Posts tagged ‘Batwoman’

Detective 485 – Batwoman gets murdered, the Demon ends, and Man-Bat faces SST

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The League of Assassins returns in this Denny O’Neil/Don Newton story that pits the Sensei against Ra’s Al Ghul.

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Kathy Kane, the former Batwoman, is in town with her travelling circus, and Batman has received word that the League are going to be attacking there.  Puzzled as to why, he goes to check it out, and discovers Kathy holding her own against them.  This is Kathy’s first appearance since her team-up with the Freedom Fighters in the final issue of their book.

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All is well until the Bronze Tiger shows up.  A master of martial arts, he battles Batman while another member of the League murders Kathy.

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The killers flee, and Ra’s Al Ghul shows up.  Batman realizes that Ra’s manipulated the League into attacking Kathy, so that Batman would seek vengeance against them.  Ra’s Al Ghul and the Sensei have rival plans for the League, and this storyline sees the war between them for dominance.  Talia pops up as well, but all she does is cry about loving Batman.

Up to now, the Sensei’s connection with the League of Assassins had mostly played out in Deadman stories, while Ra’s Al Ghul appeared to be their leader in Batman tales.  Though it is never spelled out in detail, the League must at this point be split between the two factions.

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The Bronze Tiger, Ben Turner, had been a supporting character in Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter, and had been kidnapped by the League when the series was cancelled.  Here we learn that the Sensei (who last appeared in a late issue of Phantom Stranger, for those keeping track) has hopes of making Bronze Tiger into his greatest weapon.

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Batman and the Bronze Tiger battle, but one of the members of the League jumps in, shooting a poisoned dart at Batman.  Though the Sensei kills the man who did this, Bronze Tiger is furious at the breach of honour, and turns on the League.  The lights go out, conveniently, so Batman misses the climax of the action, finding only the bloody masks of Tiger and Batwoman.  The story continues, although not immediately.

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The Demon’s series comes to an end with this story, by Len Wein and Steve Ditko.  The Demon stashes the Eternity Book with a relative of the previous caretaker, but this man wants nothing to do with it, and tosses it on the trash.  The book does not return until the Demon’s own series, in the 90stec_485_007

Jason Blood returns home, only to find his friends held captive by Baron Tyme. He demands the Eternity Book, but when he discovers that Jason no longer has it, comes up with a different plan.

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He casts a spell that half-transforms Jason into Etrigan, and then draws on the mystical energy of the transformation to pull his missing half back to reality.  This almost works, until the Demon steps behind a mirror, and Tyme’s spell winds up backfiring on him, sending his entire body to the nether realm.

That’s it for Baron Tyme, who has never been seen again.  The Demon, along with Glenda and Randu, appear next in the pages of Wonder Woman a couple years down the road.  Harry Matthews has to wait a few more years, until the Demon miniseries by Matt Wagner, to return.

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Man-Bat returns to Detective, with a story by Bob Rozakis, with art by Don Newton and Frank McLaughlin.

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Kirk Langstrom and Jason Bard are called on by a woman whose husband has been acting strangely, sneaking out at night.  She suspects he is having an affair, and hires the detectives to follow him.

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Since Man-Bat excels at surveillance, he follows the man to an abandoned building, where he dons a suit of armour and goes flying out the window. Man-Bat is convinced he has a super-villain on his hands, and starts fighting him.  But once he sees the man’s expression, he realizes that the guy is just not in control of his suit at all, and helps him crash safely.

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The story ends with Kirk complaining about how irresponsible the man was, trying to be a hero but not taking proper precautions and risking his own life, becoming a menace to others. It takes Jason Bard to point out the irony.

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Although I didn’t find either the Robin or the Batgirl stories worth writing about – both deal with art thieves, and both have mediocre art – there is a really nice pin-up of them by Dick Giordano on the back cover.

Detective 325 – Batman vs Cat-Man

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The Sheldon Moldoff story from Detective 325 (March 1964) marks the third appearance of Cat-Man, which is also his last appearance until the 70s.

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This story confirms what the other two had hinted at, that he possesses nine lives.  This is not an innate power, however, rather an attribute of his costume, made of a fabric claimed to have magical powers.

Now that Cat-Man has proof of his costume’s powers, he goes out of his way to show off his ability to survive death.

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Batwoman goes to check on the outfit Cat-Man had made for her, and discovers that it is made from the same cloth, with the same abilities, and dons the Cat-Woman suit again to be able to face off with Blake.

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The story ascribes the costume nine lives, but those lives get divvied up between the two people with the costume, so Batwoman uses up Cat-Man’s remaining lives.

Cat-Man gets captures and imprisoned for the first time at the end of this tale.

He returns to fight the Freedom Fighters in the mid-70s.

This story also marks the final appearance of Batwoman until the mid-70s as well, wit her returning in the pages of Batman Family.

