TAC Table of Contents
1955 “Adventure Of Superman”
Story by Len Carparelli
Clark was tired.
He slowly entered his office at the Daily Planet building, removed his hat, but strangely, still felt the after-effects of ‘The Deadly Rock’- kryptonite- that he’d been exposed to the night before. Funny, though, his weakness usually passed quickly once he was out of the range of kryptonite – and, he thought, how unusual that, through a strange twist of fate, his good friend Gary Allen also felt the effects of the kryptonite! Although weakened and comatose, Gary actually gained all of Superman’s powers while under the influence of the deadly radiation. Naturally, Clark had assumed that this unusual power/ weakness transfer between himself and Gary had been temporary and all was restored to normal. Yet, Clark still was not 100% himself – Superman- since that deadly episode.
As Clark sat down, he slowly put his feet up on his desk and leaned back in his chair, hoping for a nice, quiet afternoon where he might even be able to indulge himself in a short nap! But just as soon as he shut his eyes- no such luck.
“KENT!” “Great Caesar’s Ghost! “Where the devil is Kent…? “Somedays I think I might able to find Superman a lot easier than I can find Kent!” “Kent!” Planet editor Perry White continued to bellow, but this time, focusing his attention on his beleaguered cub reporter, Jimmy Olsen. “Olsen! “Great Caesar’s Ghost, will you get out of my office already and find Kent.. “And don’t come back until you do!”
“And don’t call me Chief!!”
“Jeepers… uh, yes sir, Chief….”I…I mean Mr. WHITE… I’ll get him, sir…” A sheepish Jimmy Olsen ran out of Perry White’s office, turned around the corner at full speed until he practically bumped head-on right into Clark Kent.
“Well!” exclaimed Clark, seeing that Jimmy was about to fall flat on his face - head first! Almost instantaneously Clark grabbed him gently by the collar to avoid the inevitable collision. “Say, what’s the hurry there, Jimmy?”
“Gosh,” Mr. Kent… “Jeepers… “the Chief… oh… “I mean, Mr. White is looking for you, and golly, he’s so mad that… he…he…..”
Clark playfully cut him off.
“Relax, Jimmy, I know, I heard him, and I’m on my way to his office right now!”
“You heard him? “But gee, Mr. Kent, his office is so far away from yours that it… it, well it would be impossible …unless…”
Clark quickly cut him off, again, carefully adjusting his eyeglasses.
“Oh. . . “Uh, well now, Jimmy, did you ever stop to think that maybe the Chief accidentally left his intercom on…. “And that I just so happened to adjust mine… after hearing him yell?”
Jimmy started to think, then pointed at Clark, with a wry grin. “Or maybe you’ve got super-hearing!”
“That’ll be enough of that, Junior, now let’s go see what the Chief wants!”
Clark walked in first. Jimmy cautiously stayed a healthy distance behind Clark, not wanting to incur Perry White’s wrath once again. Mr. White’s office was occupied by several people Clark did not know, except of course, for Lois Lane and Chief Inspector William J. Henderson.
“You bellow…. uh, you called for me, Chief?”
”Oh, yes, Kent. “Sit down. “Of course, you know Miss Lane, and Inspector Henderson. “
Perry White, speaking from his desk, casually glanced at several notes as though he was actually reading. Then removing his eyeglasses, White continued. “Kent, I called you here as this is a matter of dire importance concerning Metropolis and one of her sister cities. “It’s also a matter of utmost secrecy and cannot go any further than this office.” White then once again turned his attention to young Jimmy Olsen. “And that goes double for you, Mr. J. Blabbermouth Olsen!”
Jimmy just gulped and mumbled a “yes sir,” while Mr. White’s guests only showed slight bemusement at Perry’s roughshod treatment of his cub reporter.
“Now, what’s this all about, Chief,” Clark asked, soberly, casually noting that one of Mr. White’s guests bore a very striking resemblance to his good friend Gary Allen.
“Kent,” as White replaced his glasses, he continued, “This is Police Commissioner James Gordon of Gotham City, and this young gentleman here is millionaire philanthropist Bruce Wayne, Gotham City’s number one citizen.”
“Jeepers, just like Superman!” Jimmy blurted out.
