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Batman 92
"Ace, the Bat-Hound!"


Bill Finger: Script
Sheldon Moldoff: Pencils
Stan Kaye: Inks
Pat Gordon: Letters

The Dynamic Duo becomes a trio when a canine member joins their team. Batman and Robin get a dog and a mystery when they induct "Ace, The Bat-Hound!" One evening as the Dynamic Duo are on patrol in Gotham City, the Boy Wonder spots a dog trying to swim the river, and sinking fast. The Caped Crusader urges his partner to action before the hapless dog drowns. The canine appears to be stunned, barely conscious, and this is why he wasn't able to cross the stream. They decide to take him home and find his owner.

In the Bat-Cave, millionaire Bruce Wayne and his youthful ward, Dick Grayson see that the dog is feeling better, and are about to place a lost-and-found ad in all of the morning newspapers. Since he can't give the Bat-Cave as his address, the millionaire playboy will deliver the advertisement in person. The next day finds the ad appearing in all of the newspapers. Having grown fond of the dog, Dick expresses regret when the time comes for the owner to appear. When the Batmobile roars out of the Bat-Cave in answer to a call from police headquarters, the dog follows them. With no time to return the dog, the two crime fighters let him in the car, and Robin holds onto him. The problem is anyone who saw the ad will recognize the dog's distinctive forehead mark, and connect the Caped Crusader to Bruce Wayne. While Batman drives on to headquarters, the Boy Wonder prepares to tackle the problem at hand. Robin cuts a mask from their black cloth tool bag and makes a bat-symbol for the collar. Now no one should recognize the canine. They learn that Bert Bowers, an escaped convict, has been spotted entering the Stevens Warehouse. Minutes later, the Batmobile arrives at its destination. A policeman on the scene informs the two crime fighters that Bowers has already entered the warehouse.

Within the storage warehouse, equipment for the annual city charity circus are being stored. It will not be a simple matter to find Bowers among the giant clown figures. As the Caped Crusader tells the Boy Wonder to hang onto the dog, Bowers watches from hiding, and waits for them to walk beneath one of the heavy props. The next moment finds the dog running in the opposite direction, as Batman realizes Robin's peril from the falling clown figure. The Caped Crusader leaps to his partner's aid, preventing the heavy prop from crushing him. For a moment, it seems like Bowers will make his getaway, but the dog has gotten his man, and the escaped convict can't get free from the Bat-Hound. The Bat-Hound has proven to be an asset on this occasion, with Robin hoping that he'll stay on the team. Back at Stately Wayne Manor, Bruce Wayne receives a phone call informing him that the dog looks like the one belonging to John Wilker. The dog's owner lives in a cottage out in the suburb.

In the suburb, the trained dog is positively identified by a neighbor of Wilker's. After thanking the neighbor, Bruce and Dick head for the Wilker Cottage, where they find signs of a struggle inside. Ace must have been injured while defending his master. Bruce discovers that John Wilker is an employee of the Gotham Printing and Engraving Company. At the printing company, the millionaire playboy learns that Wilker hasn't been to work for two days, and the skilled engraver is needed by his employer. In the Bat-Cave, Alfred wonders what would happen if Ace were unmasked, and traced back to Bruce Wayne. Batman plans to take precautions against that particular eventuality, then prepares to head out in search of John Wilker. The Bat-Signal is flashing, but Bat-Hound is nowhere in sight. When he saw the Dynamic Duo about to enter the Batmobile, the cowled canine knew that their destination was going to be police headquarters. The trained watchdog has learned fast.

At the office of Commissioner Gordon, the Bat-Hound may be of great help in a case. A four-year-old child has wandered away from home and hasn't been seen since. Outside, the Caped Crusader tells the Boy Wonder to take Bat-Hound in search of the youngster, while he handles the paper company burglary. In the Lynwood Section, Bat-Hound has taken the trail by sniffing Little Orvie's coat. Robin follows Ace to a drainpipe, where the Bat-Hound pulls out the little tyke. After turning Orvie over to his mother, they join Batman at the paper factory.

The Caped Crusader has learned that only one bale of paper was stolen. Bat-Hound begins to growl, with Batman's suspicions about the paper robbery confirmed. Ace has gotten the scent of the men who stunned him, and abducted his master, John Wilker. If his theory is correct, the thieves will strike next at the Eastern Printing Ink Company. In the Batmobile, the Boy Wonder can't understand why the hoods would want paper and ink. The Caped Crusader knows that it was special paper that was stolen, the kind that bonds are printed on. With John Wilker to engrave and print for them, the thieves could create counterfeit bonds. At the ink factory, Bat-Hound goes wild, and races through the doorway. Inside, John Wilker recognizes the masked dog as Ace. One of the thieves hurls a can of ink to knock the canine unconscious.

When Batman and Robin arrive, they see Wilker being held at gunpoint, and are forced to surrender. With the paper and ink in hand, the crooks head off with Wilker and the Dynamic Duo in their clutches. On the outskirts of Gotham City, Robin knows that Bat-Hound was only stunned. Inside the hideout, John Wilker tells his captors that if Batman and Robin are harmed, he won't print the bonds at all. The Dynamic Duo are bound hand and foot, then thrown into a back room. When they are alone, the Boy Wonder wishes that Bat-Hound could find them, and knows that he couldn't possibly trail a car. The Caped Crusader knows otherwise, then squirms around in order to reach a lighted lamp, and place it into the fireplace. Robin tears off the Bat-emblem with his teeth, then squirms over, and drops it over the lamp. A Bat-Signal is created, one which can't be glimpsed by the thieves since it's directly overhead.

Ace has already revived, sees the signal, and races off in answer to it. Outside of their window, the Bat-Hound makes his silent appearance, and presses hard to open the casement window. Ace chews off the rope binding the Boy Wonder's hands. After freeing Batman, the Dynamic Duo and Bat-Hound burst into the other room, trouncing their former captors. When the authorities and reporters arrive on the scene, they overhear the Caped Crusader explain how John Wilker was captured in order to make false bonds. A reporter recognizes the dog as the same one in Bruce Wayne's advertisement. If he's Bat-Hound, does it follow that Batman is Bruce Wayne? The Caped Crusader smiles, then shows him a snapshot taken by Robin of the millionaire playboy handing Ace over to Batman. Unbeknownst to the others, it was Alfred wearing the Batman costume when the picture was taken. The Caped Crusader thanks John Wilker, letting him know how it was Ace who saved their lives. As far as Robin is concerned, if he ever wants to be a Bat-Hound again, the job is still open.

This story was reprinted in Batman: From The Thirties To The Seventies.

By the looks of him, Ace the Bat-Hound is a German Shepard.

The Dynamic Duo have set many a crook up the river, but on this occasion, they have acted as best friends to a dog.

When it comes to giving the canine a secret identity, it's in the bag.

Bowers decides to clown around with Batman and Robin.

The escaped convict used this trick up his sleeve, but was helpless when the Bat-Hound put the bite on him.

The thieves decide to play a game of kick the can with Ace.

The Dynamic Duo are able to create a Bat-Signal with their hands tied behind their backs.

Would there ever be a point where another dog would have to be used in order for Ace to maintain his own secret identity as Bat-Hound?

When it came time to cover for Batman's secret identity, the butler did it.

Steve Chung
"Ace, The Bat-Review!"