as the scientist goes from pranks to madness.  The Boy Commandos, with Rip taking part, try to capture him, but he captures Brooklyn instead.

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He gives Brooklyn the invisibility serum, intending to force him to become his sidekick, but Brooklyn breaks free and gets the rest of the gang.

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As in the story by Wells, the man regains his visibility as he dies.  But Brooklyn is not dead, and left in his invisible state when the story ends.  The last panels indicates that the story will continue next issue.

 

Detective 113 – Batman helps a woman catch oysters, and the Boy Commandos visit Jan

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Detective 113 (July 1946) has a surprisingly progressive Batman and Robin story by Bill Finger, with art by Dick Sprang

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We meet Captain Jibbs and his daughter Josephine, who wants to run an oyster boat just like her aging father did.  The Captain believes that this is man’s work, and Jo should have no part of it, so she sets out to prove herself.

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Batman is pursuing a mobster, Blackhand, which brings him down to the docks and into contact with Jo.  After their first conversation, instead of telling her to go back to shore or in any way take second place to him, he asks if he and Robin can help her in her fight against Blackhand.

On the surface that might not seem like much, but this is 1946, and a sexist attitude was pretty much a given.

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Jo does wind up being captured by Blackhand and his men.  Batman almost drowns, and Robin gets to give him a good punch before he can save him.

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After Blackhand is rounded up, Jo and her now-accepting father are re-united.  The story makes it clear that she will continue to run her oyster boat, and not take a subservient role in her own life.  Her suggestion that she and Batman dine on oysters could have some secondary meaning.

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So just forget my (now deleted) inaccurate comment about Jan never returning, because here he is!  The Boy Commandos head to Amsterdam in this Curt Swan story, and take some time off to go visit their former teammate.  Oddly, Rip Carter has no interest in seeing Jan, and doesn’t even include that in his schedule.

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The boys find Jan unusually cold an stand-offish, but that’s because some gangsters have taken over the farm.

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And somehow, even though this is Jan’s story, Brooklyn still gets the starring role.  The boys refuse to give up on Jan, and together they fight off the gangsters.

I want to say this is Jan’s last appearance, but I’m scared of being wrong again.

Detective 111- Batman helps at a mine collapse, and the Boy Commandos help disabled veterans

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Bruce and Dick go on vacation in coal country in Detective 111 (May 1946), and just happen to be passing through a town when a mine collapses.

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The Mine owner refused to install safety devices.  His son wants to modernize, and also marry the daughter of a trapped miner.

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Family drama and mineshaft drama.  Not a bad story.  I really like the cover.

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Curt Swan does the pencils again on the Boy Commandos, as they help a group of disabled veterans open their own factory.

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The men are turned away from their former jobs, and that theme runs through a lot of stuff from just after the war, so it must have been a very common occurrence.

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They start up their own factory, and wind up producing superior goods.  The factory owner sends his goons to destroy their factory, and thats when the Boy Commandos get into action.  Cause you know, as former soldiers themselves, they are not inclined to fight.

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That really isn’t the point, though.  The story has a fun conclusion, and message that was felt vital to impart.  There is a Justice Society of America story from the same time that also deals with disabled vets.

Detective 110 – Batman in London, and the Boy Commandos come home from war

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There is a lot of transatlantic travel in Detective 110 (April 1946).  Scotland Yard officially invites Batman and Robin over to help them catch Professor Moriarty.  Sherlock Holmes has apparently died decades before his nemesis.

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Batman and Robin head over, with Alfred going as well, but on his own excursion, dressing up as Holmes.  You’d think he might want to see his family or friends, but apparently not.  Maybe they all died in the blitz.

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The story is ok, not great.  Pretty formulaic, and it doesn’t really make much use of London as a location, or anything quintessentially British.

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World War 2 comes to an end for the Boy Commandos.  The last few issues had run stories set during the war, although it was acknowledged that they were happening in the past.  Curt Swan does an admirable job capturing Kirby’s look on the series, much better than most of the others who had filled in over the past couple of years.

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With the war over, Rip is heading back to the US, as is Brooklyn.  Jan is going back to the Netherlands to his uncle’s farm, while Pierre has no living relatives, and Alfy has an aunt, who apparently is a real bitch, because she has told him she doesn’t want him.  Rip arranges for the boys to come with him, and they all head to Brooklyn.  The city, not the boy.

