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Cover Date: April 1975
Cover Price: US $0.25
Issue Tagline: None.
Format: Color; Standard Comic Issue; 32 pages
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In Sparta Prison, 200 miles north of Gotham City, Mike Dubcek, the Joker's top henchman, has been imprisoned. His boss is still on the rampage, but Dubcek refuses to turn state's evidence, so Gordon has him put in solitary confinement until he agrees to talk. Dubcek swears that he is unbreakable, but a few weeks later, Gordon and Batman learn that the prisoner has gotten word to the Joker that he is close to the breaking point.
Meanwhile, ex-heavyweight boxing champion Ted Grant (alias the superhero Wildcat) is scheduled to fight an exhibition bout at Sparta. Since Dubcek once nearly defeated Grant when he was a professional boxer, the Warden has him fight the champ.
During the fight, which Grant wins after some difficulty, his "second," an ex-boxer named Whitey Ross, makes an apparent mistake when he briefly grabs Dubcek's water bucket. After the fight, however, Dubcek comes down with a virulent strain of a rare tropical disease, and Batman soon concludes that Whitey, working on behalf of the Joker, infected him via the water bucket.
Unfortunately, the virus spreads to the entire prison population, which means all 600 inmates will die if a cure is not found. The only possible hope is a dog named Spot, a lab animal with enough specialized antibodies in its blood to save the prisoners.
Spot is loaded onto an armored car for transport to the prison, but the Joker intercepts the convoy, incapacitates the guards with laughing gas, and steals the pooch, which then leaps out a window and escapes into the city.
After a lengthy manhunt (doghunt?), during which Spot changes hands several times, the Joker finally reclaims him. Breaking in on Batman's private radio frequency, he summons the Caped Crusader and Wildcat to "Jefferson Square Gardens," where he forces them to don spiked gloves and battle one another in a boxing match for his amusement, threatening to kill Spot if he is not pleased with the fight.
The fight ends in a double knockout, and the Joker, standing over the prone heroes, gloatingly announces that not only will Spot be killed anyway, but the two fighters have doomed each other, as their gloves were tainted with the disease. Spot is dragged out of the room to be killed, but bites the Joker on the way out.
Batman informs the Joker that he will now die, too, as the dog's saliva contains the plague germs, not the antibodies. The Joker rushes from the room to find that his henchmen have already tied a weight to Spot and dropped him in the river. The Joker dives after him, but discovers that he can't swim. Batman arrives just in time to rescue both the villain and the dog, and announces that everyone will receive shots of antibodies, including the captured Joker.
Legends of the Dark Knight: Jim Aparo (2012) HC vol. 01
Showcase Presents Brave and the Bold: Batman Team-Ups (2007) TPB vol. 03
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