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Batman #15 - Story 1

December 11, 1942

"Your Face Is Your Fortune"

I have to say, I'm excited by this one. It's the return of Linda Page and Catwoman. I mentioned in the last post I was getting tired of Joker. He was overused even by this point, especially since they somewhat defanged him. But the Catwoman, at this point in the run, is played well and brought in in stories that have more to do with advancing the relationship with Batman than just solving a crime. And here we have a tale that does just that as Bruce has to deal with a lovers triangle.

There is one other thing I found interesting. On the splash page, we have an image of Catwoman riding a giant cat across Gotham City while Batman is in pursuit atop the Batplane. Now that isn't what I call into question. It's the accompanying text. The opening line - "Beneath the dark denim of the stern figure of the night - BATMAN! - beats a tender, generous heart!"

Denim? Batman's costume is made of demin? That must be mighty uncomfortable.

Our story opens with a woman named Elva and how she goes about her average day. The tale takes the full length of the page, but by the time we get to the last panel, we learn that this is the Catwoman. What is she up to? Has she gone straight? It sure seems that way as she makes her way each day to work in a beauty salon.

Indeed, she is so vested in her work, she is part of a group of beauticians who participate in a beauty contest in which she is clearly the winner as determined by head judge, Bruce Wayne. The Catwoman finds herself smitten with Bruce as he announces the winner. And Bruce recognizes Catwoman. He can do nothing with that knowledge at the moment.

And the declaration of the winner makes the papers and the eyes of Linda Page who is annoyed that Bruce is thinking any other woman is beautiful. And here we go with the start of the love triangle. But we quickly learn that Catwoman is not on the up and up as she makes molds of beauty facials she places on her rich customers.

That night, Batman and Robin follow her home. They watch as she stops to buy a Batman and Robin doll from a street vendor. But Batman notes that she passes a piece of paper to the vendor. Instead of following her, they follow the vendor to a nearby bowling alley. There, Batman confronts the man, insisting he is someone wanted by the police. He picks the man's pocket of the slip of paper and surreptitiously hands it to Robin who goes off to call the police to confirm Batman's "suspicions".

While they wait, the vendor's friends decide to take advantage of Batman alone and attack him, but he wipes the floor with them, even sending two of them down a lane for a strike. Robin returns and reports that the paper tells the vendor to tell the others to be prepared as they were going to hit a high society wedding.

Catwoman meanwhile has set herself up as the editor of the Globe newspaper. She has the real editor develop car trouble, making her unable to attend the wedding. Catwoman arrives with her thugs as cameramen. They wait until all the gifts are gathered on the table and then attack. But Batman and Robin are able to stop them.

Catwoman pleads with Batman to let her go as she will go straight because she loves Bruce Wayne. This startles Batman who allows her to escape. What follows is Bruce's attempt to make sure Catwoman goes straight. He courts her and even proposes marriage. The problem is, everyone is confused by this. Linda Page is hurt by the news of the engagement.

And what about Dick? He doesn't get it either and all he gets from Bruce is a condescending attitude. Meanwhile, Catwoman deals with her doubts about Bruce as he did have a relationship with Linda. She gets a chance to test it when Linda comes to the shop and Catwoman is able to make a mold of Linda's face.

At dinner, Catwoman, as Linda, learns Bruce's plan for her. He has no intention of marrying her. He just wants to help Batman set her straight. This sets her off instead and she goes on a crime spree.

Meanwhile, Dick - having been put off by Bruce's attitude - goes undercover, working at the bowling alley, to learn more from the vendor and his friends of Catwoman's next move. He overhears the vendor in a phone booth talking about Catowman's heist of a pet show.

At home, Dick changes to Robin and gives Bruce a bit of the same attitude. And then, in a moment that would set Fredrick Wortham off, Bruce puts Robin over his knee and spanks him if he doesn't spill the beans.

The two get to the pet show and stop Catwoman and her men from robbing it. Catwoman tries to get away, but is stopped by the cats she set free. Nice bit of irony.

This is a good story, if a bit of a romance comic too. What's our second story for this anthology issue? Stay tuned, Citizens!


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