Batman 52 – Batman visits the vikings, and the Joker’s happy victims

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There’s a sportier version of the Jokermobile on the cover of Batman 52 (April/May1949).

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Carter Nichols is back for another time travelling adventure, by Kane and Paris.

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After discovering a viking carving that appears to show Bruce Wayne, he and Dick Grayson visit Carter Nichols, to be sent back in time to the viking era. The story shows all the typical viking anachronisms.  Batman finds Olaf Ericson is his double, a viking considered a coward, after being captured in battle.

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So Batman rescues Olaf and then pretends to be him, to restore his reputation.  The story sees the vikings come to the Americas, and get into battle with the natives.  Astoundingly, the carving really is of Olaf, and not Bruce, as usually happens in these stories.

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Finger, Schwartz and Paris spin a decent Joker tale in this issue – so good that it was re-drawn in the 60s by Infantino for a Kellogs special.

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Batman and Robin are confused when the people the Joker rob are so amused at his thefts that they don’t mind being stolen from.

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Batman is certain that more is going on than appears, and then Bruce Wayne becomes another happy victim of the Jokers, to the bafflement of Dick and Alfred.  But the victims are all part of the plot, as the Joker promises to give them back twice what he stole – though his phrasing is quite specific.  For example, he steals a rare painting of the Waynes, and offers two oils in return.

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But the oils he gives back are large tubes of oil paint.  Batman messes up the Joker’s scheme, and the Joker.  The Jokermobile in this story resembles the one on the cover, more like a speedster than the previous version.

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