Wayne, not unlike Gary Allen, was a well-dressed, good looking young man about Clark’s age. He was very gentle and soft-spoken, and responded kindly to Jimmy with just a bit of a smirk, as though he just might be hiding something, a gesture which was not lost on Clark Kent. “Well, not quite, Jimmy,” Wayne replied, acknowledging the young cub reporter’s enthusiasm with a smile, “But I try to do what I can.”
“If young Olsen here is just about quite finished, perhaps he’ll graciously allow me to continue,” Perry snapped, clearly annoyed, while glaring at poor Jimmy Olsen.
“Kent, both Commissioner Gordon and Mr. Wayne have top-secret information from the Gotham City police department that can be devastating to Superman. “Naturally, since you’re the person who usually is able to contact Superman, I arranged for this meeting. “Commissioner?”
Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon then took the floor.
“Mr. Kent, through our underworld spies and contacts, we’ve learned that there is a deadly and powerful crime syndicate that has formed in Gotham City for the express purpose of destroying Superman- and once that has been accomplished, they intend to spread their deadly forces- first, throughout Gotham City, then to Metropolis, Central City, Coast City and more. “They feel that once Superman has been eliminated, it’s only a matter of time before they can take over completely.
“They’re organized, smart, thorough, and ruthless. “In all my years at the Gotham City Police Department, quite frankly I’ve never seen anything like it. “They’ll stop at nothing, and I’ve personally seen what they can do. “Mr. Wayne here, has generously pledged all the additional funding we might need to stop them dead in their tracks.”
Clark interjected, “But Commissioner, of course you understand that Superman is completely invulnerable to all harm, and it would be impossible…”
Gordon cut him off. “Mr. Kent, our underground sources have informed us about Superman’s one weakness – kryptonite- and we’re fairly certain that they either have the kryptonite, or they’ve made arrangements to get it. “They seem entirely too confident and quite frankly, although the news we’re getting in Gotham City is extremely reliable – it is very disconcerting.”
Clark was taken aback at the mere mention of kryptonite, a secret he thought that only a select few had known about. His reaction was not lost on Bruce Wayne.
“What’s the matter, Kent?’ Wayne asked, rather confidently. “You look so worried. “Relax, we’ve found out that kryptonite is harmless to ordinary humans like you and me.”
“Unless of course, you’re Superman!”
“Him? “Superman?” Lois Lane laughed. “Half the time, Clark is afraid of his own shadow!”
“Oh, I’m sure Clark can be capable enough on his own.” “Right, Kent?” Wayne perceptibly noticed.
Bruce Wayne’s remarks were now even more disturbing than anything he’d heard in the entire meeting. Clark had always thought, as Superman, his detective skills were second to none, but this Bruce Wayne was as sharp as an ice pick, and Clark knew he needed to watch his step. It wouldn’t be so easy to fool him with his double identity as it was with Perry, Lois and Jimmy.
“Now JUST a minute, here, what are you driving at, Wayne?” Clark demanded. “Do you actually think that I’m Superman?”
Before Bruce Wayne could answer, Perry White jumped in.
“Great Caesar’s Ghost! “Now that’s just about enough of this tomfoolery, we’re getting off the track! “There’s, well, as much a chance of Kent, here, being Superman as, oh, oh, say, Mr. Wayne being the Batman!”
Bill Henderson, quiet until now, spoke up. “Commissioner Gordon, we’re not that familiar with Gotham City, and their police methods, but, now that Mr. White has mentioned it, what about Gotham City’s own crime-fighting champion – Batman- don’t you think we should enlist his help as well?”
Before Gordon could answer, Bruce Wayne jumped in.
“Batman? That over-rated lunatic who runs around in a circus outfit and a hooded cape?” After a few glaring looks from Lois Lane, now realizing how trivial he sounded, Wayne quickly corrected himself. “Uh, no offense to Superman, of course, but the Batman has no super powers, and by risking his life every night, I believe he poses a serious danger to our own competent and qualified police officers!”
“Bruce,” Commissioner Gordon piped in, “the Gotham City Police Department appreciates Batman’s help, and he’s solved several difficult cases for us that the Police were unable to crack on their own. Like Superman, we in Gotham City consider Batman a tremendous asset to law and order.”
“Hmmph,” Wayne mumbled.
Now it was Clark’s turn. “Maybe ‘thou doth protest too much’, Wayne,” Clark said, with a sly smirk. “Say, maybe the Chief is right. “Maybe YOU’RE the Batman!”
