Detective Comics #81

September 24, 1943

"The Cavalier of Crime"

Another exciting day as we not only got chapter 11 of the 1943 Batman serial, but a new issue of Detective Comics with a new villain in the form of the Cavalier. He's an interesting one and this issue would have made a good episode of The Batman 66 show, but sadly, he only makes a handful of appearances despite his own spoken hope that he would become as much of a foil to Batman as the Joker and Penguin.

The story opens with the Cavalier offering a boy on the street three new baseballs in exchange for his old one. The boy refuses, but the Cavalier forces the trade anyway. He is spotted by Bruce and Dick and shortly confronted by Batman and Robin. I like how Robin decides this character isn't worthy of Batman's time and tries to take him on himself, getting knocked out by a handkerchief with a metal object attached to the end. The Cavalier gets away as Robin falls into the street and Batman has to save him.

Batman questions the kid and finds that the ball was his father's who had it autographed as a youth by a famous baseball player who now owns a sporting goods store in Gotham. Batman deduces the Cavalier wants the autograph for some forgery scheme, but I'm thinking, what person gives their real signature for an autograph. I briefly got a chance to have some of my written works signed at a convention and I learned quickly I needed a unique signature for autographs, different from my signature I used for business.

And Batman is right, but it's not in terms of robbing the baseball player of any of his money. Instead, the Cavalier uses a forger to create a note authorizing the opening a security deposit box where a toy bat is stored. The forger who retrieved it is spotted leaving the bank and the Duo give chase.

The Cavalier distracts Batman by using his electrical sword to spark a pair of carriage horses. Batman stops the racing beasts and still manages to corner the Cavalier and his men. The Cavalier is able to distract Batman by tossing the toy bat at him. He and his men get away aboard a nearby train.

Robin makes a weird comment, calling Cavalier a "rainbow". No clue what it means. But this rainbow is an interesting character as he stops his car later to help an elderly woman with her packages. He is chivalrous even if he is a rogue.

Meanwhile, Batman finds that a key was hidden inside the bat. He questions the baseball player about it and finds the key opens a safe that holds a collection of sports miniatures that are only of value to the man himself. He and Robin surprise the Cavalier and his men as they rob the safe. The fight is good and includes the showdown between Batman and Cavalier, but there are two aspects of this ending that are odd. One is that the Cavalier does get away, mind you, he gets away in a spectacular fashion by driving a motorcycle threw the store window. Two is that we never learn if there's more to the sports collection other than the Cavalier says it is of personal value to him as it is to the baseball player.

Perhaps these questions will be answered when the Cavalier returns. This is one of those stories that would make for an excellent Batman 66 episode. Not sure who would play the Cavalier. Errol Flynn was done with television by 1957 and had passed away in 1959.

What's next? On to chapter 12 of the movie serial, Citizens!

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