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BOOK REVIEW

Book Review: THE BATMAN CHRONICLES, Vol. 3

Author: Bill Ramey
Friday, May 18, 2007

SYNOPSIS FROM DC COMICS:
"The third volume in the series collecting every Batman story in chronological order of publication! This volume, collecting DETECTIVE COMICS #46-50, BATMAN #4-5 and more, features The Joker, Clayface and more."

If you go into THE BATMAN CHRONICLES, Vol. 3 expecting to encounter stories that have the same quality writing and artwork that one would find today, you will be disappointed. I’m not saying that the stories are bad, but they are certainly dated. And that to me, is the beauty of THE BATMAN CHRONICLES.

The Bat-tales included in this volume were first published in 1941 and were found in DETECTIVE COMICS #46 thru #50, BATMAN #4 and #5, and WORLD’S BEST COMICS #1.

Just because these stories are "dated," that doesn’t mean that they are not entertaining and well done -- well, at least most of them are. But what’s the most important aspect of THE BATMAN CHRONICLES is the historical significance of these collected stories. What you got here are the tales that make up The Batman’s “Golden Age” -- perhaps the most important era of Batman history. Why? Because this is when most of the Batman mythos that we hold so dear were firmly established.

The Batman stories of this volume are not as dark as the very first Bat-tales from 1939 -- the year of Batman’s origin -- which are found in TBC, Vol. 1. However, they are definitely not as silly as they would eventually become by the late 40s on into the 1950s. In other words, we find Batman and Robin taking on “regular” Gotham mobsters and bad guys for the most part, as well as “super villains” -- such as The Joker, Two Face, and Prof. Hugo Strange -- on occasion.

There is one story from BATMAN #5 (Spring, 1941), titled “Book of Enchantment,” where we find The Dynamic Duo getting zapped into an old fairytale book and taking on witches, ogres, and dragons! A definite bit of foreshadowing of what would soon became the standard of most Batman stories.

The entire series of THE BATMAN CHRONICLES provides fans with an excellent look at the evolution of the Batman character. As with the previous two, I consider Vol. 3 a must-have for all Batman fans.

Bill Ramey, AKA "Jett," is the founder and editor in chief of
BATMAN ON FILM, BATMAN IN COMICS, and ON-FILM.NET.

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