Batman 73
Batman #73
Publication Information
Published October/November 1952
Executive Editor Whitney Ellsworth
Cover Artist(s) Dick Sprang
Writer(s) David Reed
Inker(s) Charles Paris
Letterer(s) None
Editor(s) Whitney Ellsworth
Alternate Covers

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Batman #73 is an American comic book published by DC comics, released in Fall of 1952.

"The Joker's Utility Belt!"Edit


The Joker and his men invade a museum one night, intending to rob it of its newly-acquired jewel collection, but just as he nears the display room, Batman and Robin arrive. A fierce battle ensues, during which the Joker encounters a stroke of luck - one of the paintings, dislodged, falls and hits Batman squarely on the head, stunning him for long enough for the Joker and his men to take the Dynamic Duo captive. Unfortunately, he fails to account for Batman's utility belt, and pays dearly when the Caped Crusader hurls a series of knockout gas pellets. Though Joker's men are captured, the Clown Prince of Crime himself manages to retreat back to his hideout and meet with the rest of his gang.

Furious at how Batman's utility belt has interrupted yet another one of his operations, the Joker decides to one-up the Dark Knight by creating his own utility belt. A few days later, the belt is complete, and is immediately put to the test when Gotham's other two top crime bosses ambush the Joker. By using special pellets stored inside the belt that create realistic-looking toy snakes when heated, the Joker is able to escape, and immediately turns the tables. The next night, the belt comes through once again when the Joker is cornered by police at an opera that he plans to rob. When one of the policemen attempts to cuff him, he is able to slip out a Joy Buzzer and take the policeman by surprise, allowing him and his men to escape.

Batman and Robin arrive too late to chase the Joker, but are able to learn the details of the event regardless. Meanwhile, the Joker's utility belt creates even more trouble around Gotham. He uses the sneezing powder capsules inside to deter a millionaire's watchdogs, a water-squirting police badge to escape a policeman that caught him, and a handful of Mexican Jumping Beans to divert the police. Soon, news of his utility belt is plastered across every newspaper in Gotham, and in the meantime, Batman and Robin predict the Joker's next target - the studio of a professor named J.J. Laughwell, recently returned from an African expedition with a collection of priceless masks.

The Dynamic Duo are proven right the minute they set foot into the studio, and the two groups quickly engage in a brawl. Suddenly, however, the Joker and his men retreat, and as Batman attempts to stop them, every gadget in his utility belt suddenly goes wrong - his knockout gas pellets produce enormous flowers, his smoke pellets produce mocking flags, and his flashlight produces a jack-in-the-box. Batman soon figures out that during the fight, the Joker had slipped a clever imitation utility belt over his real one, holding useless joke gadgets, but he is too late - the Joker and his men have already fled. It is not a complete victory for the Clown Prince of Crime, however, as he had failed to steal anything.

A few days later, the Joker finally reveals the purpose of an ordinary-looking cork inside his utility belt (which he had repeatedly stated would spell the end of Batman and Robin). Tomorrow, Batman is scheduled to launch a new steamship (the S.S. Gotham), and to do so, will need to slam a bottle of champagne against the hull. The Joker intends to swap the cork of the champagne bottle (kept in the office of the Gotham Steamship Company) with the cork from his utility belt, which will release a cloud of paralyzing gas when the bottle is smashed. Under the cover of night, he and his men successfully carry out this action.

The next morning, Batman is about to launch the ship, but notes that the cork of the bottle looks suspiciously colorful for a sixteen-year-old bottle of champagne. Not wanting to take chances, Robin gets another bottle, and the launching is completed without any incident. For a minute, it appears as if the Joker's plan has failed, but in the next instant, a woman from the audience grabs the original bottle and smashes it against the hull as well, proclaiming that "I want to have fun, too!"

Caught completely off guard, Batman and Robin are helpless as the Joker and his men kidnap them and bring them to their hideout. Here, the Joker has prepared a special deathtrap for them - a conveyer belt that leads straight into a furnace. Robin is then placed onto the belt, and forced to run with all his might to prevent from being dragged into the flames. Batman, on the sidelines, is able to save Robin by slipping his hand into Joker's utility belt and stealing several snake pellets, then tossing them into the motor of the conveyor belt. Produced by the heat of the motor, the toy snakes clog the gears and allow Robin to jump off of the belt.

Batman then grabs the Joker's utility belt and uses it against the Joker and his men, disorienting them with the sneezing and itching powder capsules inside of it. Robin, meanwhile, blinds the Joker with the water-squirting police badge (now filled with a cup of oil from the conveyor belt). To cap off the battle, Batman is able to loosen the cover of the conveyor belt, using it to tie up the Joker and his men and putting an end to the fight. A few hours later, Joker is seen once again inside Commissioner Gordon's office, defeated. This time around, however, a special fate awaits him - he has just been made foreman at the belt factory in prison.

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