Friday, December 16, 2016
We looked at the Bat-title crossover "Officer Down" a while back, and mentioned how Catwoman's involvement seemed a bit forced. It's slightly less so in today's book: from 1996, Robin #27, "Natural Born Healer" Written by Chuck Dixon, pencils by Mike Wieringo, inks by Stan Woch. Terrible title there, but it's weird to think Tim Drake's book would run 183 issues before DC forgot what to do with him...
This is the third chapter of the twelve-part "Contagion," regarding an Ebola-like "Apocalypse virus" loosed on Gotham City. Robin and Alfred are trailing a geologist who could be immune, when Catwoman cuts herself in, intent on cashing in on a reward for him. Interspersed with scenes of the virus starting to spread, Batman tries to intimidate the Penguin, who plans on getting his hands on the cure in order to bleed dry some afflicted billionaires. And in Canada, when Robin and Catwoman find the geologist, the Penguin's henchman Tracker finds them; but Batman sent Robin some backup: Azrael. (Whom Robin would not have been thrilled to see at the time, still relatively soon after Az's term as Batman.) Shown here, Bats goes to Azrael for help, who seems to be more interesting in starting fires--in fact, by the end of the issue he appears to have set a building on fire!
Lot of plates spinning here. An odd footnote: Renee Montoya has a boyfriend this issue, who dies of the virus: she was a lesbian in Gotham Central and every version since. I know Dixon is a more conservative writer, I don't know if he would've had an issue with her sexual orientation; or if it hadn't come up yet. Still, her boyfriend is obviously doomed so the main characters will lose someone: Robin and Batman would both get hit by the virus later on, and they sure as fun weren't going anywhere.