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Thursday, May 31, 2007
Death Flaunts Its Golden Grin
Apparently four issues was all it took for some DC editor to call Bob Haney on the carpet and say "Bob, fix this." And that's just what Bob and Dick Dillin do in World's Finest #227, the follow-up to their earlier "Bruce Wayne has a long lost brother who's a psycho killer" story.
The story opens with Superman destroying a beloved national monument, the Statue of Liberty.
"No, dude, you totally are."
It's nice to see Supes get his comeuppance every once in awhile, after all those times he's gaslighted Lois or Jimmy.
Superman is destroying national monuments because he's been asked by the government to look into a gold smuggling ring. Batman was supposed to be helping him, but he's out goofing off, harassing circus acrobats.
Batman is doing this odd thing, not because of his fetish for young men in tights, but in an effort to find his brother, believed to be possessed by Deadman.
This doesn't sit well with Superman, who keeps reminding Batman that they're supposed to be working on a very important case!
Batman, meanwhile, just can't concentrate on anything like the devaluation of US currency, because he's so worried about what could happen if Deadman were to leave the body of his brother, the psycho boomerang killer.
"You dick, that table was in the Wayne family for twelve generations! And you know my parents are dead!" "Yeah, well my planet exploded, so stick it up your rear."
Batman goes out to harass some more acrobats, and finds a likely candidate:
Personally, I don't find "masked acrobat" all that compelling as evidence, but he is the "world's greatest detective" so there's possibly more he knows than I do. Or, you know, the story is running a bit long and Haney decided to speed things up.
No joke, I just think that panel's cool.
The mysterious balloonist/acrobat does a runner after catching sight of Bats, so Bats responds the only way a child of wealth and privilege can respond to a set-back: he buys something.
What follows is a stunning aerial chase between balloon and bi-plane, ending the only way such a stunning battle could end!
Superman, meanwhile, has gone to Switzerland to find the gold smugglers. Because all the gold comes from Switzerland, I guess. While there, he shows a healthy American respect for the rule of law.
His investigations lead him to a castle high in the mountains, which is apparently the headquarters of the gold smugglers. The only clue he can find as to how they're getting the gold into the US are the balloon mooring lines on the roof of the castle. HMMMMMMMM....
Back to Batman, who has laid a trap for Deadman. Or not.
Luckily, the REAL Deadman catches Batman on HIS balloon. Look, just go with it.
Batman and Deadman trace the fake Deadman to a canyon, without realizing that Superman has traced the gold smugglers to THIS VERY CIRCUS! HOW UNEXPECTED! Superman gets into a spectacular dogfight with the balloon and some bi-planes while Bats and Deads engage in some light bondage.
They catch up to the fake and his cronies, only to discover, OH NO, a dilemma!
And Haney fixes his mess.
Oh, and the circus was a front for the gold smugglers, who were sneaking the gold over to the US in solid gold balloon gondolas. Yes, I would think that would be very heavy. And not at all feasible.