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Brooklyn shows them around his town, and we meet Maggie, who had been his girlfriend before the war.  No real acknowledgement is made of the fact that four years have passed, and the “boys” are most likely adult age now.

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They wind up getting into a New York street fight, and winning of course.  Rip joins them at the end, explaining that he has been commissioned to keep the boys together as an elite global strike force, to keep the peace.  This is a little less preposterous when you consider that they are young adults now.

Detective 95 – Batman vs the Blaze, and the Boy Commandos in a haunted castle

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Another generic Batman and Robin cover on Detective 95 (Jan. 45), but considering the villain in this issue, it’s no loss.

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The Blaze is introduced in this Mort Weisinger story, and thanks to Dick Sprang’s art, he looks interesting.  But despite the picture, there is nothing fiery or candle-ish about him.  He has a bomb.

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He frees a group of men from a train taking them to prison, and leads them in a massive revenge plan against Batman.  Which is kind of odd, considering the Blaze had never fought Batman before.

Also, please note the central top panel.  Batman receives a diamond-studded Batman badge from Commissioner Gordon.  I’m sure the police were all very happy to spend their budget on this.  The badge does return in a couple of stories.

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Jack Kirby returns to pencil this instalment of the Boy Commandos.  All the stories had the “Simon and Kirby” logo on them, but many were drawn by other artists, and are of varying quality at duplicating the look.

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This is a really fun little story, that has the boys in a haunted castle.  One is expecting Nazis to show up at some point, but the story goes off in a different direction for a change.

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The castle was the home and workshop of a reclusive puppeteer, and it was being invaded by a rival puppeteer.  Oh, those deadly puppeteer battles.

Detective 85 – the Joker’s Double, the Crimson Avenger vs Lone Wolf, and the Boy Commandos vs Agent Axis

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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.

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The double of the Joker commits murder, using spades and clubs, to frame the famous felon, but Bruce Wayne is suspicious from the start.

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Although he does not say it, the Joker has stopped murdering people, so that would be the reason the crimes are out of character.

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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.

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There is an enjoyable fight between the two Jokers to conclude the tale, and the real one escapes.

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The Crimson Avenger gets another named foe in this story, Lone Wolf, but again it’s simply a masked man whose identity is unknown.

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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.

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There is some action right towards the end, but the Lone Wolf was not a strong enough character to warrant a return.

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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.

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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.

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Detective 81 – the Cavalier debuts, Wing becomes a reporter, and the Boy Commandos meet General MacArthur

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The Cavalier is introduced in Detective 81 (Nov. 43), a thief with a code of chivalry, created by Bob Kane.

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The Cavalier performs a series of thefts of apparently worthless obejcts: a baseball, a toy bat, etc.  Batman and Robin repeatedly fail to stop him, thanks to the Cavalier’s impressive arsenal.  Like, a handkerchief with a ball attached to it.  OK, that’s the least impressive thing in his arsenal, true.  He also has an electrified sword, and a razor-tipped plume in his hat.

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The “worthless” objects are, in fact, critical to each step of his plan.  For example, the baseball has an autograph on it that is duplicated to allow the Cavalier access to a bank vault.

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Batman and Robin foil his schemes, but do not catch the Cavalier, whose return in Batman’s own book is promoted in the final panel. Just like the Crime Doctor a few issues earlier.

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Wing gets his largest role in the Crimson Avenger series in this story.  That’s not such a good thing, as it means the story is far more offensive and racist than most of this run.

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With all his reporters busy, Lee Travis agrees to let Wing cover a theft, but his lack of understanding of English leads him to mis-report the story as an inside job.  But it turns out that it actually was, and Wing is kidnapped by the thieves, who want to know how he figured it out.

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The Crimson Avenger comes to Wing’s rescue.  And even though he broke an important story, Lee has no intention of allowing Wing to stay a reporter.

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The Boy Commandos meet General MacArthur on the first couple of pages of this Simon and Kirby story.  MacArthur and Rip Carter are discussing the war plans for the Pacific when Brooklyn interjects with news of the assault on Bataan.

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The rest of the story has Rip and the Boys at Bataan, helping to rescue the troops there and beating back the Japanese forces.

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The Bataan Death March would already have been big news by the time this story was written.  But clearly this series wanted to be as fresh as the headlines.

 

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