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That Time Batman Was The World’s Worst Defense Lawyer

by  in Comics, Comic News Comment
That Time Batman Was The World’s Worst Defense Lawyer

In every installment of I Love Ya But You’re Strange I spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories. Feel free to e-mail me at brianc@cbr.com if you have a suggestion for a future installment!

This time around, based on a suggestion by reader Brian P., we take a look at the time Batman was the world’s worst defense attorney.

This is a two-parter that ran in late 1969 in the pages of “Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane” #99-100 by Robert Kanigher, Irv Novick and Mike Esposito. The story opened with Lois Lane headed to Gotham City to appear on a television program to celebrate Superman as part of Superman Appreciation Day. She was surprised to discover that the program also booked Lana Lang on the show, in an attempt to determine which of them was the true love of Superman’s life. Oddly enough, Lois and Lana argued more than they normally would about something like this. They even had to be separated by a trio of celebrities there for the program (stand-ins for three popular late night television hosts, Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin and Joey Bishop).

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Lois then made up with Lana and the two agreed to drive home together. However, while driving late at night, their car swerved off of the road and into the river. Lois emerged from the river without any memory of Lana also being in the car with her. When Lana’s body was discovered, Lois was then charged with her murder (Brian P. thought that this might have been a reference by Kanigher to the then-recent incident involving Senator Ted Kennedy, where Kennedy accidentally drove his car off of a bridge at Chappaquiddick Island and into a tidal channel and while Kennedy escaped, the young woman that was in the car with him, Mary Jo Kopechne, died. It is certainly possible, as the Chappaquiddick incident was a major news story and Kanigher was known for being conservative, but I wouldn’t be able to say for sure. It does add a bit to the overall oddity of the comic story, though, if Kanigher was also using it to take a shot at Senator Kennedy).

After Bruce Wayne visited Lois in prison, he promised her that he would get her the finest lawyer in the country, which, as it turned out, was himself…as Batman!

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Leaving aside the oddity of referring to yourself as the finest lawyer in the country, Batman’s not even a laywer, so…huh?!? And yet everyone thinks that this is a great idea in the comic. “Oh yeah, of course, Batman is an awesome lawyer. Everyone knows that. You didn’t know Batman is the greatest lawyer in the country? What are you, some moron?”

Since things weren’t already too bizarre, the Gotham City district attorney determined that the only way to defeat the world’s finest defense lawyer in court was to, of course, get Superman, who everyone knows is also an awesome prosecuting attorney.

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It makes so much sense that I don’t know why all trial are not decided this way.

Things took a turn for the worse when Superman did some investigating and determined that Lois actually is guilty. He informed her that she should just take a plea bargain and she is not happy. Superman, meanwhile, starts to cry. It is pretty awesome.

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Why DO they burn so, Superman?

When the trial began, Batman turned out to not be the finest lawyer. In fact, he was downright awful. Pretty much every witness he cross-examined ended up tearing down his case for Lois….

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He let her take a polygraph test in front of court and when she failed it, he had to then note, “Hey, wait, this isn’t admissible!”

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In the end, Batman was not even in court when Lois was about to be convicted. Luckily, it turned out that he was busy exhuming Lana Lang’s body. You see, no one had ever bothered to actually do an AUTOPSY on the murder victim! It turned out that it wasn’t Lana Lang at all, but an android! Seriously, the world’s greatest detective never noticed that there wasn’t an autopsy on the body?!?

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Also, you have to love how Batman just brought the body into the courtroom. Can’t trust the report of Batman’s findings. Nope, need a dead body.

Anyhow, Superman then tracked down a gang of androids who were playing real life chess with Lois and Lana (they were the ones who forced them to fight back on the television show), as androids are wont to do…

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The real Lana was saved and everything was good, except, of course, through his legal incompetence Batman almost got Lois Lane the Death Penalty. So be forewarned, kids, if you ever go on trial for murder, don’t hire Batman! Not even if Bruce Wayne tells you he’s an awesome lawyer.

Thanks for the suggestion, Brian P.! If anyone else has an idea for a future “I Love Ya But You’re Strange,” drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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