Gordon quickly corrected Clark. “Mr. Kent, as much as we appreciate Mr. Wayne’s help and generosity, believe me, I’ve known Wayne all his life. “He’s a wonderful fellow. “But he’s no Batman!”
Although Gordon shrugged off Kent’s remarks, Clark watched Bruce Wayne squirm for only a second; and certainly no one else noted what Clark’s super-senses told him. Wayne’s pulse rate went up, and he began to sweat ever so slightly at the mere mention of the thought that he might actually be the secret identity of Batman.
“Well, now that we’ve uncovered the secret identities of the two most famous crime fighters in the world, maybe we can stop with all this grand foolishness, and get down to business,” Perry White, clearly annoyed once again, gruffly declared, not realizing just how close to the truth he actually was!.
But Perry White did get right down to business. “Kent, your job is to contact Superman,” he continued. “Tell him what we’ve uncovered and have him pay a visit to the Gotham City Police Department. “Henderson, once Kent here has located Superman, maybe between you and Commissioner Gordon, you can devise a plan to ferret out this syndicate. “Find their weakness. “See if you can confiscate any kryptonite before it can harm Superman. “Commissioner, if you think the Batman can help us, perhaps he can work along with Superman to solve this case. “As Mr. Wayne here said, as an ordinary human, Batman should be unaffected by the kryptonite. “Do you have a way of contacting him?”
“Yes,” Gordon replied, “He gave us the ‘Bat-Signal’, a super-bright beacon that can be seen all throughout Gotham City. “He’s usually in touch with us within minutes after we summon him.”
“Good,” Perry said replacing his glasses, now glancing at his desk. “Now if you’d all please excuse me, I’ve got a newspaper to run…”
But before he could finish, Jimmy Olsen chimed in. “Uh, Chief….”
“Yes, yes, yes, what IS it, Olsen?” Perry said, as he reluctantly acknowledged Jimmy.
With a sideways grin, Jimmy continued. “You [gulp] never told me what my job was!”
Perry put his reading glasses on his desk once more, rolled his eyes, and completely exasperated, let out a deep sigh. “Great Caesar’s Ghost, Olsen, will you please tell me, what on earth did I ever do to deserve you?’ “If for just ONCE –just once - you and Miss Lane here could please stay out of trouble, and for goodness sakes, not have to depend on Superman to rescue you, it would probably be the greatest day of my life!”
“And don’t call me Chief!”
Clark, now perched on the edge of White’s desk, also smirked a bit, as he adjusted his own eyeglasses, but that smile quickly faded at Bruce Wayne’s next comment.
“Why, Mr. White, I’d be most happy to watch out for Miss Lane,” Bruce said, “In fact, Miss Lane, if you’re not too busy, why not have dinner with me tonight at one of Gotham City’s finest restaurants?”
“Why Mister Wayne,” Lois perked up with a lovely smile, “that sounds just like a date… and I’d be most happy to accompany you tonight!” Clark, though, was now seething.
Without warning, though, Jimmy blurted out, “Jeepers, uh, me too?”
Both Bruce and Lois looked at each other and smiled, when Bruce broke the ice. “Sure, Jim, of course you can come with us, why, we’ll all have a very nice time.” Bruce laughed, then jokingly touched and patted his wallet pocket. “Why yes, I do believe I can afford it!”
“Besides, there’s plenty of time for Miss Lane and I to go out on our own some night – isn’t that right, Miss Lane?”
For once Lois Lane was caught for words. But not for long. “Well, Clark, when you do finally contact Superman, tell him it looks like he just might have some competition now!”
Clark, doing little to hide his anger, which was not lost on Bruce Wayne, simply grumbled, “I surely will!”
It was Perry White, though, who seemed to have the last word. “Mr. Wayne, if you can just keep young Olsen here out of my hair, and out of trouble, for even the shortest amount of time, you’ll have a friend with me for life.” Bruce chuckled at Mr. White and in a calm, easy going manner, told him not to worry. He gave a wink to Clark, but it was not what Clark wanted to see. Wayne was such an unknown commodity that Clark clearly needed to know more about this unusual man- and- although he was loathe to admit it, even to himself- what his intentions were towards Lois!
