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Batman 182
"The Joker Batman!"

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

Story: Bill Finger (?) Art: Dick Sprang (?)

Everyone knows Batman, the caped crusader of Gotham City! And his arch-foe, The Joker, the clown prince of crime! So it comes to this: What happens when they exchange personalities -- with Batman operating in the underworld while the harlequin of hate begins to uphold the law!! For one of the most intriguing stories you'll ever read, start in on - "The Joker Batman!" On the splash page, it is Batman who sits on the Joker's throne of crime, with Robin dancing on the tabletop, in order to avoid being skewered by his ex-partner, and while the criminal cronies chuckle with glee, the Joker has come to the rescue!

The dynamic duo are on patrol in Gotham City, and they soon spot the Joker's car, then wonder what he's up to! Even though the clown has served his time, and he is currently a free man, Batman feels that he should be kept under a close watch! The caped crusader and the boy wonder split up, with Batman instructing that if Robin finds the Joker, to contact him via his belt radio! The Joker and his thugs are interested in the fortune to be had in Radium, which is somewhere in the building! Their task is to locate it! The caped crusader catches up with his nemesis, but the clown prince of crime isn't interested in chatting, then he and his men make a break for it! As Batman chases after the Joker, the harlequin of hate finds that he enjoys the thrill of the chase! But so caught up in the chase are they, that the caped crusader and the clown prince of crime fail to realize that they've entered the experimental laboratory of Dr. Tom Rayburn! As the elderly scientist seeks to warn them of the danger, both men are caught in twin beams of light energy!

When the flashing lights have subsided, the two lie unconscious on the floor! When the boy wonder arrives at the lab, Robin wonders if Batman is dead! Dr. Rayburn explains that the two have been exposed to epsilion rays, which are considered deadly, but -- they are still alive! The scientist sees this as a modern miracle! Batman and the Joker were barely stunned! They'll revive in a moment, and both are expected to be unaffected! The caped crusader is the first to revive... then punches the startled boy wonder! Batman then almost sets Rayburn's beard on fire, and the thought makes him break out in laughter! He then uses his batarang to smash the ray machine! Robin chills at the sound of Batman's awful laughter, for it is the laugh of the clown prince of crime himself!

Before the boy wonder can recover from the shock, he is greeted with concern from the Joker! The clown then suggests that they head to police headquarters to file a report! Seeing that the caped crusader is acting like the clown prince of crime, and vice-versa, Robin takes the doctor aside for a moment. In Rayburn's office, the doctor tells the boy wonder that an exchange of personalities has taken place! The characteristics which make up Batman have been transferred to the Joker, and vice-versa! Robin can only wonder how they'll be able to change them back to normal! After Rayburn finishes his explanation, the boy wonder fills in Commissioner Gordon about the epsilon ray blast which will restore their rightful personalities to one another. The equipment must be repaired and Robin must secure a supply of rare isotopes by searching atomic labs all over the country! (Holy Selegue, Batman!) His first stop is to be Denver!

In the evening, the caped crusader is at a dingy underworld bar... and is handing out free cigars to the patrons! Moments later, the cigars go off with a pop, with Batman laughing at the sight, and the crooks wondering if the Joker has disguised himself as Batman! As the caped crusader shoves mugs of beer along the bar, and into a patron's face, the other thugs can see that it's the real Batman's muscles! Gathering around the caped crusader, the crooks asks him to unmask. Intrigued by the thought of unmasking, the Joker sees that everyone in the underworld would be willing to pay plenty to see his face! For one million dollars, the Joker Batman agrees to unmask himself, and the gang begins the collection! The following morning, headlines in the papers show Batman's bizarre deal with the crooks!

In downtown Gotham City, payroll robbers have blocked the elevators and stairs, with the Joker seeing that the sign, "Vote For Alan Dent -- Our Fair City's Next Mayor" is the quickest way to reach them... and an speeding bus will be the quickest way onto the sign! As the crowd watches, the clown prince of crime reaches the roof of the bus, then climbs along the sign like a rope ladder! The citizens watch the Joker's agility, and know that only Batman could do such an incredible feat! Making his way into the office, the harlequin of hate subdues the crooks, and rebuffs them for making a bribe! He delivers them to the authorities, with the onlookers wondering if the world has turned upside-down!

