Batman 310 (April 1979) was the first appearance of Hawkman’s old foe, the Gentleman Ghost, in four years, following a cameo in Justice League of America, and the first time I had seen the character. The issue has a very good Joe Kubert cover, though he does not draw the Ghost in the story itself.
Wein is joined by Novick and Giordano for this story, in which the Ghost robs the Wayne penthouse of a number of antiques, which are, nonetheless, not particularly valuable.
Selina Kyle, the former Catwoman, makes a cameo, flirting with Bruce Wayne, under the excuse of discussing her investments.
Bruce discovers that Alfred has gone missing, and goes in disguise to gain information. There is a wonderfully subtle touch of having Batman’s disguise look like Alfred originally had. Honestly, I missed this completely as a kid, and only noticed it now.
Batman learns that Alfred had been at a bar, bragging about what a fine estate the closed down Wayne Manor was. Batman realizes that all the stolen antiques had been from the Manor. Sure enough, that’s where the Gentleman Ghost is, with Alfred in his thrall, and the antiques all restored to the original locations. The Gentleman Ghost was robbing to furnish his dream house.
The Ghost tries to make Alfred shoot Batman, but of course Alfred cannot do such a thing, and in fact it breaks the spell the Ghost has over him.
There is a brief final battle between Batman and the Gentleman Ghost, in which the villain goes over a cliff in a carriage.
It’s not a bad story by any means, but oddly does not at all play on the question of whether the Gentleman Ghost is a genuine spirit or not.
The Gentleman Ghost returns a few months down the road.