After Lois, Jimmy and Bruce Wayne left, Gordon and Henderson filed out, arranging for Kent to contact them for their meeting with Superman. It was also agreed that they would try to have Batman attend the meeting as well.
Once they were alone, Perry looked at his star reporter, who seemed deep in thought, and his tone softened. “Kent, what is it, son, you’re not jealous of Lois and Wayne here, are you?”
“Oh, no. . . no, Chief, it’s just that I….”
“Kent, listen to me,” Perry remanded to Clark, “Remember, son, just when you think you know exactly what a woman is thinking, you have to understand the fact that you really don’t know anything at all!!”
Clark raised an eyebrow at Perry’s odd logic, and muttered, “Oh, uh, yes, thanks Chief…” Clearly, Clark was more concerned about Batman – and the kryptonite.
“Now get out of here, Kent, and find Superman!’ Perry grumbled. “Do you hear me? “Go find him! “Find Superman!”
“I… I’m on my way, Chief,“ Clark said as he bolted out the door of Perry’s office. Once Clark had gone, and he was left alone, Perry White removed his glasses, shook his head, and looked around his office, as he let out another big sigh.
“Great Caesar’s Ghost, has everyone around here gone crazy!!?”
Clark was clearly rattled as he headed home to his Standish Arms apartment that evening. As he entered, he threw his hat onto a marble bust sculpture resting in his foyer, mumbled “Hiya, Sam”, and sat down in his living room. Although he was now feeling stronger, and his super-strength had completely returned, many questions were swimming around in his head, most notably about Bruce Wayne and the Batman. While he’d heard of many reports about this Caped Crusader and his one-man war against crime in Gotham City, his innate curiosity got the better of him as his super-mind tried to piece together all the information he’d learned this day. And Bruce Wayne – this fellow seemed amicable enough, and certainly was on the right side of the law. But there were still too many unanswered questions, and Clark was a man of action. Sitting around was NOT his idea of getting things done, so……
In an instant, Clark stood up and looked around his apartment. Decisively, he ripped off his glasses, tugged at his tie, and within mere moments, it was Superman who made a running leap out the window of Clark’s apartment to fly at full speed into the skies. A blur of red and blue, at first Superman had to steady himself just a bit in flight, but then rocketed through the concrete skyscraper landscape of Metropolis. In a twinkle of an eye, he saw he was approaching his destination: Gotham City!
In less than a few minutes after he’s left Metropolis , the Man of Steel landed in Gotham City only to disappear into a deserted alley and re-emerge shortly thereafter as Clark Kent. Straightening his glasses and his tie, Clark put on his hat and, his hands in his pockets, ambled out into the street, finding himself in front of a very fancy and well-to-do upscale restaurant.
Walking right in, Clark was immediately greeted by the well-dressed, slightly stuffy maître-d.
“I assume you have a reservation, sir,” the host barked, “As we are booked solid for this evening!”
Clark looked around meekly and replied, ‘Oh, uh, no, I’m just meeting some friends….” He was abruptly cut off by a familiar voice.
“Jeepers! Look who’s here! “It’s Mr. Kent! “Mr. Kent! “Over here!” Jimmy Olsen waved at Clark, as he could hardly contain his enthusiasm. Bruce Wayne, however, was not as pleased.
AS Clark approached the table, Lois Lane, as usual, had some snide remarks for Clark Kent. “Well, well, well, whatever happened, Mr. Kent, did you get lost going home, or something?”
Clark removed his hat, holding on to it front of himself as he approached the table, not at all flustered by Lois Lane’s comments. “Well, uh, actually… no, Lois, I was just visiting some relatives here in Gotham City and, well, this sure looked like a nice place to eat, so I thought I’d try it out. What a coincidence, eh?”
“Co-incidence. “Yeah. “Sure,” Lois snapped.
“Golly, Mr. Kent, it’s so great you’re here!” Jimmy was hopeful. Then, he widened his eyes, looked about a bit, and declared, “Hey- maybe Superman might show up tonight too!”
“Well, you just never know where Superman might be at any given time, Jimmy,” Clark replied towards young Olsen with a smile and another adjustment of his eyeglasses.
“I’m not so sure you could afford to dine at this place on a reporter’s salary, Kent, but since you’re here, you might as well join us,” Bruce Wayne chimed in. “Martin,” Wayne called to the maître-d. Obviously he knew everyone here by their first name. “Could you please bring a chair and a complete dining set-up for Mr. Kent, here,” Martin hurriedly obeyed Wayne’s orders. Wayne then turned his attention to Clark.
