Detective Comics Issue 337- “The Deep-Freeze Menace!”
Published March 1965
Writer: Gardner Fox
Penciler: Carmine Infantino
50,000 years ago, long before the Earth was created by God, a thief named Brugg is stealing from the food cache of the tribe. Klag the Hunter finds the cave-crook red-handed in the act. Many times in the past he has tried to capture him, but Brugg keeps evading him though many disguises and tricks. Seizing the chance, Klag charges at his foe and they struggle like titans. Brugg falls over from exhaustion, but when Klagg tries to finish him off, he accidentally falls into a crevasse. The fall is so deep that he ends up being frozen until the present day…
Somewhere in Northern Europe, a great earthquake shakes the region, freeing the still frozen Klag from his sleeping grounds. He falls out of the mountain and he awakens after a very long slumber, still covered in ice. He only has one thought in his mind, to kill Brugg. The cave that held him supposedly had some strange minerals, granting him special powers that no mere mortal has. He summons up his senses, and supposedly finds Brugg, he leaps into the sky, ready to strike at a moment’s notice.
In the jungles of Bihar, India, a Sikh named Azam Jah is hunting a tiger. Klag arrives from the sky, and is unconvinced that this man is NOT Brugg, because his foe is a master of disguise. He holds his club up high ready to pound Azam to the ground, but the Sikh dodges and begins firing at the caveman. The bullets don’t penetrate Klag’s ice seath, and with a swing, Azam dies. The caveman checks the body, and is disappointed that this isn’t Brugg. He uses his powers again and finds another “Brugg,” heading to Gotham City.
Klag, now blinded by the unsleeping city, starts rampaging through Gotham, quickly getting the attention of the police. Batman and Robin, in their helicopter, receives the news and goes after their new visitor. Klag yells Brugg’s (pronounced “Bruge”, oddly) name and other sentences (in English!) when seeing Batman, and our hero is surprised to hear a name similar to Bruce yelled out. The caveman easily overpowers the caped crimefighter, and when the gas is used, Klag absorbs it and sprays it at Robin. The only thing Batman can do for now is to try to remove Klag’s club. He just won’t let go, and so Batman has to throw him from the roof. He crashes to the ground, and still manages to get up unharmed.
The caveman leaps up and charges at the duo, striking both with his club. Batman keeps wondering why Klag keeps calling him Brugg or Bruce. That moment of hesitation allows his foe to hit him with the club, and even though Batman sidesteps quickly, he still feels the impact of the hit. Klag takes off Batman’s mask, and is surprised to not find Brugg either. He leaves the scene with a leap, finding another target. Robin rushes to his partner’s side to cover Batman’s face before anybody sees his secret identity. They collect some samples that came off the caveman, heading back to the Batcave for analysis.
They manage to carbon date the samples and find out exactly how old the caveman is. Batman tells his partner that the minerals may have preserved his body and gave him his strange powers. The “teletype” machine starts acting up and prints out a picture of Azam, who looks a lot like Bruce. Before they can form a real idea on why Klag is attacking people that look like Bruce, the machine prints out an alert about how Klag has been seen in Spain.
Over in Malaga, Spain, it is time for a bullfighting match. After a while, as the fight reaches it end, the lead Matador Altomonte teases his foe some more with his Muleta and finishes off the bull with the estocada. Klag appears from the sky and starts swinging at the bullfighter, not because of this inhuman act, but because he looks like Brugg.
Batman and Robin arrive on time before any serious harm is done to Altomonte. Both are carrying a plastic sealant that will hopefully stop the caveman, but before they can start spraying, Klag summons some lightning. While Robin distracts and gets his butt kicked by Klag, Batman readies the spray and starts sealing up the caveman’s breathing holes, hoping to slow him to a crawl. In an instant, the plastic sealant does work, stopping Klag in his tracks. Batman plans to bring the caveman to a hospital, where the ice will be removed from him and scientists can learn more about his people. Robin remarks that at least he won’t be that much of a threat this time.