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MARS, RON & KONDEY, IGOR – BATMAN AND TARZAN – CLAWS OF THE CATWOMAN 2000 DC & DARK HORSE 

 

Graphic novel cross-over story that is much better than it initially sounds. Bruce Wayne opens a new wing at the Gotham City Museum of Natural History. There is a major party to celebrate the opening night. Lord Greystoke (wearing a suit and tie) is among the guests, and he immediately demonstrates to Bruce Wayne how they both live in a jungle one way or another, and they also learn that they are both orphans. The story seems intent to play on the similarities between the heroes throughout, or is it? The main guest at the opening is however one Finnegan Dent, an explorer in the Indiana Jones mode, but clearly Greystoke doesn’t trust him, and even Bruce Wayne is suspicious of how much valuable fresh looking material he seems to acquire so easily.  As the party ends, Bruce, as Batman spots a woman in a cat-burglar outfit breaking into the museum. He stops her, but he is then surprised when Tarzan, now in traditional loincloth, holds him back as he tries to arrest her. This is not the Catwoman we are used to from traditional Batman stories (she is not even referred to once). This cat-woman is a member of an Egyptian tribe from a hidden city, which Dent has been plundering. She and Tarzan want the city’s goods back. Batman agrees to help them. Dent has already headed back to Africa. Batman agrees to go with Tarzan to stop him from attacking the lost city again. Tarzan has identified Bruce Wayne by his smell.  In Africa, after a brief meeting with Jane, Tarzan’s wife, Tarzan, the Cat-Woman, and Batman head through the jungle for the city. Batman is amazed by Tarzan’s control of the animals, and a lion even travels with the heroes. Batman assumes that all of the jungle creatures are Tarzan’s allies until a gorilla attacks them. Tarzan fights it to the death and Batman is shocked at his savagery. He realizes that there are differences between them after all.  They find the city, and the lion attacks Dent, but he escapes with half of his face mauled away (The similarities between Finnegan dent and Harvey Dent, the Two-Face character familiar to the traditional Batman story fan will be obvious now). And captures the cat-woman, using her as a hostage. He murders her father and insists that she marries him to make him the legitimate heir to the city and its fortune. Batman and Tarzan attack again, but Dent tries to feed them to his crocodiles. The Catwoman saves them and they chase Dent, who gets trapped by falling masonry. Tarzan leaves him to die against Batman’s wishes, and again Batman recognizes their differences outweighing their similarities. They part as friends despite this for their respective kind of jungle. A thoughtful crossover yarn that does justice to both heroes.  http://www.dccomics.com/

 

Arthur Chappell

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