Batman 120 – the portrait gallery, and the whirly-bat


The whirly-bats make the cover of Batman 120 (Dec. 58).


The Wayne Family portrait gallery make its return in this story, by Finger, Moldoff and Paris.  It had been introduced in a Carter Nichols tale, which saw Batman go back in time to meet an ancestor, Silas Wayne.  In this story, Silas Wayne is the name of Bruce’s dying uncle.


The uncle pleads with Bruce to do something useful with his life, something worthy of being commemorated with a portrait.  So Bruce tries to act as Batman, but dressed as himself.  He fails dismally, though, and of course the police just keep trying to stop him, figuring he is just a reckless millionaire.


Finally, with Alfred wearing a Batman costume, Bruce gets to stop some criminals, and then unmask in front of the press.  As Batman, Alfred explains how he allowed Bruce to help him with the case.


So Bruce gets his portrait included in the gallery, showing him as Batman.  Before his uncle dies, Bruce also reveals the truth to him.

There was a hard and fast rule in these days, that anyone who learned Batman’s identity during the course of a story either lost their memory, or died, by the end of it.

The portrait gallery returns during the Grant Morrison run for sure, and perhaps before that.


The whirly-bats get the focus of this story, by Moldoff and Paris.


Batman, whose legs have been broken by a rampaging elephant, spends the entire story in the whirly-bat, a miniature helicopter capable of going everywhere that Batman needs to go – as long as he only needs to go outside.  Robin has his own whirly-bat.

These airborne vehicles will make many returns over the next few years.


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