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Batman 219
"The Silent Night of The Batman!"

Story: Mike Friedrich
Art: Neal Adams and Dick Giordano
Editor: Julie Schwartz

It's Christmas Eve night in Gotham City, where last-minute shoppers make their way in an almost serene scene, where crime and injustice would not dare rear their heads. This would be too much to believe for... The Batman! As The Bat-Signal shines against the snow-filled clouds, the sky takes on a celestial majesty. Over the centuries, many have witnessed miracles around Christmas... Tonight there will be another...

The Masked Manhunter arrives on the roof of Police Headquarters, where The Commissioner tells him that there's no emergency, and that he's called Batman because it's Christmas Eve, and "Tis The Season To Be Jolly!" Both he and James Gordon know this, but try telling that to the crooks and hoods, who aren't likely to withhold hostilities on this holiday. The Commissioner assures him that this night will be different, and The Darknight Detective senses that his friend is inspired, as they walk in, and see the policemen decorating the tree. One asks Batman to joining in the Christmas Carols, and he does so, vowing to enjoy himself until something comes up...

Jingle bells,
Jingle bells,
Jingle all the way!
Oh what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh...

A young child dashes through the snow... clutching the present he took from a mother, and as he peers from an alley, and sees her running off, he heads for his waiting friends, who have eager hands out. Opening the package, they see the action figure of The Batman, and even children such as they have heard of him.

The package is hastily re-wrapped by young hands, and is given back to its rightful owner.

We three kings of orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar...

A pedestrian draws a gun, then bumps into a figure emerging from a doorway. The gunman picks up his hat, then sees the back of The Caped Crusader...

Who turns and is in actuality a sightless pitchman, whose sandwich board asks for support of The Wayne Foundation Christmas Drive For The Blind!" The sweaty, would-be gunman realizes what might have happened, then disposes of his firearm where it'll do the most good, and keep Gotham City clean.

You better watch out,
You better not cry.
You better not pout
I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is
coming to town...
He's making a list

Checking it twice... the wife whose husband is over in Vietnam re-reads the letter, and knows that there can be no mistake. She leaves the apartment, with the Christmas tree which has been her only company duirng the holiday season.

She purchases a rose from a flower vendor, then heads for Gotham Bridge. She's re-reading the letter, and weeps. She clutches the rose for a moment, as the bridgespans' reflection resembles a giant bat in the evening waters, and she lets the flower go. A U.S. Army transport stops, and a smiling soldier leaps from it. and She sees that it's her husband, who takes her in his arms, and kisses her, just as he doesn't see his wife tear the letter to bits with grateful fingers.

Silent night,
holy night...
All is calm, all is bright...

The Batman sees that it's now six o'clock, and that he and the policemen have been singing all night! Not one occurence of crime has disturbed them... nothing! It is as if The Spirit of Christmas Peace has gotten ahold of everyone...! The Commissioner begins to fade, as the question reaches The Masked Manhunter's ears... "What IS The Christmas Spirit? Might it not be.. you... or I?"

Even The Darknight Detective can be taken aback and momentarily doubt his senses... for in the next moment, he's at Police Headquarters, where Commissioner Gordon tells him that with all the crimefighting he has done over the years, Gotham City has given him the night off! As The Batman swings through Gotham City, he knows that the Christmas spirit is alive and well, and a new day will begin...

A classic story by Mike Friedrich, Neal Adams, and Dick Giordano, where The Shadow of The Bat falls on the citizens of Gotham, but is buoyed by The Christmas Spirit.

The Darknight Detective singing Christmas Carols. (Holy Andy Williams, Batman! This is one sight which would floor The Joker!)

Steve Chung
"The Silent Night of The Review!"