World’s Finest Comics #155 “Exit Batman-- Enter Nightman!” (part 2 of 2)
Part II of the story picks up with Batman and Robin closely examining the films created by the all-seeing, all-knowing Soup Bowl, and zooming in on a still frame of Nightman.
Exactly. Because when you’re trying to deduce the identity of a mysterious crime fighter, the absolute first thing you must do is rule out the possibility of him being a robot. Hey, Batman didn’t get to be the world’s greatest detective for nothing.
And really, Nightman, what’s up with those wide open pores? Have you ever thought about switching to a better facial scrub? Also, you really should be exfoliating at least twice a week. Next up on Beauty Tips from the Agony Booth: The wonders of tea tree oil!
Dammit, Robin, you forgot the most important clue, which is that he’s not a robot! No wonder Batman was willing to lose you in a bar bet.
Yes, clearly the only way to process this much information, as in three whole clues, is to feed it into a “computer card-machine”.
Also, I love how coming up with three clues completely wore Robin out. Correction: Writing down the three clues that Batman came up with completely wore Robin out. It’s good to see Robin keeping up his status as the most useless character in the DC universe.
After Batman feeds all the clues into his room-sized “computer”, he gets back the following trading cards.
See, these are supposedly the only guys in the world who fit Batman’s detailed criteria. That’s right, there are only three lawmen in the entire world who are right handed, have dark hair (or used to, in the case of Mr. Lonn, I assume), and a scientific education. I’m not so sure I buy this, but you know what? It doesn’t matter, because I’m not even going to pretend any of these guys are actually Nightman, or that this isn’t just an excuse to send Batman off on a wild goose chase and fill up pages. Um… spoiler alert?
Oh no. Guess what? Batman actually ran his clues through eHarmony’s Compatibility Matching System™ by accident. He now has to go out on dates with all three of these men.
Batman is exhausted, but determined to track the men down. Before he can drive off and plow the Batmobile into a tree in an Ambien-induced stupor, Robin convinces him to get some sleep instead (plot point!). And then Robin actually… tucks him in?
Yes, don’t worry, Bruce. Dick will be sending out the Bat-Eye again. And once you’re sound asleep, he’ll be pulling down your pajama bottoms and sending out the One-Eye. As in, his one-eyed trouser snake. As in, his penis. If you know what I mean.
We then head down to the pier, where “that priceless Laocoon statue” is being loaded onto a truck while Superman stands around idly watching. But then…
Well, thanks a lot, Superman. The guy’s probably got his first honest job in months, and you just had to come along and rat him out. What a dick!
Actually, it turns out the guy is not so honest after all, because he has green Kryptonite stashed away in his truck. Or… does he? No, he does not.
Good work, Nightman! Who the hell needs Batman, anyway? You know, now that we’re free to be totally honest, I always thought Batman was kind of a douchebag. Hey… what’s that soup bowl circling around over my head? Weird. Good thing that’s not the Bat-Eye, otherwise I’d be getting my ass kicked by Batman by the end of this article.
The next morning, after Batman wakes up, he learns that Superman and Nightman thwarted yet another crime caper without him. And it all happened while he was asleep. Not that that has anything to do with Nightman’s identity or anything. After moping around a bit, Batman is even more determined to figure out who Nightman is. He starts off by paying a visit to the guy in the first trading card: “Ace” Lanner, insurance investigator extraordinaire!
Yeah, look, it’s not that Batman doesn’t trust your word, but… you do work for a big insurance company. And you don’t appear to know your top investigator’s actual first name. After confirming that “Ace” is indeed in prison and therefore cannot be Nightman, Batman flies his Batplane down to Mexico to investigate the next lead, one “Emilio Ruyez”.
And guess what? Batman shows up right in the middle of Carnival. I know, what are the odds? Actually, I’m pretty sure Carnival goes on perpetually, year-round, but then again, I learned everything I know about Mexico from dopey comic books.
Wait ‘til Batman finds out that those aren’t gun butts. The truth is, Mexicans just have really big cocks. Boy, won’t his face be red!
Emilio Ruyez conveniently shows up right where Batman is standing. The two crooks pull their guns, but Batman is there to take them out, and officially attain vigilante status in two different countries.
“I believe you met El Presidente! He was at your special Tyrants’ Luncheon last week!”
With this lead crossed off his list, Batman heads to London where “the fame of Batman admits him to the nerve-center of the British secret-service!” Well, look at you, Batman, using your fame to get past the velvet ropes. Actually, this is a big step up from the way Batman typically uses his fame, to get free lap dances.
Batman learns that Jay Lonn is referred to as “Number 009”, and finds out why he couldn’t possibly be Nightman.
