Sunday, August 12, 2007

Batman and The Club of Heroes

It's officially unanimous: everyone loved Batman #667. And why not? with a gripping story by Grant Morrison and eye-popping art by J.H. Williams III, this issue may be the best of Morrison's run yet. First he reintroduced some of Batman's craziest adventures into continuity via the Black Casebook, now the mad Scot has brought back The International Club of Heroes:

Click images to enlarge

After going through the vast Again With the Comics archives, I've found part of a reprint of the second Club of Heroes story from World's Finest #89 (1957), recycling characters who first appeared as the Batmen of All Nations in Detective Comics #215 (1955).

Here we see heroes being summoned from all over the world to Metropolis:

Once in America, they are honored with an unexpected gift:

Yes, Batman and Superman are too noble and/or humble to assume leadership of the club, leaving the chairmanship up in the air. The other heroes are also reluctant to grab the glory for themselves:

As all of this is going on, a mysterious new hero, Lightning Man, has shown up in Metropolis, appearing to upstage Superman. Superman, meanwhile, is having blackouts just prior to each Lightning Man appearance. It's painfully obvious that Superman is Lightning Man, but my coverless copy of World's Finest #179 is tore up from the floor up, so I'm missing the last few pages of this story. I'm gonna go out on a limb and predict that Lightning Man was elected chairman of the club, while Batman and Superman both retired and faded into obscurity.

Further research indicates that Wingman first appeared in Batman #65 (1951), and Chief Man-of-Bats first appeared in Batman #86 (1954).

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