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Detective Comics 211
"The Jungle Cat-Queen"


Story: Bill Finger (?) Art: Dick Sprang (?)

(Originally Reviewed On 10/23/01)

On the splash page, The Feline Felon is up to her usual Cat-Crimes, and The Dynamic Duo must strive to catch The Catwoman, but things take a turn for the worse for Batman and Robin, for they must also face tigers, panthers, and lions, as well! (Holy Jungle Book, Batman!)

At Gotham City Airport, a small plane is making a landing, when the pilot discovers a black cat crossing his path in the cockpit, particularly a black panther! (Holy T'Challa, Batman!) The panther bears its teeth towards the hapless pilot, while its mistress also enters the cockpit... The Catwoman, who demands that he give the case of diamonds which were to be delivered to the Gotham Jewelers Company! (Holy Family Jewels, Batman!) Moments later, The Catwoman takes off in her own Cat-Plane, and soon, word gets out about her latest deed, and the Bat-Signal shines in the sky, where it is seen by millionaire Bruce Wayne and his youthful ward, Dick Grayson at Stately Wayne Manor! A quick change, and The Dynamic Duo board the Batplane to head for the airfield and listen to the pilot's story, which has the Boy Wonder wondering how The Feline Felon was able to command a black panther?

The pilot shows where The Cat-Plane took off, and the deductive abilities of The Caped Crusader deduces that the dry mud from the tire-treads are of volanic clay which is indigenous on tropical islands. The Batplane is on The Catwoman's trail, while Batman wonders how Catwoman was able to have such fierce creatures follow her every command. (Holy Palin, Batman!) It is dawn when The Batplane arrives at its destination, in time to see The Cat-Plane about to descend onto an island, and intent on bringing her down, but the wily Catwoman uses the planes claw retractors to snare The Batplane and shear its wings, forcing Batman and Robin to land, instead!

After landing, repairs must be postponed, as The Dynamic Duo search for Catwoman, and come across a mine, where they ask the prospectors about Catwoman's hidden lair... As they walk, Robin sees the tracks of lions, leopards, and tigers! John Jarrow greets them and shows them his diamond mine, seemingly grateful for their arrival, for The Catwoman has her base on the island, and the beasts have kept them from stopping her, fearful that she seeks their diamonds, as well, and ask The Caped Crusader to construct a trap to stop the cats. Batman and Robin are soon constructing a noose trap, but the trigger-rope is cut by Jarrow, who betrays them, trapping The Dynamic Duo!

Jarrow and his men are crooks, intent on shooting the helpless heroes, but Catwoman tells them to stop, for she has a much better idea! She wishes to hunt them down, as they have hunted her, and has their utility belts removes, as well as their costumes for jungle attire so that they will be at a disadvantage! Now wearing animal skins, both are given ten minutes before they are hunted by Catwoman's pets, and unmasked. As Robin seeks to curse, Batman advises him to run, while Catwoman cracks a smile, and Jarrow wishes that he could see them caught by the big cats! As they race through the jungle, The Boy Wonder wonders why if they have a diamond mine, why those crooks would be in league with Catwoman, and The Capeless Crusader points out that The Feline Felon is dominating them, no doubt!

Batman heads for the stream, as Robin hears the approach of the big cats, but The Capeless Crusader breaks off some hollow reeds for them to use as breathing tubes, as they hide underwater! The Catwoman and her pets pass by, unaware that their quarry is nearby. Both surface, and Robin wonders how Catwoman could have missed them, while Batman is sure that Catwoman is up to something... Nighttime finds The Dynamic Duo searching for Catwoman's secret lair, and under the full moon, they find an old temple, where the trail ends, and which was a place of worship of cats! (Holy Cat-hedral Perilous, Batman!)

Peering into the cat-temple, Robin knows that the big cats can't be native to the island, and Batman knows that they must have been raised in captivity. In their search, Batman and Robin come across the rest of the caged circus animals. Presently, Batman charges towards Catwoman and her pets with a whip, which has them reverting to type and stepping obediently into their cages, while Batman gets his hands on Catwoman!

Jarrow is nearby in hiding, knowing that the only way to win is to dispose of both Catwoman and Batman, and he opens the gorilla cage, so that all of them will fall! Batman calls out to Robin, but The Boy Wonder is caught in the gorilla's grip, while Batman grabs a torch to scare the beast, who drops the unconscious Boy Wonder, and turns his attention to The Capeless Crusader! Batman spins the torch and causes the gorilla to stumble back into its cage!

Once caged, Batman turns and sees that Jarrow has his gun on him, while Catwoman moves to free her pets again, but Jarrow drags her along to dispose of Batman, while thinking that the gorilla defeated Robin! Batman is to be bound hand and foot, then tossed into the river, but Catwoman requests that he wear his costume so that it will never be found, and the utility belt has been emptied, which Jarrow approves of since the evidence will be disposed of in one fell swoop! (Holy Body of Evidence, Batman!) The Caped Crusader is thrown into the river...

Robin revives to see a lion sniffing him, then moving his hand slowly to press a nearby plant down into the fire, causing smoke to drive the beast away! Seeing footprints leading to the mine, he knows what happened to Batman, and uses the smoke trick to drive the other beasts towards the mine in a stampede, so that he may find his mentor in the confusion, but Batman notices that The Feline Felon hadn't completely emptied his utility belt, as he still has his silken cord and emergency knife blade to cut his bonds!

Carried by the current towards the waterfall, Batman reaches for the silken cord, making a noose which goes over a projecting rock, just as he is about to go over the falls! The crooks see Batman going to his seeming death, even Catwoman can't believe her eyes, but unseen by all, The Caped Crusader's lifeline enables him to swing behind the falls and onto the rocks, to reach the crooks once again! Catwoman is still in disbelief, but soon comes around when The Caped Crusader greets her and then leaves her tied to a tree, while he goes after Jarrow and his men!

Within the mine, Batman sees that the diamonds are all stolen, then re-cut, so that Jarrow and his men can claim to have mined them! He is found by one of Jarrow's men, who is determined to shoot The Caped Crusader, but Jarrow and his men soon flee before the sight of the jungle stampede, while The Dynamic Duo round up the crooks and cage them! Catwoman is freed by the claws of one of her cats, so that Batman and Robin soon see her riding off on a tiger towards her hidden plane, while The Dynamic Duo must repair their Batplane! Robin finds it odd that Catwoman left the knife-blade and silken cord in Batman's utility belt, while The Caped Crusader knows that The Catwoman is not a murderer and sentiment is her weakness, which is why they'll catch her next time!

Catwoman is in her element, with her jungle cats after Batman and Robin!

The Feline Felon is fine in this Fifties story, while The Dynamic Duo take a trip out of Gotham, only to be caught in the claws of The Cat-Plane!

Although a villainess, The Catwoman is not a killer and prefers to toy with Batman, even if it means that she be caught by The Caped Crusader.

On Earth-Two, these versions of Batman and Catwoman would marry, and their stories referred to by Alan Brennart in the pages of Brave And Bold.

"Interlude On Earth-2" by Brennart would feature The Cat-Plane, as well as the toys of another costumed criminal whom I'll be reviewing next after the obligatory Marvel review, with a tale to astonish which is familiar to Leonard Bellew on The SA/GA List.

This Review Is Dedicated To Jen Contino

Steve Chung
"The Jungle Cat-Review"