Tuesday, March 01, 2016
How much does a writer have to rehabilitate a character before said writer should be upgraded to creator? Gail Simone didn't create Catman...she only created everything good about him. (Except for fighting the Doom Patrol!) Before Gail fixed him up, we've seen Catman flummoxed by the Freedom Fighters and grounded by G'nort; and today he's manhandled by Manhunter, in 1989's Manhunter #13, "Trackdown" Written by Kim Yale, pencils by John Koch, inks by Pablo Marcos.
Current Manhunter and bounty hunter Mark Shaw isn't having a great week: an intrusive TV reporter has been interfering with his training, and Shaw had been looking for both his next case and his old source, Sylvia Kandrey. She had been a warrants officer, but giving info to Shaw may have hurt her career, and their relationship. Shaw does get a new source, though: a friend from Belle Reve Prison puts him in touch with a new name, Oracle...
I was going to mention, even though this was 1989, neither Mark nor Oracle have keyboards that resemble anything in reality; but would fit in on the bridge of the Enterprise or maybe the Hall of Justice. I don't think this was Oracle's first appearance, but there was a little clue there. Shaw works a few more sources, before attending a museum opening with his step-sister Eleanor. Outside, he sees something and makes a quick call, since he knows Cat-Man is going to hit the museum! Shaw mentions usually preferring to do proper surveillance and plan things out, but every once in a while you just have to make it up as you go.
Cat-Man (this issue has the hyphen, although I prefer it without) makes a showy smash-and-grab of an Egyptian cat statue, but tosses his prize at Shaw when he sees the mask. With his claws, he does a number on Shaw and some guards, but his escape is cut short when his car is being towed! Shaw had recognized Cat-Man's vanity plates, GATO-1, as Spanish for cat, and called him in on his parking tickets. Shaw gets Cat-Man with his power baton, and that's that.
Later, after taking another beating during training, Shaw is visited by Sylvia, who may be willing to forgive him...maybe.
This issue didn't have Doug Rice on art...which hurt every issue he wasn't there. (He did do the cover, but still.) Yale and her husband John Ostrander were usually co-writers on this book, and I always thought they were trying to get a real pipeline going between Manhunter and their other title, Suicide Squad: Shaw would catch a bad guy, they'd be immediately sent to Belle Reve to sink or swim there...! Unfortunately, I don't think Cat-Man did any time on the Squad, so my theory may be full of holes.