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Batman #27 - Story 4

December 13, 1944

"A Christmas Peril"

Our fourth and final story has another literary flare to it as Dickens' A Christmas Carol is referenced. And the splash page shows Santa defending a boy from a gang with Tommy guns as Batman leaps in.

The story opens with Bruce and Dick out Christmas shopping and a tree salesman finds himself being shaken down by a racketeer who wants him to raise his low prices and pass the difference on to them. They quickly take them down as Batman and Robin and find that the leader is Happy Hoggsby.

A visit to Hoggsby's offices reveals that he is being funded by the youngest millionaire in Gotham - Scranton Loring - a boy who inherited his vast fortune from an uncle known as a modern day Scrooge. The two visit him and we can see from his introduction that his head is in the ledger, counting his profits. We are also introduced to his new guardian, another uncle who tries to make up for the boys' lack of childhood by dressing up as Santa Claus.

Scranton is not impressed with him, but rather in the scheme he and his secretary Eggers came up with to make four times the amount on the value of Christmas trees. He's happy with the moniker of "Young Scrooge" he's received. He's also not impressed with Batman and Robin when they arrive to talk with him. How can they do what they do without any sense of reward coming to them?

And in an unusual turn of events, the two grab Scranton and swing with him through the city in the hopes of showing him the results of his actions. They stop at an older couple who had their tree business burned down because they refused to play ball with Hoggsby. Scranton offers to write a check, but Robin points out not all problems can be solved that way.

Scranton sees the couple were having issues even before the fire and offers them money. Meanwhile, Eggers and another servant speak back at the house. They worry that the uncle and Batman are going to ruin everything for them. They call Hoggsby to speed up the collection of money. It turns out they have also managed to embezzle most of Scranton's money to split between the three of them. The uncle hears this and tries to confront them, but they knock him out.

Meanwhile, Batman, Robin and Scranton visit a hospital where another tree salesperson is recovering from an attack by Hoggsby's men. Scranton takes on the bill and demands to see the agent that Eggers brought in to shakedown the businesses. It turns out Scranton didn't realize to what extent this agent was working to get the tree prices to four times their worth. In another moment of unusual Batman behavior, he allows Scranton to march right into Hoggsby's place while they wait outside. Inside, he is quickly captured as he sees his uncle there and tied up.

And the Duo burst in and begin rounding up the gang. And we see how changed Scranton is as he stands between Batman and a gunman. Batman is able to disarm the man though. Once the dust settles, Scranton declares he wants to do more and be like regular boys.

They take him to a toy store where he buys up a bunch of toys and gifts which he and Uncle Tim deliver, with help from Batman and the Batplane, to those hurt by the actions of Hoggsby and his men. And we end it with all wishing the readers a Merry Christmas.

So what's next, Citizens? We're on to Detective Comics #96.