review by VJ Miller, Sr.
Foreword and additional material by Roy Thomas
“Criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot, so my disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts. I must be a creature of the night, dark, terrible… a…”
When that bat flew in his open window it was the omen that set young Bruce Wayne on his career to bring evildoers to justice.
The Second World War ended just over 2½ years before I was born. When I heard that this book was about to be offered I quickly signed up for the pre-order so I could receive it as soon as it was released.
Bob Kane is, of course, the creator of Batman but many other writers/artists and illustrators would help to bring the Batman to life in the comics. Men such as: Bill Finger, Gardner Fox, Sheldon Moldoff, Jerry Robinson, George Roussos, Fred Ray, Jack Kirby, Joe Simon, Jack & Ray Burnley, Joe Greene, Don Cameron, Ed Kressey, Dick Sprang, Stan Kaye, Alvin Schwartz; all had some part in bringing the Batman to life.
From Perfidy To Pearl Harbor:
This section deals with those despots, foreign agents, and sympathizers to the Axis Powers, or simply, those who wanted to make a name for themselves or a fast buck from the war effort. A would be dictator, the Puppet Master, the Joker and a deceived scientist, or deranged scientist.
The Home Front War:
Batman, with all his skills and deductive mind would have been just another vulnerable fighter in combat so DC’s editors decided he’d be best utilized defending industry and the populace on the home front.
Villains like the Joker were up to their evilness. Foreign spies would try to infiltrate wartime plants to learn and give vital information to the enemy. As if they had a chance with the Batman & Robin on the case.
Guarding The Home Front:
Crime didn’t take a holiday just because there was a war to be won. Mobsters, Spies, Crime Writers turned Crime Doers, even the Scarecrow did their worst. Criminals even tried to hoodwink honest citizens into committing crimes.
DC even did a speculation on different outcomes of the War in “The Two Futures”. What would the world be like if Germany won the War then speculated on just what kind of world we’d have once we’d won. You be the judge.
Many stories throughout the War carried urges for readers to buy bonds and stamps to help fund the war effort. Everything was rationed like no one in this modern world has ever seen.
Closing The Ring:
Along with the usual crime, there is also a story about how the land of Atlantis was tricked by those lying Germans into aiding them in their War effort. Of course, Batman & Robin set them straight before they could be executed. Bandits would use their own form of Blitzkrieg to commit crimes but another honest citizen would have to be duped into outlining the plans for them.
Merchant Marines would be tricked into doing the dirty work for another unscrupulous gang of thieves.
Then there is in the year 3000, Earth would be invaded by Saturn and the people of Earth would be enslaved. One man attempts to rally the men to fight back but it falls on deaf ears. He takes up the mantle of the Batman to act as a symbol of what they can do if they just put forth the effort.
The book concludes with the Batman going to Washington to fight for the rights of ex-cons to get jobs and rebuild their lives. Along the way, members of the Mob try to thwart them in any way they can.
This book is beautifully redone in brilliant color on heavy gauge paper with a hardback cover. Inside are various other covers from Batman, Detective Comics, and World’s Finest Comics.
This book is a must read if only just for nostalgias sake. The Batman as he was envisioned at the time and for as long as the book would run.
They didn’t know the half of it.
There are also: Superman: the War Years and Wonder Woman; the War Years which I expect to acquire in the not too distant future. You can be sure there will be a review here.
You might enjoy one of my other Batman reviews.
This just in as of 9/15/2015
“DC Entertainment and the family of Bill Finger are pleased to announce that they have reached an agreement that recognizes Mr. Finger’s significant contributions to the Batman family of characters. “Bill Finger was instrumental in developing many of the key creative elements that enrich the Batman universe, and we look forward to building on our acknowledgement of his significant role in DC Comics’ history,” stated Diane Nelson, President of DC Entertainment. “As part of our acknowledgement of those contributions,” Nelson continued, “we are pleased to confirm today that Bill Finger will be receiving credit in the Warner Bros. television series Gotham beginning later this season, and in the forthcoming motion picture Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
It’s about time.
©Copyright Realms Uncharted and VJ Miller, Sr. 2015