etragedy's Detective Comics #33 - The Batman Wars Against The Dirigible Of Doom review

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Batman's Luthor

When it comes to the stories Gardner Fox wrote of Batman, I'm a little conflicted - on the one hand I like the creative elements he brought to the character, creating such iconic things as the batarang and the batplane. On the other, I tend to dislike the way he makes Batman and his villains almost superhuman through their actions. 
 
This issue is a perfect example. On the plus side, we get the the first adventure where Batman fights a villain of truly epic proportions. Dr. Kruger is a scientist with a Napoleon complex who wants to rule the world; he has somehow convinced several top scientists to join his cause. They've built a number of incredibly destructive weapons and have a whole army at their disposal. They actually kill thousands, that's right, thousands, of people before Batman intervenes. While you'll have to read the issue to learn the fate of Dr. Kruger, he is the blueprint for some of Batman's later foes like Kobra and Ras al Ghul. 
 
On the minus side, the laws of physics are defied left, right and center in this story. Some of the things Batman and some of the other characters do stretches credibility pretty damn far. 
 
It's a shame - with a little more restraint on the part of the writer, this could have become one of Batman's greatest adventures of the Golden Age, instead of just a midling one.
 
- ETragedy, ComicVine's original back issue reviewer! :)

2 Comments
Posted by RazzaTazz

Good point about killing thousands.  I find that civilian death is often used just as a plot device, where the more digits of people that a villain has killed indicated how evil they are.

Moderator
Posted by etragedy

I do think it was done to show how evil he is in this story. 
 
There may be other reasons for the high body count too - the attack is by dirigible, and the dictator and his 'scarlet army' might be a reference to the Nazi aggression (WWII being in full swing) - there is distinct Prussian look to the uniforms of Kruger's lieutenants (not to mention Carl Kruger's decidedly Germanic name).
 
Judging by the images in the comic, with buildings toppling, and rescue efforts going on after the attack with people being pulled from the rubble, I think it may have also been inspired by the massive earthquake that took place in Chile earlier that year (1939), which killed 50,000 people - the panel looks like the photos you see after an earthquake.

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