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Batman 182
"The Villain of 100 Elements"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND (80 Page Giant #24) July - August, 1966

Story: Bill Finger (?) Art: Sheldon Moldoff

A crook with the ability to alter his physical structure at will! A criminal who can become Gold -- Copper -- Lead -- Carbon -- to any of the elements, and use this bizarre ability for crime! This is the latest foe to face the dynamic duo in... "The Villain of 100 Elements" On the splash page, Batman and Robin are blinded from the glare of light being refracted from the diamond body of The Villain of 100 Elements! (Holy Selegue, Batman!)

In the Bat-Cave, Batman and Robin prepare for their visit to Professor Higgins, who is to show them a new invention he's working on. When they arrive at the laboratory, they hear Higgins voice crying for help! The door swings open and John Dolan -- the professor's assistant pushes them aside, getting into a car, and drives off. Inside the lab, the professor is unconscious, but the dynamic duo soon revive him. He tells them how Dolan slugged him, and how he was working on a machine which could alter the molecular structure of elements. It was Dolan who operated the machine, and who made a startling discovery... the machine was faulty and the power source had been leaking for weeks! The professor realizes that Dolan has been affected by the element-converter!

At that moment, Dolan begins to change color -- becoming silvery gray! (Holy Norrin Radd, Batman!) A few minutes later, Dolan discovers that he doesn't remain as one element, as he soon changes from Aluminum to Gold! Before the professor can even begin to cure him, he must find a way to control the changes. With Professor Higgins cobbling a control belt from the machine's parts, Dolan is now able to control his transfomations, and decides to embark on a life of crime! When Higgins insists that his assistant stay so that he can be cured, Dolan picks up a beaker and clubs him! Professor Higgins tells Batman and Robin that Dolan had always been a decent man, but now is a menace which must be caught and cured! The dynamic duo notify the police, who soon have police cars patroling the area...

Hours later, Dolan has recruited two underworld types, who will serve as the beginings of a gang. It is his plan that the underworld will serve him... The Elemental Man! One of the thugs realizes that this new character can probably do it! The next day, at the opening of a new hotel, a poolside beauty contest is taking place... The winner of the contest is to receive $50,000 in cash! (Holy Juricich, Batman! That's a lot of quarter books!) At Commissioner Gordon's office, he receives a call from a woman who tells him that she saw Dolan and two thugs sneaking into the Gotham Hotel through a side entrance. Batman and Robin race to the scene, but at the hotel, The Elemental Man activates his control belt, and changes into another element -- Sodium! Aware that Sodium produces a violent reaction in water, he puts his foot in the pool, producing a gas, which is harmless, but to the startled onlookers, it is a cause for panic nonetheless!

As the crooks grab for the money, the boy wonder leaps onto the diving board, executes a somersault, and crashes into the two startled hoods! Batman blocks off the Elemental Man, and tells him to go back to the lab so that he can be cured. Enjoying his power, Dolan doesn't want to harm the caped crusader -- but he will if he needs to! Batman has no choice but to arrest him, but Dolan activates his control belt... The caped crusader's fist crashes against the Iron body of the Elemental Man! Now, a slight tap from Dolan's fist sends Batman backwards...!

Brushing the boy wonder aside, the Elemental Man slams through a brick wall, and orders his men to flee! Batman's hand is still a little stiff -- but okay! John Dolan has just taken his first step to crime, and the dynamic duo are now up against the most dangerous, most bizarre villain they've ever fought! (Holy Rogues Gallery, Batman! Now THAT'S saying a lot!) At Professor Higgins lab, the scientist has been experimenting with a machine which may be able to drain Dolan's power. The following day at his hideout, the Elemental Man reads about the new exhibit at the Museum of Science, which has just received a fortune in Radium! At night, Dolan and his gang enter the deserted museum... and tie up the guard!

Activating his control-belt, Dolan changes into Lead... and since the element is immune to radioactive radiation, he can walk into the room where the Radium is stored! Placing the Radium into a lead-lined container, the crook begins his getaway, but... Batman and Robin arrive on the scene! Professor Higgins is on hand with his machine, just as Dolan realizes that the newspaper article was a trick to get him there! The professor activates the machine, and Dolan is bathed in its glow... Unfortunately, the power of the Elemental Man proves too much for the machine, and the condenser is about to explode! Outside, the crooks have escaped, but in the museum yard, Commissioner Gordon and the police have them trapped in their headlights! Dolan orders his henchmen to cover their eyes...

The Elemental Man's next change is into the element --- Diamond! Gordon and his men are blinded by the glare being refracted from the faceted felon! In the doorway, Batman is caught unawares by the glare, and staggers backwards... to Robin's horror, the caped crusader heads into the room where the condenser is about to blow! BLAM! Batman is caught in the blast -- and is bathed in the weird light! When he regains consciousness, the caped crusader finds that he feels a little strange ... suddenly changing color! Professor Higgins sees that Batman has become metallic... a man of Copper! (Holy Copper Clapper, Batman!)

