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Batman 176
"Challenge of The Calendar Man"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND (80 Page Giant #17) December, 1965

Story: Bill Finger Art: Sheldon Moldoff

(Originally Reviewed On 12/17/01)

At The Gotham City Diamond Exhibit, The Dynamic Duo slide down a shower of jewels, with The Caped Crusader delivering a kick to the jaw of a hood, while The Boy Wonder sees a most sinister Snowman racing away, and knows that The Calendar Man is wearing the costume to suggest the winter season! (Holy Frosty, Batman!)

On the front page of The Gotham Gazette, The Calendar Man delivers a challenge to Batman, with four crimes to be committed in the manner of the seasons, and a mysterious fifth season to follow, with Spring the first to be in the air! At Stately Wayne Manor, Millionaire Bruce Wayne and his youthful ward, Dick Grayson try to figure out the meaning of this latest challenge from yet another costumed criminal, who would seek to match wits with The Caped Crusader, while Dick wonders what the crook means by a fifth season if there's only four? (Holy Frankie Valli, Batman! Time to walk like a Batman!) Changing into their costumes, Batman tells Robin that they'll deal with the mysterious fifth season later, and asks him what the time of Spring means, to which The Boy Wonder suggests when leaves turn green. The Batmobile arrives at Gotham Exhibition Hall, where The Caped Crusader figures The Calendar Man will strike, and sure enough, he and his men see the approach of The Dynamic Duo, with the costumed crook holding the day's receipts! Fleeing into the International Garden Show, they seek to reach the balcony...

Batman and Robin chase after them, and into the ancient setting, the fight begins, with Calendar Man, clad in a costume resembling Mr. Terrific and a buttonnaire, losing the "spring" in his step after a punch by The Caped Crusader, but he continues to run, with Robin holding onto the receipts, while Batman continues the pursuit, then sees the crook leaping into a getaway car, which is soon followed by the Batmobile. The fleeing Calendar Man sees the green traffic light...

He uses a green spray to turn the red light into a green one, and The Batmobile is forced to stop before the traffic of oncoming cars! The late edition of The Gotham Gazette finds that although The Caped Crusader recovered the loot, The Calendar Man got away, determined to make good on the next crimes, with the fifth season being a tip off to his true identity! (Holy Man For All Seasons, Batman! Is he really Frankie Valli?) In the Bat-Cave, Robin wonders what the Fifth Season can be, while Batman thinks about what Summer crime could be committed, as well as the hot sun, baseball, beaches, girls in bathing suits... (Holy Beach Blanket Bingo, Batman! Could Calendar Man be Frankie Avalon?) Robin remembers The Gotham Bathing Beauty Contest, with $50,000 prize for the winner, and fortunately for them, Bruce Wayne is one of the judges!

At the indoor swimming pool of The Gotham Hotel, cameras roll, as the contestants parade in all their splendor, with Bruce Wayne keeping an eye out for The Calendar Man, and outside, blazing like the summer sun, a strange shape begins to fall from the sky! Bruce sees The Calendar Man, clad in a suit to represent the heat of the summer sun! With the minature electro-dynamo, he causes the pool water to become steam, which hisses, and creates a dense fog!

After a quick change, The Dynamic Duo see The Calendar Man and his henchman with the prize money, then use the diving board to reach them from across the pool! The Calendar Man uses a spotlight to temporarily blind Batman and Robin, and by the time they can see again, they see The Calendar Man racing along the terrace, then stop and heat the sidewalk so that they can't pursue him further!

Executing a flip, Batman and Robin swing from pennant pole to pennant pole, where they see the crook race into a nearby hall, and inside, both halt before the sight of The Calendar Man standing in the center of the room blazing with heat, flames licking from him! The Caped Crusader uses a rug to smother The Calendar Man and his flames, only to discover that it's a dummy with a built-in heat generator, designed to delay them while he got away with the prize money!

