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Batman #11 - Story 4

April 15, 1942

"Four Birds of a Feather"

Penguin has never been my favorite of the "Core 4" of Rogues Gallery villains for Batman. It was only Burgess Meredith's portrayal that elevated the character to me in anyway. He always came across as one note. Mind you, more recent portrayals of him in the Gotham TV show and the recent The Batman movie have also elevated him as well. But in these early comics, I have to admit, I really like him. I like his affectation of pausing at times before finishing a sentence. I like that the trick umbrellas were introduced from the start. It will be interesting to see where his character will devolve to the point where I lose interest in him.

The story opens as Penguin meets up with fellows crooks, Benny the Buzzard, Joe Crow, and Canary, who are on their way to Florida for the winter. They want to open a nightclub, but they need money to start. In a nice nod to continuity, Penguin points out he has funds from his last scheme bringing criminals to justice and then freeing them in issue 59 of Detective Comics.

Meanwhile, what a coincidence - Bruce and Dick are in Florida traveling on Bruce's yacht. He spots a woman in trouble in the water and dives in as Batman. She is being attacked by a large squid. Turns out the woman is Canary. She tells Penguin who has to keep Buzzard calm as he reminds her where her loyalties should lie.

The Bird House, a new gambling establishment, opens and Penguin as the host shows his guests how the gambling tables are completely honest and they are. Penguin allows people to win, but then they are robbed by the free taxi service by the driver who says he is quitting. It's a kind of twist on Penguin's last scheme as he returned criminals for the reward and then freed them and split the proceeds.

Bruce visits the night club where he spots Canary singing on stage. He wins a large sum at the tables, which he discovers despite being made of glass so as to show they cannot be rigged are actually rigged. The molding around the table hides an electro-magnet that guides the roulette ball to the number of the winner who is that night's target. Penguin asks for his address so as to ensure he is safe.

When Bruce gets home, he is attacked by Penguin's men, but Robin is also waiting for them. Bruce runs off and changes to Batman calling out to Bruce that they will handle the thugs. It's very Batman 66 and I love scene like this.

The gang gets back to Penguin and he decides it's time to start closing up shop, but he plans for one final win by having a race boat driver throw a race that they will bet on. Batman and Robin overhear the plan and Batman replaces the driver, offering a spectacular win.

Penguin and his gang escape in their car and the only way Batman can follow is in the one-man boat with Robin hanging on via surfboard. Penguin fires his gun and Batman loses Robin as he veers away. Penguin captures Robin and takes him to an abandoned barn. Batman learns of this by catching Buzzard. Canary worries Batman will be hurt as it's a trap. In the confrontation with Buzzard, Batman is shot and injured.

By the time he gets to the barn, he is weak from loss of blood. He manages to free Robin, but the two are not able to capture Penguin. A hurricane has developed and now Robin struggles to get Batman away and to a hospital. He lashes himself and Batman to a tree to ride out the storm. When it passes, Canary drives up and takes them to the hospital.

But there are too many victims of the storm that are keeping the doctors busy. Seems the Batman isn't that famous that people stop to help him in Florida. Canary admits she once was a doctor's assistant and can perform the surgery needed to save Batman if Robin will trust her. She saves his life, leaving Robin free to go back to the Bird House and round up Penguin who he brings to Batman to take to justice.

I love this story. I could easily see this as a Batman 66 episode. We've had Robin shot in the second season Shame story, so why not having Batman shot and needing Robin to save him?

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