"The Cry of Night is -- "Sudden Death!"": Batman and Robin swing across Gotham City. They arrive at a crime scene where the wealthy atomic chemist Lambert has been murdered with a poker in his own living room. [[James Gordon (Earth-
- Well, I don't think Janis Joplin would appreciate being called "Batty," either...
- -- Batman
Appearing in The Cry of Night is -- "Sudden Death!"
- Alfred Stryker (Single appearance)
- Mel Lambert (Single appearance)
- Mr. Lambert (Only appearance; dies)
- Steven Crane (Only appearance; dies)
- Paul Rogers (Single appearance)
Synopsis for The Cry of Night is -- "Sudden Death!"
Batman and Robin swing across Gotham City. They arrive at a crime scene where the wealthy atomic chemist Lambert has been murdered with a poker in his own living room. Commissioner Gordon is accusing Lambert's hippy son Mel, whose fingerprints were found on the murder instrument. Mel is furious and rants about authority figures abusing their power. Batman determines that the fingerprints could have gotten there at any time, and they cannot prove that Mel is guilty. Batman and Robin leave to investigate while Gordon has his back turned. Mel announces that the scene is one big bummer and he is going to split.
Batman and Robin return to the Batcave, where they're welcomed by Alfred Pennyworth. Robin hates Mel, believing that punks like him should all be locked up without a key. Batman reminds him that their job is to protect everyone's rights, not just those of the people they like. The Batcomputer determines that Lambert was part of a chemical syndicate with three other men, Alfred Stryker, Paul Rogers, and Steven Crane.
They drive to visit Steven Crane in the Batmobile. Crane explains that Mel and his father had a heated argument several days ago in the lab. The elder Lambert insisted that his chemical research would benefit all mankind. Mel Lambert insisted that the research would really be used for military purposes, and lead only to advances in war. Robin believes this proves Mel guilty, but Batman tells him not to jump to conclusions. They leave the apartment and hear gunshots behind them, as Crane is murdered. They rush back in and the killer shoots at them as well. His silhouette resembles Mel Lambert, and he escapes but drops a piece of paper when Robin hits him with a batarang. The paper is an account of Crane's part in the research. Batman believes this casts doubt on Mel as a suspect, but Robin believes it confirms his suspicions. They rush to find Paul Rogers next.
Paul Rogers has heard about Lambert's murder, and gone to visit the laboratory of Alfred Stryker. Stryker lets Rogers inside, and Rogers is clubbed on the back of the head with a gun. The culprit is a masked man resembling Mel Lambert. Batman and Robin burst in, and they take down the masked man. It is not Mel Lambert, only a man dressed like him. Stryker picks up the gun and reveals that he hired this killer to do his dirty work. Stryker forgets to keep track of Batman in the shadows, and Batman karate chops the gun out of his hand. Batman explains that he knew one of them was the culprit because only someone involved in the chemical syndicate would want Crane's research data. Stryker was attempting to eliminate his partners so he could claim their research as his own for financial gain. Mel Lambert was simply a convenient scapegoat to frame for the murders.
That night, Mel Lambert and Robin are both troubled. Mel Lambert criticized Batman for being part of the system, but Batman was the only reason he wasn't thrown in jail. Robin realizes that he tried to jail an innocent man simply because he didn't like him personally. They both know they have some thinking to do.
Appearing in "The Case of the Chemical Syndicate"
- The Bat-Man/Bruce Wayne (First appearance)
- Commissioner Gordon (First appearance)
- Alfred Stryker (Only appearance; dies)
- Jennings (henchman)
- GCPD (First appearance) (not yet named)
- Lambert (Only appearance; dies)
- Lambert, Jr. (Single appearance)
- Paul Rogers (Single appearance)
- Steven Crane (Only appearance; dies)
- Gotham City (First appearance) (not yet named, see "Notes" below)
- Apex Chemical Corporation (Mentioned only)
- Crane Residence
- Gordon Residence
- Lambert Mansion
- Stryker Laboratory
- Wayne Manor (First appearance)
- Bruce Wayne's Automobile
Synopsis for "The Case of the Chemical Syndicate"
This story is reprinted from Detective Comics #27.