Collecting his loot, The Calendar Man is confident that he'll trump Batman with his "fifth season." In the Bat-Cave, Robin suggests that they not pay attention to the headlines and concentrate on the next season... Autumn, which to The Caped Crusader means falling leaves, windstorms, and football games! (Holy NFL, Batman! Is Calendar Man really Hank Williams Jr?) The following day in Gotham City finds a windstorm which threatens the citizens on the street, and atop an Ace Truck, The Calendar Man, clad in a football uniform, gloats at his man-made handiwork, knowing that Batman probably figured he'd steal a gold football trophy, and in the confusion, the guards to an armored truck are unable to stop him and his men from stealing their cargo, with Batman and Robin learning of the robbery on The Batmobile's radio, only to arrive too late, and many citizens believing that The Dynamic Duo have met their match! (Holy NFL Super Con!)

In The Bat-Cave, Batman figures the key to beating The Calendar Man is by figuring out what the mysterious fifth season is, while Robin points out that Winter is next on his list! When The Boy Wonder mentions snow, cold, and ice, The Caped Crusader figures that the "ice" has something to do with the annual Diamond Exhibit on the morrow, where The Calendar Man will strike, and they'll be waiting! At the diamond show, it's snowing inside, and clad in the costume of a snow man, The Calendar Man and his henchmen gloat about the artificial snow being blown through the ceiling ventilators, distracting the audience, while he and his men steal the diamonds! Suddenly, from a giant paper-mache diamond, The Dynamic Duo leap at The Calendar Man and his men, with the costumed crook being chased by The Boy Wonder...

Unbeknownst to Robin, The Calendar Man hijacked a street cleaning machine, and aims his concentrated cold gun to create some ice on the road, with the sinister snowman skating away, and on the roof of the diamond exhibit building, Batman watches The Calendar Man's getaway, then using some skis from another exhibit, he zooms down the slope of an adjoining building, but instead of being unnerved, The Calendar Man leaps onto a waiting vehicle, and zooms away on his jet-sled!

In the Bat-Cave, only the fifth season remains for The Dynamic Duo to unravel, and Robin theorizes that it may have something to do with Calendar Man's identity or hideout, and figures that Batman would have to be a magician to deduce who The Calendar Man is. Hearing this, The Caped Crusader reads the paper and finds the answer on the page of the newspaper where The Calendar Man first gave his challenge, The Magician Maharajah will be leaving for Europe in five days, and is appearing onstage at The Bijou Theatre for the entire week! Batman knows that the five crimes would be because he'd be in town for only five days, and The Boy Wonder figures only a magician could work out such gimmicks. Inside his dressing room, The Calendar Man readies his plan to seed the clouds above Gotham City with dry ice and make it rain, only to hear that he'll be in jail, instead! Turning, The Calendar Man sees Batman and Robin!

Using sleight of hand, the magician removes his turban, then hurls it at the startled duo, who haven't a moment to recover before he flees the dressing room. Near the stage, Batman sees a chalkboard with calendar events for coming stage attractions, which the stagehands use to get ready in advance, then The Caped Crusader hurls it, tripping The Calendar Man, and noting the irony of the crook being undone by a calendar. The Calendar Man has a date in court, and Robin wonders what the fifth season was. The Caped Crusader knew that in India, the natives consider the monsoon season as the fifth season, that, along with the five days, connected the magician who had the indian name of Maharajah!

The Calendar Man must have more wardrobe changes than Janet Van Dyne.

In the '70s, The Calendar Man would return in a tale by Len Wein and Walt Simonson, using among other crimes, Thor's Day, where the crook emulated The God of Thunder.

The Calendar Man must have borrowed the cold-gun from a reformed Mr. Zero in a previous story.

This time, the crook is not a scientist, as is the case of many DC and Marvel characters, but a magician!

On Batman: The Animated Series, there is a villainess called The Calendar Girl, whose m.o. has to do with old age and being forced to retire. She was voiced by Sela Ward.

This Review Is Dedicated To BradW8 and Pulse Calendar Girl Jen Contino

Steve Chung
"Review of The Calendar Man"