Batman & Tarzan:
Claws of the Cat-Woman

Ron Marz, Igor Kordey
(Dark Horse/DC Comics, 2000)

If this were strictly a DC production, it would doubtlessly fall in their Elseworlds collection. It has obvious Elseworlds qualities: Catwoman is now an incognito princess from a lost African city, while Two-Face is a greedy explorer and archeologist out to reap as much profit from the hidden land as he can -- with Gotham City philanthropist Bruce Wayne footing the bill.

Upon learning of the archeologist's betrayal, Batman sets out to undo the wrong. But he has a new partner for this story; instead of Robin, he teams up with the Lord Greystoke, Tarzan of the Apes, and heads for the Dark Continent.

I suppose the partnership was inevitable, given that the two heroes both prowl jungles, be they African or urban, in pursuit of justice. But while the two men claim to be very similar, they are actually very, very different. For instance, Batman is disguised, will never kill and forbids himself the distraction of romantic entanglements, while Tarzan works without a disguise, kills willingly and defines his life largely through his love for his wife, Jane. And while writer Ron Marz's Tarzan seems very at ease in the city, his Batman is out of place in the jungle.

On the other hand, they both do have wealthy alter-egos.

The story is satisfying, if hurriedly developed. It's a nice crossover effort, but leaves me with a sense that they could have done something more with the characters.

[ by Tom Knapp ]
Rambles: 28 July 2001

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