Are you getting it now? British Secret Service Agent “Jay Lonn”? Agent “009”? Surrounded by busty nurses?
Batman should have known better. James Bond would never dress up like an owl to protect a sculpture. Dressing up as a circus clown to defuse a nuke, however, is a totally different story.
Having miraculously flown from Gotham City to Mexico to London and back in one day, Batman returns to the Batcave completely exhausted. He’s convinced that Nightman must be a lawman who isn’t in their file.
…tuck me in again? Hold me in your arms and rock me to sleep? Give me a happy ending to really help me unwind?
Batman goes to sleep, and the next panel shows Nightman coincidentally on the prowl again. Robin watches Nightman bust some crooks, and notes that “Batman’s theory about his identity is correct!”
And with that, it’s time for all the despots of the world to reconvene, to see if Batman will have to retire from crime-fighting for more ill-defined reasons than Sarah Palin retired from government.
So let me see if I’ve got this straight: Batman wants to engage in a physical “battle” with another superhero, and whoever wins this fistfight will then get to be Superman’s crime-fighting partner from now on. Do I have that right?
Before seeing this panel, I would have guessed that Superman’s response would be along the lines of, “What are you, high?” But all Superman can say is, “I guess so!” He’s not all that emotionally invested in being Batman’s partner, is he?
And with that, we get a full page of Batman and Nightman slugging it out.
And that takes us to a familiar scene…
Yay! The cover came true! Batman is unconscious on the floor with possible head trauma, and all Superman cares about is the ownership of a worthless plaque! It’s moments like this that make writing about stupid comics from the 1960s totally worth it.
But then Superman quickly deduces that the guy is “not the real Nightman”. Gordon wonders how he could possibly know that.
Yes, “Nightman” is really a robot. Believe me, I know exactly what you’re saying to yourself right now. “B-but Nightman in the films had wide open skin pores, and therefore could not possibly be a robot!” And here you thought the skin pores thing was just a random, pointless detail.
Batman gets up and explains that it was all a ruse. When he figured out the true identity of Nightman, he programmed his “Batman-Robot” for “a fake fight”. Yes, Batman has a robot that can perfectly mimic human movement and speech patterns. But that’s not the part we’re supposed to be amazed by. You see, Batman eventually figured out that the only lawman who fit the description of Nightman was… Batman himself.
Hang on. It gets even more insane.
Yikes. Batman looks kinda pissed there. But I’m pretty sure I know which puzzle Superman is referring to, because it actually played out in the pages of Action Comics #241, in another story I briefly considered writing about. Trust me, if you saw the way Batman’s “puzzle” in that issue deeply traumatized Superman and made him think he’d have to leave Earth forever, you’d understand why Superman felt compelled to do something this fucked up.
So, how did Superman pull it off, exactly? Here’s a quick explanation in three easy panels.
And there you have it. Nightman was really a somnambulant, hypnotized version of Batman. Let’s explore the stupidity of this in more detail, shall we?
So Superman, in the name of playing a little game with Batman, hypnotized him against his will and induced a new split personality in his psyche. This personality came alive while Batman was sleeping, so evidently this is why Batman was always exhausted. He basically had his own Tyler Durden.
It’s really amazing to consider just how much Superman was endangering Batman’s life here, by letting him go out each night and fight criminals without getting any sleep at all. A lack of sleep generally dulls a person’s mental acuity and slows down reflexes, and I’m pretty sure Batman’s life depends on both of these things on a regular basis.
And god only knows what crazy things Batman might have done while he was essentially sleepwalking around town in this invented “Nightman” persona. Given Batman’s strength and his collection of assorted weaponry, I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to suggest Superman was endangering the lives of everyone in Gotham City.
So based on just that much, this was clearly a shitty thing for Superman to do. But apparently this wasn’t evil enough for Superman, because he proceeded to make Batman feel like a total failure at his crime fighting career (a career that Batman took on partly to avenge his murdered parents, mind you) and make Batman think he’d have to retire because of it.
And he did it all for the sake of coming up with a really challenging puzzle.
Honestly, have any of Batman’s villains ever done anything this fucked up to him?
Ah hah hah! Good times, good times. Even Robin thinks it’s riotously funny that he was sleeping under the same roof as a guy with an undiagnosed multiple personality disorder.
Of course, if this were a storyline happening in the comics today, the “Nightman” persona would be a depraved, bloodthirsty vigilante who went around brutally slaughtering criminals while Batman slept. That… actually would have improved this story a lot, to be honest.
And that about does it for this installment of Bizarre Silver Age Comics! For my next installment, I hope to find a story that does not feature Superman being a dick. But let’s face it, that’s probably just a crazy pipe dream.