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Friday, 14 July 2017

Batman Family 5 - Batgirl and Robin vs MAZE

Cary Bates joins Elliot S Maggin as they bring Batgirl and Robin back together for a story with art by Curt Swan and Vince Colletta in Batman Family 5 (May/June 1976). The issue also features two reprints from the 1950s, the first appearance of Ace, the Bat-Hound, and the second appearance of the Signalman.

Clark Kent plays a supporting role in the Robin/Batgirl tale, in Washington DC to report on the visits of two noted Europeans. One is the princess of a small nation, and the other a left wing activist. The story brings back MAZE, a criminal organization for hire that had first appeared three years earlier in the pages of Superman. In fact, in the issue that first teamed Superman with Batgirl. Despite the fact that, in that story, Clark Kent and Barbara Gordon went on a date, no reference is made to that during their scenes together in this story.

Barbara Gordon is showing the princess around Washington, while Dick Grayson is accompanying the activist, who is trying to travel incognito and get a sense of the other side of life in the US. Robin goes into action to rescue a girl at a construction site, but she turns out to be a MAZE operative, put into their path to kidnap the activist.

Batgirl gets lured into a construction-based death trap of her own. One is left with the impression that MAZE is intimately tied to the construction industry. Their plot is to kidnap the activist, and have a double of him assassinate the princess, discrediting him. Stupidly, they explain this to Batgirl, so once she escapes from the trap she is able to stop them.

Robin and Batgirl take down the MAZE operatives using the flip thing seen on the cover. Robin must get turned on by this, as he starts putting the moves on Batgirl immediately afterwards. Batgirl is not interested, but the story does end on a romantic note, with the princess and the activist falling for each other.

MAZE would return in a few stories in this book over the next couple of years.

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