Depending on the kind of nights you tend to have, one can be unsure of where or how they will wake up but waking up underground is never high on that list. Long before Uma Thurman, George Eads, or Ryan Reynolds, it was Batman, the World’s Greatest Detective awoke to find himself, to his surprise and horror, in the confined predicament of being buried alive.
In World’s Finest Comics #269 (1980) by writer Gerry Conway and artists Rich Buckler and Frank McLaughlin, the hero known as Batman originally panics at his new and potentially deadly imprisonment before his training and mind start to plot a way out. Meanwhile, a worried and exasperated Superman talks to Commissioner Gordon about the missing Dark Knight whose absence is confirmed by Batman’s partner Robin. A call from the Metropolis Police Department about someone on the Metropolis bridge threatening that unless he gets 10 million dollars, Batman dies gets the hero’s attention rather quickly.
Wearing a suicide vest wired with T.N.T, the man reveals himself as Ed Wiley who tells Superman how he was able to capture, unmask and imprison the Caped Crusader all on his own. Although Robin manages to get the jump on him, the would-be villain detonates his vest, killing him and injuring Robin in the process. Although the Boy Wonder manages to pull through, Superman is left bewildered and hopeless that they will find Batman before his air and time runs out.
Conway introduces the plot in a simple but effective storytelling manner that has an episodic sense of beginning, middle, and end. We see Batman in his current situation, we see his friend Superman and allies confront his kidnapper and race against the clock to find him, and once he is found, it is revealed that he escaped and tells those congregated around a recovering Robin how he did it. It’s the kind of story that’s simple enough to be easily adapted in an animated series but doesn’t lose any of its realism, action or logic within the fantasy of the comic book world. Although Superman was able to ascertain Batman’s location (with the help of his super pal Jimmy Olsen), he dug out Batman’s lead-lined coffin to not only discover it empty but to find his superhero partner alive and well behind him.
Later, Batman explains that once he learned of the only exit at his feet (literally), he used his collected skills and training to readjust his body, figured out how to get out of the coffin and tunnel his way upwards. A notable part of this story is a theme that other superhero comics have touched upon regarding the villains these respective heroes face. This baddie wasn’t the Joker, Lex Luthor, or any other big villain from either Superman or Batman’s famous rogues gallery, he was an average citizen. Ed Wiley had time to train and plan and his plot worked which he couldn’t help gloating about to Superman on top of the Metropolis Bridge. The fact that anybody could do what he did to someone like Batman, a powerhouse in the DC superhero community, could be seen that all heroes need to consider all threats regardless of their size, motivation or location. Although Batman and other non-superhero characters would almost always come out on top, being buried alive remains not only one of the worse ways to die but also one of the worse ways to wake up, ever.
In World’s Finest Comics, Batman awakes to find himself literally buried alive with hours to spare as his allies search for his whereabouts in vain.Comics News