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Batman #11 - Story 3

April 15, 1942

"Bandits in Toyland"

We have a busy story here in that there are a couple of elements going on at the same time. Do they come together? Let's fine out.

The story opens with Batman and Robin working out when they read about the rash of robberies of toys. "Muscles" Malone's gang is the main suspect. It's a strange case and Batman is about to get involved when Bruce receives a summons to immediately appear for jury duty. I guess they know how to find people in a hurry what with Bruce being an idle playboy. Dick wants to look into it himself, but Bruce feels it's too dangerous and Dick has to tend to his studies. It's a nice moment as it shows that the two have a life outside of their adventures.

At the trial, Bruce listens to the testimony of a department store employee accused of stealing jewels from a safe. It looks bad until Bruce reads the lips of two spectators, members of the Malone gang, who say their boss will be happy with the frame up working so well. In the jury room, Bruce holds out that the man is innocent, forcing the jury to be sequestered for the night.

He changes to Batman and sneaks out of his hotel room, knowing he only has the night to prove the man's innocence. But meanwhile, bored with his studies, Dick dons his Robin costume and heads out to investigate the toy robberies. Robin catches up with Malone as his boys are robbing a house, looking for a particular toy. He engages them, but is quickly brought down.

Meanwhile, Batman hides in the truck of a car belonging to Malone's gang when he hears them talking about the toys as they drive to a park where they meet up with Malone who has Robin. Batman frees Robin and the two fight the gang who make their escape. Batman overheard the men talking about two targets that night. The two split up.

Batman goes to Grandma Drew's (no relation) home. She's an eccentric with a large doll collection. She has a room rigged with lights and sounds that simulate a village for her "children" to live in. Malone shows up and takes a Betsy Ross doll. He leaves two of his men behind to take care of Batman. They are startled though when one of Grandma's programmed voices call out. It distracts them, allowing Batman to capture them. He learns where Grandma buys her toys from and heads off.

Are these the kind of childhood memories that set people on the path to bondage fetishes?

Meanwhile, Robin arrives at the Hendricks home where Junior gives the Boy Wonder attitude despite his attempts to explain he is there to help. Junior also has an elaborate setup for his playroom including a device that captures Robin. Malone arrives and finds that the toy he is looking for was returned to the department store where the jewel robbery took place.

And that's all Batman needs to know as he arrives and takes down Malone's men with Junior's automated toys as distractions. Malone races off to the department store as Batman frees Robin who then traps Junior as payment in kind for his treatment.

Batman and Robin arrive at the department store where they round up Malone and his men. Robin discovers the jewels inside Juniors' returned toy submarine. One of the men confesses that the jewels were hidden in one of the toys and snuck out and the employee was framed.

The next day, Bruce gives in to the rest of the jury and allows the guilty moment to go through. As the verdict is read, a package from Batman arrives. You know for certain it's from Batman because a live bat flies out when you open it. This is another aspect of Batman I've not mentioned before in these early issues. Usually, Batman uses this technique to intimidate his opponents, but here, he's using it like a calling card. Inside is a note from Batman saying that he has rounded up the real thieves. The man is set free and Bruce leaves the court house feeling justice may be blindfolded, but she's not blind. It's a nice little story, one I admittedly had doubts would work. I especially like the parts where we see more of Bruce and Dick, something I always appreciated in the 66 TV Series as well.

What's next for the final story? Well, I'm excited as it's the return of the Penguin! Stay tuned, Citizens!

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