Across the world, the boy wonder hears of the Joker's heroics! Robin recalls happier days when the Bat-Signal would shine in the night's sky, and they'd answer as Batman and Robin! Suddenly, another vision blocks out the first... on the golf course, the Joker offers Robin a giant club to play golf! The boy wonder renews his search to find the epsilon isotopes as soon as possible! In Gotham City, news continues about the bizarre crimes of the Joker Batman! Coming upon a social event with every blueblood in the pool, Batman uses some chemicals from his utility belt to make them into real bluebloods! The chemicals react and the bluebloods are caught in the frozen pool, with the caped crusader relieving tem of their cash and jewelry in the cabana! Next, the Joker Batman uses his bat-rope to swing in through a window and write a new crime theme with the Janeway Pen giant model! (Holy Mulgrew, Batman!)

The caped crusader wields the giant pen like a marksman, splattering ink in the faces of the startled citizens, then making off with the company payroll! In Commissioner Gordon's office, he tells the officers that the underworld has almost reached the million dollars which will have Batman unmask! The police plan to arrest him in order to keep the caped crusader from unmasking! One officer suggests that they use the Bat-Signal, which will bring the Joker, and Gordon recalls that the clown prince of crime has Batman's mind! At stately Wayne Manor, the Joker pays a visit, with Alfred watching in disbelief! In the Bat-Cave, the harlequin of hate reviews the files, and sees that Tiny Harper is the ringleader of the gang who are raising the million for Batman to unmask! The butler finds the sight of the Joker answering the Bat-Signal almost too much to bear!

On the roof of police headquarters, Commissioner Gordon and his men can scarcely believe their eyes upon seeing the clown prince of crime at the controls of the Batplane! The following day finds the Joker casing bowling alleys since Tiny Harper enjoys the game! An hour passes and the clown finds his quarry! He vows to catch Batman, who is laughing on the roof of the bowling alley! The rooftop chase leads to the Acme Magnifying Lens Company... where the Joker believes that Batman is caught in a dead-end, but the caped crusader plans to have the last laugh -- by using the giant lens and temporary platform. For a million dollars from the underworld for removing his cowl, the Joker Batman plans to give them their money's worth! Under the magnifying glass, all of Gotham will see his secret! Unable to reach him in time, and even if he had a rock, the Joker couldn't break the lens -- because it's too thick! (Holy Lenscrafters, Batman! This looks too grim, indeed!)

Suddenly, the clown is struck by an idea! While Batman is toying with him before removing his cowl, the Joker sees that a workman has left some of his lunch! Before the caped crusader can remove his cowl, the harlequin of hate takes the bottle of milk and hurls it with unbelievable aim towards the magnifying lens! The milk has rendered the glass completely opaque, and Batman falls off the rickety platform, a beaten man! The Joker cuffs the dazed crusader, and that evening, the boy wonder has returned to Gotham... Doctor Rayburn activates the ray machine, and the epsilon rays bathe Batman and the Joker! The caped crusader is the first to revive, and asks Robin why he's been handcuffed! The boy wonder knows that Batman is back to normal, and he won't recall his time in the Joker's body! The next day finds Dick Grayson grateful that Bruce is his normal self! The millionaire playboy muses that if it weren't so serious, he'd have called this case "A Comedy of Errors!"

It's interesting to see Batman and the Joker exchanging the roles of hero and villain.

In the Silver Age, the JLA faced their criminal counterparts from Earth-3... The Crime Syndicate of America.

The Joker is known for being unpredictable and having a sick sense of humor towards the unsuspecting victims of his crimes,while Batman is known to be agile and an expert crimefighter.

On the Batman TV show, an episode had Otto Preminger as Mr. Freeze, and the villain froze the party-goers into place by getting them in the pool at a nighttime event at Wayne Manor. He also had his henchmen impersonate the dynamic duo, who pretended to be afraid of their boss.

After his crime at the Janeway Pen Company, the clown prince of crime was sure to spend time in the state pen!

Luckily for the Joker, he got milk, and kept Batman's secret identity a secret!

Steve Chung
"The Joker Batman Review!"