It took two years, but we now have a Christmas story with echos of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. I love the opening splash page with our Dynamic Duo, Bob Cratchit, his son Timmy and, of course, Santa Claus. Having Gordon in the picture would have made it perfect. In reading this, I had to wonder how many other Batman stories are set during Christmas. I know of only one other I have read from the 1970s period.
The story opens with Bruce and Dick commenting on the good will of people during the holiday season as they go Christmas shopping. Bruce visits the orphanage to check that the gifts he bought for the children arrived. While there, he overhears a group of boys teasing a kid named Timmy who still believes in Santa. He's written a letter asking Santa to bring his father home. But the father is in prison for murder. Bruce decides that Batman must play Santa this year.
He visits the state prison and asks Gordon (why Gordon is there, I don't know) to visit with Bob Cratchit. He tells Batman the story of how he wanted to get his son Timmy a scooter for Christmas but didn't have a job or money to do so. He decided to try and steal it and found himself caught in a robbery/murder that he got pinned with. Hal Fink was the man who actually committed the crime and Batman looks into the petty crook turned big time gangster.
Batman confronts Fink who calls his men in to attack. Robin joins the fray. It's not long though before the two are captured and tossed in a water tank atop Fink's building. Batman plugs the drain that brings new water in and the two wait for the water in the tank to drain. They escape and make their way home to change clothes.
Later, the two are spotted by a charity collecting Santa Claus who alerts Fink and his men by ringing his bell manically. The men are stopped from firing their weapons by being pelted with snowballs, allowing the two to approach and punch them.
Fink is captured and fails to confess under questioning, so Batman has him brought to the scene of the crime. There, Gordon has Fink reenact the crime. Fink obliges, taking his cues from Gordon, but then suddenly, the ghost of the guard he killed the year before appears. Gordon says he cannot see anything despite Fink's protests. Fink shoots the ghost, but he keeps advancing. The ghost reveals himself to be Batman when Fink confesses.
Now that Fink is caught, Timmy's father is released. Batman rounds up the crooked Santa and orders him to play the part for the kids at the orphanage. They are shocked when they see not only Santa, but Timmy's father there as well. They find themselves believing in Santa Claus.
Robin is happy for the kids, but he knows that Santa isn't real. If he was, he'd have had a Christmas part for Robin. Batman takes Robin to Gordon's home (so they visit Gordon's home; how things have changed) and is surprised by a small Christmas Party of the three of them with Linda Page.
And to all a good night. What's happening in the new year - 1942? Stay tuned, Citizens!