Bat Signal

Issue 116 – “The Rescue of Robin Hood”

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Hi there folks, and welcome back to another week of Bat Signal, my ongoing quest to read random issues of Detective Comics. And let me tell you, we have a silly one today. By now I’ve learned to be wary of the covers from the Golden Age, because more often than not they have next to nothing to do with the contents of the book. So I went into this issue with a grain of salt, figuring that I wasn’t actually going to get Robin Hood. But I was wrong! We straight up get a crazy story where Batman and Robin get transported back in time to hang out with Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Because apparently in the world of Batman, Robin Hood was a real dude. But that’s really neither here nor there. Let’s dive on in and start talking about this goofy issue, which is basically just The Adventures of Robin Hood with Batman tossed in.

It actually didn’t take long for me to realize that this issue was going to be completely crazy, and actually feature Batman meeting Robin Hood instead of a crazy person who thought he was Robin Hood, because the issue starts right off with Batman and Robin visiting a familiar face. The crazy hypnotherapist who I’ve previously seen send Batman and Robin back in time to meet Cleopatra! So Bruce and Dick go to visit the guy, and ask him to send the two of them back in time specifically to meet Robin Hood. Which apparently was super easy, because Bruce and Dick are quickly sent back to the 13th Century, where they promptly put on their costumes and creep up on some tax collectors who are buy taking advantage of some serfs. Batman obviously can’t sit back and let people be taken advantage of, so he comes strolling out of the forest in his costume, and tries to talk the collectors into leaving the serfs alone. They obviously refuse, and Batman does the only thing he can.

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And as they begin beating up the Sheriff of Nottingham and his collectors they get a sudden visitor. Robin Hood and Friar Tuck come leaping out of the forest and help the Dynamic Duo beat up the Sheriff’s thugs. Especially when the Sheriff tries to threaten Maid Marianne, who is there for some reason. They tussle for a bit, and succeed in scaring off the Sheriff and his goons, which obviously earns them the respect of Robin and his Merry Men. So Batman and Robin are invited back to the Merry Men’s home base, and they go hang out and have a good time, chatting with this mystical idol who asks them to help him take down the Sheriff of Nottingham once and for all.

Which obviously means that it’s time for the archery contest. Because this issue is just the Robin Hood legend, so that’s the next thing we need to deal with. We see the Sheriff of Nottingham come up with the plan to capture Robin Hood with the contest, and start hanging the fliers, which draws the attention of the Merry Men and the Dynamic Duo. Which is a bummer for Batman and Robin, since they’ve seen that movie, and they know that this is a trap. But they can’t tell Robin Hood about his fate, because I guess that would mess with the time-stream or something, so they have to just let it pass. So they start training for the archery contest with the Merry Men, while Robin actually gets lessons from Robin Hood and becomes a pretty proficient But the contest approaches quickly, and the gang heads out to it, and things transpire just like they usually do, with Robin Hood completely kicking everyone’s ass.

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Once Robin Hood is done show-boating though we get the next stage of the story, where the Sheriff of Nottingham drops the pretense and tries to arrest them. But this time Batman is also arrested, and he and Robin Hood are dragged off to the dungeons of Nottingham. Robin and the Merry Men flee from the contest, and head back to their base to plan their assault on the castle, and wait for word from Batman and Robin hood. Which comes quicker than they were thinking, because Batman is able to break out of the dungeon incredibly fast. He has some acid on his utility belt that quickly eats through the irons that are holding him and Robin Hood, and once that’s done they easily sneak out of the dungeon and Batman is able to radio to Robin, telling him and the Merry Men to strike at the castle.

The Merry Men are a little baffled at the witchcraft involved in Robin’s radio, but he just kind of blows them off and convinces them to help storm the castle with him. So Robin and the Merry Men head to the castle and meet up with Batman and Robin Hood, who help the crew sneak into the castle. And once they’ve regrouped they head right into the great hall and start fighting. The Merry Men and the Dynamic Duo fight with the Sheriff and his goons, which obviously is going to end with the Sheriff being conquered. This apparently solves the issue of King John, and everyone starts to celebrate that Robin Hood has saved everyone. Which means it’s time for Batman and Robin to mosey on back to their own time. Which is a little odd, because at least when they went to visit Cleopatra they have an insane reason to do so, this time I guess they just wanted to go hang out with Robin Hood. And mission accomplished.

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I found myself comparing this issue a whole lot to the Cleopatra issue that I’ve already covered, which makes a lot of sense, although maybe isn’t that fair. Because this wasn’t as fun as Batman and Robin going back to Ancient Egypt and solving crimes with the distant ancestor of Commissioner Gordon. This was just Robin Hood with Batman. Which is still a pretty fun idea, but there’s just something a little boring about the fact that it didn’t do anything different with the story. It plays out exactly like the traditional Robin Hood myth, especially like the Errol Flynn Adventures of Robin Hood classic that’s basically the blueprint of all Robin Hood stories. Which means that it’s pretty fun, it just would have been more fun if things went off that course, and it did something a little different. But oh well, they can’t all be absolutely insane, just partially insane. And apparently Batman and Robin going back in time through hypnosis is a recurring plot point in these old issues, and I look forward to seeing more and more of these insane adventures.

“The Rescue of Robin Hood” was written by Don Cameron and penciled by Win Mortimer, 1946.

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