Batman #14 - Story 2

October 14, 1942

"Prescription for Happiness"

This is another of these "human" stories that tell the tale of a good person in Gotham City affected by the crime around him. In this case, it's the story of "Doc" Chalmers, a pharmacist who is beloved in his community who helps wherever he can, even going so far as to give away some of his medicines when his customers cannot afford to pay for it.

But this is a Batman story and so we have to bring the Caped Crusader in as well as a criminal element in the form of "Pills" Mattson and his gang robbing a jewelry store. They are stopped by Batman and Robin and in a moment where we see how reckless Robin is, he throws a round bomb meant to break into the store at Mattson, bonking him on the head. The bomb explodes just as it defects away. Batman finds himself blinded by some random dust and it's enough for Mattson and his men to escape.

But Mattson is a bit of a hypochondriac and feels there is something wrong with him after his getting bonked by the bomb. His men take him to Chalmers' store where a local doctor is visiting. The doctor is helping a young woman who came into the shop wanting to kill herself. They demand the doctor take care of Mattson and threaten the woman to make him comply.

And then Batman arrives looking for help with cleaning his eye. Doc takes care of him while the doctor and woman are kept hostage in the back. It's an interesting moment as Batman notes Doc's nervousness which he explains as being happy to have a famous figure like Batman. Even more interesting is Robin wanting to buy licorice saying he hasn't had candy since he was a kid. He is a kid. I swear, Robin is a real enigma in this whole thing when it comes to exactly how old he is and what he can and cannot do.

And then the story takes a weird turn. Mattson decides to hide out in the store as the police are after him. That makes sense, but then he has his men commit a series of crimes, stealing all drug store related items. Batman puts two and two together and goes back to the store, only to be knocked out by Mattson. Mattson holds off killing Batman in case Robin shows up.

Meanwhile, Dick waits for Batman to return and when enough time has passed, he decides to go to the store, but as Dick. (Smart kid) Dick convinces Doc to give him a job behind the soda fountain (really cool to see that. Those were the days.). Dick then sneaks in back when Doc is out and sees Batman captured along with the others. He is allowed to leave provided he says nothing and Batman and the others will remain safe. Before he leaves, he trips and knocks over a bunch of tubes which Batman uses the debris from to cut himself free.

Once free, he attacks Pills and his men. He is joined by various members of the neighborhood who helps him to round up the crew.

And then the neighborhood group gets together to help Doc get his store back in shape, including getting him the neon sign he always dreamed of having. This is a fun, little story, if a bit off the beaten path of what we usually see.

And what's up for story three in this anthology issue? Stay tuned, Citizens!

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