Thursday, March 08, 2012

80-Page Thursday: Batman Family #17!

It's November as I write this, but I had to schedule this week's 80-Page Thursday here: Batman Family #17, featuring stories from Bob Rozakis and Gerry Conway, and art from Jim Aparo, Don Heck, and Michael Golden.

This issue features three stories with a connecting thread: Earth-2's new heroine the Huntress visits the Earth-1 Batman. She comes seeking advice, since she had only recently taken up the cape-and-cowl, against the wishes of her father, police commissioner Bruce Wayne. Although he,and later Robin, are working a creepy kidnapping case, Batman still has time to have a chat with her, and point her in the direction of Batwoman.

Meanwhile, fortune-teller Madame Zodiac offers her "Horoscopes of Crime!" to Poison Ivy and Catwoman. They're skeptical when Zodiac tells them Batgirl will stop Ivy's latest scheme and the Huntress will break up Catwoman's next job. Zodiac tells them, double or nothing; and she's right: Congresswoman Barbara Gordon was near enough to get to Ivy as Batgirl (that's not suspicious or anything...) while Huntress is on-hand to stop Catwoman from kidnapping baseball player 'Catfish Turner.' Huntress has a hard time fighting someone who looks exactly like her dead mom; but pulls it together since this Catwoman is still "just another criminal!" Still, both escape capture with the unseen help of Zodiac, who has another plan in mind...

In their civilian identities, Batwoman and Huntress meet up with Batgirl at the carnival--the second carnival of the issue, they used to be everywhere. The ladies plan on lunch next to the museum...that Zodiac, Catwoman, and Ivy are going to rob. Zodiac wants to steal an anomalous Indian pipe: she's really excited about it, and Catwoman and Poison Ivy really don't care. After a scuffle, the criminals are caught, but Zodiac snaps her bonds, grabs the pipe, and fades away.

Huntress says her goodbyes to Batman and Batgirl in the JLA satellite, then takes the transporter back to Earth-2. But, unbeknownst to them...and fine, I'll never use 'unbeknownst' again...the transport energy and a freak interdimensional storm free the imprisoned Morgaine Le Fey. (I have a feeling that isn't the first time I've seen the JLA/JSA transports inadvertently free someone like that...) She's not wearing the armor and facemask she usually sports; but she's hellbent for revenge on Jason Blood. Teleporting to Blood's apartment, she steals back her Philosopher's Stone, regaining her power.

Meanwhile, Kirk Langstrom, better known as Man-Bat, is anxiously awaiting the birth of his first child; when he's distracted by the commotion of another birth, of a demon-child. A brief fight and the baby reverts to normal, and while the delivering doctor and Man-Bat try to explain to the cops, Blood arrives. When another demon baby appears, Blood turns into the Demon, defeats it, then uses "demon fire!" to drop the exposition on Man-Bat. Together, they stop Morgaine from maybe turning Man-Bat's baby into a monster...maybe. Kirk seemed to have been expecting a son, and got a daughter. Which I think has been retconned, as has large chunks of this issue: the Earth-2 visits, Barbara as congresswoman, maybe even Robin at Hudson U.

So why bring it up? March 14 is given as Catwoman and Poison Ivy's birthday! (And Madame Zodiac's too, no one cares.) Would've been nice if the date fell on a Thursday, but well, now you've got a week to steal them something nice.

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