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World's Finest Comics 136
"The Batman Nobody Remembered!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND September, 1963

Story: Unknown Art: Jim Mooney

This most unusual adventure features The World's Finest Team, but is not an imaginary story of Alfred, it is not a dream, and it is not a hallucination! The strange events which take place have an amazing answer for... "The Batman Nobody Remembered!" On the splash page, The Man of Steel and The Boy Wonder have captured The Caped Crusader, while a familiar girl photographer prepares to take a picture of their capture of this new unknown criminal... Batman!

The Bat-Plane is passing through a raging storm, with Batman at the controls, and he is relieved that The Boy Wonder is not with him for this trip, as he steers the craft past the Twin Peaks ahead! (Holy Lynch, Batman!) As The Bat-Plane passes between the peaks, lightning strikes, and the entire craft shudders! Using his skill, The Caped Crusader manages to bring The Bat-Plane down for a safe landing... After the storm subsides, and Batman is passing by a bridge, the moonlight reveals The Joker driving a car out on the town! As the vehicle passes beneath the bridge, The Caped Crusader leaps, eager to capture his arch-foe!

Landing in the backseat, Batman greets The Joker by punching him in the jaw, then driving the unconscious clown to police headquarters. Greeting The Commissioner, The Caped Crusader prepares to hand over The Joker, but Gordon and the officers are at a loss. They tell the startled Batman that The Joker is no criminal, but the stage name for Freddy Forbes, the famed TV comic! Forbes removes his green wig and tells how he was driving from rehearsal -- when this lunatic attacked him! (Great Caesar Romero, Batman!) Commissioner Gordon confronts Batman and demand to know why he is wearing the costume and mask. The Caped Crusader is startled that his friend is acting as if he never heard of Batman, while Forbes demands that he be arrested! The Commissioner agrees and reaches for him...

Believing that Gordon and his men are pulling a prank on him, Batman pretends to escape, then return in order to have the last laugh. Peering in the window, The Caped Crusader listens as Commissioner Gordon orders a check of all asylums for an escaped inmate. (Holy Arkham, Batman!) It dawns on him that Commissioner Gordon and his men are serious, indeed. Sneaking through the back alleys of Gotham City, Batman is soon spotted by The Man of Steel, and he is relieved by the sight of his friend, who will certainly help him. Superman's super-hearing caught the bulletin from a passing police car, and he intends to bring in the masked stranger. In his panic, The Caped Crusader runs into the street, and into the path of an oncoming truck! (Holy Daredevil, Batman!)

As the truck driver steers frantically to avoid Batman, the oil truck heads for a kerosene lamp! Crashing into the lamp, flames begin to spread, and Superman manages to save the driver, then heave the truck into the air, where the explosion will harm no one! While this is going on, The Caped Crusader heads for home, where he looks forward to seeing Dick and Alfred once more...

In the air, Superman uses his super-speed to catch the drops of flaming oil with a giant lobster bowl from the Joe's Lobster Bowl Restaurant sign before they can damage the nearby buildings. Batman arrives at what should be the entrance to The Bat-Cave, but it's not there for some reason. Thinking that there must have been a rockfall while he was away, The Caped Crusader decides to enter Stately Wayne Manor through the front door. Knocking on the door, he is greeted by the sight of Alfred and Dick, who calls out for Bruce. From the study, Batman sees Clark Kent approaching, and he wonders what the mild-mannered reporter would be doing at his home. He is stunned to hear Clark say that his name is not Clark Kent -- but Wayne! Bruce Wayne! (Holy Joe Millionaire, Batman!)

Alfred grips Batman's arm, while The Caped Crusader tries to explain that it is he who is Bruce Wayne and Superman who is Clark Kent! Seeing that the costumed man is suffering from a delusion, "Bruce" and Dick tell Alfred to hold onto him while they go to call the police. While they're away, Batman punches out Alfred in order to make his escape before Superman and Robin show up. He listens in at the window, as Alfred regets letting him get away, while "Bruce" knows that it would have been suspicious if Superman and Robin had caught the intruder at Wayne Manor. Dick tells "Bruce" that Superman would have caught the masked man if it hadn't been for the oil truck, but now, it seems that he knows "Bruce's" secret identity. Knowing that this Batman may expose his identity, "Bruce" is determined to bring him in. Outside, The Caped Crusader wonders if he's dreaming or if he's hallucinating, but knows that this is actually happening to him. If his time as Batman had been a dream and he is now sane... who is he?