Commissioner Gordon relaxes at home entertaining his young socialite friend Bruce Wayne. Wayne asks if anything exciting has happened lately, and Gordon explains that a fellow called the "Bat-Man" is puzzling him. Gordon receives a call that chemical manufacturer Lambert has been found murdered. They have Lambert's son in custody, whose fingerprints were found on the knife. Gordon invites Bruce Wayne to the Lambert mansion with him, and Bruce Wayne says he has nothing better to do.
When they arrive at the crime scene, young Lambert insists he is innocent. The lad explains that he arrived home early and saw his father lying on the floor. When he entered the library, he saw a figure escaping out the window. He pulled a knife out of his father's back, and his father's last word was "contract." Lambert's son recalls that his father had three associates, Alfred Stryker, Paul Rogers, and Steve Crane. Steve Crane calls Gordon on the phone. Lambert told Crane that he had received a death threat the previous day. Crane has received a similar death threat, and asks for police protection. Bruce Wayne decides to go home, and Gordon rushes over to the Crane residence.
Steven Crane is killed by a gunman who enters through the window. The thug and his partner steal a paper from Crane and climb onto the roof. They are confronted by a figure they recognize as the Bat-Man, standing in the moonlight. The Bat-Man punches the first thug out, then grabs the second one in a headlock and throws him off the second-story roof. He grabs the paper and escapes as Gordon is pulling up. The GCPD try to arrest the Bat-Man, but they are unable to catch him. Gordon learns that Crane has been murdered, and moves on to the next business partner. The Bat-Man smiles when he reads the paper he stole, and drives off in his automobile.Paul Rogers visits the laboratory of Alfred Stryker, having learned of Lambert's death by news broadcast. Stryker's assistant Jennings clubs Rogers over the head and ties him up. Jennings explains that he will lower a gas chamber over Rogers and kill him the same way he puts animals to sleep. Jennings leaves to activate the gas. The Bat-Man leaps into the room through an open transom, which is some kinda old-timey ceiling window I guess. The Bat-Man grabs a wrench and dives inside the gas chamber before it closes. He plugs the gas jet with a handkerchief, and busts through the glass with his wrench. Jennings returns and tries to pull a gun on the Bat-Man, but the Bat-Man punches him in the face really hard. Alfred Stryker enters and demands to know what happened. When Rogers explains that Jennings tried to kill him, Stryker pulls out a knife to finish the job. The Bat-Man is hiding in the shadows, and he grabs Stryker from behind to stop him.
The Bat-Man explains to Rogers that they were all partners in the Apex Chemical Corporation. Stryker had made secret contracts with all of them to pay them a sum of money each year until he owned the business. He grew tired of waiting and decided to kill them so he wouldn't have to pay. Stryker breaks out of the Bat-Man's grip and pulls a gun on him. The Bat-Man punches Stryker so hard in the face that Stryker breaks through a railing and falls into a tank of acid. The Bat-Man remarks that this is a fitting end for his kind, and leaves via transom. Rogers tries to thank the Bat-Man, but he is already gone.
Later at his house, Commissioner Gordon relates this story to Bruce Wayne. Bruce remarks that this is a lovely fairy tale, and leaves. Gordon thinks to himself that Bruce Wayne is a nice young chap, but he seems to lead a very boring life. Bruce returns home to Wayne Manor, where it's revealed that he is in fact the Bat-Man.
- "The Cry of Night is -- "Sudden Death!"" is reprinted in Best of DC #2, Detective Comics #627 and Showcase Presents: Batman Vol 4.
- Mel Lambert refers to Batman and Commissioner Gordon as "Big Brother and the Holding Company." This is the name of a psychedelic rock band featuring Janis Joplin as their lead singer. He is also comparing Batman to the character "Big Brother" in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.
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