The professor tells the caped crusader that he has received a mild dose of the same effects as Dolan. Unfortunately for Batman, the professor is unable to give him a belt to control his power, because Dolan's belt was made from parts of the original device -- and can't be duplicated! The caped crusader realizes that this means he'll soon become a criminal like Dolan! Police Commissioner Gordon is reluctant, but forced to imprison Batman! The lawman truly regrets the act, but the caped crusader understands his friend's dilemma. Inside the solid-steel cell, Batman sees that he's changing into Sulphur, and in order to escape, he must wait until he changes into a specific element! Hours pass, and the caped crusader has finally become the element Mercury!

Since Mercury is a liquid metal, Batman flows out of his cell! Police are alerted about the caped crusader's escape, and one officer can't believe that Batman is on the run, as well as how he'd feel terrible if he were to be the one to arrest him! (Holy Rucka, Batman!) The following morning, Robin appears on a special broadcast, and a newscaster interviews him about his joining the manhunt for the caped crusader! The boy wonder tells viewers how Professor Higgins's machine affected Dolan, and how it will soon change Batman into a criminal, too! Dolan is watching the broadcast and understands why the caped crusader would break out of jail, too. The Elemental Man and his two thugs strike again, with Dolan becoming Iron in order to crash into an art museum -- and steal their most priceless painting! As the crook reaches for the painting, it is pulled out of his hands by Batman, who is also Iron, and as strong as Dolan! One of the thugs can't believe that the caped crusader wants the painting for himself!

With his control belt, Dolan can control Batman's changes! The caped crusader is now Calcium -- which is softed than Iron, and if he doesn't hand the painting back, the Elemental Man will crush him! Batman suggests that they join forces, and points out that he knows where many valuables are stored -- as well as how they are guarded... Dolan is skeptical and wonders how he can trust him! Robin races into the museum and pleads with the caped crusader not to join forces with the Elemental Man! Batman realizes that the boy wonder must have spotted him and followed him there. Robin is determined to stop him from becoming a crook -- even if he has to fight him himself! The caped crusader tells the Elemental Man to turn him to Iron so that he can slug the brat! Dolan sees this as an excellent opportunity to test Batman! If Robin is not hit, then he'll know that the caped crusader is shamming! The next moment finds Batman slugging Robin, and Dolan knows that he and the caped crusader will now be a team!

Batman suggests that they go to where there is a fortune in diamonds, with Dolan eager for his new partner to lead the way! On the way, the Elemental Man asks the caped crusader why they are heading by way of the roof, and Batman points out that the jewelery company keeps their inventory on the top floor, then offers Dolan his hand to help him up! As their hands clasp, another hand triggers a switch! Both Batman and the Elemental Man are caught in the crackling energy... ZZZZZZ! When the force subsides, Dolan sees that Professor Higgins was in hiding, and had rebuilt the machine which was almost destroyed! He tells his assistant how Batman knew that he could draw off some of the Elemental Man's power, then the machine would be able to drain it from Dolan -- which is why the caped crusader broke out of jail -- and came to Higgins with his plan!

It was all an act to convince Dolan that Batman had already turned criminal -- so that he could get the Elemental Man within range of the machine, and complete the circuit by grabbing his hand! Since the caped crusader didn't have as much power as Dolan had, it was a simple matter for the machine to extract it from him, and for Dolan's power to flow through him, draining them both! Now back to normal, Dolan is no longer a criminal! Batman is reminded that they have some unfinished business with Dolan's ex-thugs! So fascinated by what just happened, the thugs forgot to flee, they are no match for the combined fists of the caped crusader and the ex-criminal, who jokes that even though he can no longer become Iron, his fist can still hit as hard! Batman jokes that the crooks have changed also... into convicts! After the "change" has taken place, the dynamic duo wave farewell to Professor Higgins and John Dolan, with Robin knowing that it's time for them to make one more change -- the change back to their other identities... Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson!

The Villain of 100 Elements is considered to be a prototype for Metamorpho.

John Dolan is recycled into Aluminum... and becomes the Elemental Man. Unfortunately, for Professor Higgins, Dolan is no longer as good as Gold.

Dolan wears red tights and the control belt as the Elemental Man.

The Elemental Man "pools" his knowledge of Sodium to startle the contestants into fleeing.

Batman fails to "Iron" out his differences with John Dolan.

Batman and Robin plant a "Lead" in the newspaper to lure Dolan into their trap.

"Diamond" is the Elemental Man's best friend and the police's deadliest enemy.

Ever the lawman, Batman has truly become a "Copper" in this story.

Ever stoic, the caped crusader "Sulphurs" in silence at his solid-steel cell.

I'm touched by Gordon's reluctance to imprison the caped crusader, as well as the police officer's comment about being in disbelief about the news of Batman being on the run, and not wanting to be the one to arrest him. (Holy Rucka, Batman! How times have changed!)

Batman breaks out of his prison as swift as "Mercury."

Turned to Calcium by Dolan, Batman must prove that he hasn't gone "soft" by slugging Robin.

This review is dedicated to Bat-Fans: Greg Schienke (Thanks for inspiring this review), Bob Buethe, Mark Kopac, Rich Goldberg, JK Carrier, Kevin Grady, and the Elemental Man of the Comic Book Periodic Table -- Professor Jack Selegue!

Steve Chung
"The Villain of 100 Reviews"