Posts tagged ‘Brooklyn’

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 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 73 – Batman vs the Scarecrow, the Boy Commandos and the tin box, and the Crimson Avenger gets a cloud

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The Scarecrow makes his second appearance in Detective 73 (March 1943), which turns out to be the last appearance of the character until the 1960s.  Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson illustrate.

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Professor Crane is out of prison, and has thought up a new set of crimes, which have absolutely nothing to do with fear or scaring people at all.  Nope, instead he has a little blackboard and leaves three letter rhyming clues (vat, mat, yat).  What a let down.  Linda Page appears briefly, buying a ridiculous hat.

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The Scarecrow does hoist a nasty looking machine gun, but without the fear gas element (which had been created by Hugo Strange before the Scarecrow was introduced), the character just doesn’t sing.

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Simon and Kirby give each of the boys a chance to shine in this tale, which sees the Boy Commandos navigate a dense jungle to deliver a little tin box.

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There are Nazis pursuing them, of course, but unlike the other tales to date, this one gives much more play to the team itself.  Brooklyn still manages to grab focus.

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The tin box is revealed to be tin foil wrappers, and Rip Carter explains the importance of recycling stuff for war.  So propaganda again, but far more readable than the Japanese one.

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The Crimson Avenger starts using a capsule that releases a crimson smoke cloud, which he uses for dramatic entrances and exits, and also for messing up the bad guys during a fight.  It seems to affect the brain at times.

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The City Desk Editor is left befuddled at Lee Travis’ disappearance, while Lee himself managed to change costume and fall out a window.

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The Crimson Avenger and Wing are pursuing a mob boss who likes his people to dress and use tech from the turn of the century.  A mob boss keeping his people behind the times is not likely to triumph.

Detective 72 – Batman fights the judge, and the Boy Commandos play with flowers

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Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson contribute the art on the Batman story in Detective 72 (Feb. 43).  The cover accurately bills the story, “License for Larceny.”

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A financial investor, J. Spencer Lawson, is also a gangland boss, Larry the Judge, who issues licenses to his men, determining what crimes they are allowed to commit, and imposing penalties on those who disobey.  This could be, if it was written now, a really harsh and disturbing tale, but it’s 1943 so it’s not.

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As a financial investor, he learns all about his clients, so he knows who to rob, and of what.  Bruce Wayne falls into his grasp, but Batman takes him down.

This tale also includes a rare, external shot of Wayne’s house.  The term “manor” ceased being used during the war, and the house looks much smaller and less ostentatious than expected.

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This Boy Commandos story, by Simon and Kirby, has the kids in rural England, stumbling upon a nest of spies.

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The insidious foes meet in the basement of a flower shop, and they are smuggling explosives in the flower pots.  The Boys stumble across this, and mess up their plans.

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This is the first story in which Brooklyn is really given a chance to shine.  He had always been the stand-out character, with his dialect and personality, but was usually given equal time with the rest of the team.  Now he starts to move to the front.

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