Batman 56 – Bat-Hombre, and the Penguin’s egg trap

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Batman heads to to the “Latin American” country of Mantegua in Batman 56 (Dec/Jan 49/50), as he trains a Batman for that nation.

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David V. Reed joins Sprang and Paris on this story, as the ambassador of Mantegua begs Batman’s help in dealing with a bandit leader, El Papagayo.  Reference is made to the country having “pampas,” which I believe means it must be on the border of Argentina.

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Batman decides to train a knock-off for the region.  He holds auditions, and winds up choosing a man who is secretly working for El Papagayo.  He trains him, outfits him in a Bat-costume with a serape, puts a mask on the guy’s horse and christens him Bat-Hombre.

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It takes Batman a shamefully long time to figure out that Bat-Hombre is in league with the bad guy, but he eventually does, and then impersonates him to take down El Papagayo.

A few years down the road we would meet the Gaucho, the Batman of Argentina.  I would say that hero was inspired by Batman’s actions in this story.

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Finger, Sprang and Paris spin a Penguin story in this issue, which has him fall for a revenge plot by a criminal he squealed on while in prison.  The man challenges the Penguin to commit a series of crimes, for a reward that turns out to be valueless.

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It’s not the best Penguin story, but there is a weird looking egg-trap that he uses on Batman and Robin that stands out.

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