Detective 28 – Batman uses his rope, Bart gets a new partner, the Crimson Avenger gets a new secretary and Dr. Fu Manchu ends
While Batman did not get the cover for Detective 28 (June 1939), he retained the lead spot in the book, and his name does appear on it.
There is not much to the second Batman story, by Bill Finger and Bob Kane. Batman is pitted against jewel thieves, but is mistaken by the police for part of the gang.
His first bit of bat-gear appears in this story, although it’s simply called a “silken rope.”
But what the heck, I’ll still call it the Bat-rope. It’s also notable how little Batman speaks in this era. Nor was it felt necessary to have thought balloons explain everything (“I’ll attach my Bat-rope to the other building so I can swing to it and escape!”)
Batman’s car is still the big red roadster in this story. Commissioner Gordon appears only in the last panel of the story, but even this early, we get the dynamic that Gordon is the only police officer Batman really trusts.
The Siegel and Shuster Spy story in this issue once again shows the US on the verge of war. Bart is assigned to solve the mysterious bombing of a ship in the harbour.
Bart also gets a partner in this story, Jack Steele, who sticks around for a couple more issue.
No matter how good a spy Bart Regan is, without or without his new partner, it still feels a bit absurd to see a headline in mid-1939 saying “War Peril Banished.”
Lee Travis gets a new secretary in this issue, Miss Blaine. It’s not clear what became of Miss Stevens. Miss Blaine seems made of tougher stuff anyway, as she gets captured by jewel thieves in this story, but holds up well under pressure.
Both the Crimson Avenger and his secretary have been set up in the story by the woman whose jewels were supposedly stolen. She even sicks a cobra on them, but the Crimson remains triumphant.
Dr. Fu Manchu ends its run in this issue.
It’s unclear how far they planned to go with these adaptations, but Sax Rohmer does not even reach the ending of his first book by the time this is cancelled.