Posts tagged ‘Jim Mooney’

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.

 

 

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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 296 – Batman vs Planet Master

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Another of the villains recycled as part of Strikeforce Kobra, the Planet Master appeared in Detective 296 (Oct 61), in a story with art by Jim Mooney.

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Like Calendar Man, the Planet Master wears a different outfit, and has different gear, themed to different planets, for each robbery.  The investigation leads Batman and Robin to Professor Norbert, and his assistant Edward Burke.

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Burke appears to be the obvious suspect, but the story turns the tables on that, as it turns out Norbert if really the Planet Master, but is performing his criminal acts unawares, the result of exposure to a meteorite, while his assistant plans to steal his Planet Master gear and allow him to take the fall.  Norbert is cured of his split personality at the end of the story.

Adventure 361 – the debut of the Dominators

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The Dominators make their first appearance in this story by Jim Shooter and Curt Swan, though they are not the villains in Adventure 361 (Oct 67).  Kandro Boltax also makes his real first appearance, having been impersonated in the previous two issues.

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The Dominators are introduced as having been at war with the United Planets for 20 years, but currently negotiating a peace settlement.  Kandro Boltax asks the Legion to escort them through an “under-dimension,” as anto-Domintor feelings are high, and there is information indicating that the delegates will be attacked by assassins known as the Unkillables.

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Little is developed about the Dominators in this tale, and they only sightly resemble their later appearance.  There is no element of the caste system, or differently sized discs on their heads.

The story is meant to be suspenseful – the Legionnaires wonder when and where they will be attacked, and whether they can trust the Dominators, but it never really picks up, at least in my eyes.

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Ultimately, it turns out the entire mission was a ruse, as the Dominators they are accompanying are just three-dimensional illusions.  The revelation that the Unkillables are clones of Brutus, Cassius, John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald doesn’t help the tale either.  Finally, Jim Mooney’s inks all but obliterate Curt Swan’s pencils.

The Dominators do not return until the Earthwar saga in the 70s.

Adventure 284 – Aquaman ends

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Aquaman’s long run in Adventure comes to a close with issue 284 (May 1961), and it’s a shame that the art is not by Ramona Fradon.  Jim Mooney’s work suited Supergirl well, but here it pales in comparison to what has come before.

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The story is pretty basic as well.  Professor Shark leads a crime spree on the ocean, and has developed a number of devices to make things complicated for Aquaman, but of course in the end he is defeated.

The best thing in the tale is the submarine disguised as a whale.

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While the end of Congorilla’s series sent him into almost-limbo, for Aquaman it was no great loss.  He was appearing in both World’s Finest Comics and Detective Comics at this time, and as the end of the story notes, about to launch into a try-out run in Showcase that would spin him into his own book.

Aquaman would return to the pages of Adventure in the 70s, and then again in the 80s.

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