Posts tagged ‘Cat-Man’

Detective 566 – Know Your Foes, and a mystery villain in Green Arrow

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Doug Moench and Gene Colan provide a review of Batman’s major villains in this story, a lead-in to the big Batman 400.  The bulk of it reads much like a Who’s Who, but that series, and its variants, were in the future, and there really had not been anything like this.  It was much more appreciated at the time than such an issue would be now.

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After receiving a mysterious letter saying “Know your foes,” Batman and Robin review them.  All the big names are covered: Joker, Penguin, Two-Face, Riddler, Scarecrow, Ra’s Al Ghul and Talia.  Killer Moth makes the cut into the big names, as does Black Mask, the newest addition to the line-up.

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Curiously, this is the first time Poison Ivy makes it into a listing of Batman villains.  She’d been a foe of his since the 60s, but rarely in his own books.  Mad Hatter, Deadshot, Nocturna and the Night Slayer round out the ones who get full entries.

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There is a curious mix on the “B-list” page.  Cavalier and Tweedledee and Tweedledum are golden age holdovers, but Black Spider and Clayface III are supposedly dead.  Mr. Freeze, Cat-Man and Croc could easily have made the cut to major villains at this time.  And they included Crazy Quilt.  Really?

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Green Arrow and Black Canary’s series builds to its finale in this story by Joey Cavalieri and Jerome K Moore.

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Onyx is giving a long, roundabout explanation to her wanna-be boyfriend about why she has come back to Star City, but it gets interrupted by a bad guy smashing right through the wall.

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Who is the mystery attacker?  That gets saved for the finale.

Detective 538 – is the Cat-Man costume magic?, and Green Arrow, three years ago

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Doug Moench and Gene Colan take the second half of this Cat-Man 2-parter in an interesting direction in Detective 538 (May 1984).

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Thomas Blake, the Cat-Man was defeated by Batman in the first half of this story, but the news was spread that he had won, because of his costume.  This is all done in order to get a fellow con to lead Batman to where he stored his loot.

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Thomas Blake has a small role, in protective custody with Harvey Bullock, but the man in cat suit for this story is Collins.

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With Batman tailing, Collins breaks into Blake’s apartment, steals the suit, and heads out for his loot.  he takes crazy risks, because he believes in the suit’s magic, and Batman has to save his life, repeatedly, without being spotted, to keep the con going.

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Collins leads Batman to his loot, in a cave, but a collapse opens a tunnel and Collins winds up in the Batcave.  He and Batman fight on the dinosaur and giant penny, as Alfred tries to explain the sounds to Julia, who has recently moved into Wayne Manor.

Collins is captured, and Batman explains the con, but Collins still believes it was the suit that saved his life, and lead him to the Batcave.

Thomas Blake returns as Cat-Man in a couple of years.  Collins is not seen again, doubtlessly shanked in prison by Blake.

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Shawn McManus is now on the pencils for Green Arrow, with Pablo Marcos doing inks, and just in time as Joey Cavalieri tells a poignant story, reflecting back on a dead friend of Oliver Queen.

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The story is split on each page, with the present, as Green Arrow hunts and captures gun runners, on the top.  On the bottom is the story of Oliver and his pop star musician friend.

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When I first read this, when it came out, I couldn’t see any connection at all between the two stories, and it sort of irritated me, until I hit the page above, and realized that the pop star was meant to be John Lennon, and the upper story about the ease with which illegal guns are available in the US.

 

 

Detective 526 – Jason Todd dons the costume

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Celebrating Batman’s 500th appearance, Detective 526 (May 1983) is a forgotten, but worthy, anniversary issue.  Crisis on Infinite Earths would remove this story from continuity, and the origin of Jason Todd radically changed, but this work by Gerry Conway, Don Newton and Alfredo Alcala stands on its own merit.

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The Joker calls together a mass assembly of Batman’s enemies.  Croc is out to kill Batman, but he’s a newbie, and not worthy of the honour, the Joker insists.  So he lays out a plan that will give them all chances of killing Batman that night.

The line-up includes the regulars: Penguin, Riddler, Two-Face, and Scarecrow.  Cat-Man, Killer Moth, Mr. Freeze, the Mad Hatter, and Matt Hagen as Clayface had all appeared within the last few years.  The Cavalier had not been seen since an issue of Batman Family in the late 70s.  Tweedledum and Tweedledee had not been seen since the 1940s!  Technically, this is the first appearance of the Earth-1 versions of the characters, but with Crisis looming that scarcely matters.

Some of the newer villains are included as well: Black Spider, Captain Stingaree and the Spook.  Talia is there, without her father being involved in the story, which is rare.

The Gentleman Ghost is a Hawkman villain, but had fought Batman twice in his own book.  This is the only time he appears in a line-up of Batman villains.

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Catwoman watches, but takes no part in the meeting.  Talia also has no interest in killing Batman, but has to fight her way out.

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Both Catwoman and Talia head to the Batcave to warn Batman of the plans against him, but get involved in a cat fight of their own.

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Meanwhile, things aren’t going so well for Dick Grayson.  His great plan to use the Todds against Croc simply put them into his hands, and he has Jason driven to Wayne Manor to keep him safe.

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Barbara accompanies her father as Commissioner Gordon checks out the abandoned theatre where the villains met, and finds evidence pointing to a gathering of their enemies.

