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Man-Bat Pt. 6: Batman #254

The dead of night – and in Gotham’s natural history museum a solitary light burns… lighting the work of a man who chooses to labor through the sunless hours that match his temperament and his subject… a brooding man of darkness…

Batman? No; Kirk Langstrom, bat-specialist extraordinary. His concentration is broken by an interruption on the police-band radio…

While Langstrom ponders, Batman already has his own stakeout going. However, it ends in failure as the villain, Getaway Genius (who first appeared in Batman #170 in March of 1965), well… gets away.

A few nights later, Batman thinks he’s a step ahead of the gang, but instead bursts in on a movie projector.

That slinking rat decoyed me – set me up like an amateur! I’ve been – jobbed!

Meanwhile at the real crime scene, Getaway Genius has made no preparations against a different type of bat-hero. Batman hears gunshots and appears in time to witness Man-Bat’s aerodynamic feats and to stop the villain cold with a “whock” to the face.

Notes

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Batman #254 is the first of seven “100-Page Super Spectaculars” published during the first part of 1975. The first two had a cover price of 50 cents, but the price went up with #256 and the cover then read, “100 Pages for Only .60.” (#262 was a .50 “Batman Giant” before returning to a regular .25 format with #263.).

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Issue #254 contained the new Man-Bat story synopsized above, a new Robin story (The Phenomenal Memory of Luge Graham), as well as five other stories, four of them advertised on the cover as one each from the fabulous ‘40s, the furious ‘50s, the sizzling ‘60s, and the fantastic future. Specifically, the reprinted stories were:


· The Witch & the Manuscript of Doom from World’s Best Comics #1 (1941)

· Bullet-Hole Club from World’s Finest Comics #50 (1951)

· The Man Who Stole from Batman! from Detective Comics #334 (1964)

· The Son of the Joker from Batman #145 (1962)

· The Guardian of the Bat-Signal from Batman #85 (1954)


The issue also features a fun Batman Oddities! Page, a Bat-Maze, and a two pages of Letters to the Batman.

Once again, it’s been just over a year since the last Man-Bat story. At this rate, he’s making only an annual appearance. There’s not much time spent on moving his story forward other than the unsubstantiated claim by Langstrom that...

This is mostly Batman’s story, anyway. Langstrom and/or Man-Bat appears on only six out of 13 pages, not including the splash page. It’s nevertheless a fun, quick story causing more smiles than thrills. The world’s greatest detective is actually stymied by the villain… twice, and you’ve got to love his name, “Getaway Genius.” Not exactly original, but it tells you exactly what he does.

Title: Batman

Issue #: 254

Cover Date: Jan/Feb., 1974

On Sale Date: Oct. 23, 1973

Writer(s): Frank Robbins

Penciller: Neal Adams

Inker: Dick Giordano

Editor: Julius Schwartz


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