Batman #9 - Story 1

December 10, 1941

"The Four Fates"

There is definitely a charm to reading these early issues of Batman not only for the content and the early history of the character, but for the time period it is set in. The story opens as millions listen to the radio show "Personalities at Home" through the "magic of radio". Included among the listeners is Bruce and Dick.

On this particular program, Jaffeer, a wealthy Hindu is being featured when his mansion is robbed by four men. They grab the ruby from his turban and Jaffeer proclaims the curse of the four fates upon them. Each will die in a particular way based on his proclamation. One of them shoots and kills Jaffeer. To many of the listeners, it sounds like another dramatization, like the one with the martians, another nice nod to the time with Orson Welles "War of the Worlds" radio scare of 1939.

But two people listening know it's real and change to Batman and Robin and race to Jaffeer's home, but they are too late. They then visit Fritz the Fence because the ruby can't be sold as big and recognizable as it is and he's the only one who can cut it up without much waste. He tells the two where to find the murdering thieves.

They crash the place and during the fight, one of the men dies by stepping on a live train rail. Jaffeer's prediction was that lightning would strike him. Batman is knocked out and the remaining three get away.

A short time later, the two hear of one of the three trying to steal a plane. They pursue in the Batplane. Batman lowers himself via rope ladder to the murderer's plane while Robin flies the Batplane. Again, how old is Robin? He's flying the Batplane. Batman is almost knocked off, but is rescued by Robin. The murderer jumps from the plane using a parachute, but his caught in electrical wiring and dies. Another prediction - "Air will be choked from your lungs," comes true.

The remaining two begin to panic, but one of them states it wasn't the predictions that got them killed, but rather the Batman. Kill the Batman and you end the problem. He calls Batman at the previous victim's hotel room as Batman is investigating it and challenges him to catch him, purposefully leaving him a clue as to his location, a construction site for a subway station.

A trap is set for Batman where he will be paralyzed by electricity on a doorknob which will give the criminals ample chance to shoot him. But when he arrives, he is distracted by a fly that lands on the handle and there is a spark. They burst into the room and fight the man and his henchmen. Batman lands one punch that kills him. We learned earlier in the story that he had been shot four times in the past. The doctor who worked on him admits he couldn't remove one of the bullets and when Batman punched him, he drove the remaining bullet into his heart. And the prediction - "Metal will still your beating heart" comes true.

The final killer brings about his own end when he heads to the desert to avoid death by water. But like Macbeth, he misinterpreted the prediction. "Water will be your downfall." He didn't bring enough water with him for his desert stay and died from lack of it.

A good story with the spin on the quest concept as the Dynamic Duo race to find the four men with each one getting their own time to shine. And what's going to happen with the second story in this issue? Stay tuned, Citizens!

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