Batman Newspaper Strip - Story 4
June 5-August 12, 1944
(The Silver Fox)
Here's an interesting start to a story with an interesting rogue/gangster? Not sure yet. It's a gang with a leader known as The Silver Fox who has a penchant for stealing only silver fox pelts. We don't see him the first week, so we have to see where this goes, but it ends on an interesting note as Batman is shot with three or four bullets in him and he sends Robin onward to keep up the pursuit of the escaping gang.
The second week is mostly spent with Batman trying to limp away and Robin trying to find him. This whole story drags on, but I can imagine that the readers ate it up in 1944.
The third week deals with the operation that needs to be performed on Batman because of the gunshot wounds. I did like the way they resolve giving Batman his anesthesia without taking off his mask. Mind you, it is a bit of a stretch to think that the "Silver Fox Farm", which is a short distance away from the place where Batman is recuperating is brought up in conversation the way it is.
The fourth week finally deals with the idea of Batman being out of action. They have to make sure the underworld doesn't twig on to this and Batman makes Robin promise he will not handle the case on his own. Robin promises not to handle things - alone - which then prompts him to ask Gordon for a police officer Batman worked with in the past to play Batman as Robin does the leg work of checking out the Silver Fox Farm.
The fifth week has the owner of the farm convincing in a deceitful way that he has a large inventory of his own foxes. He then further diverts suspicions when he has one of his own trucks hijacked.
The sixth week has Robin returning from his attempt to stop the hijacking with some of the furs the hijackers failed to take. And Batman quickly discovers that the furs are stolen from elsewhere with the logo of the Silver Fox Farms placed over the logo of the previous owner.
The seventh week has an interesting twist in that Batman has enough evidence now to have Gordon raid the farm. As the preparations are made, our police officer, who commented briefly on how useless he is, tries to prove his worth by doing a reconnoiter of the farm grounds before the raid. The problem is, he trips an alarm.
The eighth week features the police officer being killed as he has a face-off against one of the Silver Fox's men. It's interesting to note that they make a point to say Batman never carries a gun, but the police officer is not Batman as he shoots the gunman. Robin witnesses the whole thing and is saved from being killed by Lucille, the Fox's girlfriend.
The ninth week features the Silver Fox and his men searching for and capturing Robin in the woods. They find the cabin Batman is recovering in nearby and the week ends as the Fox makes a search and Batman forces himself to get up and deal with the situation.
The tenth and final week has the wrap up as Batman and Robin round up the gang and Lucille is let off the hook because she saved Robin? Read it! That's not for Gordon to determine, right?
In the end, this was a good story idea, with a lot of potential, but the format of the newspaper strip causes it to drag in parts as the story needed to be recapped so often in order to keep the readers up to speed. Also, you'll notice that the strip look changes from time to time in this story. That's because I had to switch papers as the newspaper I was using either dropped the series mid-story, or as was the case once, the strip simply didn't appear one day, but was back the next.
We're on to Detective Comics next, Citizens!