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World's Finest Comics #11

July 28, 1943

"A Thief in Time"

This may be the first genuine science fiction story for Batman and Robin. (Would the dinosaur story count?)

The story opens in the future as laboratory worker Rob Callander leaves the Batman exhibit, his head filled with a desire to be rich and feeling he would make a killing if he lived in the past.

He returns to work and in a careless moment while mixing chemicals, finds himself hurled into the past with an interesting panel as he wonders if he has died as he tumbles backwards in time. He chances upon Batman and Robin rounding up a gang. At one point, one of the thugs falls and he is able to take the man's clothes, surprising Batman when the fight is over.

Callandar has to move fast as he figures the space time continuum will eventually close and he will return to the future. He creates a handheld device that projects darkness, allowing him to rob a bank of $10,000 which he uses to finance his scheme. He hires a bunch of men to assist him and together they rob a school of a book and a house of a lamp. The men are confused, but they are paid well.

Batman and Robin get on the case and soon find Callander and his men robbing an author as he works on his manuscript in an abandoned shack. They fight the men in the cover of Callander's darkness, but are quickly stopped when Callander uses a paralyzing ray on them. The men want to kill them, but Callander refuses. He has them tied up and taken back to an abandoned boat where he has them placed in the hold and out of the way.

The problem is, the boat has holes in it that begin to fill when the tide gets high. Batman cuts his bonds by rubbing them against the barnacles that have developed on the walls of the hold. They then signal a police boat using the lighthouse signal on the boat.

Upon returning to shore, Batman questions the author and finds he was about to toss the manuscript as he wasn't happy with it. And Robin finds a penny from the year 2043. (If the world is going to look like it's portrayed at the start of the comic, we have some fast work to do.). They track down Callander and his men trying to rob a painting from an amateur artist.

Batman points out how Callander is from the future and he's counting on the items he's taking to be worth something. And he's right. All the items are important in the future, but he doesn't get a chance to take anything as the space time warp closes and he is returned to the future.

Batman and Robin take the items and keep them in their trophy room in what is now referred to for the first time as Wayne manor. No longer an apartment or just a house. The items eventually wind up on display in the future for Callander to look at in dismay.

I really liked this story. The science fiction aspect was not too much that it took away from Batman and Robin being who they are. Another story worthy of being called, "World's Finest". And what's next? We're back to the 1943 serial with chapter three, Citizens!

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