Adventures featuring Batman and Robin in the first comic to bear the Batman name. Batman's origin story. Batman and Robin face the Joker for the first time. Hugo Strange creates huge monsters out of captive asylum inmates. The Cat plots a robbery on a yacht. The Joker returns for round two.
Synopsis: The Joker - a grinning clown-faced killer - announces his crimes over the radio, threatening to kill several men and steal valuable items from them. When he is successful, the underworld becomes angry that he has upstaged them. Brute Nelson, a gangster, plans a trap for the Joker, but the Joker avoids the trap and kills Nelson. Batman, having taken an interest in the case is nearly killed himself when he attempts to pursue the Clown Prince of Crime.
Batman has Robin watch the site of the Joker's next attack where the Joker kills Judge Drake. Robin follows Joker back to an old house, but is captured. Batman arrives in time to save Robin from being injected with Joker Venom - a poison which kills, leaving a smile on the victim's face.
Joker escapes, but only temporarily as Batman tracks him down once again. This time the Dynamic Duo is able to take down the villain and send him to prison.
Notes: Preceding this story is the two-page origin, "The Legend of Batman -- Who He Is and How He Came To Be", reprinted from Detective #33.
Synopsis: Hugo Strange escapes from prison and kidnaps several lunatics from an insane asylum. Later, a monstrous giant stalks the streets, causing destruction. The next day, two giants run loose through the city. Batman suspects that Strange is responsible for the monsters and confronts them. The Caped Crusader is quickly defeated and brought to Strange's hideout where he learns that the giants are the mental patients Strange had gathered. Batman is then injected with a serum that will turn him into a monster in 14 hours. He is knocked unconscious by a giant and awakes with only one hour to spare.
Prior to the serum taking effect, Batman breaks free and knocks Strange to his apparent death. Batman then must defeat a couple of the transformed lunatics in time to discover an antidote. Using his scientific skills and several vials of chemicals, he does so, then stops Strange's gang and the final monster before they can succeed with their plans.
Synopsis: With Batman busy, Robin goes undercover aboard a boat to protect the valuable necklace of Martha Travers. Robin sees Travers' nephew toss away a balled up paper, which Robin is able to get - it's a letter referring to a robbery, signed by The Cat. When the necklace goes missing the ship's crew plans to investigate. But before anyone can be questioned, several thieves, claiming to be with the Coast Guard, board the boat in order to steal the necklace. They are told it has already been stolen and begin searching the passengers. Robin takes on the thieves with the help of Batman who arrives later.
Robin tells Batman about who he suspects as well as The Cat. Batman has a plan. He returns to the passengers while Robin pulls the fire alarm. The passengers run out of the main cabin to find it's a false alarm, but the brief scare causes the Cat to reveal herself in the guise of an old lady - Miss Peggs. Batman exposes the The Cat as a beautiful young woman.
Batman and Robin take her and her partner Denny into custody. The beautiful thief offers Batman a partnership which he turns down, but she escapes from them, thanks to Batman's blundering. Robin suspects that his partner may have intentionally allowed her to get away.
Synopsis: The Joker escapes jail using an explosive concoction he had hidden inside a pair of false teeth. He continues his string of jewel thefts and strange killings, annoucing each on air prior to the crime. Batman encounters him at one such robbery, but the "Harlequin of Hate" gets the best of him. The police arrive and plan to take in the vigilante Batman. He recovers before the police can remove his mask, but the Joker has already escaped.
Batman then plants a trap for the Joker, by baiting him to steal a priceless ruby. The Joker shows up and tangles with the Dynamic Duo. While struggling with Batman, Joker is stabbed by his own knife and left for dead by the Caped Crusaders. The police find the body and a doctor determines that the Joker lives on.
Notes: This story was originally written so as to kill off the Joker. However, after editorial review, a new ending was commissioned to suggest he lived.The splash page of this story bears a striking resemblance to the cover of Detective #40, indicating that it may have been intended originally as the lead story for that title.