A really good cover for Batman 14 (Dec/Jan 42/43), and the issue lives up to it as well. I’ve written about three of the stories, and even the one I skipped is not bad, another “Grand Hotel” tale set in a pharmacy.
Cameron and Robinson open this story with a really enjoyable murder mystery, which sees Batman and Robin join forces with other famous detectives.
A famous but aging detective, Dana Drye, invites Batman and Robin to a special function at his apartment. Four other detectives are invited as well. Two of them are clearly based on Sherlock Holmes and Charlie Chan. The other two might well be based on other fictional detectives from the period, but I’m not sure who they might be. One is a cowboy detective, and the other a high society woman – if she had a husband or a dog, I would guess she was Nora Charles.
Dana Drye winds up getting murdered in front of the group, who then set out to find the killer.
The only problem with the story is that it really doesn’t give much for the detectives to do, aside from Batman and Robin. But there is an excellent twist ending, that it was suicide, not murder.
This story was re-written, and even improved, in Detective Comics 500, using a host of DC’s detectives.
One of the few Batman stories to directly deal with World War 2, Swastika over the White House , by Cameron and Jack Burnley, pits Batman against Nazi spies in the US.
The story deals with a young cameraman who is really in league with the Nazis, and planning to film military installations as part of his newsreels, to give them inside information. These Nazis are clearly very into it, as they have a swastika chandelier in their meeting room.
The cameraman also tries to set up Batman and Robin for some Nazi killers, once they get onto the case.
The swastika chandelier returns for the big fight scene finale. It’s remarkable how non-threatening a swastika can look when you cover it with lightbulbs.
The Penguin is back for another crime spree, in a story by Cameron and Burnley.
The Penguin sets up as a sort of crime consultant, selling the plans and schemes for criminal plots. But he also shows up after the thefts are committed, to take his “percentage,” which just happens to be 100%, as he kills the ones who hired him. Clearly, this is not a plan that relies on repeat business.
Lots of umbrellas in this tale, with a big one used as a trap for Batman and Robin. Not a bad story.