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World's Finest Comics #14

April 28, 1944

"Salvage Scavengers"

So far, every Batman story featured in World's Finest has been worthy of the title. I'm a little skeptical based on the title of this one, but let's get into it.

The S.S. Luxor explodes as it pulls into Gotham Harbor. Bruce and Dick are nearby, but cannot do anything to help as there is nothing left but debris. But there is Jib Buckler, salvage operator, who gets to the scene first to lay his claim. He's an ex-con who is now working the salvage business.

He can't afford to mount the operation so he offers the rights. There is some concern as the last time Jib did this, the other salvage operator lost a diver and had the boat blown up. The story captures Bruce's attention who decides to help the winner of the bid, Capt. Moss, with the operation the next day.

And almost immediately, the diver they send down to investigate dies by carbon monoxide poisoning. The Duo suit up and go down themselves to see what is happening at the wreck. Once down there, they discover another person who they try to capture. Something like this, you'd hope to see Aquaman who could help them out.

They chase him into the ship itself where their air hoses get caught in a closed door. Batman is able to free them with the use of a screwdriver in his utility belt. They return to the surface and note a car driving away from the dock. They decide to follow and it leads them to Fishin' Chipps, a wealthy man who is a terrible fisherman. At least, that's what I'm making out of this. The story is not entirely coherent. Chipps invites the two to lunch.

After lunch, the man wishes to return to his fishing and the two follow him in the Batmobile where they ask to see his boat. There, Batman discovers the boat is an old Q-Boat, a vessel used to sink German subs. It would explain how the Luxor was sank. They also find the diving gear of the man they saw in the water earlier.

Chipps disappears as they are investigating and so they quickly work out a scheme to lure the saboteur by having the papers report on a gold shipment coming in while they fly above in the Batplane.

The story may be a bit of a mess, but the art is quite striking.

The ship is quickly attacked and the two swoop in to stop it. It is so weird as Robin guesses back and forth that the saboteur is either Jib or Chipps, with Batman shooting down each guess. It all culminates in the two fighting Jib, the real saboteur, underwater.

Honestly, this is the first World's Finest comic I was not impressed with. The art is fantastic and this should be a good story, but there appears to be short cuts and missing moments that would have made it much clearer. A disappointment.

And what's next? We're on to the Sunday newspaper stories, Citizen!

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