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Batman 109
"The 1,001 Inventions of Batman!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND August, 1957

Story: Unknown Art: Dick Sprang

(Originally Reviewed On 11/28/01)

In Gotham City, Batman is known as the world's greatest detective, but few citizens know that The Dynamic Duo use their scientific genius to create crime-fighting devices in their war against crime, but now, there is a mysterious threat which casts its shadow over Gotham City, one which comes from The 1,001 Inventions of Batman! Nighttime in Gotham City, and a self-propelled silent device hovers through among the buildings, pausing outside an open window, and eavesdrops on a conversations between two thugs, whose boss plans to use one of The Caped Crusader's devices in a robbery, to which the other thug laughs and wonders how The Dynamic Duo would feel if they knew about it!

In The Bat-Cave, The Caped Crusader tells The Boy Wonder to summon the flying eye back before the two hoods see it, and shortly, Robin stands by the control console, and sees that the televisor lens and microphones are intact, which enabled them to listen on the conversation, and now know that the crooks plan to use one of their devices in a crime! (Holy Hackman, Batman!) Heading to The Bat-Cave Trophy Hall, Batman remarks that the flying eye is only one component of their arsenal, with the others not stolen or missing, but The Caped Crusader theorizes that the secret of the device may have been stolen in the past, and The Boy Wonder can only wonder which one? Both decide to look through past cases, and learn which was stolen, and deduce what big crime will be committed! Robin is certain that for example, the human jet power unit couldn't have been stolen since it was never shared, but Batman goes over it, anyway!

To deal with crooks who evades them for weeks, The Dynamic Duo swing down from a giant tea cup, and Robin is intent on catching them with their ill-gotten goods, but when confronted by the police, the crooks didn't have the stolen jewels on their persons! Knowing that they need to cover an area in a short amount of time, they devise the human jet-power unit, so that they can follow the flight of pigeons, once the alarm has been sounded!

With their power of flight, Batman and Robin discover that the pigeons are each carrying jewels tied to their legs, and shortly, the crooks are treated to the sight of Batman and Robin flying, and swooping in for the arrest! The jewel thieves were caught and their secret invention kept, and Robin theorizes that it might be the sleuth machine, which was used to catch mob leader, Verne Hainey, and The Caped Crusader recalls how he eluded them on several occasions! Hainey would leave his gang to fight with Batman and Robin, while Hainey sped away in a fast car. With no knowledge of his hide-out, Batman decides to put together something which could follow him...

Armed with radar, the device would follow its target while sending out radio-signals, which would be picked up on their belt-radios. When Hainey arranged another crime, his men would be inside the museum, while Hainey sped away, but this time, the sleuth machine was in pursuit! Inside, a hood sought to bring down an ancient golden calendar stone onto Batman, but Robin tackled him in time! Hainey, confident that he'll get away, sees something in his rear-view mirror. Stepping out of the car, he sees the strange radar-machine and hears the radio-transmitter sending a signal. Intent on destroying it, Hainey can't lay a hand on it since the device is equipped with electric-eye beams to drive it away when he got close, with The Batmobile appearing on the scene!

The fact that no one could get close to the sleuth machine, Robin knows that its secret is safe, while Batman examines the detonating ray! A freighter carrying explosives was wrecked, sending cases of high explosives drifting all over the harbor, leaving The Dynamic Duo to figure out how to detonate them all! Flying the Bat-Plane and using the infra-red heat-ray, the explosives are detonated, and The Boy Wonder knows that no one was near the device, as was the case with the crime calculator, which was never out of the Bat-Cave. Thinking it over, Batman theorizes that it was a device they forgot! Recalling The Flying Eye, both recall how it was invented. A city-wide search was underway for a crook, a scientist who was using an electric furnace to create fake diamonds, which he sells to buyers, but can't be found! (Holy CGC, Batman!) The Caped Crusader knows that an electric furnace lab would require heavy cables and ventilation pipes for the hot fumes, and figures it's a lead! Riding back to the Bat-Cave, Robin knows that such a search would take them weeks to find, but Batman knows that they need a remote-controlled eye to scan each building quickly! (Holy Public Eye, Batman! You might be The Peeping-Tom Batman!)

The Flying Eye was soon assembled, and used to search the roofs for the cable-and-ventilation-pipe clue! (Holy Doc Magnus, Batman!) Via the flying eye, The Dynamic Duo see what it sees, and on one block, the roof has heavy-duty electric cables and special vent-pipes to carry off fumes! (Holy Selegue, Batman!) As they gaze through the flying eye, they soon see Curt Mathis, a criminal scientist with a long record, and the flying eye is brought back. Upon reaching the laboratory, Robin examines the x-ray tube where the diamonds were made and finds it still warm, while Mathis didn't figure that The Caped Crusader would arrive so swiftly. Something clicks and Batman recalls that Mathis must have taken an x-ray of the flying eye, which is why they were able to catch up to him, since he now had a picture of the flying eye device! Once out of prison, Mathis must have made a flying eye and is planning to use it for a crime, which The Caped Crusader figures must have something to do with a big currency shipment arriving in Gotham tonight via a secret route, but with the flying eye, Mathis would easily spot it!

At night, Mathis' flying eye has found the armored car and tells his men to ambush it, but The Dynamic Duo have seen it, too, using their human jet-power units to keep out of sight of the flying eye. Moving towards the flying eye from behind, Batman disconnects the camera wires, and at his lab, Mathis and his men think that some sort of television fault must have occured, and summons it home, so that they may follow the truck. As Mathis makes the repairs, he sees the torn wires, and figures that someone tore them loose, just as Batman and Robin arrive at the lab, having followed the flying eye home! Once Mathis and his gang are jailed, The Dynamic Duo have confiscated the x-ray picture of the device, as well as his flying eye, so its secret is safe again, while The Caped Crusader wishes that they could invent a method to convince crooks that they can't win. Now that would be a real invention!

1,001 is a magic number for Batman and Robin. From 1,001 Trophies in The Bat-Cave to The 1,001 Inventions of Batman.

The devices they use in crime-fighting are as colorful as the costumed rogues they faced. Such is the appeal of the Golden Age and Silver Age Batman.

The art of Dick Sprang is nothing to sneeze at, either.

Steve Chung
"The 1,001 Reviews of Batman!"