Detective Comics 180
Detective Comics #180
Publication Information
Published February 1952
Executive Editor Whitney Ellsworth
Cover Artist(s) Win Mortimer
Dick Sprang (Inside art)
Writer(s) David Reed
Inker(s) Charles Paris
Letterer(s) None
Editor(s) Whitney Ellsworth
Alternate Covers

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'Detective Comics #180 is an American comic book, published in February of 1952.

"The Joker's Millions!"Edit


The story starts off at the home of a racketeer by the name of "King" Barlowe, where several criminals (including The Joker) are attending the reading of his will. Mild surprise is expressed at The Joker's presence - after all, he was one of Barlowe's enemies. Joker, however, asserts that Barlowe's lawyers had asked him to come. When all have arrived, the reading of the will begins - Barlowe leaves his best friend "Waxey" Gates a blackjack and Batman a single penny.

When it comes to the distribution of Barlowe's loot (around five million dollars), however, The Joker gets every cent - in bills, jewels, and gold. This decision is made to much bafflement, as Barlowe's and Joker's rivalry was well known. Regardless, The Joker accepts the money, and immediately begins to spend extravagantly, buying many-roomed mansions and giving one hundred-dollar tips to waiters at fancy restaurants. All the while, Batman and Robin are helpless to stop him, since they cannot prove that Barlowe's money was gained illegally.

While The Joker is getting a new expensive jacket outfitted for him, several of his men alert him to the opening of an amusement park known as "The Laugh House". Though they figure it to be a perfect place for them to rob, The Joker decides against it when he realizes that he is so wealthy that robbery is now meaningless, and retires from crime altogether.

One day, however, Joker finds a fake pack of bills inside his vault, followed by another and another. He then realizes that most of the money and jewels that Barlowe had left to him were fake - only the things on the top were real. Fortunately, there is enough real money for him to keep up the "millionaire" front while he attempts to escape the situation, but unfortunately, a man from the tax department soon arrives to collect an inheritance tax from him.

The Joker realizes that if he makes it known that most of the money was fake, he would become the laughingstock of the underworld, something that his pride cannot handle. As a result, he keeps quiet, and has a month to pay the tax - a sum of two million dollars. The Ace of Knaves realizes that he must return to crime to pay the tax, but reasons that if he commits typical "Joker Crimes", the underworld would suspect his situation.

Thus, he engages in an "ordinary" crime - a relatively quiet safe-cracking at a bank. After he leaves, however, the wind blows a movie poster proclaiming "BANK NITE! COME AND GET YOUR SHARE OF THE MONEY!" onto the bank's front door, making the robbery look like a "Joker Crime". The next morning, news of the robbery is on every paper in Gotham, and The Joker, panicked, continues living his "wealthy" lifestyle. While at the Swanky Panda club, however, he inadvertently makes Bruce Wayne/Batman suspicious when he hastily snatches away a roll of money that he dropped.

Back at the Batcave, Batman reveals to Robin that his suspicions were correct. The ink left on his fingers from touching The Joker's money earlier that night reveals the money to have been fake - dozens of counterfeit bills wrapped in genuine ones to give off the appearance of wealth. From this, the Dynamic Duo reason that the bank robbery will not be the last of The Joker's crimes. Meanwhile, in another part of town, The Joker is shown burning a large portion of the phony money, muttering to himself about how he still needs $1,800,000 to pay the tax.

The next night, The Joker commits a rather mundane holdup at the box office of the Gotham Opera House, hiding all of his features with a hat pulled over his hair and a long trench coat covering everything else. When Batman and Robin arrive on the scene, Batman expresses suspicion at why the robber had his hat pulled so low, and, to Robin's confusion, destroys several tickets for the opera I Pagliacci. The following evening, The Joker is congratulated by a "fan" of his, Duke Gorman, for pulling off such an ingenious Joker Crime - destroying every ticket for I Pagliacci, an opera about a clown.

Incredulous and confused, The Joker denies having pulled off the opera house robbery, and continues to lead his "wealthy" lifestyle while using the fake money as kindling to warm his mansion, all the while bemoaning how fate seems to be playing tricks on him. It is now a mere two weeks before the tax is due, and back in the Batcave, Robin questions Batman about the point of making the opera house robbery look like a Joker Crime. Batman responds that he has a plan in mind to make The Joker confess to his recent wrongdoings, and that for now, they must pay attention to every crime reported in Gotham - any one of them could be the doing of The Joker.

While the Dynamic Duo are following up on a report about a holdup, The Joker himself is breaking into an administration building at the zoo in order to steal a donation of $50,000. Soon after, Batman and Robin arrive on the scene, but have to way of telling if it was Joker who had committed the robbery. At that very moment, a security guard walks in, informing the two that when he shined his flashlight onto the thief, he covered his face with his hands, dropping the loot in the process, and fled. Batman then leaves to have a look around the zoo, and tells Robin to wait at the Batcave, as he intends to put his plan into action.

Robin spends the entire night waiting in the Batcave, and when morning arrives and his mentor still has not returned, he goes back to the zoo. There, the Boy Wonder is treated to a real shock - Batman is trapped inside the zoo's bat exhibit, with passerby laughing at him. Also inside the cage is a monkey with its face covered in white and green paint, making it resemble The Joker. Thus, the townspeople have come to the conclusion that Batman, seeing the monkey and thinking it was Joker, rushed into the cage and trapped himself in there.

Later on, The Joker is seen discussing the incident with Duke, and though the Crime Clown at first denies having pulled the crime, he confesses when Duke mentions that it would make him famous worldwide. Duke leaves to "tell a few friends", but a few hours later, Batman and Robin, along with a horde of policemen, barge into Joker's mansion to arrest him. Joker is confident that they have no evidence to arrest him with, but Batman reveals a record player that has recorded every word of his confession - after all, Duke was really him in disguise. Cornered at last, The Joker flees through his mansion, and attempts to escape by cutting through the glass on a porthole window with a diamond from his "fortune". He fails, however, as the diamond, belonging to Barlowe, is a phony - just like him.