Detective 321 – Batwoman vs the Terrible Trio

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The Terrible Trio make their second appearance in the Sheldon Moldoff story in Detective 321 (Nov. 63).

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The Shark, the Fox and the Vulture escape from prison and begin new crimes, although now they team up, with the appropriate one taking the lead for the venue.

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They manage to capture Batman and Robin, but are unaware that Batwoman has also got on their trail.

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So Batwoman winds up completely saving the day in this story.  She captures all three of the men, while Batman and Robin are busy saving their lives from the rockets they were stuck in.

This is the last appearance of these three until the 90s, when they were brought back in much more serious form in the Dr. Mid-Nite mini-series.

Detective 318 – Cat-Man turns Batwoman into Cat-Woman

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The closest thing to Catwoman in years, Kathy Kane dons a hideous version of the costume in the cover story of Detective 318 (Aug. 63), with art by Jim Mooney.

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Cat-Man returns and begins crime spree themed to famous cats, and encounters Batwoman while on one of his thefts.  Their battle nearly results in her death, but Cat-Man saves her.  Batman gets all jealous and barky, and Batwoman runs off to Cat-Man.  Oh, the drama!

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Cat-Man has already created a Cat-Woman costume for her to wear, which I guess he thinks matches his.  Kathy changes into the costume, but there is no element of them exchanging identities.

In fact, throughout the Cat-Man/Batwoman “romance,” the one thing seriously missing is a scene of Kathy Kane and Thomas Blake, who must move in the same social circles.

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When Cat-Man springs a trap on Batman and Robin, Kathy turns on him.  Her whole break-up with Batman was a show so that she could get near Cat-Man.  The best scene in the story, by far, has Cat-Man walling up Batman and Robin, while referring to the Cheshire Cat’s grin.

Bathound even gets in on the action in this one, although it passes up any dog vs cat scene.  Again, Cat-Man appears to die, but the nine lives reference is made, and sure enough he returns in a few months.

 

 

Detective 307 – Batman vs Alpha

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An artificial being creates problems for the caped crusader in the Sheldon Moldoff story from Detective 307 (Sept. 62).

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A scientist creates Alpha, an artificial human, capable of super-human feats, but incapable of understanding emotions.    Batman is enlisted to teach him about emotions.

Just think about that last sentence.  A preposterous notion for the last forty years, it was actually the basis for a story in 1962.

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Batman has Alpha watch what appear to be Jerry Lewis movies, but it’s seeing Batwoman that sparks his first major feelings.

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Then it all becomes a big tragedy, as the professor informs Batman that Alpha is flowed and will die soon, and Alpha overhears just enough to think that Batman wants to kill him to prevent a romance between him and Batwoman.  Alpha sacrifices himself for Batwoman, who goes on chasing Batman.

 

Detective 292 – Batman becomes a giant, and Roy Raymond ends

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Batman gets exposed to an experimental gas, which turns him into a giant in this Sheldon Moldoff story from Detective 292 (June 1961).

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Batman does his best to continue his war on crime, but his giant size makes life difficult.

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Kathy Kane adds a complication to the story, as she has a date with Bruce Wayne, which of course he cannot come to.  A mysterious stand-in takes his place.

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Batman’s inability to manage at his height winds up putting him in the hands of his enemies, but he has taken care to disguise his face, so unmasking him does not succeed.

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The final panel reveals that it was Superman who stood in as Bruce Wayne, leaving Batwoman convinced Batman is not Bruce.

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Roy Raymond has his final story in this issue, with art by Ruben Moreira.

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It’s a straightforward hoax story, trying to keep people away from a treasure by pretending an ancient wizard has come back to life.  Roy has no problem with this case, after years of similar ones.

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Roy Raymond next appears in the early 70s, in Superman, but Karen has to wait until the 80s, and returns in the pages of Detective, part of Roy’s final solo story.

Detective 286 – Batman and Batwoman vs Starman, and Roy Raymond uncovers a buried monster

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Three magical items are at the centre of this Sheldon Moldoff tale in Detective 286 (Dec. 60).  Star-Man, who has no connection to any other version, acquires ones that give him super-strength, and flight.

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The other piece, a belt, was bought by Kathy Kane.  Once she has worn it, it leaves her feeling dragged out whenever she does not have it on.

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The belt does have the effect of neutralizing Star-Man’s powers, and with Batman and Robin she takes him down.  With all three items on, she is cured of the wasting effects of the belt.

And sadly, this was as good as the book got in 1960.

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Some great art by Moreira on this Roy Raymond tale, in which he investigates the legend of a buried monster.

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The story is far more straightforward than most Roy Raymond tales, but that makes a refreshing change.

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Roy releases the monster, who rampages until they manage to seal him up again.  And Roy learns nothing from this, continuing on his merry way.

 

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