World's Finest #169

World’s Finest #169, September 1967

“The Supergirl-Batgirl Plot!”

Supergirl is out flying one day when she is grabbed by a huge, gaseous hand. Luckily, at that moment, Batgirl appears. She throws a chemical bomb at the hand in an attempt to free the maid of steel, but it’s no use. She quickly finds herself caught in the hand’s grip too.

Supergirl and Batgirl captured

After a few minutes of struggling, Supergirl uses her x-ray vision to alter the chemicals in the bomb so that they now affect the hand. She and Batgirl are free! Now, you may be wondering just how a burst of x-rays can alter the chemical composition of the bomb. I can only suggest you put these thoughts out of your head and accept things as they are—this is, after all, the Silver Age. Back then anything could—and frequently did—happen.

Some time later, Superman, Batman and Robin are honoured by having a special time capsule fired into space. Watching this event on the TV brings out the jealous streak in both Batgirl and Supergirl. Why should Superman and Batman get all the attention? “From now on there’ll be a few changes!” promises Supergirl. Uh-oh.

Supergirl and Batgirl are jealous!

The next day, Superman is laying the cornerstone of a new building. Unexpectedly the building begins to topple, and the Man of Steel discovers that his powers have deserted him. Stunned, he falls to the ground.

Superman falls

Supergirl zooms down and saves the day. The crowd are full of praise for her. Superman’s powers return and the pair fly off, but Supergirl’s thoughts reveal that she is responsible for Superman’s woes: “By the time I’ve got through tearing down this super-oaf’s image, he’ll be about as popular in Metropolis as an anteater in a flea circus!” She got quite a mean streak that lass!!

Meanwhile, in Gotham City, Batman and Robin are on the trail of a nasty felon. Robin misjudges a move and is put in danger. In response Batman falls to his knees and begs the criminal for mercy, but he sneers and throws Robin into a nuclear reactor (yep—a nuclear reactor, right in the heart of Gotham!). At the last moment, Robin is snatched up by Batgirl and saved! She goes on to bring down the bad guy, while Batman wonders what it was that caused him to act like a wuss. Batgirl knows the cause: it was her doing!! “The gallant caped crusader will soon find his troubles are only beginning!”

A few days later, Superman meets the Dynamic Duo in secret at the Bat Cave. Both heroes’ amazing brains have calculated that it is Supergirl and Batgirl who are responsible for their current lack of form. Elsewhere, the two girls plot further.

Supergirl and Batgirl plot

The next day, Batman and Robin return from patrol to find that the Bat Cave has been stolen! Yes, stolen!! Meanwhile, in the Arctic, Superman witnesses Supergirl flying off with his Fortress of Solitude!!

The Bat Cave stolen

Superman’s powers fail him once again and he falls into the snow below. Luckily, this is witnessed by Batman and Robin, who are flying over in a spare Batplane that had conveniently been kept at an airfield, rather than in the Cave. The pair bundle the stricken Man of Steel into the plane and head for home.

The next day, Batman and Robin foil a criminal plot. Batman ties up the thugs while Robin goes to call for help. When he doesn’t return, Batman gets suspicious and investigates—but can find no trace of the Boy Wonder. He does, however, find a Bat-compact that can only have belonged to Batgirl!

Superman is found hitch-hiking along the road to Metropolis when Batman picks him up in the Batmobile. He’s in need of a shave, and his Clark Kent clothes have been stolen. When Batman removes his mask, he finds he no longer looks like Bruce Wayne. What’s going on?!

Superman and Batman in trouble!

Throughout the night the pair search for clues to their predicament, but merely get a flat for their trouble. Forced to change the tire at the side of the road, Superman is embarrassed to find he can barely operate the pump.

Change a tire

Supergirl and Batgirl arrive to have a good laugh at the pair. Supergirl offers to have a showdown with Superman, who’s found his powers have miraculously returned. He and Supergirl fly into space, and Supergirl hurls a Kryptonite asteroid at the him. He bats it away, but it hits Supergirl, knocking her out. Superman notices that the girl is not actually Supergirl at all: she’s Black Flame, a villainess from Kandor. Similarly, Batman finds that Batgirl is none other than Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman!

The truth!

The two phonies lead Superman and Batman to a cave where they find the real Supergirl and Batgirl tied up. Before they can be freed, the captive duo melt away in a flash of heat vision. They were merely realistic dummies. The REAL Supergirl and Batgirl arrive: they’ve been trapped in another dimension for several days!

Confused?—you should be!!

At last!

It transpires that the gaseous hand the girls fought back at the start of the story was actually a gateway to an alternate dimension. The real villains of the piece now make themselves known: “Catwoman” and “Black Flame” disappear, to be replaced by Bat Mite and Mr Mxyzptlk. The impish pair bicker about who is the winner of their inter-dimensional wager, but Bat Mite fools Mxyzptlk into saying his name backwards and he vanishes. With that, Bat Mite pops back to his own dimension as the heroes chuckle.

Bat Mite and Mr Mxyzptlk

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A completely loony tale, this one has it all!! The sight of poor old Superman, unkempt and unshaven, having to hitch a lift to Metropolis is the sort of thing the silver age is all about. Later, Batman wants to have a go at the phony Batgirl but balks: “I can’t use my fists on a girl!” Great stuff! They really don’t make ‘em like this any more. I suppose that’s just as well, but… y’know, I kinda wish they did. At least occasionally.

Comics newcomer Cary Bates was the scripter, while Superman artist supreme Curt Swan was responsible for the art.

Batmite was an extremely daft character, created to be the Batman Family’s counterpart to Superman’s Mr Mxyzptlk. When Julie Schwartz took over as editor and creative controller of the Dark Knight in 1964, he ditched all the silly elements. However, WF editor Mort Weisinger clearly didn’t get the memo, or more likely just ignored it, and he used Bat Mite a couple of times. However, this was pretty much his final appearance pre-Crisis.

Images ©2011 DC Comics