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Batman 16
Batman #16
Publication Information
Published April 1943
Executive Editor Whitney Ellsworth
Cover Artist(s) Jerry Robinson; Bob Kane (Inside art)
Writer(s) Don Cameron
Inker(s) Jerry Robinson
Letterer(s) None
Editor(s) Whitney Ellsworth
Alternate Covers


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Batman #15
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Batman #17
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Batman #16 is an American comic book, published by DC comics in April of 1943.

"The Joker Reforms!"Edit

SynopsisEdit

The story begins in a small town called "Parr Corners", somewhere in the Ozark Mountains in Arizona. A mysterious man, described as a "tall, travel-worn wayfarer", is walking around looking for the police chief. He is directed to Constable Jeb Johnson, in the middle of a card game, and asks if he can spare a minute. Subsequently, he dumps an enormous amount of diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and pearls out of his traveling bag. The traveler is then revealed to be The Joker, but he refers to himself as "Ed Smith".

It is here that the story cuts back to Gotham City to show why The Joker is surrendering loot to the police, as well as how he got to Parr Corners in the first place. The time is the evening before, and The Joker and his men (named Nitro, Sparky, and Kite) have just finished robbing a jewelry store when they are confronted by Batman and Robin. The Dynamic Duo are on the verge of defeating The Joker's gang yet again, but the Crime Clown throws an ammonia bomb into the fray, creating a blinding cloud of gas that allows him and his men to escape. In all the confusion, however, a scrap of paper from one of them is left behind.

The next morning, The Joker and his men are flying in a biplane headed for the west. The four gloat over their victory, but all of a sudden, the plane's engine begins to sputter. Realizing that they are about to crash on the mountains that they are flying over, the three henchmen parachute out of the plane while The Joker stays behind to "keep it steady". As soon as the three are out, however, The Joker gleefully reveals that he intends to keep the plane aloft and fly off with the loot so that he will not have to split it with his men.

Unfortunately, the plane is in worse shape than he had thought, and indeed crashes in the mountains. Miraculously, The Joker is tossed out of the plane as it crashes and burns, and is relatively unharmed. Hours later, he comes to, but with no memory of who he is. He finds the loot, as well as a newspaper detailing the robbery (which he and his gang had been reading moments before) in the plane's ruins, and comes to the conclusion that "Joker" had died in the crash. Subsequently, he decides to turn the gems over to the local authorities.

The story then cuts back to the present, showing Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson inside Wayne Manor discussing their next move. Bruce states that the jewelry store robbery had all the markings of one final crime to top off all of Joker's previous crimes, so it is entirely possible that the Ace of Knaves has left the state. The only clue that the Dynamic Duo have is the scrap of paper found at the scene of the robbery, upon which is written "Joe Kerswag - Parr Corners". The two then get into costume as Batman and Robin, and head for Parr Corners in the Batplane.

Meanwhile, The Joker's three henchmen are seen on the outskirts of Parr Corners, discussing whether The Joker perished in the plane crash. As they enter Parr Corners, they see the townsfolk holding a celebration for the amnesiac Joker, or "Ed Smith", as his bringing in the jewels is sure to make the little town famous. The three correctly guess the jewels are from the robbery, and plan to steal them back. They are treated to a real shock, however, when they see for their own eyes that "Ed Smith" is The Joker himself.

Nitro is furious, believing that The Joker had betrayed them, but Sparky and Kite convince him that The Joker must be planning something if he's pretending to be an upstanding citizen. The three decide to stay at Parr Corners, though Nitro is still quite suspicious. That very night, Batman and Robin arrive at Parr Corners, and are informed that someone had found the jewels stolen by The Joker. They then meet with Constable Johnson, who states that "Ed Smith", the one who had found the jewels, believes that Joker had died in the plane crash.

Batman and Robin decide to meet "Ed Smith" with their own eyes, and are just as shocked as Nitro, Sparky, and Kite when they see who it really is. Batman, however, refrains from expressing his surprise, stating to Robin later that he wishes to find out what Joker is up to. In addition, he also wishes to recover the loot that The Joker had gained from his previous crimes. "Smith" decides to retire to the hotel for the night, and the Caped Crusaders decide to accompany him there. From a nearby building, however, Nitro, Sparky, and Kite see them and believe that the two have captured their boss.

The three spring into action, intending to "rescue" Joker from the Dynamic Duo. To their surprise, however, Joker fights them alongside Batman and Robin, and drives them off. Now, all three believe that Joker has betrayed them, while Batman expresses further confusion as to why Joker saved his life. Robin, however, insists that Joker is merely playing another one of his tricks. The two leave the Joker alone, deciding to wait and see if he drops any hints about the location of the rest of the loot that he had acquired from his crimes.

In the meantime, "Smith" suffers a fitful sleep, dreaming about the location of the rest of his loot. He awakens early in the morning, and decides to see if his dream was true - he had dreamed about the rest of the money being inside boxes and crates in the local express office. He enters the office, but is watched by Nitro, Sparky, and Kite, who believe that he intends to rob it by himself. The three decide to "count themselves in", and barge into the office as well, demanding that Joker tell them where the rest of his loot is. Sparky pistol-whips Joker unconscious, planning to take him somewhere more suited to an interrogation.

At that very moment, Batman has figured out the true meaning of the scrap of paper that had lead him and Robin to Parr Corners in the first place. They dash to the express office, and find Nitro, Sparky, and Kite standing over the Joker's unconscious body. A quick scuffle ensues, from which the Dynamic Duo emerge victorious as usual. While they are tying the three henchmen up, however, The Joker regains consciousness, and worse, his memory. The Ace of Knaves picks up a gun on the ground and points it at the Dynamic Duo, and the two parties both realize that Joker had been suffering from amnesia the entire time. Joker cackles, relieved to be "sane and sensible once more", and states that he will kill the two and leave his men to the authorities.

Before he can shoot, however, Robin sends a stack of crates toppling onto him, crushing the Crime Clown beneath. The crates are revealed to be full of money - the loot from Joker's previous crimes, no doubt. Furthermore, all of the crates are addressed to "Joe Kerswag", the name on the scrap of paper, and simply another way of spelling "Joker Swag". The two inform Constable Johnson of everything, who is shocked, but nonetheless plans a party to celebrate Joker's capture. The next morning, Batman and Robin leave for Gotham in the Batplane with the four criminals aboard, discussing Joker's brief "reform". Batman states that there is some good in the most evil of men, and in The Joker's case, it took something as big as a plane crash to jar it loose.

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