Comic books used to be REALLY dumb. Not all of them of course, and honestly there are still plenty of bad comics that come out today. You'd think I don't like these dumb comics and you'd be wrong-- I love 'em! The ridiculousness of some of the plots make the whole Martha debacle in Batman V Superman pale by comparison.
So let's look at this one.
Most of these old comics were done in a strange way-- often the cover was drawn and then a story was written to fit it. Sound bizarre? Yep.
Here's our tag to get us to plunk down our 12c -- READ WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SUPERMAN AND BATMAN EXCHANGE IDENTITIES!
All righty-- what's the premise? As usual in a silver age Superman-- Lois Lane.
I'm not sure how many times Lois, the intrepid investigative reporter for that great Metropolitan Newspaper, The Daily Planet, accidently discovered that her boyfriend/friend/co-worker (depends on the story) Clark Kent happens to look a lot like Superman only he wears glasses and Superman doesn't.
In this adventure Batman and Robin are flying over the Planet building and the Batplane goes Kablooie and they are falling to their deaths. Clark Kent notices this so he steps out into the hall and decides to undress only to discover this was exactly when Lois decided to come walking in-- so his secret's out again.
Not so important when you consider Batman and Robin are dead outside though, since it only takes about 3-4 seconds to fall from the low height they were at-- but this is comics and even today writers do silly things like show Batman being able to get from the roof of Gotham Police HQ down to the Batmobile, drive through the streets and then use a drawbridge to shoot the Batmobile up in the air so the ejector seat can launch Batman onto the wing of a crashing plane. I'm not making any of that up-- it's actually the plot of last years Batman #1.
OK, so Batman and Robin are falling from the sky, Clark has changed into Superman, Lois spotted him but no time for worry right now he rushes outside and manages to save the Dynamic Duo. They feel bad though, because now his secret is out and it's their fault for falling out of the Batplane so they want to make things right-- Batman comes up with a George Costanza like brilliant plan;
Batman's a genius right? I love Superman's reaction, I like to imagine his actual response is "That's the STUPIDEST idea I've heard in a long time Batman, but we're screwed so what the hell?"
What could possibly go wrong here?
Confuse Lois--that's the plan, because Lois is apparently working for CNN so she can't figure out how to get out of her office never mind crack a news story.
All right, so they switch costumes right there in the alley, with Robin helping them dress. I notice Superman still has scallops on his right arm in the Batsuit even though he doesn't have his glove on, at first I just assumed it was colored wrong, but nope-- Robin is holding the glove. Robin looks a little shell shocked after seeing two grown men naked and I love Superman's line;
"Frankly, yours is the harder job."
Because Superman is just cooler than Batman, right?
He's also invulnerable and can fly, plus he doesn't wear a mask so Batman had better be a pretty good makeup artist or hope that Lois and Jimmy and the rest of Superman's pals are suddenly near sighted and don't notice that he's all of a sudden made up like a corpse in a funeral parlor showing.
This is all going according to plan.
Superman has disguised himself as Batman and he's tracking down the thugs that shot the Batplane down and as he enters the hood's hideout he collapses in a heap-- it seems as though said crooks have a cache of Kryptonite on hand because in the 50s every bad guy did.
With SuperBatman out of commission we shift our focus over to BatSuperman trying to convince Lois she was wrong about Clark Kent being Superman - especially since she saw him change costume in a dark hallway from a good 30 feet away but up close like this;
She's totally taken in.
And we wonder why the News is in the state it's in?
Now I'm no Batman but wouldn't it have made more sense to try this fool Lois Lane thing by having Batman dress up as CLARK KENT and Superman just be Superman? Clark has no powers, plus he's got glasses which makes him already look incredibly different from Superman and Lois possibly hates Clark so she's not spent hours staring into the eyes of Mr Kent as she has with Superman.
It's interesting the whole Lois secret identity thing anyway-- aren't they supposed to be friends? Doesn't Superman save her from certain death 3-4 times a month? Wouldn't it be more likely that she'd be willing to keep his secret rather than constantly try and reveal it?
All right so here's the masterstroke of the plan-- BatSuperman takes off his costume and he's...Bruce Wayne!?
He takes off his costume and somehow his face changes to Bruce Wayne? There's no shot or remark about him removing a disguise or makeup or anything. Wouldn't the proper response here be "Why is Bruce Wayne holding Superman's costume?"
We have precedent that Batman and Superman like to undress in front of people, so maybe she saw the whole thing but again wouldn't her response be "WTF? How did Superman's face change to Bruce Wayne?"
