Batman Issue 168
Published December 1964
Writer: Ed “France” Herron
Pencils: Sheldon Moldoff
“The Fight that Jolted Gotham City!”
The whole of Gotham City has turned out this morning for an exciting parade by the circus. Leading it is the strongman, Mr. Mammoth, and two swimsuit clad babes. Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson are among the crowd, providing much need exposition for the parade. After setting up for a few days, the circus is ready to open tonight, and headlining it is a benefit performance for the Police Athletic League.
However, after the parade retreats into Gotham City Garden, Mr. Mammoth tells his boss that he can’t perform tonight. His employer refuses to believe it and gets Commissioner Gordon, who is the chairman of the P.A.L., to talk some sense into him. Mammoth doesn’t reveal much to Gordon either, and asks that Batman help him if he wishes to perform tonight. Batman arrives and learns that Mr. Mammoth has recently experience some spells that make him go berserk. It’s because of these spells that he is unwilling to perform for the fear that he may harm or injure many people. He’s tried many things to stop them, from taking a swim, running into the country, holding his breath, etc. The only bright side is that they last only a few minutes.
Later that day, Batman and Robin go investigate the places where Mr. Mammoth went nuts. They go the park where he punched out an apple tree, and don’t seem to find anything. They go further to the pools, and all they can see is a bunch of kids grooving to the radio if anything. They go elsewhere and find pretty much the same scene. It is then Batman figures out what is driving Mr. Mammoth crazy. With precious little time left, they rush back to the hotel.
When Batman gets up to Mammoth’s hotel room, he hears the sounds of the radio and is shocked that he may be too late to stop him? Have you figured it out? Yes, the radio is driving the strongman crazy somehow. The masked manhunter breaks down the door and finds Mr. Mammoth is in his rage and starts whaling on him. Batman is punched out the window like on the cover of this issue. With some quick thinking, he lassos himself to safety and climbs back up to Mammoth’s room.
Batman goes out into the hallway to stop Mr. Mammoth’s rampage and tackles him down the stairwell. They go all the way down to the main lobby and still neither combatant is tuckered out! Robin and some policemen arrive, and they can’t (or won’t) do a thing to help Batman. The hero tries to trip over the strongman, but is knocked into a revolving door. Mammoth charges after him, and Batman tries to use his judo chops and whatnot, proving his attacks to be very futile. Finally, Batman decides to throw Mammoth into the newsstand. Suddenly, the strongman awakens from his daze, and both parties are pretty tired.
With less than a page left, Batman explains to Mr. Mammoth that the radio station’s jingle was causing him to go nuts. Those notes caused the “basal gaglia” part of his brain, the centers of emotions and instincts, react rather negatively. For a more modern analogy, Kramer going bonkers over Mary Hart’s voice. In the meantime, before Mr. Mammoth can go see a doctor, the radio station will change the call letters to something more banal. That night, Mr. Mammoth impresses the crowds by balancing the entire PAL Softball Team with one hand. Beat that Johnny Carson!
“How to Solve a Perfect Crime– in Reverse!”
A helicopter descends onto the grounds of a “rambling estate” in the outskirts of the city. Batman is the first one to exit the vehicle, and then Mystery Novelist Kaye Daye, Professor Ralph Vern, Commissioner Gordon, and a few others follow him. Rather than having their usual meeting in the city, Gotham’s Mystery Analysts Club are going to spend the meeting at this estate and all for a case.
They enter the house and suddenly a tape recorder springs to life telling each of these detectives about a perfect crime that has just been committed. The speaker, clearly a member of the group, tells everyone that he (or she) has spent quite some time planning this “perfect crime,” but could never implement it until recently. (It’s clearly a he, since there’s one female member of the group, and no way in hell the writers are going to dump her in jail so quickly.) He doesn’t care if he gets caught, he’ll get his jollies in knowing that the perfect crime has been committed and solved by the smartest minds in Gotham City. Anyway the crime is that the speaker stole one of the rarest diamonds in the world, the Kashpur Diamond. Before anymore details are given, the tape turns off, leaving the entire room either agasp or rather angry at this bravado.
Batman decides to start investigating by calling the Famous Jeweler’s Store to check on the status of the Kashpur. The gem dealer answers and tells Batman that he thinks it is there, but will do an analysis of the diamond just to make sure. A few minutes later, he calls back and confirms his worst fear, the diamond has been indeed stolen and replaced with a well-crafted duplicate. Gordon notes the thief made one mistake, that he revealed his crime. The group disbands for now to investigate the case.
That night, Batman and Robin are busy with their usual job, as they are in the harbor district to fight some smugglers. They are easily taken care of, and Robin asks if he can help with the Kashpur case. Batman tells his partner that he is more interested in learning what the other Mystery Analysts have to say.
Two days later, the Mystery Analysts hold their meeting and discuss their findings. Kaye Daye tells the group that the Jeweler, Mr. Mergen, kept the vault holding the diamond locked and secure. He was the only one who knew the combination, and possibly the thief. He also told her that the diamond was worth more in publicity, and even very important people like politicians and kings were not allowed to touch it. Professor Vern relays his examination of the faux-diamond, and marveled at exquisite work this copy had. Next is Art Saddows, a newspaperman, who tells everyone that Mr. X managed to steal the diamond all by himself! It’s Batman’s turn, but all he has is bupkes.
The next day, Bruce is carrying a copy of a transcript of yesterday’s meeting, and tells Robin it’s time to investigate the Kashpur case. In the BatCave, he pulls out a miniature tape recorder and tells his partner about how the real thief would pick his words exactly like it is on the transcript. They examine yesterday’s testimonials about how each Analyst conducted their investigation, and determine Professor Ralph Vern was the only one who mentioned a “imitation stone.” Minutes are usual written as the meeting goes along and are rarely 100% accurate verbatim, and here Vern made the slip-up of actually making sure his words matched the transcript. The duo have their man, but what they really need is the evidence to indict him.
They spend a few days looking into Professor Vern and learn that he had an interest in Tibet, and even spent some time learning the language in that country. Robin also notices that the Kashpur Diamond, which also came from Tibet, left the country a few days after he did. They take the Batplane to Tibet to find the Lamasery from where the diamond came. They arrive to find not monks, but a bunch of wild hillmen screaming about infidels and intruders. A giant statue nearly falls on the old one, but Batman saves him in time with a quick dive. As a show of gratitude, the hillbillies take Batman and Robin to the archives where they find a book of ancient rituals. Batman figures out why and how the crime was committed after reading the book.
Back in Gotham City, the Mystery Analysts have gathered for the whodunit at the Jewelry Store. Mr. Mergen asks what the “bogus diamond” has to do with the case and Batman demonstrates by shooting a light out of a ring. He counts from 1 to 40, and the whole gang thinks he skipped from 3 to 38. He explains them that the diamond has special hypnotic properties when staring at it while a light is shined through it. This is how Mr. X stole the diamond, by hypnotizing those around them. In a rather confusing mess, Professor Vern already stole the diamond back in Tibet and brought it to America with him. What the world thought was the actual Kashpur was a pretty well developed duplicate, and when Vern decided to pull the “perfect crime,” he decided to switch the fake with the real one. Why would he switch it? Because he believed that as he was investigating this crime, nobody would investigate him. He put the real diamond at Mergen’s for safekeeping, and if the case reached a dead end, he can always pocket the fake. Or something…
Anyway, Professor Vern is caught and he’ll be facing some jail time. Yahoo.