Batman 61 – the new Batplane, and the Penguin unmasks Batman

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A new Batplane, streamlined for the 50s, gets introduced in Batman 61 (Oct/Nov 50), by Reed, Sprang and Paris.

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Batman and Robin wind up having to bail out of the original Batplane, which crashes intact, and falls into the hands of a group of criminals, who plot to use it in crime.  Batman and Robin don’t even bother to check on what happened to the first plane, which implies that they are more than happy to get rid of it, and build themselves a new one.

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The Batplane did need an upgrade, taking on the jet formation that had developed during the war.

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The story climaxes in an excellent aerial battle between the old and new planes, giving an opportunity to show off the features of the new Batplane, including it’s Bat-beam (like a tractor beam), and ability to turn into a helicopter of sorts.

There are quite a number of stories from this era that focus on the weapons of Batman.

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Possibly this is because the stories centring on the villains were getting tired.  It didn’t help that the Joker or Penguin appeared in almost every issue.  Finger, Sprang and Paris turn out this month’s story, with the Penguin committing crimes based on winged people from fiction and mythology.

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There are some good scenes, but much of this is by the numbers.

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The last winged man the Penguin aims for is Batman, and he takes Robin captive, forcing Batman to unmask to free the boy.  Batman uses a trick he will use again in later stories, adding some visible make-up to his face, so that the Penguin sees that he is Bruce Wayne, but believes that he has made himself look like Wayne, keeping his identity safe.

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