One Night in Gotham City...
Written and Pencilled by John Byrne
Inked by Dick Giordano
Colored by Tom Zuiko (misspelled in the issue)
Lettered by John Costanza
Edited by Andrew Helfer
Cover by John Byrne
Cover Date: November 1986
One night in Gotham City, and a thug named Bull is on the run, chased by the Batman. Batman corners him in an alley, and questions him as to the next strike by his boss. Bull throws garbage in Batman's face and makes an escape. Batman gives chase, using his batarang to swing between the buildings, musing on the fact that Bull is more intimidated by his boss than he is by Batman. Suddenly, the batarang line start pulling Batman. He looks up to see that Superman has caught the line and is towing him through the skies of Gotham. Superman intends to deliver Batman to the police, calling him an outlaw, but Batman lets go of the line and escapes. Superman tries to find him, confused as the reports he had read suggested that Batman had no super-powers.
Batman reappears on the roof of a nearby building. As Superman moves in to grab him, Batman tells him to look at him with his inra-red vision. Superman does so, and discovers that Batman is surrounded by a force-field. Since reading of Superman's appearance, Batman had suspected that their paths would cross, and had come up with a failsafe to keep Superman at bay. Batman explains that the field will detect super-dense material, such as Superman's body, and if the field is penetrated then a radio signal will detonate a bomb in Gotham, killing an innocent person. Superman is shocked at Batman's tactics, but listens to Batman, who explains the latest series of crimes to hit Gotham. Over the past few nights, a series of jewel heists have occured, each one with a different and fatal twist that resulted in the deaths of several workers in the jewellery industry. Batman's investigations had led him to the goon named Bull, and he had just discovered the name of the lady behind the murders - Magpie.
Returning to Earth, Batman reveals that Magpie escaped during the confusion. He retrieves a fibre from the scene and analyses it with the computers in the Batmobile. Discovering that the fibre is over five thousand years old, Batman is able to trace her location to the Gotham Museum, home to a set of Egyptian mummies. There, they find Magpie having a tantrum and apprehend her. Batman unmasks her, revealing her identity to be Margaret Pye, an employee of the museum. Magpie has a mental breakdown, collapsing in tears. Superman feels sorry for her. Batman does too - she isn't the kind of criminal scum he normally deals with, rather a fragile woman with an obsession with collecting pretty things - but feels more sorry for her victims.
The two heroes watch the police arrest Magpie from a nearby rooftop. Superman concedes that Gotham is a very different town from Metropolis, and that different styles of crimefighting are required. As Batman makes to leave, Superman confronts him over the bomb. Batman reveals that the bomb was concealed on his person; Superman would be able to tell if he was lying about the bomb, and he was unwilling to place anyone else in danger. Superman leaves, promising to keep an eye on Batman. Batman muses that in different circumstances, they might have been friends.
Here, Byrne strikes a bit of a balance between the two extremes. Whilst not full of loathing for each other, Superman takes issue with Batman's methods and his position of being above (or at least outside) the law. The issue resists the temptation to wrap up their relationship nicely at the end; whilst Superman accepts that Gotham requires a different type of super-hero to Metropolis, he is concerned that Batman could 'spoil it for the rest of us' and promises to keep an eye on him. From Batman's viewpoint, he does not like being told what to do by a super-human, and is concerned that Superman could (and indeed attempts to) apprehend him without giving him a chance to defend his position. By creating the bomb scenario and actually presenting himself as more villainous than he actually is, he puts himself in a position where he can prove his skills without being handed directly over to the police. Perhaps the biggest turning point in how Superman views Batman is in the moment where Superman expresses pity towards Magpie, and Batman reveals his human side by showing his sorrow for her victims.
The Geeky Bits: The first post-Crisis appearance of Batman. Well, sorta... it's the first in the context of Superman, but Batman never experieced a definitive 'Post Crisis Begins Here' moment that Superman and Wonder Woman did.
Magpie's non-exploding-head henchmen are designed to look like Mark Gruenwald (the one with the Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses) and Mike Carlin (the one with the beard who cries 'Not "Happy Birthday!"').
Next on World of Superman: The first of many re-tellings of the first meeting between Batman and Superman.