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Batman #23 - Story 4

April 12, 1944

"Pelt Plunderers"

We wrap up another varied anthology issue with a story of "your police in action", as the old Dragnet radio show used to say. This time, the Dynamic Duo head north to learn more about the Royal Mounted Police of Canada and a crime spree involving fur trappers.

Unlike previous stories where Batman and Robin were invited to patrol with the police unit, we have Dick and Bruce on vacation, hunting in the woods of Canada. That's fine, but I have to wonder do they ever really take a break because when they witness a fur trapper being robbed, they break out the costumes and are on the scene. Do they carry those things everywhere they go?

Turns out, the robbers are part of a gang run by Skinner Short, who brought his boys up north where they figured they would meet no real resistance, especially from Batman. But Batman has teamed up with the Mounties to help and here is where we learn more about the legendary law enforcement team as they get a call of another robbery in progress thirty miles away.

No way is a horse going to get them there in time. Silly, they use planes too and are quickly on the scene where Skinner is using aerosleds in order to move quickly. But Batman and Robin are able to quickly knock them loose from the vehicles.

At one point, Robin finds himself caught in a cable and being dragged by one of the aerosleds. Batman uses a Batpoon (what an unfortunate name) to swing onto the vehicle and stop it. They round up the gang, but not before one of them sets fire to a piece of paper. Batman doesn't stop him in time, but they round up the pieces and go back to headquarters.

There, Batman applies a technique he's used before and we've seen in the 1949 movie serial as he gathers the pieces and through a chemical process is able to reconstruct the page and learn what it is the gang is planning. They learn of a plot to rob a company of its furs. But the company has many warehouses. The only clue they have is the word "smudge" from the document. Batman assumes to look for smoke as some sort of signal.

The next night, the gang sets off several smudge pots in one area of one of the fur companies' locations. This sends all the employees to investigate and they are locked inside. Now, free to move about, the gang pile all the furs onto their boat. But the Mounties see the smoke from the pots and make their way with fire trucks and fire boats ready to take out any flames.

The gang is rounded up and the adventure ends as we get an unusual final panel of Bruce and Dick shooting toy guns at a carnival. But then, they were also using guns to hunt at the start of the story. It's just unusual as I hear from so many that guns are absolutely anathema to Bruce since his parents' death.

We're back with Detective Comics tomorrow, Citizens!