The Case of the Chemical Syndicate

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"The Case of the Chemical Syndicate"
Publisher DC Comics
Publication date May 1939
Main character(s) Batman, Commissioner Gordon
Creative team
Writer(s) Bill Finger
Artist(s) Bob Kane
Penciller(s) Bob Kane
Inker(s) Bob Kane
Letterer(s) Bob Kane
Editor(s) Vincent Sullivan

"The Case of the Chemical Syndicate" is the featured story in issue #27 of Detective Comics which introduced the popular DC Comics superhero Batman.

The plot has been compared to The Shadow novel Partners of Peril.[1][2]

Plot summary[edit]

A man named Lambert is murdered and his son's fingerprints have been found on the knife. Commissioner Gordon goes to the crime scene and interviews Lambert, Jr., who says that someone else had murdered his father and his fingerprints got on the knife as he was pulling it out of his father's chest. He also says that his father had three other business partners named Steve Cranes, Alfred Stryker and Paul Rogers.

Just then, Steve Cranes calls Commissioner Gordon and tells him that Lambert received an anonymous threat on his life yesterday and that he had got the same one today and fears for his life. The police go to Crane's house but are too late as the murderer has killed him.

The murderer meets one of his accomplices and shows him a contract he stole. Both people smile and head off. Suddenly, a dark, terrifying creature looms over them - Batman, who defeats the two criminals and goes to investigate the contract.

Later, Paul Rogers goes to Alfred Stryker's house. Stryker's assistant, Jennings, puts Rogers into a gas chamber to kill him. Batman arrives and saves Rogers and defeats Jennings. Stryker arrives and reveals himself to be the mastermind and attacks Rogers, but Batman incapacitates him.

Batman reveals that Stryker wanted total control over the business and so, hired the murderers to kill his business partners. Stryker tears free and attacks Batman. Batman punches him into an acid tank, killing him.

Commissioner Gordon talks to billionaire philanthropist Bruce Wayne and tells him about Batman's caper. Bruce claims that he isn't interested, and goes home - where it is revealed that he is none other than Batman.


As well as being printed in Detective Comics #27, The Case of the Chemical Syndicate has been reprinted in:


Due to holding a special place as Batman’s first published adventure, “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate” has been remade several times.[3] In 1969, the thirtieth anniversary of the story, a contemporary update written by Mike Friedrich was published in Detective Comics #387 with art by Bob Brown and Joe Giella. Titled “The Cry of the Night is -- Sudden Death!”, it updated the setting to a contemporary one and introduced an element of generational gap, playing on a small aspect of the original in which the victim’s son was suspected of the crime.

Another remake was included in Secret Origins #6 (1986) by Roy Thomas and Marshall Rogers, more closely mirroring the original’s plot, with updated art.

Detective Comics #627 was a special issue that included four different versions of the story: the 1939 original, the 1969 update (retitled "The Cry of the Night is -- Kill!"), and two new takes on the story, one by Marv Wolfman and Jim Aparo, and another by Alan Grant with Norm Breyfogle art.

Brad Meltzer wrote an updated version of this story with art by Bryan Hitch for the New 52 Detective Comics volume 2 #27 which was released in January, 2014 as part of Batman's 75th anniversary.[4] The plot and characters are largely the same as the original with a twist ending implying Stryker's dip in the acid transforms him into the Joker.

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]