World's Finest Comics #4

November 14, 1941

"The Ghost Gang Goes West"

This is an interesting take as the story opens in a western town and the people want to lynch someone whom they feel is guilty. But as one turns the page we see it's Batman himself that is destined for the deadman's noose.

We then flashback to how we got to this point as Bruce and Dick ride a train only a few hours earlier. They plan to visit a dude ranch when the train is attacked by men on horses who rob the passengers. Bruce learns from the conductor that they are called the "Ghost Gang" because they ride horses that can seem to run faster than a speeding train.

As further proof, the same gang robbed a bank some 200 miles away only minutes after leaving the train. When the train arrives at a nearby town, the two hear of the town bank currently being robbed. They quickly don their costumes and then attack. The problem is, the townsfolk, seeing the two in their masks and costumes, think that Batman and Robin are part of the gang.

The gang make their escape with Batman and Robin in pursuit on "borrowed" horses. The gang manages to disappear though, living up to their name. The townsfolk catch up with the two and Batman is forced to knock Robin out and hide him when Robin refuses to follow Batman's instructions. I don't know about that. Again, we're talking about a kid here and Batman just punches him because he's not doing what he's told?

And we come to the point that opened our story as Batman is about to be hanged. He asks one of the people to give him a glass of water and promise he will not hang him until he finishes the water. Batman then knocks the glass out of the guys hand with his head. It diffuses the situation as the men find the whole thing funny. He then asks them to look at his costume and see that he is indeed Batman.

Once they have calmed down and realized who he is, they release him. He offers his help with the gang and is put up by Brunt, one of the most wealthy ranchers in the area. That night, as the two sleep in their room, someone slips a box with a rattlesnake in it. It's about to strike Batman when Robin lures it with music from a harmonica he found.

The next day there is another attempt that fails. And then we learn that Brunt is the leader of the gang. He sets up a trap for Batman by having him overhear a big loudmouth talking trash about him in a bar. Batman won't have his name slandered so he takes on the guy. And as he brings him down, he says the man will talk, but then a shot rings out, killing the bully.

Robin chases after the murderer, but he himself is knocked out by the butt of a gun from behind. He is tossed in a fenced in area where a bucking horse is set loose. Batman leaps on the horse and brings it to heel.

Batman begins to suspect Brunt when he sees how startled the man is when they return to the ranch. They also find open cans of white paint which gets his interest.

In the end, Batman rounds up Brunt and his men as he finds that Brunt has an autogyro, a monstrous flying device, that can transport his men and horses which are painted white to look like ghosts.

Now, this I could easily see as a movie serial - Batman and the Ghost Gang - 15 episodes with the traps we saw he ending some of the episodes.

We're back to Detective Comics with our next entry and the immediate return of the Penguin! Stay tuned, Citizens!

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