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Detective Comics 345
"The Blockbuster Invasion of Gotham City!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND Story: Gardner Fox

Art By Carmine Infantino & Joe Giella

The Blockbuster -- a creature so powerful that no prison can hold it, nor any weapons of the authorities can stop it! It dwarfs the might of others. It cannot be beaten -- yet The Dynamic Duo are willing to fight it to the finish in order to put a halt to ... "The Blockbuster Invasion of Gotham City!" On the splash page, Robin The Boy Wonder reels from his attempt to restrain The Blockbuster with solid steel handcuffs, while The Caped Crusader keeps punching in hopes of finding the creature's weak spot! (Holy Casey At The Bat, Batman! Will this be three strikes and you're out, for The Masked Manhunter?)

A storm at sea has in its grip the cabin cruiser belonging to Bruce Wayne, and as the lightning flashes overhead, the millionaire playboy is forced to abandon ship, on this day which was to be devoted to deep-sea fishing! (Holy Starkist, Batman! Do you suppose that Aquaman would have a few cross words with his fellow JLAer about this?) Bruce dives clear of the ruined cruiser, and swims for a nearby island. The damp figure takes his first steps onto dry land, and seeks shelter from the harsh storm. Between thunderclaps, Bruce overhears a cry for help, and he moves towards the sight of a boy caught in a quicksand bed! Warning the boy not to move around so much, for this will cause him to sink deeper, the millionaire breaks off a branch, and uses it to pull the boy out!

Supporting the weary boy, Bruce is greeted by the lad's brother, Roland Desmond, who is relieved to see that Mark is okay. The following day is sunny, as Roland thanks Bruce for saving his brother's life, and the millionaire is grateful for the overnight shelter from the storm, and asks to be taken to the mainland. Months pass, and it is night as The Batmobile patrol Gotham's business district. Robin sees the hole in the side of a building, surrounded by police cars, as Batman wonders why they hadn't heard an explosion. A patrolman tells The Dynamic Duo that it wasn't an explosion, but a solitary figure who caused the opening with his brute strength. The man smashed through the wall like a football player running down the line -- clearing a path through bricks and mortar as if it were paper! Once inside, the culprit stuffed money into a knapsack, and when the police spotted him as he came out, they warned him to stop. When he didn't, they opened fire -- only to see the bullets bounce off of this refugee from a horror movie!

With one hand, the creature lifts up the squad car, then sets it down before running off into the night. The Boy Wonder wonders how anyone could tangle with a Blockbuster like that, and a reporter sees this as an excellent news headline about "The Blockbuster Bandit!" In the Bat-Cave, Bruce and Dick make preparations for The Blockbuster during their patrol, and four nights later, they hear of The Blockbuster Bandit breaking into the Tolliver Art Gallery. The Batmobile makes the two blocks easily, and soon, The Dynamic Duo emerge from their vehicle, with their Blockbuster Bandit-Control-Gear, as the guard tells them that his orders were not to interfere, just to raise the alarm. (Holy Uatu, Batman! When is a guard not a guard? Answer: When he's a watcher!) Batman tells the guard to keep the police reinforcements outside, while he and Robin use their special devices on The Blockbuster Bandit!

In the art gallery, The Blockbuster strikes a huge contrast, as he turns to face The Dynamic Duo, and Robin has a chance to see that The Frankenstein Monster would be a toddler compared to this new foe. Batman moves forward and punches The Blockbuster in the jaw, then sees that his punch had no effect! As the creature moves to grab him, The Boy Wonder places special steel handcuffs on his two massive arms, but the enraged Blockbuster strains his muscles, and the chain link snaps! Robin flings a gas pellet, while The Caped Crusader whirls a steel-cabled bola...

The creature snaps the steel cable as easily as he did the handcuffs, and The Boy Wonder is caught, then raised over The Blockbuster's head, while Batman continues to punch him, as he searches for his weak spot. The blows continue until The Blockbuster steps back, and touches his own cheek, as if in pain, and The Masked Manhunter sees that the creature is not as invulnerable as he thought! The Caped Crusader continues his punches -- of such force that they would knock down an ox, and this is the moment when The Blockbuster roars with rage...

Outside, the police reinforcements listen to the sounds of battle, and figure that The Dynamic Duo are on the case, but The Blockbuster kicks out the side of the wall, so they can see that Batman and Robin have lost. The Caped Crusader and The Boy Wonder are held briefly in the air by powerful hands, which then fling them towards the startled officers with such force, that they are bowled over like tenpins!

The Blockbuster smashes through another building, then down a cellar, to make his way through a sewer-way, until he reaches an abandoned subway track, where he continues to run. In his wake, Batman and Robin are following his trail until it ends at the tracks.

