World’s Finest 192 – Superman and Batman imprisoned

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Bob Haney, Andru and Esposito craft an interesting cold war tale in World’s Finest 192 (March 1970).  Although billed as a Superman/Batman team-up, this is almost entirely a Superman story.

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It begins as Superman’s powers mysteriously vanish over an Eastern European country.  They have synthetic kryptonite, which will not kill Superman, but does strip him of his powers.

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Knowing that he is somewhere in the country, the dictator puts a huge bounty on him.  Superman gets into his Clark Kent clothes to hide in plain sight.

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He falls for a neatly set-up trap.  Clark heads to what seems to be the US embassy, but is really just a mousetrap for him.  It’s subtle, but the clue is there with an old US flag, showing only 48 stars.

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Superman manages to get away from them, but falls for yet another set-up, a fake radio broadcast from Batman, telling Superman he is coming to rescue him.  Hordes of fake Batmans parachute down, and indeed, Clark does contact one.  But the fake gives himself away quickly, and Clark gets the best of him, taking his uniform and becoming a fake Batman himself.

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In the story’s best twist, the real Batman turns out to have parachuted in as well, and gets into a fight with Superman, not realizing his reasons for wearing the fake Batman costume.

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But every action either hero has taken has been foreseen and expected.  The two wind up in a prison camp as this first half concludes.

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