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Batman #31 - Story 1

August 10, 1945

"Punch and Judy"

On the surface, this looks like we have a perfect new addition to the Rogues Gallery for Batman. If Tweedledee and Tweedledum works here, why not Punch and Judy? Indeed, the story ends with a panel saying the two will return.

The story opens with Bruce and Dick seeing the live action version of Punch and Judy at a pop up carnival in a lot in Gotham. They then check out the concession stands to make sure they're not rigged. All seems well, but Bruce is concerned, especially when he hears Punch and Judy fighting outside the stage. He and Robin are sent packing though as their help is not wanted or appreciated.

They watch the games from a distance and see how cheating is going on. They then play the games themselves as Batman and Robin, so that the barkers can't cheat. Except that one does get heated in an ironic moment where he states that what Batman is doing is illegal. He calls in some boys to take them on, but the gang is quickly subdued.

Punch and Judy play innocent and offer to fire all the barkers. Of course, this takes away from a valued element of a carnival - the games. They convince Batman and Robin to help by performing in a special event with the proceeds going to charity. Batman's special stunt is to jump from a plane and then glide to Earth (where have we seen that before?).

He has Robin remain to keep an eye on Punch and Judy and sure enough, they are stealing the take for charity. They have brought in one criminal named Pete who is willing to kill to make sure this con works. He has cut Batman's parachute cord and pulls a gun on the two after he knocks out Robin. But Batman has a backup chute and as he descends, he sees Pete escaping in a car. He startled Pete as he flies toward him, sending Pete's car into a crash.

Punch and Judy are sent to prison for their part, but are cleared of any murder attempt charges. I would have like Punch and Judy to return, but not the way they were. I must admit, I was hoping for something more dark, but these two were not willing to commit murder which takes the bite out of them. But in the end, this was a good story and I love that we see Batman glide for the first time.

Stay tuned, Citizens, as we continue our look at this anthology issue of Batman.


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