Batman 127 – Alfred becomes the Eagle, if Bruce Wayne’s parents hadn’t died, and Batman vs Thor

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Thor is featured on the cover of Batman 127 (Oct. 59).

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The Joker is back in the first story in the issue, by Finger, Sprang and Paris, though he is not the central character in the tale.

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As they battle the Joker, Batman and Robin are joined by a new hero with super-powers, the Eagle.  They are surprised when the Eagle unmasks, and it’s Alfred under the feathers.  He explains how he gained the powers after an accident with Batman’s machines.

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Bruce and Dick are wary of allowing Alfred to help them fight crime, and indeed, the Eagle proves of little use.  He actually make things easier for the Joker.  Alfred gets more and more determined with each failure, and charges out to fight the Joker hand in hand.  But by then his powers have faded.  But he does distract the villain long enough for Batman to get the jump on him.

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Carter Nichols is back, and with a brand new machine in this Finger, Sprang and Paris story.

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Nichols puts Bruce Wayne into a machine that will allow him to see what his life would have been like had his parents not been murdered.  He grows up to be a wealthy playboy.  Superman gets a small role in this story, battling a villain called the Black Bat, who dresses in the Batman costume.

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Bruce Wayne sets out to find the identity of the Black Bat, showing off detective skills he gained somehow.

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As always seems to happen in these stories, it ends as Bruce Wayne becomes Batman.  He defeats Black Bat, and takes the costume. This seems to imply that the deaths of his parents were not really important in the larger scheme, which is very odd.

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Batman takes on Thor, years before the Marvel Comics version of the hero was introduced.  Finger and Moldoff create a character with some distinct similarities.

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Claiming to be the Norse Thunder God, Thor uses his magical hammer to crack open bank vaults and rob them.  Batman and Robin try to stop him, but are outclassed by his weapon.

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They discover that Thor is really a meek museum curator, who gets controlled by the hammer itself, which first manifested powers after being hit by lightning.  Batman makes sure the hammer gets thrown into some electric wiring, which shorts out its powers, and frees the curator from its spell.

Quite different than Marvel’s version, although the weak man gaining power from the hammer is the same.

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