“Oh, Just a ginger ale for me,” Clark meekly replied, being very careful of his mannerisms around Bruce Wayne. He still did not trust this fellow.
Bruce Wayne swirled the ice-cubes around the glass of his half-filled drink. “Someone once told me never to trust or believe a man who doesn’t drink,” he said, peering intently at Clark, studying him, carefully, as though he were trying to find out more about this strangely mild-mannered fellow. The feeling was mutual. It seems that Bruce Wayne didn’t trust Clark Kent all that much, either.
Clark was on his guard this time, though. He knew Wayne was more than what he presented to the world, and he would not underestimate Wayne’s analytic and detective skills again. That rich, shallow playboy man-about-town pose Wayne had carefully nurtured seemed to be more of an act, and Clark realized that perhaps he and Wayne had more in common than he’d previously thought. There’s more to Wayne than meets the eye, and Clark was going to make sure he found out just what that might be.
“Oh, I don’t think so, Wayne,” Clark replied, as he smiled knowingly at Bruce Wayne. “I only believe in the things that men do.”
Puzzled by Clark’s cryptic remark, Wayne was interrupted by Jimmy Olsen once again.
“Jeepers, Mr. Kent, do think that Superman is actually gonna meet the Batman? “Golly, that’s something I’d sure like to see!”
“Well, Jimmy,” Clark replied, “I’m going to be speaking with Inspector Henderson and Commissioner Gordon to arrange a meeting with Superman at Gotham City Police Headquarters tomorrow. “If Batman decides to show up, well, then, yes, I suppose that they will meet each other.”
“Golly! What a scoop THAT would be! “Right, Miss Lane?” Jimmy’s enthusiasm was infectious.
“Well, Jimmy, if Clark is not asleep at the switch, or if he pulls one of his usual disappearing acts whenever Superman shows up, then you and I will surely get the scoop! “Isn’t that right, Mr. Kent?”
Clark was clearly unnerved by Lois’ remarks, especially with Bruce Wayne present.
“Well, uh, YES, I suppose, Lois, I…” But Clark quickly changed the subject and turned his attentions toward their host, who was intently studying Clark’s every move. “Well, what about it, Mister Wayne? “You've lived in Gotham City your entire life. “What about the Batman? “Will he show up?”
“How should I know, Kent,” Wayne, now clearly annoyed with Clark’s leading and unnerving questions. “As far as I’m concerned, Batman is nothing but a lucky amateur who needlessly risks his life while attempting to do professional police work without a license, background, or anything else! “Why no one even knows who he is behind that hooded cowl! “How can you trust someone like that?”
Lois chimed in. “Bruce, it seems that the Batman is very well liked and respected among the citizens of Gotham City, and Commissioner Gordon said the Police Department has deputized him as well.”
Bruce was adamant. “Maybe so, Lois, but I just don’t like people who run around in masks, claiming to be on the side of the law!”
“After all, Superman doesn’t!”
Then Clark jumped in. “Well, maybe you could help them, Wayne, you studied detective work in college. “Say, maybe you could even teach this Batman a trick or two!” Bruce Wayne was surprised. Kent had clearly done his homework.
But then, Bruce suddenly changed his tone and became very introspective and thoughtful. “Kent, both my parents were killed by a masked mugger when I was a very young boy,” Bruce spoke softly. “And I thought being a policeman might be the answer for me. “I soon found I’m not at all cut out for police or detective work, so instead, I dedicate funding from the Wayne Foundation to help the Gotham City Police department reduce crime in our city. “This Batman character, though, I could do without.”
“Jeepers, “I’m sorry, Mr. Wayne,” Jimmy said.
“Bruce, that has to be so hard,” Lois added.
“Oh, I’ve come to grips with it, in my own way,” Bruce spoke, “And helping the police does give me great satisfaction, even if I can just give them money. “I guess I’m not really a very good detective, and I’d only be in their way.”
Clark soaked in Bruce’s words, finding more about him than he’d thought. His super-hearing also detected Bruce’s pulse rate, which was jumping. He was lying. He WAS a good detective, and Clark’s previous investigation had shown that Bruce had the highest marks in all his college classes, but he never completed a single course. Very strange.
