While there are a lot of other heroes I'd have liked to have showcased this time around, I couldn't do DC Archives Month without one volume dedicated to the Golden Age Batman. It wasn't easy deciding which one, but Volume 2 of Batman: The Dark Knight Archives, reprinting Batman #5 - 8, won out.
This volume opens with a Batman vs. Joker story, "The Riddle of the Missing Card!" (Batman #5). The Joker, having survived falling into a death trap in his last battle with Batman in the previous issue, is rescued by a gang of crooks on the run. He decides to form a new gang with them, assigning them nicknames based on playing cards - The Jack of Diamonds, The King of Clubs, and...um...The Black Queen. (Was there a reason they couldn't call her The Queen of Spades?) It's only a matter of time before Batman and Robin are on The Joker's tail, and the Black Queen's romantic interest in Batman - and his deducing of his true identity - brings character depth and development to what was already an exciting story. Plus, any time Batman and The Joker face off, you're usually in for a treat.
The following story, "The Clock Maker" (Batman #6), is an okay mystery about a crooked businessman arranging the murder of his business partners so he can gain sole control over a clock-making company. What makes this story interesting is that the villain manipulates Brock, an old clock-maker obsessed with time, into making booby-trapped clocks that kill his victims. However, Brock is crazier than anyone gives him credit for, and plans a vicious bombing that will kill thousands of people as vengeance on anyone who's ever wasted precious moments of time. This being a Batman story, there's naturally a showdown on a giant clock at the end of the story. Larger than life set pieces and props had already been a staple of the Batman comics for some time, and it would only escalate from here on out. The plot's okay at best, but the artwork and pacing of the climax is great.