Recalling that Batwoman's home is nearby, he heads for Kathy Kane's place, but sees that a married couple lives there, instead. In Gotham City, Batman heads for View Magazine, where he hopes that Vicki Vale can help him. Entering the studio, The Caped Crusader is startled to see Lois Lane, who identifies herself as Vicki Vale! Batman recognizes her as Lois Lane -- The Metropolis Daily Planet Reporter. "Vicki" recognizes her visitor as the fugitive that the police are searching for! The Caped Crusader sits into a chair, and minutes later, Superman and Robin arrive, in answer to the summons from "Vicki's" signal-watch! (Holy ZEE-ZEE-ZEE, Batman!)

As Batman turns to run, he is tackled by Robin! Superman then delivers a knock-out punch to Batman's jaw! When he revives, The Caped Crusader finds himself at Police Headquarters, with The Boy Wonder about to unmask him! His cowl is removed, but all fail to recognize the man named Bruce Wayne.

"Bruce Wayne" enters to confront the costumed man who claimed to be him, and The Caped Crusader knows that it must be Alfred in disguise -- so that if Batman claimed to know Superman's secret identity, it would be disbelieved. Commissioner Gordon removes one of The Caped Crusader's gloves in order to fingerprint him, and when the report arrives, it reveals that there are no such prints on file... Batman is a cipher! An officer enters The Commissioner's office with news of The Red Raven Gang pulling a job at The Gotham Pipe Works! Superman and Robin head out, while Batman languishes in a prison cell. His utility belt has not been removed, however, and The Caped Crusader should be able to mix two chemicals together -- making an explosive exit from prison -- but it would make him thought of as a criminal! Batman intends to aid The Man of Steel and The Boy Wonder in apprehending The Red Raven Gang, and hopefully convincing them that he's a crimefighter, too! (Holy Selegue, Batman!)

The Red Raven Gang are leaving The Gotham Pipe Works, when Superman and Robin arrive on the scene. The Boy Wonder is told to grab The Red Raven, while The Man of Steel handles the gang! Before the crooks can make it to the getaway car, Superman uses some pipes to pen them in, until they can be deposited into The State Pen! The Caped Crusader has arrived on the scene in time to see The Red Raven drawing his gun on Robin! Hurling a boulder towards the gun, the rock thrown by Batman strikes Superman -- and contains Thulium -- the one substance which The Man of Steel is vulnerable to! The Caped Crusader is stunned to see that Superman is no longer vulnerable to Green Kryptonite, just as The Red Raven overpowers Robin, and joins his gang, who have made their way out of the partially finished pen...

As The Boy Wonder is placed into the getaway car, Batman rushes at The Red Raven, who kicks him aside, and escapes! The getaway car is long gone by the time The Caped Crusader revives, and he sees Superman using his heat-vision to cause the boulder to fall through to the ground below. Determined to vindicate himself, Batman is determined to find Robin, and spots some mud left by The Red Raven's boot! (Holy Feat of Clay, Batman!) Using the collapsible microscope from his utility belt, The Caped Crusader sees that the smooth, round sand must come from quicksand! This means that The Red Raven's hideout must be located near quicksand bogs! As dusk falls, Batman arrives at The Gotham Display Plant, where the only sand bogs in the city are to be found! He then wonders how to notify Superman...

Minutes later, The Man of Steel arrives, having spotted Batman's kite with flaming twigs tied together to form an "S!" (Holy Isabella, Batman!) Promising to explain later, Batman tells Superman that they must enter The Red Raven's hideout and save Robin! Inside the factory, The Red Raven is startled to see The Man of Steel and the guy who he kicked away from the getway car! (Holy Getaway, Batman!) Reaching for a giant model of an electric razor, Superman uses the cord to snare the gang, but The Red Raven has a hand grenade, and is threatening to hurl it at Robin! The Caped Crusader launches himself on a giant roller skate, which slams into The Red Raven, and causes the crook to drop the grenade...

The Man of Steel has smothered the explosion with his bare hands, while Robin congratulates Batman on the great save! Now convinced that The Caped Crusader is sincere and sane, Superman suggests an experiment which may clear up the mystery, but first he must repair The Bat-Plane... After The Man of Steel carries The Bat-Plane into the ionosphere, The Caped Crusader beholds an incredible sight... for the Atlantic Coastline is different, and Superman's suspicions are confirmed! Back on Earth, The Man of Steel tells Batman that he is not on the Earth he has known, but another world on a different vibratory-plane -- in another dimension! (Holy Serling, Batman!) Another world -- which evolved like The Caped Crusader's world -- but with some differences! Clark Kent and Lois Lane have different lives, have different names! In the world of Bruce "Superman" Wayne, Batman never existed! The Caped Crusader realizes that when he flew through the twin peaks, it felt like crashing through an invisible wall, and in that moment, he travelled to another dimension! Superman theorizes that if he created a lightning storm in the area, the same conditions may occur, and Batman could travel back to his own dimension!