The Blockbuster Invasion of Gotham City -- Part Two

In the office of Commissioner Gordon, a plan is set for Blockbuster to be followed by The Bat-Copter when he next appears, and two nights pass, as The Caped Crusader and The Boy Wonder patrol the Gotham skies, while the police stand ready with electrified nets. The next night, The Bat-Copter spots The Blockbuster breaking into a city museum, and the creature's robbery is successful since all of Gotham knows not to interfere with him. The Blockbuster makes his way through deserted streets, while the Bat-Copter follows him from above. The creature takes to the sea, and swims to the island where Bruce Wayne save the life of Mark Desmond!

Unfortunately, as The Bat-Copter makes its way to the island, it runs into some high-frequency inteference, and begins to fall, but The Dynamic Duo manage to leap to safety before the copter crashes into a tree. Below them, The Blockbuster sees his foes, and is determined to knock them from their perch. He shakes the tree until Batman and Robin come tumbling down, and The Masked Manhunter knows that it would do no good to reason with him since he can't understand them. (Holy Modern Age, Batman! This sounds just like The Modern Age Batman!) The Battle begins, as The Dynamic Duo fight for their survival, and Batman has an idea, which The Boy Wonder hopes is a good one!

Racing through the trees, they come across the house of the Desmond Brothers, and enter the cellarway of the home, with Batman ready to stop The Blockbuster, and Robin willing to call go when he's set. The creature breaks through the door, just as The Darknight Detective figures out that The Blockbuster is the same person he saved from the quicksand bed -- Mark Desmond! He can tell from what remains of the facial structure, and The Boy Wonder can hardly believe that a scrawny kid could be The Blockbuster! (Holy clothes call, Robin! I can't believe a scrawny kid wearing a mask, a red vest, some green underwear, and green booties, as well as a yellow cape! Can you, old chum?) Robin stands in front of Batman to keep him from fighting The Blockbuster, but it's not The Caped Crusader who'll fight him... it's Bruce Wayne!

Now unmasked, Bruce sees the behemoth pausing, but there's no hint of recognition in its eyes, while The Boy Wonder goes to deal with Roland Desmond, who downed their copter, and cut off their radio. Bruce moves aside as The Blockbuster punches the wall next to him, then the millionaire is running for his life on the island trail, with The Blockbuster in pursuit. (Holy Ben Gazarra, Batman! And that other guy thought he had problems!) Bruce reaches the quicksand, then carefully repeats the actions of Mark Desmond, which reminds the creature how the millionaire playboy saved him with the branch. He knows that if he changes to Batman, The Blockbuster will attack him, but if he doesn't, Roland will figure out his identity.

Elsewhere, Roland Desmond is knocked out by Robin, just as Bruce enters the doorway, and tells him to take Roland to the boat so that the three of them can leave the island, while The Blockbuster remains. (Holy Survivor, Batman! That's one way to win!) As The Boy Wonder takes the unconscious Roland to the boat, Bruce changes to Batman, and makes his way to the boat, where Roland revives, and tells them how Mark is The Blockbuster, and how he'll only obey his brother. The scrawny youth was a genius who had created a serum which would affect certain endocrine glands to make him grow big and strong, but in his haste, he didn't test his discovery first. An overactive anterior lobe of the pituitary gland made him into a giant with superhuman strength, while a faulty endocrine gland retarded his mental development.

With Roland Desmond in custody, Batman and Robin are in the Bat-Cave try to think of a way to bring in Blockbuster, and The Boy Wonder suggests that Bruce impersonate Roland since The Blockbuster will only obey him. On Blockbuster Island, Robin and the disguised Batman see the creature's footprints leading to the open sea, where no doubt some animal instinct told him to move on, and ironically, he is serving a sentence of solitary confinement for his crimes, as he is forced to live apart from his fellow man.

An impressive splashpage, as even The Dynamic Duo don't seem enough to stop The Blockbuster.

I've heard of The British Invasion, but leave to Gotham City to outdo its neighbors.

When I was younger, I had a coloring book which featured The Origin of The Blockbuster, and his battle with Batman.

The Blockbuster would meet his end in the pages of the Legend miniseries, and his brother, Roland, would take up the identity in the pages of Roger Stern's Starman.

Roland retained his intellect in this guise, yet in Underworld Unleashed, The Blockbuster is the same as he ever was, and wishes that he were smarter. Neron grants this wish and The New Blockbuster heads to Bludhaven, and is a frequent foe of Nightwing.

Like a certain other hulking brute, The Blockbuster favors purple pants, as well as sandals.

The pose where The Dynamic Duo raise into the art gallery to confront Blockbuster was recreated by Murphy Anderson for the cover of the Batman In The '60s book.

Steve Chung
"The Blockbuster Review of Gotham City!"