Batman AND Robin AND the Riddler; how does this get any better? Batwoman that’s how. Boy these guys love reaching back to characters that wouldn’t work today - yes I realize Batwoman is currently in comics continuity, but this version wouldn’t play in this day and age - except that it does, but only in this particular form and only on this show. And it only does because this team makes it work.
I must confess I was a little confused. As you may know, I’m a bit of a Bat-o-phile, so when Batwoman’s secret identity was announced as Katrina Moldoff, I silently cried foul. Bat-history taught me the character of Batwoman has been around since the mid-fifties, and her name in the comic pages back then, as it is now, was Kathy (Kate) Kane.
Why would this team, a team devoted to Easter eggs and little-known Bat trivia, decide to change the name of this lesser-known, yet still important part of the caped crusader’s past?
At first I thought perhaps since she is a bit of a villainess in this episode they didn’t want her to have the name “Kane.” If memory serves correctly, “Kathy Kane” was named after the wife, or daughter (I forget which) of Batman creator, Bob Kane. This made me assume they didn’t want to sully the name of someone dear to the almighty creator of The Bat. A little research later led me to realize the character of Kathy Kane, aka Batwoman, was actually co-created by Bob Kane. His partner in this concept was a fella named Sheldon. Sheldon Moldoff. So in disgracing the character of Batwoman, Sheldon Moldoff finally gets a tiny bit of recognition for his contribution to one of comics long lost heroines. I’m guessing ol’ Shel would be happy with the decision.
During a routine Riddler crime, The King of Conundrums exposes Batwoman’s secret identity to all of Gotham. Batman chastises his nemesis by accusing him of pulling a dirty trick. That’s the beauty of this show. The Riddler and his henchman were not 3 minutes prior shooting live ammo at Batman and his pre-teen sidekick, and Batman gets all disappointed in the Riddler when he reveals some annoying chick in a Mardi Gras mask.
Flash forward ten years and Robin has traded in the green short shorts and pixie boots for something a little more suitable for crime fighting. He is joined by Batgirl and the moody Ms. Moldoff is none to pleased.
Next we are treated to some gender bending awkwardness, but all played straight – which of course is the secret to the success of these guys. Bravo to Diedrich Bader for not going too over the top in his performance as the haughty lady in the Batmuscles. Kudos as well to the art direction during the animation of Batman/Katrina’s movements - very feminine and very funny.
I have to admit if I suddenly found myself in the body of a smoking hot babe like Katrina Kane, and I needed an appropriate outfit to change into, I may have spent a little extra time admiring my new curves in the mirror, but that’s why I never became a super hero. I like to look at naked ladies too much.
I wasn’t the only one smitten with Katrina’s charms. That old perverted prestidigitator Felix Faust was also a bit smitten. So smitten in fact that he had no qualms about riding bitch on the back of the Batchick Cycle.
And while we’re on the subject of sexual taboos, why would Dick Grayson, a boy who grew up in a circus be deathly afraid of monkeys? Holy Simian Sodomy Batman, I hope the Boy Wonder escaped that particular predicament with his short shorts still around his waist.
By the end of the episode we saw Batman using his “feminine” wiles on Felix Faust, and the episode ended fittingly enough with a proper homage to one of the greatest male/female role reversals in the history of film. (With the possible exception to those Oscar De La Hoya photos that were floating around a few years back.) The last words spoken in this episode, just like the last words spoken in Billy Wilder’s classic comedy, Some Like it Hot, “Well, nobody’s perfect.”
Joe Oesterle’s new book, “Weird Hollywood” is out. Here’s an unedited story from the book. It’s Halloween appropriate. Read, if you dare, the bizarre, twisted and unsolved murder of The Black Dahlia.