Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Crime Doctor would be ripe for a comeback, if not for the Obamacare jokes...

The cover to this issue is pretty breathless: "Who is this man? How did he learn Batman is Bruce Wayne? What will he do with that knowledge?" From 1980, Detective Comics #494, "The Crime Doctor Calls at Midnight!" Written by Michael Fleisher, art by Dan Newton and Bob Smith. Said cover does make the Crime Doctor look like a bit of a thug or slasher, when in actuality he's pretty suave. Dr. Bradford Thorne makes a pretty penny planning criminal heists and treating banged-up crooks, which he funnels into medical services for the poor: he's not in it for the money, but the thrill.

When Batman is hurt beyond Alfred's medical skills, and his regular physician Dr. Dundee on vacation--this being pre-Crisis, so Alfred wasn't the accomplished combat medic we would see later, and Dundee knew Batman's identity--Bruce Wayne is forced to visit Dr. Thorne for treatment of a "fencing wound." Both are in attendance of a society party later, but as Bruce leaves after seeing the Bat-Signal, Thorne gets an emergency page on his beeper for the Crime Doctor! His "house call" is helping a gang rob a drug company of interferon; a crime he finds distasteful since patients needed the drug. When Batman shows up to fight the gang, Thorne blinds him with his headlamp, then slices him with a scalpel, exposing the dressing he had placed earlier! The gang flees with the interferon, leaving a bomb to take care of Batman and the Crime Doctor!

This was a 68-page issue, and only 16 pages were this story! Worse, I don't have the next issue!

But the Crime Doctor seems like an OK guy for a criminal mastermind there, whereas in the first issue I saw him he was a straight-up gangster baddie: from 1987, Detective Comics #579, "The Crime Doctor's Crimson Clinic" Written by Mike W. Barr, art by Norm Breyfogle. Batman and Robin (Jason!) know the Crime Doctor is back in down after they fight a gang trying to rob a bank...a blood bank! The Crime Doctor wanted a good stock for an upcoming heart surgery on a mob boss, while a low-level thug says good-bye to his family, since he's going to be the heart donor!

It's a fun, one-and-done issue, although I don't know how the Crime Doctor just plumb forgot Batman's secret identity...yet. We'll find it sooner or later...


Dale Bagwell said...

Talk about an oxymoron, a guy calling himself a Crime Doctor, but refuses to kill or let a person be killed bc of his Hippocratic oath?

He'd never make it in today's world, with big pharmaceutical companies probably killing as many people as they claim to save due to adverse side-effects of their drugs. Seriously, when death is labeled as a "side-effect", its time to rethink things.

Otherwise I can totally see a guy like this happening in the real world, especially as, you guessed it, rep of big above mentioned pharmaceutical.

SallyP said...

This does seem to be a surprisingly gray area for this era of comics. I would assume that Bats used some sort of mind-whammy on the good Doctor, which he has never used before or since.

Sort of the kind of thing that Martian Manhunter would pull out of his ass.

googum said...

I'm kinda hoping the next issue was just Batman beating a concussion into the Crime Doctor, until he didn't remember his own identity, let alone Batman's.