B&B 2-in-1 Round 21: Tigra vs. Wonder Woman

Last round! It's 13 to 7 for Batman, so the Thing teams up with a hawt lady to at least finish with dignity. But wait, Batman isn't a slouch with the gals either... Round 21 starts NOW!

In the orange corner... it's the Thing and Tigra, written by Bill Mantlo and drawn by Sal Buscema and Don Heck, Marvel Two-in-One #19, Claws of the Cougar!

In the black corner... we've got Batman and the new Wonder Woman, written and drawn by Mike Sekowski with inks by Dick Giordano, Brave and the Bold #87, The Widow-Maker!

As you can see, Bob Haney has already decided he's won, but the Thing keeps on fighting, so pinch-hitter Mike Sekowski steps into the ring. DING DING DING!

The Stars
Well anytime you've got Tigra in your bed, I'm afraid you've scored with me as well. I've had something for Tigra ever since the West Coast Avengers mini-series, can't help it.
Ben does lose some points for his prudish reaction. He works it off by destroying some gym equipment, taking the boredom out of the usual recap pages (can't ANY 2-in-1 story not be related to some other comic's plotline?). He then breaks some heads using a metal "peace" sign like Captain America uses his shield, has a big throwdown with the Cougar, saves Tigra's life, and gets maced.
His one weakness: Cat puns. "Cat-astrophy"? "Cat-aclysm"? There are a lot of iffy lines here (see what I did there?). +7 points

Bruce Wayne is doing the playboy thing, racing fast cars and cruising Diana Prince AKA Wonder Woman, but when a cheating rival racer wants to put the competition out of commission, Bruce winds up with a concussion (puns, alliteration, I'm on a roll this morning... or a slide). His doctors say he cant race, but if he races as Batman, those medical orders don't apply, right? (Little known fact: Bruce Wayne and Bill Clinton went to law school together. Look it up.) You gotta love the bat-eared racing helmet:
Of course, everyone's trying to kill him during the race, but I just love how he gets out of each trap in what seems like a possible manner. Mike Sekowski was into racing, wasn't he? Plus, no cat puns. +8 bat-points

The Guests
Feeling an affinity for other orange heroes, Tigra climbs into the Thing's bed to get his help against the Cougar, an evil cat renegading (that's a word, right?) from the cat people who gave her her powers and sexy sexy appearance. And proving that "cat fights" aren't just girl-on-girl:
That goon is TRASHED! Unfortunately, she really does need Ben's help, cuz she doesn't do much in the following pages. +4 points

I wasn't really familiar with Wonder Woman's "new" direction, and my store seems determined not to carry the Wonder Woman Encyclopedia that should have been mine, all mine, this week, so I can't check it out (Wikipedia it is). From what I can gather, she's lost her powers and hangs out with an blind man called I Ching who is mentoring her in the martial arts. I Ching should really sue Frank Miller for Daredevil's mentor Stick.
The lasso, tiara and bracelets have been replaced by a groovy mini-skirt. I'm not complaining because Diana still kicks serious ass. When Bruce Wayne winds up in the hospital, she's determined to race in his place. He won't have it so she "borrows" a car and follows the track to stop would-be assassins on the course.
That's a serious stunt, especially given that the driver is blind. And it's your one-stop shop for Wonder Woman changing a tire. When it's all over, she's carted off to jail for stealing a car, laughing at how she's the only Justice Leaguer with a criminal record! Ha ha, I laugh at you men's laws! +9 bat-points

The Villains
The Cougar is one of those kitchen sink villains that doesn't have one single guiding concept. He's a cat-man from a fantastic secret race. He's also a scientist, disguised as a human who has a rich fiancée. He's stolen the Nega-Bands, a powerful artifact that allows to throw energy around (last seen on the "totem menace", Tomazooma, so you know this is serious). He's got goons equipped with a tracer attuned to Tigra's body temperature (that seems like an odd way to track someone). He also uses a knock out gas, an "electro-lance", a "positive-charge annihilator" which can "tear your positive-polarity atoms apart", and a machine to steal the Thing's strength for himself. Quite the mix, but the Cougar doesn't lie to himself:
In the end, he gets shot in the back by his fiancée who was using him for his invention talents all along. She didn't mind sleeping with a were-cat, and killing him was easy enough, but she drew the line at being too greedy for power. Whatever you say, lady, just point that gun somewhere else. +5 points

Willi Van Dort and his race car, the "Widow-Macher", are killers on the race track. Willi will win at any cost, and once you're dead, he changes the number on his car to update his number of kills. So at first, he just wants Bruce Wayne out of the race because of his great pole position. But when Batman takes over, Willi just wants to kill Batman as revenge for his father's defeat. Turns out his dad was General Von Dort from Detective Comics #343 (first story in the second Batman Showcase and somewhere in the Elongated Man Showcase as well, if you're interested, though there's nothing that really ties them together otherwise. Willi is strictly Spy Hunter. Oil slicks, blades that come out of his wheels, and killers positioned on the road. In the end, he drives right into one of his thugs' traps and, well...
...poetic justice is one cold-hearted bitch. +5 bat-points

Odds vs. Ends
From Marvel Two-in-One:
-I'm mystified by the artistic choice to keep Tigra in shadow for the opening pages, as if there was any surprise after 1) the cover and 2) her name plastered on top of the first page.
-1 point

From Brave and the Bold:
-Despite dissenting opinions from the Absorbascon, I liked this story a lot. Sure, it's not Neal Adams, but it's just goofy enough to fit the Haneyverse. And where else does Bruce Wayne fight like a contortionist jive dancer?
+1 bat-point
-The prone, victimized Wonder Woman on the cover isn't much of a seller. Not only does it weaken the "new" Wonder Woman, but the scene never even occurs in the book! -2 bat-points

Farewells and Scoring
Ben and Tigra don't really say goodbye, they just walk away together. Just when Ben needs that extra push, the story lets him down. +0 points

As for Batman and Wonder Woman, they can't get any friendlier despite her being hauled away in handcuffs. Everyone's smiles and setting up dates and bail money.
That date can be seen in the Justice League cartoon show, I believe. +3 bat-points

Wonder Woman, powerless though she may be, goes through Tigra's nine lives all at once, with a score of 24 to 15! And so Batman wins the prize fight 14 to 7 after 21 rounds. That's a 2:1 win for the Dark Knight as this volume of Brave and the Bold ends. I was thinking of going on, perhaps matching the Thing's stories to some random Batman team-ups, but we have a clear winner, and it's time for our fighters to rest up until another volume of B&B shows up.

Hope you've warmed up for Friday Night Fights, coming later tonight!


Anonymous said...

Good fun. Batman's dominant victory isn't that surprising. My memory is that the later Two-In-Ones were better than the earlier ones. Wonder how the later issues would do against the post-Haney B&Bs.


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