Saturday, September 15, 2018

Retro Review: Detective Comics #27 (1939) - The Bat-Man: "The Case of the Chemical Syndicate"


Written by: Bill Finger
Art by: Bob Kane
Cover Price: 10¢
Release Date: May 3, 1939

There is a good chance that most people reading this review have read this issue.  It is the first appearance of Batman, a classic and an issue fans of Batman, dc comics and comics, in general, should check out.  That being said, it is Batman Day 2018 as I write this and it feels silly that we have done a load of retro reviews and not Detective Comics #27.  That fets remedied right now…

The issue opens with Jim Gordon enjoying a smoke and some conversation with a young socialite, Bruce Wayne.  They are talking about that new Gotham sensation, the Bat-Man when Jim gets a call that the Chemical King, Mr. Lambert, has been murdered and all signs point to patricide.  

Smoke 's if you got 'em
The best part of this scene and the continuing story is that Gordon asks Bruce to come along with him to the crime scene.  If you go with this as the first cooperation with Batman and the GCPD (even if Gordon doesn't realize it), you see the dangerous precedent it is establishing.  No wonder Bruce thinks that Batman can enter any crime scene he chooses...that's how the Commissioner rolls.

Do you guys wanna go see a dead body?
We continue with Lambert's son claiming he didn't kill his father, but after he explains what happened when he found his father and another call comes in concerning one of Lambert's business partners, Bruce quickly heads off.

We finally get our first taste of Batman as he stops Stephen Crane's murderers from getting away with a contract they stole after murdering him...just like with Lambert.

All of this leads Batman to figure out what is going on and he heads off to save one last man from murder.  It's a cool scene that not only shows that Batman kicks ass, but also that he will put himself in harm's way to save the innocent.  There is a kind of mad scientist laboratory here and the bad guy is the cowardly sort that would kill a friend to save a nickel.  Really, the bad guys motive is to not have to pay back a debt to his friends and business partners and with the country just coming out of the great depression, I'm guessing that hit harder than it would with readers today.

watch out for the shrink ray!
The issue ends with classic Gordon wondering about Batman and also how Bruce Wayne could live such a boring life.  The cliffhanger reveals otherwise!

Silly Old Man and his Fancy Cigars!
This is a classic through and through.  It's hard to review it through today's lens, but it's still fun and has the detective work that makes sense in the series it debuted in.  Yea, it's quick detective work with some of the important parts assumed and/or off-panel, but it's still there.  The main thing is that Batman is just so awesome and plays off the older Jim Gordon as the mysterious, cool, vigilante crime fighter.  I know that if I was a young boy back in 1939, I would have been all-in on the Bat-Man!

*note* I did read and review this issue using the DC Universe app so if you have it as well, get to reading this issue and let me know what you thought.

Bits and Pieces:

A classic that introduced the Bat-Man to the world and should be read by everyone who even remotely considers themselves a comic book fan.


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