Batman #22 - Story 1
February 9, 1944
"The Duped Domestics"
Based on the title and the image on the splash page, this is looking like another Alfred-centric story. No issues with that there. Let's get into it.
The first page hits us with two plot points. First, Gordon needs Batman's help with a series of robberies where the robbers know every detail about the houses they're robbing. Second, Alfred seems off sorts as the house is in chaos and he cannot explain himself. Interesting that Bruce notes it may have something to do with his recent weight loss.
As the two return home from a meeting with Gordon, they spot a butler to one of Bruce's millionaire friends being beaten by a gang. They send the gang running and find that all the gang wanted was a picture of a maid of another millionaire, a real eccentric who threw a party for all the servants of Gotham the week before. It's funny as the butler looks a little like the old Alfred. Is this what most people thought of when they thought of servants back then, short and a little on the heavy side?
And it is here we learn what is the problem with Alfred as he too is smitten with the maid, Belinda, as he meets her in the park and states his intentions that he's not happy she's seeing other servants. He plays his one card that he feels will impress her - he is close friends with the Batman.
He then goes back and gets the spare costume and meets her in the park as Batman. We've seen Alfred dress as Batman in several episodes of the 66 series, but this story would never work as I could never see Alfred in the series do anything so bone-headed. Here, I'll give it as Alfred is still relatively new to the comic and we're establishing her character. Or, maybe 66 Alfred would because love makes us do crazy things.
When Alfred gets back, he is quickly captured by a thug who clubs him from behind. Belinda reveals herself to be Catwoman. Meanwhile, Bruce and Dick arrive home and see Alfred is gone. They discover the poetry he wrote about her where he describes her "feline" moves. Between that and her determination to get a photograph of herself back leads Bruce to believe they are dealing with the Catwoman.
They head over to the home of the eccentric millionaire, Craven, who hired Catwoman, as Bruce and Dick and are captured quickly. With the two tied up and placed in a refrigerator, Catwoman plans to rob the Wayne home. In the fridge, they find Alfred as Batman and after having a laugh at his expense, they set to work on escaping. There are meat hooks in the freezer, but they are placed up high. I'll just let the picture below give you an idea of how they work getting to them.
Holy Siamese Knot, Batman!
The three race to the Wayne home, but Alfred can't keep up so he falls behind. The two round up the gang, but Catwoman escapes. She is cornered by Alfred and, well, I'll let the next photo below give you her final fate as we learn that Craven was not a millionaire, but just a gangster working with Catwoman to learn the secrets of the millionaires of Gotham in order to rob them.