You have to love the old classic comics. Every once in a while when searching the quarter or dollar bins at comic shops and conventions, you can find some pretty ridiculous comics. They are ridiculous in terms of the plot and how entertaining they can be to this day.
One such comic comes from the classic series teaming up Superman and Batman, WORLD'S FINEST. In issue #195 from 1970, the story was entitled, "Dig Now, Die Later!" With a cover image of Jimmy and Robin forced to dig their own graves while a menacing Superman and Batman (with a machine gun) stand over them, you know this is a moment in comic book history that should not be forgotten.== TEASER ==
The story begins with a strange scene (apparently picking up from the previous issue). Superman and Batman apparently wanted to put a stop to a supreme mafia boss, Karl Lukaz. Without any evidence, Superman went undercover as a "bald crook" called Alonzo "The Peniman" Scarns. To prove his loyalty, he was to kill an enemy of theirs, the "do-gooder president of the Anti-Crime Foundation," Bruce Wayne. Superman dissevered that Lukaz kept incriminating evidence against his "employees" and figured that'd be a great way to take down the organization but he couldn't find any sign of the hidden collection.
Superman then decided to enlist Batman's help again. Batman posed as "Doc" Danner, aka "Danner the Planner" but even Batman's detective skills couldn't find the stash. Superman decided to give Lukaz a time out and kept him at the Fortress of Solitude so Batman could assume his identity as the head of the Mafia.
The plan started to crumble as Batman entered a meeting in which Superman attended as Scarns. He then removed his cowl before and revealed himself to be Lukaz. Carrying a Green Kryptonite funeral wreath, Superman's identity was revealed. Superman tried to convince them the Green K scrambled his brains into thinking he really was Scarns. Batman, as Lukaz, still wearing the Batman suit, realized how perfect it would be to use Superman if he actually did believe he was "Scarns." This also worked for Superman because he needed to figure out how to bring Batman back to his right mind.
Batman/Lukaz didn't completely trust Superman's act. Showing him a display of their enemies, he wanted him to take out Superman's pal, Jimmy Olsen. Batman/Lukaz informed him that he wouldn't be having all the fun as he planned on taking out Batman's sidekick, Robin, himself. This brought more concern to Superman. He was freaked out by how Batman truly believed he was the mafia boss but knew he couldn't do anything until he could locate the hidden evidence.
Superman contacted both Jimmy and Robin and arranged for them to meet at a junkyard in a "ghetto section of the city." The two youngsters were surprised to see Superman and Batman there. This joyous reunion didn't last long as Batman revealed himself to be Lukaz the suspected mafia overboss.
Batman/Lukaz gave the two shovels and, with a gun pulled on them, ordered them to begin digging their own graves. Robin wanted to rush them but Lukaz quickly pointed out that "Scarns" possessed Superman's powers so there was no hope for them.
As their graves were deep enough, Robin had one last request. He wanted Batman to know that he died thinking of him, he was brave to the end and loved him as he loved his own father.
It was these words that caused Batman to come to his senses. Everything appeared to be resolved. Unfortunately, the real Lukaz appeared. One of the robots at the Fortress malfunctioned and Lukaz was able to get it to bring them back to Metropolis. As he planned to expose Superman as not really being Scarns, he argued against this and vowed to prove his loyalty by using his heat vision to blast Robin and Olsen. When Batman objected, Superman knocked him out.
Robin and Jimmy were fried and he gave the real Lukaz the hearts of the two as souvenirs for his collection. This freaked out the newly revived Batman as Superman carted him off to "get rid of him for good." What Superman really did was plan a tracker in the "hearts" of Robin and Jimmy so he'd be able to locate Lukaz's secret collection of incriminating evidence.
What about Robin and Jimmy? Did they really die just so Superman and Batman could bring down a mafia ring? Of course Superman didn't really kill them. As they stood in their graves, right before Superman executed them, he carried them off at super-speed and replaced them with the wax figures from the "gallery of enemies."
Superman and Batman won this battle. They knew someone else would try to take Lukaz's place so the fight wasn't over yet. There wasn't an explanations as to why Batman believed he was actually Lukaz or the fact that he brought a Kryptonite wreath to expose Superman. While he believed he was Lukaz, he was set to kill Robin and Jimmy. If Superman was there, who knows if Robin would have thought to express his feelings for Batman and break him from the 'spell' he was under.
Batman and Superman may not have actually wanted to kill Robin and Jimmy but, in a way, they did want to. We can bet this wasn't the only time it almost happened. I wonder if they ever sit around and laugh at how big of a mess this almost became.
Tony Guerrero is the Editor-in-Chief of Comic Vine. You can follow him on Twitter @GManFromHeck. He's thought about keeping a wax figure of himself, just in case, for situations like this.