Batman dies to open this story, but it’s not Bruce Wayne. Robert Kanigher, Bob Brown and Joe Giella give the starring role in this story to Herbert Small, a man diagnosed with a terminal disease.
Knowing that he has only a short time to live, and overhearing a plan to murder Batman, Small sets out to save the hero on his own.
Disguising himself, he convinces the bad guys that he knows the Batman’s secret identity, and that it is Herbert Small. He gets into the costume, and allows himself to be killed.
Only at the end of the story does Batman learn what has transpired. I really like this tale, all the way up to the “he died big” line, which just makes me groan.
Concluding the Friedrich/Kane/Anderson story from last issue, Batgirl brings the collapsed Mark to a hospital, where it turns out he was just diabetic, not attacked.
Mark turns out to be a private detective, gathering evidence on a gangster who has kidnapped a woman special to him. Batgirl helps out, but is jealous of this woman she does not know, and her relationship with a man she barely knows.
Once the woman is rescued, Batgirl realizes that she is Mark’s sister, and is much relieved.
Mark and Barbara Gordon plan to go on a date as the story ends, but as we never see Mark again, it’s clear things didn’t work out.