Posts tagged ‘Diane Meade’

Detective 326 – Batman in an alien zoo, and Martian Manhunter ends

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Batman and Robin become performers in an alien zoo in the Sheldon Moldoff tale from Detective 326 (April 1964).

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They get rounded up by aliens who do not distinguish them from the other Earth animals they are gathering.

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Once in the zoo, they become star performers.  Much of the entertainment value in this story is meant to be derived from watching Batman and Robin perform silly stunts for the amusement of goofy looking aliens.

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Eventually they prove their intelligence, and are recognized as sentient beings, and sent back home.

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The Martian Manhunter’s series comes to a close with this issue, which sees some huge changes to the series before it switches books.

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The Idol Head of Diabolu is introduced, and emits its first monstrous effects, a destructive gas cloud, and it also makes a man emit energy beams from his eyes.

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J’onn frantically tries to deal with both threats, both as the Manhunter, with Zook in tow, and as policeman John Jones, working with Diane Meade.

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The police see the cloud descend on John Jones, who survives it, but uses the situation to fake the death of his human identity.

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J’onn gets the eye beam man and cloud together, and they neutralize each other.  But he joins Diane and Zook for the funeral of John Jones.

The series moves to become the cover feature of House of Mystery, bringing Zook and the Idol Head with it.  Diane is left to mourn her former partner in ignorance of his actual survival.

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Detective 312 – The Clayface Batman, and the Martian Manhunter gets a sidekick

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Clayface is back again for his third round with Batman and Robin in Detective 312 (Feb. 63).  Matt Hagen once again escapes from prison and recharges his powers from his secret pool in this Bill Finger/Sheldon Moldoff story.

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At first, Hagen uses his powers to impersonate Batman, entering banks and warning people to leave immediately, and then looting.  But Batman catches him at this, and Hagen flees.

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Batman stops another scheme, in which he makes himself appear to be a work of art to gain access to a vault, but manages to follow him back to his pool when he goes to recharge.

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In their fight, Batman falls in, and becomes a Clayface creature himself, leading to the big climactic, shape-changing battle.

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Which ends when Batman, as a tree, punches Clayface in the head.  A bit of a let down.

Clayface returns in a few months in the pages of Batman.

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Zook is much more in focus in this Martian Manhunter story.  J’onn keeps the creature in a cave, from which he keeps escaping, wanting to get in on the action.

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Zook, who can turn red and radiate heat when stressed, messes up one of J’onn’s plans, barging in when he mistakenly thinks J’onn is in danger.

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When he escapes a second time, he runs into Diane Meade, who brings him to the station, where he encounters J’onn in his John Jones identity.

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But in the end, Zook winds up using his heat powers to melt a cube J’onn is trapped in by some bad guys, which convinces him the creature could be his sidekick, and doesn’t need to spend the rest of it’s life alone in a cave.

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.

Detective 301 – Radioactive Batman, and J’onn J’onzz returns to Mars

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Another Batman story that I am including solely because of the back-up tale, this Sheldon Moldoff piece from Detective 301 (March 1962) sees Batman sealed in a plastic jar.

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An accident at a factory making synthritc gems leaves Batman vibrantly coloured, and incapable of surviving in out air.  He also emits deadly heat and radiation.

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He starts fighting crime from a bubble craft with robotic arms, which is kind of fun for a few pages.

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Eventually,in pursuit of some criminals, he winds up fried by a power line, which simply drains the deadly energy from him.  And the colour.  Although the colour fades more slowly than the power, allowing a final scene where the villains think he is still a danger to them, and give up.

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J’onn returns to Mars in this story.  A band of Martians attack Earth,stealing radium, and John is unable to change and go after them because Diane Meade is there. A scientist goes missing, and John tracks him, and the Martians, and realizes that the scientist has managed to rebuild Erdel’s teleportation machine.

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J’onn follows them to Mars, and is re-united with his parents and little brother.

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He has little time for reunions, though, as he winds up tracking the rogue Martians and renegade scientist, defeating them.  The scientist gets injured during the fight, and winds up with no memory of his time on Mars.

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J’onn bids his parents and brother farewell, and returns to Earth.  Why he wants to return isn’t explained beyond bringing back the scientist, but I would theorize he grew to enjoy the time away from his family.  We saw no other connections of his on Mars aside from them.

Detective 275 – Batman vs Zebra Man, and Diane Meade becomes John’s partner

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An eye-bending cover for Detective 275 (Jan. 60), and a memorably bizarre villain, Zebra Man, in this story by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff.

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Zebra Man has invented a machine that powers his body with line of magnetic energy, and uses this to stave off Batman while committing crimes.

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Batman finds his hide-out, and gets charged up by the machine as well.  They are now equally matched, but Batman lacks the control belt the other uses, and cannot defeat him.

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Finally, he lays a trap for Zebra Man, in a place Batman had already given a negative magnetic charge, which cancels out Zebra Man’s powers.

Although he does not appear again, Zebra Man is one of four Batman villains from this time who get recreated by Kobra in the 80s, part of Strikeforce Kobra that he sends after Batman and the Outsiders.

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Diane Meade returns in this story, becoming John Jones’ partner.

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Now that J’onn is openly a hero, he takes on the secret identity problems that provide soooo many stories their plots.  And Diane is thrust into the Lois Lane mould of always questioning John about being the Martian Manhunter.

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And though he disproves her suspicions in this story, they rise again in later ones.

Detective 246 – Batman solves an actual murder mystery, and John Jones meets Diane Meade

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After years of increasingly silly tales, in Detective 246 (Aug. 57) Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff put Batman and Robin into a serious murder mystery, set in a castle just outside Gotham.

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Wealthy gun dealer James Barham is murdered in his castle, and the four guests are the only possible suspects – relatives and business associates who all have reasons to kill him.

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Part of the mystery is figuring out even how the murder was committed.  A crossbow was used as the weapon, but no one was in the room when it was fired.

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Batman puts the pieces together, and realizes the importance of the water stain on the table with the crossbow – a lump of ice was used to set it off.  This is not the greatest Batman story ever told, not even close, but it’s still miles above most of what has been printed in the preceding few years.

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John Jones gets a female partner in this Jack Miller story, Diane Meade, a rookie policewoman.

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Her primary function in the story is to make life difficult for J’onn, who is not able to use his many powers on the case, simply because she is there and would see what he was doing.  Much better than having a comet take away his powers for a story.

Diane was likely intended as a one-shot character, but her usefulness, as well as the lack of supporting cast in this strip, were probably responsible for her return a couple years down the road.

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