Using his super-breath, The Man of Steel has blown some cloud masses together, and a thunderstorm is created! (Holy Busiek, Batman!) Superman tells Batman to fly The Bat-Plane between the peaks once more! Robin tells Batman to give his regards to his counterpart on The Caped Crusader's world! The Bat-Plane shudders violently -- as it passes through the peaks once more -- and Batman awaits his destiny! Wondering if he didn't make it back to his own dimension, The Caped Crusader decides to head for Police Headquarters, and find out for sure! Entering Commissioner Gordon's office, he is greeted by Gordon, Vicki Vale, Robin, and Batwoman. All had been worried that he had been lost in the storm, and all are pleased to see him once more! Smiling, Batman knows that he is home again!

On the cover, Batman is held by Superman, while Robin unmasks him, and Lois Lane is snapping a picture of this most memorable event!

Not a dream, not a hoax, and not an imaginary tale.

Up until recently, I would have guessed that the story's title had applied to the Bat-Editors, but I'm trying to be nice in 2003. (Holy Batman: Murderer/Fugitive/Fugedaboudit!)

I love alternate reality/parallel world stories from What If, The Exiles, and most of the Elseworlds, in particular.

I wonder what would have happened if The Dynamic Duo of The 1950's had found themselves in the DC Universe of Today or if today's Batman and Robin had found themselves back in the Fifties, facing the likes of giant props, aliens, and costumed criminals? (Holy Prozac, Batman!)

There was a pin-up of The '50s Dick Sprang Batman and Robin meeting The Graham Nolan Bane in a Batman Gallery book. This serves as inspiration for seeing such a tale.

If there were to be another Crisis on Earth such and such, I'd love to see The Current Justice League meeting their counterparts from JLA: The Nail. In light of what happened in that story, things would be very interesting for The Man of Steel and The Dark Knight, in particular.

In The Killing Joke, one of The Joker's possible origins was his early days as a would-be stand-up comic. I'd like to think that this unnamed comic was called Freddy Forbes.

Commissioner Gordon is wearing a yellow suit throughout this story.

The Twilight Episode, "Passage For A Trumpet" had Jack Klugman running into the path of a truck, and entering a parallel world.

The Man of Steel "bowls" over his fans by gathering the flaming oil with a giant lobster bowl from a sign.

In the animated episode, "Perchance To Dream," Bruce Wayne found himself in a world where someone else was Batman!

In the early '80s, I believe that Bob Rozakis had written a story arc where it was Kal-El who was found by The Waynes, and this Bruce "Superman" Wayne fought crime as The Man of Steel, not to mention marrying one Barbara Gordon, aka Batwoman! Perhaps it was this Bruce Wayne who met Batman in this story? "A Day In The Life of Bruce "Superman" Wayne."

In Speeding Bullets, Kal-El is found by The Waynes, and when they are murdered, he adopts the identity of The Batman! Lovely art by Eduardo Barreto, which features an unforgettable meeting between Lois and Bruce Wayne.

One wonders if Perry White or Jimmy Olsen existed on this world from World's Finest #136.

Interesting that the police were unaware of Batman's utility belt, and I wonder if The Robin of this world had one. I also wonder if this Superman had robots to take his place, instead of having Alfred impersonate him, as Batman would do on his world?

Red Raven is a costumed crook, with red mask, red costume, gloves, and blue pants, with red boots. Not a bad design by Jim Mooney, who did a fine job with The World's Finest Team in this story.

The Red Raven is also the name of a '40s Timely Comics character, who returned in X-Men #44, was supposedly killed in an issue of The Sub-Mariner, and was recently brought back in The Defenders (Second Series) by Kurt Busiek and Erik Larsen.

Thulium is one of the elements on Jack Selegue's Comic Book Period Table, and I hope he enjoys this review, in particular. Could Prof fill us SARists on what Thulium is and what it can do?

Red Raven kicks Batman aside from the getaway car, but even this feat makes him still a one-shot, one-note villain.

Ever the detective, The Caped Crusader uses some sand to determine the location of The Red Raven's hideout.

In "Challenge of The Calendar Man," the seasonal villain made his escape in a similar manner as Batman's use of the giant roller skate.

This Review Is Dedicated To Jack Selegue, Mike Norwitz, JK Carrier, Bob Buethe, and Rich Goldberg

Steve Chung
"The Batman Nobody Reviewed!"