Batman #9 - Story 2

December 10, 1941

"The White Whale"

So there are those stories I've started to read where I'm like, "Where is this going?" and "What could this possibly have to do with Batman?" And this is definitely one of those stories. It opens as a wooden whaler comes into dock in Gotham City, the crew ready to abandon ship as Captain Burly wants to hunt a killer white whale.

And I'm like, "Seriously?" I cannot for the life of me see how this could possibly be a Batman story, but we continue. Burly offers his services to an insurance company of which Bruce is a shareholder. They paid out large amounts for the three ships already lost to the white whale. Bruce decides to investigate and he and Dick walk the waterfront. There, Bruce is shanghaied and taken as crew aboard Burly's ship. Dick sneaks aboard.

There, Bruce finds that Burly is a tyrant with his crew. He punishes with a set of brass knuckles and a whip. Bruce decides Batman must take over. He fakes his death so that he won't be missed.

The two quickly jump in to rescue a man being punished. There is a brief fight, but it's interrupted by a whale sighting. Burly pulls a gun on the two and forces them to take a whaling rowboat. The whale has the upper hand, knocking Robin off the craft. And then, in what has to be the first super human feat Batman does in the comics, he leaps on the back of the whale and stabs it with a harpoon, killing it.

Burly has the whale brought back to the ship and we get a panel showing out the whale is stripped of its blubber. Batman gets into it with Burly when Burly hits Robin for resting. He and Batman get into a fight, but it quickly ends when the white whale approaches.

The crew decides to send Burly in a boat to distract the whale and when Batman objects as that would be murder, he and Robin are placed in the boat as well. (How things have changed for Batman.) The three are forced off the boat when the whale attacks. They are surprised when a hatch on the whale opens up and they are invited aboard a submarine in the guise of a whale.

There, they learn that the secretary for the insurance company is behind the whole scheme. With his whale submarine, he would sink the ships; the captains would collect and then split the money with him.

Suddenly, the sub is rocked by an impact and sinks to the bottom. The secretary has only one escape helmet and he and Burly shoot each other. The helmet is smashed in the process. There's only one option, shooting out the torpedo, but someone needs to remain to fire. Batman once again punches Robin and puts him in the tube. He fires Robin to the surface and then opens the hatch and fights his way to the surface.

For me, the interesting part of the story is the whale submarine, but not enough time is spent on it, but rather on the whaling ship. It's a shame as this could have been much better than it actually is. But in the end, not really much of a Batman story.

What's next? Stay tuned, Citizens!

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags