Dick Giordano does the cover art for Detective 432 (Feb. 73), while Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Murphy Anderson tell the tale of a distinct lack of trust among thieves. I am tempted to say this story is inspired by the opening half hour or so of “Diamonds are Forever,” as the plots are almost the same.
After a man is murdered during a mugging, Batman discovers that the briefcase the man was carrying contains a million dollars in bills torn in half. With Commissioner Gordon, they deduce that this is the loot from a major robbery, committed by an entire gang. Batman impersonates the dead man, taking the torn money to follow the trail.
Batman avoids the exploding rental car the man was meant to die in, and follows the girl who set him up, after she grabs the money. But she gets taken out next, and Batman continues to follow the new killer.
The gang had torn the loot so that no one could run off with it, but their continued distrust of each other turned them against each other, so in the end Batman simply has to nab the sole survivor. They made it easy on him, really.
The Atom story in this issue, by Elliot S! Maggin and Murphy Anderson, was meant to begin a rotating position in Detective, as with Jason Bard, Elongated Man and Hawkman, but the suspension of the rotating back-ups a few months down the road meant that this was his only tale in Detective at this time. A few years down the road, the Atom would return to Detective, but his solo series ran more often in Action Comics in the 70s and 80s.
Jean Loring’s client announces on the witness stand that he will vanish, and promptly does so. Ray Palmer recognizes the lights that accompanied his disappearance as those from the Time Pool, and goes to see Profesor Hyatt, who tells him of its unusual behaviour. As the Atom, Ray descends into the Time Pool on the track of the vanishing thief.
He winds up in Chicago, just minutes before the outbreak of the Great Fire, and though he finds the man, the time trip has driven him insane. He winds up dying in the past, so although Ray solves the mystery, he has nothing to show for it. Still, the story is entertaining and the art, particularly the splash page, is top drawer.