All right so I skipped back to see if there was any sign of makeup and I had missed this-- it appears to be Bruce Wayne removing a false nose just as Lois walks in on him-- so apparently my idea for Bruce as Clark Kent is even better because apparently the whole disguise could have been done using a joke store glasses and nose kit.
Regardless, Lois still isn't fooled and she has a plan of her own.
She invites Bruce Wayne out to dinner and being a playboy he accepts. Lois has something else on her mind though;
She arranged to change dinner to an afternoon picnic in the park, and lucky for Lois she has a friend who has some trained lions, so she arranges for said lions to be loose in the park while they are eating their meal.
I guess if Bruce gets eaten by the lions he's not....Superman? I'm not sure I follow this plot.
Bruce surprises her, instead of peeing himself and fainting as most of us would do running across lions in the middle of a Metropolis park, he punches the lions out. Surely he must be Superman!
How could Bruce Wayne, pretending to be Superman, even though he's not, have overcome this mastermind level plan of Lois and her trained lions?
Lucky for Bruce Robin was outside the payphone Lois used to set the whole lion scheme up, and then it was a simple matter of Bruce Wayne learning the secret word the lion tamer uses to make his lions fall down when they are fake punched-- so simple right? We should have seen it coming.
Lois isn't convinced so her next step is to try and cut a lock of Bruce's hair off while he's not looking-- and when the scissors she pulls out of her bag fail she's finally convinced that Bruce is actually Superman-- because Superman's hair is uncuttable being super and all. I'm not sure why he doesn't look like John Lennon the Yoko years but that's for another story.
This second plot of Lois' was easily undone
The look on Dick Grayson's face is priceless.
The next bit of tom foolery involves BatSuperman helping Lois move, as he promised to do. Lois is a dick to him all the time, trying to reveal his secret identity-- it's only natural that he would take time out of his busy schedule saving the world to help her move. And in true Tom Dickery Lois doesn't lift a finger to help-- which is actually a good thing. Because if you thought the story was dumb so far, buckle your seatbelts.
All right, so despite seeing Bruce Wayne punch out a lion, despite the fact that she couldn't cut his hair, despite the fact that Superman is now moving all of her house furniture around with one hand Lois still doesn't buy it-- and she challenges him to life the moving truck-- which BatSuperman does with little effort.
You know, Superman, if you don't like my idea of Batman just disguising himself as Clark Kent, why not have Batman just disguise himself ONCE as Superman changing to Bruce Wayne and then the rest of the time YOU do all the Super shit you're supposed to be able to do.
It sure seems like Lois is convinced this guy who looks and talks like Superman isn't Superman, not just that she doubts Bruce Wayne is Superman. For some reason she's convinced that Clark Kent is Superman and this can't actually be Superman.
So how did BatSuperman pull off this amazing feat of strength:
The moving truck is actually made of cardboard and is filled with a pair of Barrage Balloons-- all of the furniture BatSuperman was tossing around? Papier Mache copies-- exact copies of Lois' furniture which Batman and Robin made the night before while Lois was working-- they also moved all of her real furniture then too.
I give them credit, I hate helping people move. I wouldn't EVER consider doing it all alone at night and then stay up and make Papier Mache duplicates of everything (including the moving truck) to do it all again the following day. Lucky for our boys that Lois didn't offer to help carry a lamp or something right?
I remind you that all of this work was done by Batman and Robin-- who are ordinary humans. Gotham City is likely burnt to the ground because The Joker and Two Face have been running wild while Batman was molding an Ottoman out of newspaper and glue while Robin diligently mixed the paint to match.
Why didn't they get Superman to help?
Oh that's right-- Superman-- he's dead now-- or he should be because at least FOUR days ago (according to the events and the narration) he was exposed to Kryptonite sneaking into the hideout of some bad guys who apparently never noticed the smell of human waste as he lay there for 86 hours without a bathroom break, lucky for SuperBatman Lois stumbles on him.
Stay with me now.
Lois helps him up, then decides to take off his mask so he can have some water-- I guess she didn't notice his mouth there-- and she recognizes him as Superman-- no wait a minute-- it's Clark without his glasses. Hmmm. Say....
This is Bruce Wayne with a false nose on!
I'm so confused.
In walks BatSuperman-- and boy does he look confused.
Lois puts it all together pretty quickly. Clark, who looks EXACTLY like you Superman, must have been on some story which involved him dressing up as Batman and he got knocked out somehow. That makes SO Much more sense than maybe Superman and Batman are TWINS and there is no real Bruce Wayne, or Batman and Robin must have made papier mache copies of all my furniture to try and fool me-- no way that happened.
So ends another day in the lives of our amazing heroes.