#3 on the countdown is “Silent Night, Deadly Night” by Denny O’Neil, Irv Novick and Dick Giordano from Batman #239.
It’s funny, there is so much about this story that really doesn’t work, but the stuff that DOES work works so well that I am still putting this very high on the list.
The conceit is that some guy has been robbing Santa Clauses in Gotham City. Batman finally captures the crook, but not before a spiriting fight in a Christmas Tree lot, with the guy using trees as weapons. Now, here’s the first issue. The bad guy is just way too unsympathetic. This dude isn’t, like, robbing a bank with a toy gun. Dude’s assaulting Santa Clauses!! He convinces Batman to allow him to show why he HAD to commit these crimes. Batman goes along with it and discovers that the crook is supporting his niece and that he just got laid off by a toy company. He then decides to kill his old boss. He knocked Batman out (this was back in the days when a guy like this could theoretically take Batman out by surprise).
So Batman has to chase after him to keep him from killing his boss, but he can’t leave the little girl behind. The bad thing is that on the way to catching the crook, the Batmobile breaks down. Batman and the little girl might now FREEZE TO DEATH! Luckily, though, they find a sleigh…
Batman is ready to arrest the crook when he learns that the crook decided to save the old man’s life after he had suffered a heart attack when he entered the room…
I really don’t get how you CREDIT the guy for being there when the other dude had a heart attack when clearly, bursting into his home probably GAVE him the heart attack!!
However, fair enough, he has decided to change his path. But wait, where did that sleigh come from?!?
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