DCAU #143: It Takes a Cat

IN THIS ONE... There's a Catwoman copycat in town and it's... Cat-Man!

Written by Ty Templeton; art by Brandon Kruse and Rick Burchett.

REVIEW: I've decided to basically ignore all the stories where Catwoman is obviously a criminal (beyond the first), because the stories after she came out of prison and acts as more of an anti-hero, are the best. Not just in terms of her smoldering relationship with Batman, but because Selina isn't all that interesting as a straight-up villain. She's just a very good thief that, despite her feelings, has been rejected by Batman, so that won't go anywhere. When she's in animal activism mode, and using her skills to HELP Batman, it feels like there's a chance for them, which immediately makes her more engaging.

Because her instincts are to mistrust the forces of order, he goes it alone, even more outside the law than Batman, and that pushes her to make dangerous choices (but they pay off, check out the end and her advanced agenda). Throwing a towel dummy out her bathroom window is pretty cool, and showing up at Thomas Blake's party where it seems everyone recognizes her even in disguise (Clark Kent should definitely NOT crash this one) is extremely risky. But her luck holds out, and she turns every situation to her advantage, eventually delivering Cat-Man to the Dynamic Duo, while never letting the cops get eyes on her. Also, some nice cat movement from artist Brandon Kruse, which I'm a fan of.

Cat-Man in 1997 when this comic came out was a nobody, and he's treated as much of a joke. It's proper, but disappointing when compared the the Cat-Man we know now, a much cooler and interesting character. Not that Thomas Blake isn't a foe worthy of the Batman, at least physically, but as Catwoman's demented fan/stalker, he never comes into his own, and they saddle him with tons of cat puns that, while amusing, prevent us from ever taking the character seriously. Something you'd expect from a slightly terrible Batman '66 episode. His lack of a cool costume is perhaps part of the problem.
IN THE MAINSTREAM COMICS: This story is actually very much in line with Cat-Man's first appearance, right down to Catwoman being his inspiration and incidentally implicated in Thomas Blake's crimes. The only major difference is the costume, which is closer to hers here; the comics had (and still have) him in yellow and orange. He would much later come into his own in modern Secret Six comics.

- Some really cool Catwoman anti-hero moments; Cat-Man doesn't fare so well.



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