Batman Chronicles
Volume 3

Author: Bill Finger
Artist: Bob Kane
Titan Books
RRP: 8.99, US $14.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84576 431 9
ISBN-10: 1 84576 431 5
Available 27 July 2007

For over 50 years he has been a part of the American culture. He was a sensation from the moment of his first appearance, and today he has achieved an even more phenomenal level of popularity. Now the Batman's tales are being reprinted in exact chronological order from his appearance in the pages of
Detective Comics Nos. 27-38 and Batman No.1...

Volume Three of the Batman Chronicles continues to reprint the original tales of the Batman in chronological order. As I've said in previous reviews in this series, this won't be to everyone's taste. To start with Bob Kane's artwork is a little simplistic and the stories are a little on the childish side. But then you have to put the stories into historical context - these were aimed at children as there wasn't really a comic industry for the more mature reader.

While the early Batman tales are a little watered down, what is surprising is the fact that he doesn't have any qualms about killing the bad guys - or if a criminal died accidentally Batman just shrugs his shoulders and reveals that they probably had it coming to them.

There are also a couple of hard sells in this collection. Professor Strange's Fear Dust concludes with Batman desperate to keep his readers: "Thanks for being with us again this month! Robin and I look forward to these little get-togethers with all you readers every month in Detective Comics! Let's make it a standing date!"; while Public Enemy #1 sees a another kiddie lecture wrapped up in a story. This time it's the fact that crime doesn't pay - which I thought was the point of all the stories anyway.

There are another couple of Joker tales (The Case of the Joker's Crime Circus and The Riddle of the Missing Card) which both open with the dynamic duo learning that the Joker is still alive - both also conclude with the Joker apparently dying - but we all know better.

Apart from the Joker and Professor Strange, Clayface is the only other notable villain who appears in this collection (in Clayface Walks Again).

We also see the origins of Batman's expertise when it comes to make-up. Victory for the Dynamic Duo shows the Batman altering his facial features to appear like someone else.

At the end of the day this collection will only really appeal to die-hard Batman fans who want to see the origins of the character. But, if you a fan, then this is an essential purchase.

Nick Smithson

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