Batman Issue 169
Published February 1965
Writer: Ed “France” Herron
Pencils: Sheldon Moldoff
“Partners in Plunder!”
Another classic member of the caped crusader’s rogue gallery emerges in this story, as he must match wits with the most gentlemanly of sharp-nosed criminals, the Penguin.
In a rather ho-hum evening, the Penguin walks around his hideout hoping to pull off a crime worthy of his talents or his umbrellas. As with most of these rogues, he can’t settle for a simple robbery, he’ll need to commit something dastardly enough to catch the attention of his arch-nemesis, Batman. After a little fretting and hawing, he’s found his plan. With a hearty cackle, tomorrow will be “Umbrella Day!”
The next morning, outside of a jewelry store, the Penguins thugs are handing out umbrellas to passersby. Right next the store is a sign promising a raffle for anyone who walks inside with these brollies. The proprietor inside doesn’t realize what’s happening outside until people start coming in. At 10 o’clock, the store full of umbrella holding customers suddenly open up and shoot out lightning and moving around uncontrollably. The police are contacted, who relay these events to Batman. Commissioner Gordon warns the duo that the Penguin may be up to his “umbrella tricks.” Gee I wonder if this was a very common thing in the older stories since all I know about the villain was that his umbrellas hold poison gas.
At 10:15, at a bank across town and Batman and Robin are alerted. They arrive to find the same scene as it was a quarter of an hour ago at the jewelry store, with umbrellas flying everywhere. The duo attempt to stop these menacing parapluies, and Batman compares fighting one of these to wrestling with a flying eel. Now that those are taken of, the duo now have to contend with a giant pair of umbrellas tumbling down the street. The two throw their ropes and are pulled them to a complete halt. Batman tries to figure out what the hell is going on when suddenly an even bigger umbrella that moves like a flying saucer lands in the middle of the street.
The Penguin at his umbrella shop looks at the clock and notices it’s 10:05 (he’ll need to adjust this clock since it’s easily 10:20!) In one minute, the crimefighting duo will arrive to confront him, he predicts. He decides to do the odd thing of putting his monocle on his left eye.
The duo arrive sixty seconds later and they can’t help put notice that the Penguin’s monocle isn’t on his usual right eye. Somehow this is a confusion tactic, and it apparently works as they back to the Batmobile after telling the Penguin they’ll be watching him. Later, the Penguin tells his biggest henchman the reason he used that tactic was to cause a major upset to Batman and Robin with the successful completion of tonight’s plan.
Later that night, the skyline of Gotham City starts changing color as if the Aurora Boreanaz went on a vacation and painted the town red. The lights suddenly fade and Robin finds that two umbrellas were causing the strange light show. Batman figures out the umbrellas hold a clue to what the Penguin plans to steal tonight, a “meteorite” studded with jewels and diamonds.
However, the scene shifts to the Penguin listening in on the duo’s conversation and he laughs with aplomb that the masked manhunter has decided what the villain will steal tonight. He tells his minions to quiet down so he’ll find out the secret on how to take it, or at least learn the “what not to do.” Batman tells Robin about the Jeweled Meteorite and how it is protected by a breakproof window, and with guards searching every floor, nobody can very well get in through the ground. The Penguin might have to break in through the roof with a acetylene torch, and grab the uncovered meteorite with an “extension cane.” Seems fine enough, even if the museum didn’t put a top on the display case.
The plot is afoot as the Penguin and his cronies arrive in style via flying umbrella to steal the meteorite. Batman and Robin spring into action but get magnetically pulled toward another building due to a device the Penguin set up that attracts the metal buckles of their belts. While the two are pinned to the wall, two of the strongest thugs stand waiting for them and are ready to beat them up. A quick distraction allows the duo to unhook their belts and the thugs are easily defeated.
Batman and Robin swing back to the museum, but the Penguin has successfully retrieved the meteorite and is flying away on a rocket propelled umbrella. The duo first take care of his henchman and take their umbrellas to pursue their top-hatted foe. The Penguin decides to lose the meteorite to quicken his escape and throws it away, only to be roped by Robin. The entire gang is sent to jail, and Batman takes his monocle for good measure.
“A Bad Day for Batman!”
Inks: Sid Greene
At an evening news conference, Batman decides to tell a story to the press about a bad day he had. If he pulled this today, the media would have field day, ignoring more vital issues concerning the city.
Anyway, he tells the members of the press about a chase that happened in the daytime as he went after a thief clutching a necklace. The criminal panics and runs across rooftops hoping to escape the grasp of the caped crusader. Batman approaches him and suddenly a glare blinds our hero just as he gets hit by a brick. When he recovers, he finds the crook gone, and a sunbather looking at a mirror. “Tough break,” indeed.
He continues his pursuit and chases the crook into an apartment building. The building suddenly loses power, and Batman has no choice but to move cautiously through the darkened rooms. The crook gets away again into the street. Batman continues and is swarmed by a bunch of kids asking for an autograph. Time is wasted and the crook gets to the harbor. Our hero follows him here and commandeers a boat, while the owner of it tries to tell him something but is ignored. Batman chases the crook into the waters but stops short because he’s run out of gas! He’ll have to wait to be towed back and that’s the end of the story… or is it?
Batman tells the audience that the day wasn’t over yet, because it was today! As it’s 2040, he tells the press that only one of them can follow him to finish this story. Bill Ferris of the Clarion has been chosen and he follows Batman back to the lake. When they arrive, they find the necklace thief in full scuba gear and stay hidden until he returns for his clothes. Batman fights the thief and easily apprehends him. It looks like this bad day became a red letter day. Ha ha ah… I’m going to have dinner now.