This may seem off topic at first, but in celebration of Batwoman being realised in live action for the first time ever, I thought I’d look into the time Batwoman appeared in Batman 66.
Now, some of you may be thinking how is that possible? Batwoman was never in the original TV Show, and you’re right.
Batwoman wasn’t even in the Batman 66 comic, well, you’re kinda right!
This blog post is going to be my review of Batman 66 Issue 2’s story Chandell’s Chanteuse in which we see a vision of a version of Batwoman;
We start with Kathy amazed that Bruce has actually been able to commit to a date and not break it off with her. She however is curious as to why they would be attending an evening with Chandell a pianist with a criminal past, played on the show by Liberace.
Bruce explains that since surgeons restored Chandell’s hands, that the Warden (presumable Warden Crichton, famous for his unusual penological ideas) has allowed Chandell to pay off his debt to society through work release.
The two are shown to their table, Bruce explains the table he has reserved is best for acoustics and refers to her as Miss Kane at this juncture, referencing the Batwoman to us, the audience.
Chandell thanks the audience for having more decorum than those he previously played for, the prisoners of Gotham State Penitentiary.
Chandell introduces his vocal accompaniment in the form of “The Lovely Lori”, Lori short for Lorelei Circe, the real name of the arch-villainess The Siren played by Joan Collins in Live-Action. She says that, much like Chandell her gifts have been returned to her.
Bruce realises what this means and excuses himself as quickly as possible so as to avoid The Siren’s bedazzling notes and the inevitable mind-control it wields. Kathy doesn’t seem too impressed and warns Bruce that she “better not be leaving alone”, or else Bruce would “be all wet”, she says this whilst pouring water from a jug into a glass.
The women in the audience aren’t affected in the slightest but all the men are now under The Siren’s command, and she commands them to take precious jewellery from their dates to give to “The Lovely Lori”. They do so and exclaim their true love is for The Siren.
Whilst this is going on Batman swings in, being that he is a man too, The Siren is sure she’ll be able to enslave him and he’ll be able to “take the jewels away from the tougher wives”.
Batman of course would never roughhouse with a lady….if in control of his senses!
Displaying his never-ending catalogue of skills he has acquired over a lengthy career of apprehending criminals, Siren exclaims that Batman “must be using earplugs”, he lets it be known that he has instead studied a form of meditation whilst exposing himself to short recordings of The Siren’s mind-control note, rendering himself immune from her powers!
Batman implores The Siren to surrender as she has no henchmen to protect her, but alas she does, as every man in the vicinity, other than the Batman himself is under her command and de facto henchmen to the Siren.
Batman has to temper himself between defeating the men in the room whilst taking care not to hurt unwitting members of the public, so Batman proceeds to simultaneously fight and apologise.
Chandell tells The Siren that he’s not been able to gather much in the way of valuables as The Siren has “all the men fighting Batman”, seemingly not under her mind control, perhaps already prepared, perhaps wearing earplugs, or immunised himself, or perhaps working in cahoots with her.
She then instructs the men to get back to gathering jewellery and such and tells Chandell she will sort Batman out by herself.
Batman warns her she has made a mistake with this thinking, however she brings out a breath spray and warns Batman of a new song she has to sing.
She then sings this new “song” and sends Batman into a world of hallucinations.
He sees a literal Robin representing, appropriately, Robin, bemoaning his choice to take a date to see Chandell rather than him.
Batman then sees a Leprechaun whom he assumes is Chief O’Hara and tells him to arrest The Siren.
Batman then starts to feel like he is drowning. He reasons that if he can hone in on his memories then he should be able to get back to reality and so rides on the back of a Shark, recalling Batman: The Movie, in which Batman has to tackle, a “trained, exploding shark”, in the words of The Riddler. He also envisions himself surfing on a surfboard, reminiscent of the episode Surf’s Up, Joker’s Under in which Batman battles The Joker in a surfing competition after The Joker absorbs all of Skip Parker’s surfing knowledge with the use of his “Surfing experience and ability transferometer”.
Batman is determined he can get back to reality but The Siren warns him she has only just begun. Batman whilst trying to fight those that he physically sees as monsters he realises they aren’t monsters and shouts for a woman to help him as women are immune to The Siren’s powers.
The Siren is sure noone will help him as the average person has “no heroism at all”.
That’s when we see a vision of a version of the Batwoman come to Batman’s rescue with a jug full of water! She splashes this in The Siren’s face to stop her singing.
Batman starts to thank Kathy Kane but then thinks better of it and exclaims “you did it, miss!”.
Kathy seems concerned as to where Bruce is, Batman assures her that Bruce was summoning the police.
Chandell gags The Siren and states “how dare you mar my attempt to go straight”. Which begs a few questions, especially as Batman commends Chandell for gagging The Siren which will protect people until she’s taken away and put away.
Firstly, if Chandell was annoyed at her marring his attempt to go straight, then he wasn’t in cahoots with her. If he wasn’t in cahoots with her than why would he have immunised himself against her notes and be the only man not fighting Batman, unless, when The Siren instructed all the men to steal from their partners, Chandell was under her spell unable to steal from his partner and as such was simply carrying out the part of the instruction that meant he was simply giving to The Siren.
Another theory, though perhaps I am reading to much in to this. Chandell, attempts to go “straight”. Could this be wordplay that alludes to an element of this story. Chandell though working for her at one point, Batman assumes at the end Chandell is reformed without much question. Perhaps when The Siren’s note affected “men”, perhaps this excluded Chandell with his flamboyant and some would say effeminate/feminine behaviour? But then why would he be going along with her plans, unless he is re-drawn to the life of crime and this is what he bemoans The Siren for, for marring his attempt at living life on the side of the law.
At the end of the story there’s a hint towards another story unfolding based on who gave The Siren the breath spray, but that’s a story and a review for another time.
Overall I think this is a fun, silly story that with the hallucinations would’ve been difficult to have realised on the TV show if it were conceived back then, and perhaps even now would be a little difficult to acheive but, it works well in this form.
The Batman 66 comics allow for this fun team ups that when you see them just make sense, two of the musical villains team up in this story, the previous story in this issue featured The Penguin and Mr. Freeze, another team up that just seems perfectly suited.
Batman not even being slightly suspicious of Chandell seems like an oversight or a weird choice in this story.
The Batwoman content/connection was a nice touch to those aware of the character and a nice little tease.
Batman 66 Volume 1
Batman 66 Issue 2