Smashing through the cover of Batman 20 (Dec/Jan 43/44).
Cameron and Burnley handle the Joker story in this issue, which sees him pull a scam on people so gullible they really deserve to be taken.
The Joker tricks a banker and a wanted felon into believing that he has transporter them into the future. They fall for this, based on the buildings, and are not at all suspicious about the fact that all the people in the future talk like gangsters. Batman is on the trail of the wanted man, and follows them to the Joker’s lair, where he and Robin get captured.
They break out, and smash through a wall, winding up in the distant past – the whole thing is a movie set. It’s so easy to see through this silly scam that it strains belief that anyone would fall for it.
Much better is the last story in the issue, by Finger, Kane and Robinson, which sees Dick Grayson removed from the custody of Bruce Wayne.
The story introduces Dick’s uncle, George Grayson, and his wife Clara. They want to raise Dick, and go to court to get custody of him, even though Dick wants to stay with Bruce.
There are a couple of really good pages after the judge rules in favour of Dick’s relatives, and Bruce has to give him up. He and Alfred are close to being in mourning when Dick leaves.
But it turns out that the two are just planning to exploit the situation, offering to sell Dick back to Bruce. Batman tries to scare them into giving the boy back, but George contacts some of his underworld friends, who capture Batman.
Robin and Alfred go into action to rescue Batman, Alfred using one of the Penguin’s umbrellas as a weapon. With George’s complicity revealed, Dick is taken away from him and Clara, and returned to Bruce.
While it’s a bit of a shame that this gets resolved so easily, the story devotes more time to the emotional effects of the situation than most tales from this era.