Batman 259 – the Shadow meets Bruce Wayne

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Batman 259 (Nov/Dec. 74) was a really treasured comic of mine when I was young.  I read it soo many times.  Not only does it contain a much better story with the Shadow than the one a few issues earlier, but it also has some great Batman reprints, including the one with all his weird costumes, and The Great Batman Swindle, a really fun story from the 50s.

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O’Neil, Novick and Giordano bring back the Shadow for his second and last team-up with the Batman, but open the story with young Bruce Wayne and his parents.  A thief, Willy Stamper, is after a jewelled tiara, and willing to kill the Waynes, the jeweller and a nurse in order to get to it.  The Shadow intervenes, and takes down Stamper, but young Bruce is traumatized by the gunfire.

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The story then jumps to the present, as Commissioner Gordon informs Batman about Stamper being released from prison.  The tiara was never recovered, and Batman stays on Stamper’s trail, convinced he hid it somewhere.  Though the Shadow uses guns, his earliest experiences, as we see, have left Bruce with a strong dislike for them.  For much of the middle of the story, the Shadow is once again heard rather than seen, and is even able to get close enough to Batman to place a gun in his hand.  Not that Batman will use it.

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The two heroes meet at the end, as the Shadow reveals that the jeweller had the stolen tiara all along.  The Shadow has, as Batman suspected, kept an eye on him all these years, and knows he is Bruce Wayne.  And despite the difference in their methods, the two men have a deep respect for each other.

A much more fulfilling team-up.

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