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Batman 182
"Batman, Junior And Robin, Senior!"

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

Story: Bill Finger (?) Art: Sheldon Moldoff

The dynamic duo of Batman and Robin strike terror into crime's underworld! The experienced detective and the raw courage of the boy wonder make for a formidable team! But an accident of science causes an incredible transformation, Robin becomes the adult and the caped crusader becomes the boy wonder in the case of... "Batman, Junior And Robin, Senior!"

The famed scientist, Dr. Richard Marsten, works on synthesizing the age-principle and youth-principle gases into quantity, but is interrupted by a knock at the door. The visitor introduces himself as Professor Ephraim Vair, and Marsten welcomes the fellow scientist. Having found that age and youth are caused by different chemicals in the body, Marsten demonstrates the Age Gas on a guinea pig, making it either younger or older. Vair asks the doctor if the gases would work on people, and Marsten assures him that it would, but if the man were made to be ten years younger, he'd forget what he had learned during that time. Vair believes that the age and youth gases could be quite valuable... and that's why he wants them! He has big plans for them, as he slugs the elderly scientist from behind! At his home, "Ephraim Vair," aka Wilton Winders, criminal and ex-scientist speaks with his henchman, Beetles, about the gases...

At stately Wayne Manor, Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson see the Bat-Signal shining in the night sky! Both get into costume as Batman and Robin, then head to headquarters, where they learn about the assault of Dr. Marsten. At the scientist's laboratory, the dynamic duo learn that the elderly scientist is in a coma -- and won't recover consciousness for days! Batman spots the calling card of a Professor Ephraim Vair in the scientist's pocket... and deduces that this must be the man they seek! As the Batmobile roars through Gotham City, Robin tells the caped crusader that there's no Professor Vair in the phone book -- so the name must be a fake! Batman knows that their only hope is to check out all the printing shops in Gotham City! One of them must have printed the false calling cards! (Holy Rozakis, Batman!) At a small printing office, the manager tells the dynamic duo that he printed the cards this morning, and that Professor Vair was a big man, middle-aged, with brown hair, and a mustache! The caped crusader notes that the description fits Wilton Winders, the criminal ex-scientist. Robin hopes that they are able to nab him before he can use the gases! Following a lead, Batman and Robin soon spot a friend of Winders... and while the caped crusader is questioning him...

Robin is viewing through a telescope and follows the crook's tracks to a drug-store, where he makes a phone call to Winders! The boy wonder is able to see what number is being dialed in the phone booth. Minutes later, the dynamic duo have found the building where Winders lives, and since the criminal ex-scientist has been tipped off, the caped crusader figures that their best hope is to swing in through his skylight from a nearby building! The dynamic duo drop in on Winders and Beetles, who plan to use the aging gas on Batman, but it is Robin who is struck by the gas, instead! Winders throws the other tank of gas at the caped crusader, who instinctively catches it, and is exposed to the youth gas! Both pass out, while Winders and Beetles flee the scene!

When the dynamic duo awaken, they discover that they've been transformed! Looking in a mirror, Robin sees that he is now an adult, and Batman is now a boy, one who can't recall all he has learned in ten years prior. Knowing that the stolen gases are the only way they'll be able to become normal, Robin suggests that they go to the Bat-Cave and fix their costumes, as well as briefing the caped crusader on what he's forgotten. Before they depart, Robin checks around for clues, and finds clipped articles, while the caped crusader wonders what the newspapers could possibly tell them. In the Batmobile, Batman, Junior wonders why they don't just go after Winders, and Robin, Senior insists that too much haste will get them nowhere! Inwardly, the former boy wonder sees that his partner is now impulsive and reckless, as he was, and he must make sure to take care of him as Batman used to take care of him! The following morning finds Robin reading about John Conklin, automobile magnate -- Victor Verne, the veteran movie star -- and other rich men... all of them aging men! Batman, Junior wonders if Winders plans to sell them youth?

Robin, Senior agrees and the two head for Conklin's factory, where Wilton Winders has already made contact with the multi-millionaire automobile manufacturer. Conklin is skeptical, but Winders seeks to prove that the youth gas works with Conklin's pet dog! (Holy Checkers, Batman!) Soon, the old dog has become a young pup,and Conklin is eager for the opportunity to manage his business for years longer! Paying Winders $100,000, Conklin is younger, and believes that he has gotten the best out of the deal, while Winders leaves before the auto manufacturer discovers what the catch is! When Conklin begins touring his factory, he discovers that he has forgotten practically all that he had learned over the past 20 years! Wondering how he can possibly run the factory, he must pretend that he still knows everything! The dynamic duo arrive... and an employee is startled to see that they've changed costumes! Knowing that everyone will believe this, Robin, Senior tells him that it's for a very good reason, but they must see Conklin at once!