Clark’s thoughts were interrupted by Bruce Wayne. “Well, it is getting late, and I’m sure young Jimmy here needs to get home.”
“Miss Lane, my chauffeur, Alfred, has my personal car parked outside, and he’ll happily give you both a lift back to Metropolis. “Kent, you’re welcome to join them, too. “The restaurant has a personal car service that’ll take me back to Wayne Manor, so don’t worry about me.”
Clark seemed lost in thought.
“Me..? “Oh, uh, I think I’ll just stick around Gotham City for a while, but thanks, Wayne,” Clark replied.
“Suit yourself,” Bruce then called the maître-d. “Oh, Martin, just put the bill on my tab. “Oh, yes, and Kent’s ginger ale, too.”
AS they were leaving, Bruce stumbled and almost fell against Clark.
“Whoops, oh, sorry, Kent,” Bruce babbled, “I guess maybe I had one too many.”
Lois was clearly turned off by Bruce’s apparent inebriation. “Maybe you should be a little more careful, MISTER Wayne.” Bruce just laughed.
“Oh, I’m fine Lois,” Bruce now seemed to slur his words. “M-maybe we can get together again soon!”
Lois just grimaced, thanked Bruce for dinner and sped off with Jimmy, as Alfred, Bruce’s trusted butler and chauffeur greeted them and headed back towards Metropolis. Clark, as usual, disappeared. Bruce Wayne took notice of this as well.
But once Bruce arrived at Wayne Manor, however, he immediately called to his young ward, Dick Grayson, who met him in the study. Bruce was stone-cold sober- AND deadly serious.
“Dick, we need to get in costume right now and head down to the Bat-Cave!” Yes, it was true. Bruce Wayne WAS the Batman!
“Bruce, what’s going on?” Dick was concerned. “I’ve never seen you like this!”
“Dick, I think we may have a visitor, actually, an intruder in the Bat-Cave, and soon. “Superman!”
“Superman?!?!” Dick was flabbergasted. “What, how, ….?”
“No time to explain now, Dick. “With his tremendous super-speed, Superman could be here in moments. “We have to be ready for him.”
Within a moment’s notice, Bruce and Dick had shed their outer garb to become Gotham City’s famed crime fighting duo – Batman and Robin! Quickly, they headed down the long staircase concealed by a grandfather clock in Bruce’s study to the expansive bat-cave that lay deep underneath Wayne Manor.
In the meantime, Clark left the restaurant and once again ducked into a dark alley, removed his hat, and a few seconds later emerged as Superman. With a quick look around, Superman took to the air, leaving only a few stray papers shuffling in the wind behind him. Within minutes, Superman found his destination – Wayne Manor. Using his x-ray vision, Superman peered through the entire house only to find nothing unusual for a rich man’s mansion. Civic awards, polo mallets and other sports equipment, expensive, ornate furnishings, but nothing that could even remotely be considered suspicious.
Just as he was about to fly back to Metropolis, Superman decided once again to use his x-ray vision, and peered around the grounds one last time, and this time, under the basement walls, there it was – a huge underground cave with a very sleek black auto, a large 25 foot replica copper penny, and other unusual trophies, machinery and equipment usually found in police stations, with two masked, caped figures – moving about very carefully and furtively as if they might be expecting something – or someone.
Superman didn’t disappoint them. By super-boring through the ground, he then easily crashed through the granite rock walls of the Bat Cave. After his spectacular entrance, with arms akimbo, he greeted them with a knowing and wry smile.
“Well! “Batman and Robin, I presume.” With a lift of his eyebrow, looking up slightly, he called them on his next deduction. “How interesting it is that your secret headquarters lies directly below Bruce Wayne’s mansion. “So, either Mr. Wayne is apparently funding your entire operation, or, you two are, in all actuality, Bruce Wayne and his young ward, Dick Grayson!”
Superman then attempted to see through their masks using his x-ray vision to clarify his deductions, but was very surprised when he was unable to do so.
“Superman,” Batman pleaded, “Before you go any further, I can tell right now that you are using your remarkable vision powers to attempt to see through our masks. “But you won’t. “You see, our masks are lined with lead. “But, here let me make it easy for you.”
