Posts tagged ‘Thomas Blake’

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.

 

 

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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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