BHOC: WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #243

Another issue of WORLD’S FINEST COMICS about which I remember very little. This is another book that might have originally been bought for my brother Ken, but I’m not sure. I do know that I wouldn’t normally have picked up an issue of WORLD’S FINEST without good reason as I’d already identified it as one of those titles whose stories were somehow “wrong”, alien to the Julie Schwartz approach that I preferred.

It’s sort of funny that I didn’t connect the dots to writer Bob Haney, at least not this early. But he was a common element in both WORLD’S FINEST and BRAVE AND THE BOLD. Bob was always much more concerned with telling a compelling story than he was on how that story might impact on the next story, or on the characters in general. In this particular issue, the added draw was that Robin once again joined the World’s Finest duo on an adventure, something that hadn’t happened much since the Teen Wonder left Gotham to go attend college.

The story opens with Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson staring with contentment at a job well done. That job: moving a trio of ancient Colossi statues to the top of a new dam that the Wayne Foundation is building in the region, so that they are not flooded and destroyed. Student Dick intends to decipher the inscriptions at their base to determine their origins. Earlier, the duo had asked Superman for his help in moving the statues, but the Man of Steel was something of a dick, saying that he only had time for important duties, and that Batman was wasting his money in saving these ancient relics. Yeah, sounds like Superman.

Anyway, that night the campsite is attacked by a group of renegade Bedouins who toss batman and Robin around like rag dolls. When the Dynamic Duo get back to the dam, they find the Colossi statues once again at the base. Robin assumes that this is sabotage by Superman as he was against moving the statues, so the Man of Steel is summoned, is mystified as to what happened, but carries the statues once more to safety atop the dam. But that night, as Batman and Robin stake out the statues, a mysterious beam emanating from a parked flying saucer once again lifts them in the air, to deposit them back at the base of the Dam. Superman flies to the attack, but the Bedouins have powers the equal of his.

So the fight doesn’t go well, and ends with Superman being blasted into space by the pair of Bedouins who now identify themselves as two of the Twelve Immortals from the Asteroid Cyt-Tr–a massive asteroid that sits beyond Pluto in the solar system. Robin attempts to take over their saucer, but is stunned by a defensive device, and the batman chooses to remain in concealment–and then feels like a schmuck when the ship takes off, with Robin still inside, leaving him no way to pursue or rescue the Teen Wonder.

Since he’s already in space, Superman decides to pay a visit to Cy-Tor to see if he can get tot eh bottom of things. There, he finds the remaining ten Immortals, who tell him that they’ve lived on Cy-Tor for ages. But the Asteroid’s gravitation is flawed, requiring the three Colossi statues on Earth to act as an anchor for it–that is why they continue to put them back in the same location. And to prevent Superman from interfering further, they’ve trapped Robin in a tiny satellite set to explode if anything touches it–and it’s in the middle of an asteroid field. Superman flies up to play defense, destroying any asteroid fragments that might impact the satellite.

The two Immortals still on Earth relay the bad news to Batman. Meanwhile, in space, with nothing better to do since he’s stuck in the satellite, Robin works to decipher the hieroglyphics on the Colossi. He’s successful, and also learns by accidentally pulling out his air hose that the atmosphere on Cy-Tor is the same as that on Earth. He signals Superman, who uses his heat vision to send a message to Batman back on Earth.

Batman tackles the two Immortals and succeeds in breaking open one of their helmets, proving to them that the atmosphere on Earth is now breathable to them. With this revelation, everything comes to a swift conclusion; the Colossi are saved once again and put at the top of the Dam, and the Immortals relocate to a hidden valley on Earth, now having far more space than on the tiny, barren asteroid. So it’s a win, of sorts, for the World’s Finest team–though if you asked me what the stakes had been, I’d be hard-pressed to tell you. Ah, well, Superman and batman are happy and friendly again, that’s what matters most of all.

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