Bat Signal

Issue 250 – “Batman’s Super-Enemy”

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Last week I got pretty lucky for my first installment of this series. Batman faked his death to beat up some thugs. Pretty good comic. This week though…not as good. Which is weird, since I happened to pull Issue 250, which you would think would be a big, special issue. I don’t know, maybe back in the 50s things were different, but today a nice round number 250 would be celebrated, not relegated to a weird story with some one-hit-wonder villain.

But enough stalling, let’s get to this weird comic. It starts off with a weird looking guy named John Stannar running through the woods, trying to escape from Batman. The setup kind of feels like I should know who Stannar is, but I’m not sure, because some research I had to do later said that this was his one and only appearance. Anyway, Stannar is running through the woods, and comes across a downed alien spaceship. He doesn’t really find this that odd, and start poking around in it, especially after a recorded voice starts telling him that it’s full of cool inventions that aliens sent down to better Earth. But Stannar ignores that nonsense and just steals the gadgets, getting really excited about the one that the recording tells him is a “weapon of pure destruction.” Stannar loads up the gadgets and uses the first one, a machine that will paralyze anyone for an hour, and carjacks some dude driving around. He steals the car and drives off to Gotham, while Batman and Robin find the guy while flying around in their plane. Batman finds the UFO too, and listens to the recording, and once he realizes the gadgets have all been stolen by Stennar, he and Robin race away. But Stennar was waiting for them, and uses the paralyzing ray on them as they fly their plane, hoping it will cause them to crash. But luckily Batman turned on an auto-pilot, so they’re fine.

Stannar then uses a device that will amplify his strength to ridiculous proportions, but only for a few minutes before it needs to recharge. He uses it to break into a prison and free some goons, which draws the attention of Batman and Robin again. But he’s able to throw a damn car at them, which is a pretty good distraction. So Stannar and his goons run off again, and Batman and Robin begin planning what to do next time Stannar shows up. And wouldn’t you know it, another opportunity for Stennar to commit crime shows up when it’s announced that a country singer named Sonny Sims is being given a platinum record, so Batman and Robin head to the ceremony, and just ominously stand behind the guy while he gets his record, waiting for Stannar to show up. But they weren’t planning on another invention called “four-dimensional tongs,” which go through the wall and steal the record. Sure, why not. So Batman and Robin race out, and as Stannar gets ready to use that paralyzing ray again, this happens:

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Damn straight Batman was just able to figure out that copper can mess with the ray, and then make him and Robin some giant copper shields! This makes Stannar panic, so he and his goons just peel out of there, and plan their next heist. Which uses two more inventions, one that makes anything weight nothing, and a magnet that can attract any type of metal. So they use that by removing the gravity from a bank, so it just float there, and then use the magnet to draw all of the gold out. Which isn’t exactly a very subtle plan, so it drawn Batman, Robin, and their crazy copper shields out immediately. Stannar gets all mad that Batman is cheating by using the shield, so he uses his strength-amplifier to pick up a light-pole and try to smash Batman with that. Luckily Batman is able to dodge the light-pole until the device runs out of juice, and Stennar runs away again, after threatening Batman with that device of ultimate destruction from earlier. So they hop in the Batmobile and chase after him, until he ends up in the country outside Gotham. And when Batman confronts Stannar, he takes out the ultimate destructor, and brandishes it at Batman, who has gotten super cocky, because he figured out what the gizmo actually does. Apparently it doesn’t cause destruction, it destroys the other gadgets, because that makes sense. Stennar uses it, breaks all of his other toys, and Batman and Robin arrest him.

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And that’s pretty much it. That’s the story that they decided to put in Detective Comics #250. Not that good. Stannar was a very boring villain, and it was basically just an excuse to cram as many weird little inventions as they could. And Batman just bests them all. There’s no real detective work going on here, Stannar just uses alien stuff to commit huge, obvious crimes, and Batman stops him. There’s not much to this story, and Batman and Robin don’t even really do that much except chase the guy around. And the other stories in the issue weren’t much better. We had some story about people trying to make a TV show, and a boring story about the Martian Manhunter. Just an odd effort all around. The most interesting thing about this comic is that I really can’t find out who made it. Nowhere in the issue does it list a writer or artist, and when I check places like the DC Wiki or Comic Vine, not much comes up. There are some names associated with the issue, but it’s not really clear if they did this specific story, or one of the other back-ups. I think this was kind of standard at the time, DC didn’t think anyone cared who made the comics, it’s just kind of strange to me that I can’t figure who wrote this boring little story. The mystery of the author was kind of more interesting than anything that happened in the story.

Detective Comics #250 was written by Dave Wood (maybe?) and drawn by Sheldon Moldoff (I think?), 1957.

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