Batman pulled back his cowl, to reveal the visage of Bruce Wayne. Superman was taken by surprise, but Dick Grayson was flabbergasted. As if reading his mind, Bruce turned to his young ward and continued. “Dick, don’t look so surprised. “Superman would have found us out sooner or later. “It would be impossible for us to fool him, with his great powers. “But we’re all on the same side, and I trust that Superman will keep our secret.”
“Isn’t that right, Clark?”
Superman was taken aback. “Excuse me? “Uh, Batman…. “Mr. Wayne, I’m sorry to say, but, ah, you’re sadly mistaken, if you really think I’m Clark….”
“Knock it off, Superman,” Bruce continued, now pulling his mask back in place.
“Yes, you ARE Clark Kent, and you’re wondering how I know. “Well, if you recall, at the restaurant, when I called Martin to serve you your ginger ale, I was hoping your super-senses wouldn’t detect the tasteless, odorless drug I slipped into your drink. “ It was a very strong sedative, which would have simply rendered an ordinary human faint. “The sedative was harmless, but should’ve knocked you for a loop – that is, of course, unless you really were Superman!”
Batman continued. “Not being satisfied, do you remember when I ‘accidentally’ bumped into you as we were leaving?” Batman then reached into his utility belt to pull out a large, very sharp, but bent hat pin. “You didn’t even feel this touching your body. “Look at it now. “Do you still want to deny that you’re secretly Clark Kent?”
Batman wasn’t finished. “And once you crashed through the walls of the Bat-Cave you were instantly photographed and x-rayed from every possible angle. “Although I doubt that ordinary x-rays can penetrate your invulnerable body, I’m still betting that when I develop those x-rays, I’ll find some proof that you’re Clark Kent – perhaps his clothes, his hat, his glasses, his fingerprints, his driver’s license, or any number of things. “Well, Superman?”
Superman, for once, was at a loss for words. “I…I…”
Batman pulled back his mask again, to reveal a now humble, contrite Bruce Wayne. “Superman… Clark… listen to me. “I’m not your enemy. “I was the one who got Commissioner Gordon to go to Metropolis specifically to enlist your aid, as I had no other way to contact you. “Superman, we need you, and we may have a bigger problem here than anything you’ve ever faced in your entire career. “Quite frankly, I’ve never seen anything like this an all my years of crime fighting in Gotham City.”
“It looks like I have no choice,” Superman, still cautious, but now very serious, stated. “All right, Batman, what’ve you got?”
“Superman, have you ever heard of a man named Lex Luthor?”
That very name actually sent chills down Superman’s invulnerable spine. The one man who came closest to destroying Superman, until Superman caught wind of his scheme. Years ago, Luthor had disguised himself as the “Atom Man” and developed a synthetic kryptonite, which almost proved fatal to the Man of Steel. Yes, Superman certainly knew all about Lex Luthor, and was none too happy to hear his name mentioned once again.
“Yes, Batman, I know of Luthor, what of him?
”Superman, I believe it is Luthor who’s behind the recent crime wave in Gotham City, and I also believe he is working on a formula to develop synthetic kryptonite.”
Superman was quick to reply and very adamant. “He’s done it already, and believe me, the last time was a very close call for me!”
Batman went on. “Luthor has moved all his businesses to Gotham City and he’s hiding behind a mantle of respectability, Superman. “I think Luthor is pooling his significant resources to plan an all-out crime-wave style attack on Gotham City, to keep the police - and me- preoccupied. “And, if he does have the kryptonite, I’m sure he’s hoping that you’ll intercede so he can use it against you. “Trust me, Luthor’s resources are considerable. “I dare say his fortunes rival those of the Wayne Foundation’s!”
“And that’s saying something!”
“Batman…. Bruce…,’’ Superman was now thoughtful. “Luthor is a technological and scientific genius. “He’s also a master planner. “He’d never make a move and expose himself once again as a criminal mastermind unless he was certain of doing away with both you AND me… permanently.” “As long as he knows that both Superman and the Batman and Robin team are on the job, he’ll try to use his stooges to make our lives miserable and we’ll never get to the bottom of his real plans. “Batman, we need to be the World’s Finest crime-fighting team if we’ve got any shot of defeating Luthor once and for all.”
“Then count us in, Superman. “The Bat Cave and all our resources are at your disposal.”
TO BE CONTINUED?
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Posted: May 28,
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