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Detective Comics #65

May 22, 1942

"The Cop Who Hated the Batman"

Well now, this is going to be interesting. The splash page tells us this story is dedicated to state troopers and then proceeds to say it's going to be a story about "The Cop Who Hated the Batman". And then, we set the story in 1937, five years before Robin, but also two years before the first Batman story was released. So, is this going to essentially be Batman - Year One? Will this story portray Batman the way he was that first year before Robin? Let's take a look.

The story opens in 1937 as the cops close in on two criminals, Nolan and Rocco. The cops are held at bay by a barrage of gunfire from Rocco. Batman swings in and takes down Rocco. Nolan immediately surrenders. He wants it all to be over with. But as Batman leads him off, Rocco shoots Nolan, killing him. He escapes before Batman can make a move. Batman quickly leaves when he hears the police approaching.

As far as the portrayal, Batman's a little too chatty and it's awkward when he hears the police coming, he feels he should leave as he's "still on the outs because" he's "working outside the law". I don't know if that exposition was actually necessary. Also, I think Batman has evolved in his appearance since his first year and he looks more like he does in 1942.

Flash forward to today and Batman and Robin are called in via the Batsignal to Gordon, who invites them to join him on vacation upstate at the state troopers barracks. First, asking the two to join him on vacation is weird, but then his idea of vacation is to visit the state troopers' barracks? This smells of Batman 66 as I can only imagine that scenario working there.

He's introduced to Tom Bolton, one of the best troopers there, but Bolton only gives him an attitude. He is not interested in meeting Batman and walks off. It clearly bothers Batman as he dreams about Tom's words that night. He's awakened the next morning of news that the dam has broke and the valley is being flooded.

Batman and Robin help in the rescue efforts and Batman also thwarts some looters. But he's knocked off the roof of a building and crashes into the water. Tom sees him floating away and for a moment is ready to let him, but he is a cop and so he dives in after Batman.

Batman tries to thank Tom and see if they can be friends, but Tom again shrugs him off. Alone, we learn who Tom is - Nolan's son and he believes Batman shot his father in the back.

The next day, Batman shows off his skills with a gun on the target range. It triggers Tom who starts swinging. He and Batman get into it and every time it looks like Tom is done, he gets back up. Eventually, Batman lays him out.

No charges are brought against Tom for striking a fellow officer. He is to transfer his most recent capture "Soapy" Joe. Joe knows Tom as he ran with his father and Rocco. In fact, he tells him Rocco is hiding out in the woods and offers to take Tom to him. Rocco can prove that Batman is a killer.

Robin overhears the whole exchange and the two follow Tom and Joe to a cabin where Joe gets the drop on Tom. Batman stops him from killing Joe. Batman explains what happened when suddenly Joe is shot by Rocco.

Rocco ties them up and leaves them behind after being urged by his men to do so as the cops would have them in a manhunt should he kill three law agents. Batman and Tom get each other free and then all three pursue them on skis. They catch up and quickly capture the gang with Tom and Batman becoming friends.

In an interesting bit at the end, Tom points out he should have realized how wrong he was as Batman doesn't use a gun. Well, he did in those early days and he was just as good with it at the target range. And one final thing, Gordon disappears from the story after the three arrive at the barracks.

We move on to the next issue of Batman. Stay tuned, Citizens!

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