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Barbara goes to find Dick, and they suit up as Batgirl and Robin and head out to fight the villains, as Batman does the same, with Talia and Catwoman as back-up.  No one is at home, so Jason is left to explore Wayne Manor, and guess where he winds up?

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The Spook manages to get the drop on Talia, if only for a moment.  But with so many fighting against them, the two women and Batman get taken.

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Robin is the one to find the remains of the Todds, fed to his namesakes by Croc.

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Jason, unawares, has found an alternate Robin costume in the cave, and suited up.  He heads out to join the rest of the heroes.

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Batgirl and Robin fight well together. There is no hint of romance, as there had been in their Batman Family team-ups.  Robin is in a budding romance with Starfire in the pages of New Teen Titans, but their ease with each other reminds one of the bond between them, the best duo of Batman’s supporting cast.

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Jason happens upon  a group of the villains, which gives him the information he needs to find out where everyone else is.

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Finally the big climax, as the Joker gloats over his captured foes.

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Croc had been working behind the scenes with the Joker, using all the other villains to wear Batman down.  He makes his move, but Batman manages to duck at the right time, and Croc takes down the Joker.

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Jason Todd arrives just as Batman has beaten Croc into submission, and delivers the final blow.  Only afterwards does he discover his parents bodies.

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The epilogue sees Bruce sending Catwoman and Talia off together in a car.  Where is he sending them?  Why did he stick these two women in the same car together?  How far did they get before their fight forced the car off the road and into a ditch?

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The issue ends with Bruce and Jason Todd, who is looking relatively ok for a boy whose parents were horribly murdered the night before.  But he is to be the new Robin, and there is a sense of hope.

Which is all kind of weird now, because Jason Todd was given such a different origin, and made such a different character, in the post-Crisis reality.

But for a couple of years, this was the origin of Jason Todd, Robin.

Detective 509 – Cat-Man’s revenge, and Supergirl and Batgirl vs the Anhilliator

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Cat-Man returns in Detective 509 (Dec. 81), making trouble for both Batman and Catwoman in this story by Gerry Conway, with art by Don Newton.

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Things are looking promising for Bruce and Selina as this issue begins.  She has been trying to put her criminal past behind her.

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Cat-Man shatters the happy mood as he bursts in on Selina. His face is mangled, the result, he believes, of the tearing of his magic cape the previous year.

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Batman also checks in with Dr. 13.  He had been checking out the supposed ghost in Wayne Manor in recent issues of Batman.  Batman’s solicitous behaviour is really a cover, so he cam make sure Terry saw nothing that would indicate Bruce is Batman.

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Cat-Man really has little to complain about.  He wouldn’t even have survived their previous encounter if it wasn’t for the cape’s 9 lives, and his facial scarring is nasty, yes, but it’s a bit much to blame the people he attacked.

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Cat-Man’s vengeance plot brings him nothing but another close call with death.  He returns in a couple of years.

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Though he is unaware of it, Cat-Man’s plan actually does have a negative impact on the lives of those he hates.  Selina blames her Catwoman past for the attack, and leaves Bruce, until she can be sure her past is in the past.

Actually, she winds up coming back in less than a year, in the pages of Batman.

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The story ends with a tease for the return of Vicki Vale.  She appears more properly next month in Batman, trying once again to prove Batman is Bruce Wayne.

Vicki Vale really hadn’t been used since the early 60s, although she did cameo in an issue of Batman Family in the 70s.

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Sueprgirl discovers she is not as powerful as she thought in this Burkett/Delbo/Giella story that continues the battle against the Anhilliator.

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Batgirl actually gets to swoop in and rescue Supergirl, although she needs to use her unconscious body as a shield to protect herself.

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Batgirl also finds herself getting jealous when Jeff pays attention to Suerpgirl.

The story concludes next issue.

 

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 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 311 – Cat-Man debuts, and the Martian Manhunter fights off an alien invasion

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Cat-Man makes his debut in Detective 311 (Jan. 63), in a story by Bill Finger and Jim Mooney.

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Thomas Blake is introduced as a member of the same social club as Bruce Wayne, having just returned from a sojourn in Africa.  Parallels are drawn between the lives of Wayne and Blake, just as in the introductory story of the Cavalier.

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Bored, Blake decides to turn to a life of crime, and names himself Cat-Man, after his hunting interests, as well as in honour of Catwoman, referred to in this story as “reformed.”

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When he comes into confrontation with Batwoman, Blake immediately starts trying to romance her, but she rebuffs him.

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A few rounds with Batman, a giant, robotic cat, and Cat-Man appears to die by drowning, but the story as much as tells us he will be back.

In hindsight, this story introduces three of the concepts that later Cat-Man stories will build on – his parallels with Batman, his romance with Batwoman, and the nine lives idea, casually floated in conversation in this issue.

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Two alien criminals come through a really funky space warp to Earth, pursued by an alien bounty hunter, and little alien creature called Zook.  J’onn gets caught in the middle of the whole thing.

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Zook, although he will stick around, is really a peripheral character for much of this story, which centres on the lawmen and the chase.

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The trip they take back to their planet is certainly the most vibrant scene this series has had.

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As I mentioned, Zook stays behind, sort of adopted by the Martian Manhunter.  Diane Meade also gets to know the creature, which becomes important in the following issue.

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