Batman #165B: “The Dilemma of the Detective’s Daughter!”
Published August 1964
Writer: Ed “France” Herron
Pencils: Bob Kane
Yeah, I forgot to post a little walk-through of the second story in this issue, especially since the format is usually two stories an issue. This issue is supposed to surprise and confound readers that policewomen may exist! After growing up watching Law & Order and other cop shows, why should a modern person like me bat an eye? On to the story!
The class of 196X is graduating from Gotham City’s Police Academy, and Batman is the guest speaker. In a similar manner to Joe Friday, the caped crimefighter tells the cadets that as newly minted officers of the law they have a responsibility not only to the community but to themselves. Such responsibilities include keeping one’s self physically fit for any tasks, and that means lay off the doughnuts!
Batman gives an example of a recent mission where he had to swing and climb up a rope connected to a scaffolding, so that he can spy on a gang of hijackers. Right after that, he climbs up to the roof and scales a 14 foot wall by leaping at it and landing on the side with his feet and immediately jumping again to get on to the ledge. He gets to gang’s apartment and shows off more of his tricks, where he manages to capture a criminal after he was knocked onto the floor on his back. In short, he manages to arrest them rather easily.
After the anecdote, Commissioner Gordon steps out and allows Batman to present a plaque to the trainee that excelled in the four major categories of training (academics, physical, firearms, and overall.) It’s none other than a woman named Patricia Powell, which surprises everyone at least more than in the manga episode where we learn Governor Warner has a daughter. At the end of the ceremony, Batman is also introduced to her father, a Lieutenant Mike Powell, who will be her senior partner on the force.
Commissioner Gordon drops another bombshell in the conversation, because of her hard work, she’ll be made a detective! If TV shows are any indication, she may be the first female detective under age 30, and she won’t be the last. Patricia takes Batman aside for a little chat and we learn that she spent a good deal of her young life training for this day, going to the best schools, and working hard at the police academy to earn her badge. However, she falls back into a stereotype of a lovestruck female when she reveals one of the reasons she became a detective was to impress Bruce Wayne.
For years, Ms. Powell always had a crush on the billionaire playboy. They first met while she was trying to get into a sorority, as she tried to get Bruce’s door-knocker. The second time at an Aqualung party. And the third time was at a masquerade ball. Each time she was wearing something to hide her face, and he never got a good look at her, much less find time to ask her out. This time, now that she is in a position of power, Bruce Wayne will have to see her now. Sigh, it’s such a foolish story innit?
The next day will be Detective Patricia Powell’s first case on the force, as the Chemist Smedley is missing and her unit is tasked with finding him. Meanwhile, Batman and Robin are out for a drive and are told of Powell’s first case and that they should keep an eye on it if possible. While the crime fighters are getting the news, Professor Smedley’s kidnappers are forcing him to purchase various quantities of elements and then take him away to their lair. The Batmobile conveniently drives by the kidnappers as they head back and Batman pursues them only to be thwarted by a train crossing its tracks.
Shortly, Powell and Batman meet each other again at Smedley’s laboratory, both looking for clues. While her father stakes out the Northside Chemical Plant, Patricia tells Batman of the clues that confirm Smedley was kidnapped. The professor has left his special glasses and did not leave a note for anybody, as was his custom. Looking at a pack of Black and White tobacco, the female cop has a lapse of judgment, thinking about Bruce Wayne.
Batman tells Powell that there’s not a piece of pipe or an ashtray in the lab, showing that Smedley does not smoke. Det. Powell regains her senses and opens the box and finds a tape recorder inside, and plays back the tape. The kidnappers have taken him to the Point Safety Lighthouse at the edge of the city. Batman and the detective head for the location.
When they arrive, the crime fighting duo and the police spit up to rescue the professor. Ms. Powell goes and collects Smedley, while Batman fights his kidnappers. After cleaning up all three of the criminals, Batman heads outside to find Robin and Detective Powell Sr. outside. It turns out Smedley left a set of clues for anybody smart enough to read them. Robin figured out where because of the strange order Smedley put at the chemical plant, which spells out the name of the light house: “PT S A FE TE”
For an epilogue, at a charity event at Wayne Estate, Patricia finally meets the object of her affections face to face.
It was an okay story, but I was interested in seeing the cops kick some butt but that’s Batman’s job.