Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Bat meets Cat

The third story in Batman #1 (by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson) features Batman letting Robin fly on his own solo mission, at least for a while. Batman reads about a yacht party where a famous emerald necklace will likely tempt criminals, but he has "another job to do first" and sends Robin ahead to work undercover as a steward. Batman promises to catch up later.

Robin discovers a note that suggests the Cat, a famous thief is after the necklace, but he doesn't make much headway in his investigation before Batman shows up. It's Batman who uncovers the Cat's disguise and reveals her to be a beautiful, nameless woman.

Of course in hindsight we know that her name is Selina Kyle (and her nom de guerre will eventually morph into something more familiar), but she's still a mystery in this story. One thing that's already present though is the sexual tension between her and Batman. She comes on to him as soon as he catches her, but he rebuffs her because they work on different sides of the law. It's probably right to assume that she was just playing him, but if that's so, her plan - shockingly - works!

As Batman and Robin carry her towards shore in Batman's speedboat (it's not pimped out enough to call it the Batboat just yet), the Cat leaps overboard to escape. Robin tries to jump in after her, but Batman foils the attempt by pretending to clumsily bump into the kid. Robin isn't fooled and Batman barely tries to cover it up. The story ends with Batman mooning over the Cat, trying to remind himself that he's engaged to the woman from Detective Comics 31 and 32. I don't know how Bruce Wayne eventually breaks up with Julie, or even if it's shown in the comics, but it's interesting to think that Selina Kyle may have had something to do with it.

What to make of his letting her go though? She didn't actually hurt anyone, so that somewhat excuses his giving vengeance a break, but what kind of example is he setting for Robin? I've speculated that Robin's presence has made Batman question how violently he attacks criminals, but there's a huge leap from that to just letting them go. Batman's clearly thinking with a different part of his body from his brain.

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