The employee tells them that Conklin is in the factory somewhere, and the funny thing is that he looks years younger, but acting strangely -- in a bewildered state! Robin, Senior knows that they must find Conklin fast! Searching the factory, the employee points to a nearby building, where newly painted cars are dried by means of large automatic heat lamps! No one would be able to stand it! Realizing that Conklin may not be aware of the risk, the dynamic duo dash into the building, where Conklin is caught in the glare of the heat lamps! The employee tells them that he can't turn off the heat lamps, and as Batman, Junior is about to dash to Conklin's aid, Robin, Senior points to the conveyor-line controls -- telling the boy to turn it up to high-speed, and then hop onto one of the cars! As the cars pass on the the speeded-up conveyor belt, Robin, Senior is able to grab ahold of Conklin, and get him to safety. In his office, Conklin knows how much he has lost since becoming younger, and wants to be restored to his own age! The cure for Conklin and for the dynamic duo is to be found with Winders!

Outside, Robin, Senior and Batman, Junior are to split up, with the caped crusader warning Vincent Verne, the movie actor, while the former boy wonder warns the other potential "clients" of Winders! Robin, Senior calls Commissioner Gordon and asks him to issue a broadcast warning that the rejuvention being offered by Winders is dangerous, and the lawman agrees to issue a city-wide warning! Hanging up the phone, Gordon is struck by how deep the boy wonder's voice was -- as if he were a man, but it was the way Robin would speak! Once he has warned the other victims, Robin, Senior figures that Winders must be on his way to see Vincent Verne! He hopes that nothing has gone wrong... now that Batman is a youngster and is now reckless! On the set of a chariot race scene, Winders is seeking an audience with Verne, and in the actor's dressing room, the thespian is an unbeliever of the criminal ex-scientists offer.

Outside, Beetles is assaulted by Batman, Junior, while Winders takes the back way out! Spotting Robin, the criminal ex-scientist plans a diversion and sees how the charioteers are having difficulty handling their horses! He sprays the charioteers with the aging gas, causing the horses to stampede, and the dynamic duo must stop them before they trample the people! Using the wind-making machines, Robin, Senior and Batman, Junior are able to blind the horses with the dust being kicked up... stopping them!

Winders has gotten away, while Beetles is unconscious. Robin, Senior figures that when he revives, he'll be able to tell them where Winders went, but Batman, Junior figures that Beetles will refuse! Robin, Senior has a bluff and uses make-up from his utility belt...The caped crusader understands that his partner is making Beetles up to look old! When the accomplice awakens, he is horrified to see his elderly reflection in the mirror being held by Batman, Junior. Robin, Senior tells Beetles that Winders had squirted the aging gas, and if he can be recaptured, then the youth gas can restore the henchman to normal. Scared out of his wits, Beetles tells them how Winders and he were to leave Gotham City on today's Northern Express train! Commissioner Gordon arrives and sees the reversed duo! Robin, Senior explains what has happened, and Gordon tells them how he issued the warning broadcast so no one will buy Winders' gases, but the criminal ex-scientist can still cause trouble with them! The only way for the dynamic duo to restore themselves to normal is by catching Winders!

As the broadcasts continue, Winders strikes back with the gases, causing a policeman to become a child, as well as making two officers in a patrol car into elderly men! Reaching the railroad terminal, Winders sees that Beetles must have betrayed him to the dynamic duo, who are dashing up the stairs into the terminal. In an alley, Winders uses the aging gas to make himself an old man so that he won't be recognized!

Now elderly, wearing dark glasses, and the tanks in a suitcase, he can walk to the train now! Robin, Senior and Batman, Junior soon spot Winders, recognizing him by the one human feature which never changes... his ears! (Holy Dumbo, Batman!) Winders begins to run for the train, but is too old to run fast enough -- and too weak! His aged disguise has beaten him! Robin, Senior promises to restore Winders to his rightful age -- so that he can serve plenty of time in prison! The age and youth gases are used to restore everyone to normal, and although Professor Marsten has recovered from his coma, the scientist has lost all memory of the formula -- so this can never occur again! Outside, the boy wonder instinctively races to the driver's side of the Batmobile, but recalls that the caped crusader is now the man of the team! Batman is pleased, especially since school starts tomorrow, and he was afraid that he'd have to go instead of Robin!

In the Silver Age, the dynamic duo would undergo bizarre tranformations, such as the time that the caped crusader became Bat-Baby!

In comics, scientists tend to be either heroes or villains, as well as poor unfortunates who get slugged from behind! (Holy Blue Cross, Batman!)

In recent years, there was a DC crossover which had Batman and Robin switch ages once more.

I wonder if David Verne, aka David V. Reed, was the writer of this story?

This story must have been written around the time of the movie, "Ben-Hur," with the chariot racing scenes.

Steve Chung
"Batman, Junior And Review, Senior!"