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And Jason 1.0

Saw some original art from this issue online and realisd I'd always meant to share the issue. It's a minor story in many ways, Doug Moench writing the first of a sort of two part story which isn't major or "important", but to share Don Newton pencils with Alfredo Alcala inks and Adrienne Roy colours, is always a pleasure.

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First up, the cover

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Created by Ed Hannigan, and finished by Dick Giordano, the a delightgul homage to the original poster for the musical Cats

We open in Gotham State pentinentiary, where a doctor is checking out one of their long term prisoners, one Thomas Blake, whose diagnosis is only the start of a positive SLEW of cat puns... and none of them from Robin (Not really Jason's thing)

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Of course despite his complete state of torpor freaking out his cellmate, it's the arrival of a CATalogue which causes him to stir, one about a museum exhibit devoted to Bast. (The thing to remember at this point is that Batman's foes weren't all killers, they were criminals, thieves and robbers, who just shared their nemeses level of theme-obsession.

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See what I mean?

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And if Blake wins, he gets the loot that Collins buried (In the CATacombs of course) and which he talked about in his sleep, much to Blake's delight.

So they organise a break out (distracting a guard with some creepy CATerwauling), long enough to knock him out and steal his keys, and then making a dash for it over some wooden scaffolding (or CATafalque... look, I'm not making these up, be thankful I cut them!) Blake, who takes a great many more chances than his cellmate, makes it, Collins doesn't, but he knows that the game IS on.

Meanwhile in stately Wayne Manor, Bruce and Jason are finishing the main course of dinner, and have a guest, Julia Remarque (Who came to America from France, looking for her father, Alfred Pennyworth who, during his Special Ops days in WWII, had had a bit of a fling with her mother, the noted Resistance Fighter codenamed "Madamoiselle Marie" and who hadn't even known she existed until she showed up on their doorstep.

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It's like Aunt Harriet all over again! :)

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Jason admits he was a little "Gung-ho", but at least hopes the threat is worth missing Alfred's dessert.

When they get to Gotham Police HQ, there has indeed been a crime committed, the outfit and equipment of Catman has been stolen from the evidence archives, and of course, a cryptic message has been left.

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Meawhile, on a sleazy street... see it says so right there in the caption box....

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"On a sleazy. in a lurid light, Catman preens".... I really miss this sort of florid dialogue sometimes.

Out on patrol, Robin serves his usual function of being the one to ask "Who's Catman?" He's heard Bruce mention him, but since he hasn't surfaced during Jason's tenure as Robin, hes never had to study up on him specifically.

Batman explains about Blake being a big game hunter who grew wealthy, squandered his money on gambling, but who then found eh couldn't go back to hnting animals because it lacked the thrill it had once had, so had set himself up as a criminal for the moolah, and also because challenging Batman was a TRUE challenge.

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Like YOU'RE one to talk about fetishes Mr "Dressed Like a Bat"... oh, wait, ot THAT sort of fetish, an ACTUAL fetish.. sorry about that.

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Oh Jason, you poor sweet innocent little birdboy, this is only 1984, you have NO idea what's coming down the line in terms of Bat-characterisation, do you?

The next night, at dusk, Jason comes racing down to the Batcave where Batman is sorting out the Catman files because SOMEONE (who shall remain namless but who probably wears a red tunic and yellow cape), has been going through them rather hurriedly and explains that because he's one of the class officers involved in organising a school museum trip, he's found out about the Bast exhibit that we know Blake learned about earlier.

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Way to kill the mood Bruce, good grief, this is why you NEED a Robin (and the instance Jason refers to is this one)

They find a museum guard knocked out, and tied up (with CATgut obviously)..

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Oh, he's grim enough Jason, trust us on this one.

Robin hears a growling sound from nearby and then ducks to avod a rather nasty looked throwing weapon....

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Aside from grim and grimacing Batman, there really IS an almost Batman 66 vibe to this (The theme obsessed villain leaving clues, referring to a captive Robin as a "snared bird", and the trap itself being a little... not exactly completely convincing as much of an inconvenience)

Catman races off and meets Batman in the Hall of Weapons, making his entry, rather overdramatially IMHO, by launching himself at Batman via CATapult (what else)

371 14.jpg

CATaphract? Really? Someone had just left the dictionary open at this point didn't the? (It's like all the Egghead EGGSpressions from, again, Batman 66)

Their fight is a little predictable, so we can cut back to Robin, and I should draw attentiopn to the colouring here, I've said it before, I loved Adrienne Roy's work with the four colour printing which comics of this era were limited to. By muting the backgrounds somewhat, the costumes really pop, and few moreso than the Boy Wonder's... and Newton's attention to things like capes actually falling into creases is always amazing.

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Since this is Jason 1.0, he has the circus background.

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Alas I had to trim the scene where Catman is about to kill Batman with a Japanese sword (A CATana of course), but we then cut away to Collins in his jail cell, reading about Catman's successful theft of the statue and how he managed to critically injure Batman before escaping. Collins resolves to break out himself, track down Catman and then steal his costumes cape (Which must work if Blake was able to beat Batman) and he should be able to do it, since he IS a CAT burglar.

Of course, we find out this is all a trick, a false story planted by Batman to try and lure Collins out to recover the loot they know he has buried (Blake had no problem giving the Gotham cops all the informatio he had on Collins in exchange for a plea bargain, it's not like he really owes him anything). And then we discover how Batman escaped...

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Finally, Batman makes a pun so bad that he has to apologise to ROBIN because of it!! (But at least he's lightened up a bit

Cue trombone wah-wah-wah and roll credits as the Dynamic Duo are off to lat their traps for Collins, when he eventually appears.
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