Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Batman Back to World War II

Even though Batman had started his career before World War II, eventually, that got less and less reference in the comics, but, by the end of 1970s and start of the 1980s, tales of the past Golden Age Batman started to surface, as a few secret tales came to light, with Batman going into battle with some of World War II's greatest the Unknown Soldier and the Blackhawks!

The Secret That Saved A World

First up is Brave and the Bold #146 (January, 1979) by Bob Haney, Romeo Tanghal and Frank McLaughlin, all under a cover by Jim Aparo, with an unknown story of the Earth-2 Batman teaming up with the United States most mysterious spy, the Unknown Soldier during World War II.


Here, Batman had come across a murder while patrolling Gotham City...with clues from the victim's housekeeper and Bruce Wayne's friend, Bill Dysart, leading him to believe it was Nazis trying to get their hands on uranium.  

This led Batman to go to Washington, DC, where they confirmed his fears, that South American diplomat and businessman Paul Besserman was really Count Von Stauffen of Nazi Germany.  The government paired Batman with the Unknown Soldier (who had been aware of Von Stauffen trying to follow up on a German scientist who had fled the Nazis (but had been working on a project involving uranium).  To prevent the network of spies getting involved, Batman and the Unknown Soldier were the only two to follow up on this.  

Trailing Besserman as he was going to meet with Dysart, the heroes saw Besserman kill Dysart under the Lincoln Memorial, but the Count got away, going back to the San Pedro embassy to hide behind diplomatic immunity.  The duo wait outside the embassy, seeing someone being loaded into an ambulance, and thinking it Besserman, follow.  It was a trap, but they escape, heading the airport, where Besserman was headed, and had chartered a small plane to fly over the area.  

The Unknown Soldier replaces the pilot, and sees Besserman taking photos of secret American bases (diplomatic immunity won't work against treason), but a leaky oil valve ruins the Unknown Soldier's disguise, allowing Besserman to escape after the plane crashes.  Batman pursues Besserman, but also fails to catch him.  The heroes reunite, listening in to Besserman at the embassy, finding out that he will get the secret papers at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Observing him there, the Unknown Soldier stops him from getting the plans and foils an assassination attempt on members of Congress (by a bomb Besserman hid) on Memorial Day by disguising himself as President Roosevelt.  Batman and the Unknown Soldier take comfort in stopping this plan of Besserman, with the Unknown Soldier still waiting to catch him outside of the San Pedro embassy.   

While the Unknown Soldier usually applied his spycraft behind enemy lines in Europe...


...he did on rare occasions disguise himself to fight spies here in the United States of America during World War II as well.


Ice Station Alpha

Another of the Batman's Earth-2 war time team ups happened in Brave and the Bold #167 (October, 1980) by Marv Wolfman, Dave Cockrum and Dan Adkins, covered as was many B&B tales by Jim Aparo, with Batman working with the famed aviators of WWII, the Blackhawks, in a story set in September of 1944!

Again, Batman comes across nefarious Nazis stealing items in Gotham, while the Blackhawks liberate a Polish city from Nazi forces, searching for an agent, whom they find, frozen in the Sahara!  Commissioner Gordon summons Batman, to tell him that FDR ordered him to not pursuit the theft Batman broke up (but Batman is under no such restrictions).  Batman takes off in the Batplane to Washington, DC (leaving a flu stricken Dick Grayson behind to be cared for by Alfred Beagle), while the Blackhawks investigate finding Agent Carmichael was investigating Ice Station Alpha, a new Nazi secret doomsday weapon.  

In Washington, Bruce Wayne fails to find out anymore of the thefts, but Batman does by breaking into the file room, learning of Ice Station Alpha, and plans to attack the East Coast.  The Nazi device floods a pier in Gotham, sending Batman after the spies who looted the warehouse, as the Blackhawks also independently find clues as well, leading both sets of heroes towards the Nazi Ice Station Alpha base in the arctic circle.  

There, General Hauptmann plans to use the devices he stole from America to melt the polar ice cap and flood America!  Batman and the Blackhawks arrive, fighting off his outside forces as the General activates the device huridley against the advise of his main scientist, who he shoots.  Batman and the Blackhawks stop the forces at the base, but are not able to stop the device (but, due to the general's impatience, will explode on its own before it can work).  The Blackhawks and Batman fly the base explodes (with Batman planning on tracking down the remainder of their network in Gotham).

The Blackhawks were an international crew of pilots, led by their leader, Blackhawk, who fought the Nazis during World War II.  The Earth-2 Blackhawks were featured in Military Comics and in the Quality issues of Blackhawk, with the Earth-1 versions of the team started with Blackhawk #108 (January, 1957) when the team moved over to DC (with much later issues of Blackhawk detailing the Earth-1 adventures of Blackhawk during World War II).

The Earth-2 Batman did have one adventure with Sgt. Rock in B&B (but, that appearance implied that the first Batman/Sgt. Rock team-up also took place on Earth-2, which then was a problem for all the later team-ups of the two, which took place after World War, these will get some attention as a much later date).

Can you circle the problem with the first B&B being a tale of the Earth-2 Batman?  Here's an article that gives you a hint....

Batman, along with Robin, and a few of his JSA friends, also got to see a lot more World War II action, as members of the All-Star Squadron in the retroactive continuity title based in Earth-2's World War II (at least until the Crisis On Infinite Earths), and that Batman seems to be seeing action again in 2021!



1 comment:

  1. Really? It seems like they are simply bundling the JSA on the same Earth as the JLA, thus once more wiping out the golden age Batman!