Detective Comics Issue 330- “The Fallen Idol of Gotham City!”
Writer: John Broome
Pencils: Bob Kane
Published August 1964
What a hilarious cover, Batman in rags, Robin yelling at him, and some random dude (probably Bruce Wayne) giving him a stern finger. It could do with an egg or two, but tar and feathered is just over the top. What has gotten the entire town of Gotham so peeved at the caped crusader? Did the end to the Dark Knight Returns happen here too? Anyway on to the story.
Ordinary citizen Edgar Peters has just finished his usual lunch and as he heads to his accountant’s office, another man man comes up to to him and says, “I hate you,” as if he were being controlled by an unknown force. While crossing the street, every vehicle that is in front of him speeds up and attempts to ram him down, even a bus! The hate-fueled drivers end up missing Peters and crash into each other.
This is one of quite a few events that have happened recently in Gotham City, as ordinary passersby are attacked out of nowhere by other members of the public, and for no good reason at all! By now, Batman has figured out why these events are happening, even if the victims are seemingly unconnected. What all they had in common was that they all ate at a restaurant called “the Golden Roost.” Robin doesn’t really understand how a restaurant can turn an ordinary man into the most hated person in the city. The two decide to go undercover in their civilian identities to check.
At the restaurant, nothing seems to be out of the ordinary so far. After their coffee and milk, the Bat Signal suddenly appears in the sky, and Batman calls Commissioner Gordon to get the details on their next case. Two thieves, Pete Dumont and Shorty Hawkins have broken out of jail and are headed to get revenge on the crimefighting duo. It looks like the meal is cut short, and Bruce and Dick will have to return later to finish their investigation.
They drive to some housing development near the outskirts of the city and when they near a building, one of them fires a gun from the entrance way. They both pursue and the battle ends with Batman punching their clocks out at once. Oddly, Robin didn’t do a damn thing in those final moments. Suddenly everybody in the area, including the Boy Wonder, start yelling at Batman and demand to beat the stuffing out of him. They throw rocks and cans, and Batman is forced to leave the city.
After a bout of wandering into the next county, Batman realizes that whatever has effected him wore off, as the townspeople here greet him. He doesn’t say a thing to the kid who says hello, and gives him the cold shoulder. Whadda jerk.
Back at the Batcave, Robin explains what happened earlier. He may not remember attacking Batman, but he does remember blacking out until the police came to arrest the convicts. Batman tells his sidekick not to worry anymore, as he realizes what is going on with the restaurant. Since Bruce had the coffee and Dick had that milk, it means that whoever has the java will become the center of hatred. They decide to go back and investigate once more, this time in disguise.
While Dick stands outside as a newsie, Bruce heads inside the restaurant as a health inspector. He meets the staff, and the waiter is the only one out of them that has that strange smell that was in the coffee. With that part over, they wait until the waiter ends his shift before tailing him. Later, they see him entering an art gallery. Then, two more men enter it, and Bruce realizes that these guys look “foreign.” He tells Dick that one of those men is a diplomat, and they put on their costumes to stop whatever these guys are up to.
The coffee tampering turned out to be an attempt to find out the real identity of Batman, as only he would be attacked by the people at large. However, the Bat Signal saved Bruce’s hide, as he spent a majority of the day in his costume, preventing the city from finding out his persona. The next phase of their actual plan is to put the pills that cause aggression into the city’s water system, forcing everybody to fight and kill each other, leaving the city wide open for a Communist takeover. Yep, that’s the plan. But it is absurd that one of the most vital systems needed for everyday life, the waterways, could be so easily unguarded for the Red to attack.
Batman and Robin burst onto the scene and clean up the bad guys using the gallery’s modern art pieces. Since they were made by bohemians, nobody is really going to notice the damage and probably think this event has made them even better. After the military police arrive, they explain to the duo that the pills were a top secret project that enhances homicidal feelings in a normal person. Later, for some reason, the mayor of Gotham City decides to hold a fancy dinner to apologize to Batman for their mistreatment yesterday, as well to celebrate their “special citation” from the President of the United States. Blah Blah all wells that ends well.