"Nine Cradles Of Death": After a long time of remaining in a catatonic state, Thomas Blake finally recovers in his cell at the Gotham State Penitentiary, where he learns from his cellmate, a cat burglar named Collins, about a certain cat exhibition at the Gotham
- Our little cat and mouse game nears its end, and now it's time for the climax... known in drama incidentally as the catarsis...
- — Catman
Appearing in "Nine Cradles Of Death"
- Catman (Origin)
Synopsis for "Nine Cradles Of Death"
After a long time of remaining in a catatonic state, Thomas Blake finally recovers in his cell at the Gotham State Penitentiary, where he learns from his cellmate, a cat burglar named Collins, about a certain cat exhibition at the Gotham Museum. Blake makes a bet with Collins that he can escape from prison, steal the cat object and defeat Batman. If he succeeds, Blake will take all the loot that Collins has hidden over the years and if he loses, he will give Collins he Catman outfit, which can give the wearer nine lives. Collins agrees, but during their escape attempt, only Blake manages to get outside of prison and Collins is trapped by the guards.
Later, the Bat-Signal is activated, forcing Jason and Bruce to leave Wayne Manor in a hurry, much to their new houseguest, Julia Pennyworth's surprise. Once they have left, Alfred gets busy with the home chores and Julia answers the phone. Vicki Vale now learns that there is another woman living in Wayne Manor and her hopes of a relation with Bruce are diminished.
Moments later, Commissioner Gordon informs Batman about the escape of Catman and the theft of his costume from the evidence room at the GCPD Headquarters. As Batman and Robin go out on patrol looking for Catman, Doctor Fang is preparing his next move against Batman, when he will use a boxing champion to defeat his enemy.
The next night, Batman and Robin get a clue that leads the to the Gotham Museum, where they deduce Catman will strike. True to their deductions, they are confronted by Catman at the museum and although the criminal manages to get the upper hand in the fight, their advantage in numbers and luck, allow Batman and Robin to defeat and capture Catman. When they take the criminal to the GCPD Headquarters, they learn about the bet that he made with Collins and the heroes come up with a plan to force Collins into revealing the location of his secret loot.
The next morning, the newspaper arrive at the Penitentiary, where Collins is made to believe that Catman has managed to succeed in his caper and will most likely steal his loot. Determined to foil Blake's plans, Collins starts a scheme to break out of prison.
- The story continues in Detective Comics #538.
- This issue has a couple of continuity errors:
- Catman's real name is misspelled as Thomas Black instead of the original Thomas Blake.
- The Gotham Museum of this story is said to be the same place where Man-Bat kidnapped Jason Todd in Batman #361. However, in that event, that was the Gotham Natural History Museum, the workplace of Kirk Langstrom; while the museum of this story is the normally used generic "Gotham Museum".