Detective Comics #59

November 26, 1941

"The King of the Jungle"

It's not usual that a villain makes a return in the issue following an appearance, but here we are with the second showdown with the Penguin. The story opens with Penguin racing to catch a train by sneaking on board one of the cargo cars. Inside are several men, all criminal in their own right. They quickly recognize the Penguin and throw their lot in with him. They brag of how known they are based on the rewards for their capture. This gives Penguin an idea.

What follows is a pretty simple story as Penguin turns in each of them and others for the reward only to free them a short time after. They then split the reward. There's one thing that makes the Penguin stand out in that he doesn't try to mess with a good thing like Joker does and double cross his partners. He follows through by springing each of the men he "captures".

Bruce and Dick are drawn into the case when Dick spots Penguin jumping off the train while the two were sitting in another train on their way to their vacation. Vacation? I thought they just had one back in Detective 56? It's funny when Bruce confirms Penguin's plot thanks to a newsboy calling out the extra - "Hunted criminal escapes jail after being turning in by a fat, little man!" Definitely not a misleading headline like so many today in any case.

There's little in plot to this one, but it still is fun. At one point in their pursuit, the two are captured and hung upside down in a train car, the idea being that they would be bashed together as the train rumbled forward. They, of course, escape.

There is also a moment where we see Batman's lab again, this time hidden behind a wall that opens with a secret switch. And the ending as Batman and Robin are once again knocked out and thrown overboard of a steam ship. They get back on board by hanging on to one of the large wheels on the side of the boat.

I could see this being another episode of the 66 series with Burgess Meredith hamming it up, possibly with a slew of famous actors playing the role of the convicts. I'll never understand those who say Batman 66 almost killed Batman when there are stories like these that are a blueprint for Batman episodes. Will the next story work like that? Stay tuned, Citizens!

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