No sooner had Maty Lopez slipped into her own office than an agile figure climbed to the window and watched her as she held the purple costume up to her chest. Montez is the new Catwoman! thought Maty. Perhaps I could blackmail her into resigning from the magazine. It all depends upon how much she values her privacy.
At that moment, an agile figure wearing a brown costume with a hood crashed into the office. He sniffed as he entered and landed on both feet, his eyes glancing right and left as he said, “Catwoman! I have found you!”
Maty gasped and jumped over the desk for the door.
As fast as the former gymnast was, the man was quicker. He grabbed her by her long, reddish-brown hair and slammed her into the desk. She passed out, and he carried her out the window.
“Mission accomplished!” he said.
The costume and bag lay on the carpeted floor of Maty Lopez’s office.
Yolanda Montez, having got the signature she’d needed, had returned to find her bag missing. She rushed out into the hall in time to hear the sound of a struggle from Maty’s office. She shoved the door open and saw a shattered window, an empty office, and her precious costume.
Of all the people to find my costume, it would have to be Maty! mused a frantic Yolanda. She’d love to choke me with my own fishnets! She also seems to have been abducted!
She locked the door, slipped into her Catwoman costume, and jumped out the window. Flipping through the air, she nimbly came to land perfectly on a flagpole below. Her weight bent it down and propelled her next leap, and so she continued across the street.
No sign of her. No body. No fighting forms, mused the leggy heroine as she crossed the city. I know I saw blood on the desk. Someone or something took her out that window, but why did they leave the costume behind? Is this connected with the attack on Sam Skinner?
“Here, kitty, kitty, kitty,” called a harsh voice.
Catwoman turned to see two costumed figures.
“Very funny, Bludg,” giggled the woman.
“Catwoman, our boss wants you bad,” said the gray-and-blue-costumed man, who was known as Bludgeon. “Come quietly, or better yet, let’s play!”
“You two nut-cases are just what this little kitty needs… to sink her claws into!” snarled Catwoman. She dodged as the hulking man slammed down his fists, which were covered by hammer-like gauntlets, and shattered the rooftop.
She reeled from the sheer impact and felt a blade spin across one hip. The costumed woman hurled another circular blade toward her. Catwoman spun aside and kicked the man in the chin. Three swift kicks followed, and she grunted as the woman’s own kick caught her hip.
“Nobody hurts my husband except me!” said the woman called Razorette.
Catwoman grinned. “Sounds like a song.” She jumped up and over the woman’s charge to slap her across the face.
Bludgeon roared and swung at Yolanda. She felt the sheer wind of impact and flung herself to safety. Three acrobatic flips enabled the curvy kitty to land at a safe distance from the deadly pair.
This Bonnie and Clyde from a hardware store need to be taken down fast so I can find Maty and protect Papa! she thought.
Her hip was bleeding from the cut, but she kicked the woman called Razorette in the chin and flipped her over her back. She landed directly on top of her angry spouse. Her blade cut through his armored suit, and his heavy fists glanced off her head.
“Ya made me hit Razorette!” he roared as he bled.
“That was the idea, Edison!” said a smiling Catwoman as she tripped him and sent him crashing to the next level balcony.
“Great! That armored suit cushioned his fall just enough,” she said with a sigh. “Now to call in the police and track down Maty. And the day started out so well!” she added, shrugging.
At the hospital, Ted Grant tried to get a laugh out of the battered Sammy Skinner. The former hero called Bearcat was in bad shape, having long ago lost his youthful athleticism.
Carlos Montez turned to Ted and said, “Ted, I got a note — a threatening one. I wondered if Sammy did, too. He and I once testified against a boxing racketeer named the Diamond. Sammy got the evidence on him, and I was a witness. He went to jail for twenty-five years, and he could be after revenge.”
Ted nodded and said, “Diamond King! I had forgotten that loser. I’ll just check on him and maybe bust his rock-hard head!”
Sammy moaned, “Ted, it was woman — a blonde woman. Never saw her fists; she was so fast!”
“Rest easy, bud,” said Ted. “I’ll prowl around and see what I can find. No mook hurts Ted Grant’s pals and gets away with it!”
The Black Widow snapped at her ally. “If I had not sent Bludgeon and Razorette after your precious Mastiff, we’d never have known that this woman he brought in is not the Catwoman!” she yelled.
“Yes, it was good that Bludgeon spotted the true Catwoman and radioed in to us,” he said. “Now I hope he and his lovely wife can bring in the real Catwoman for us to experiment on. Still, Mastiff is wonderful — a hybrid of animal and man. He insists that the woman had both the costume and the scent of the real Catwoman.”
Black Widow touched one hand to her frosted hair and said, “The scent was on the dress, not on the woman holding it. That means she is a confidante of the true Catwoman. She had access to her clothes. Your Mastiff has the brains of a dog as well as the tracking skills of one!”
He chuckled and said, “Now, now, don’t be so hard on him. He was just a start. We’ll get better results as time goes by.”
Black Widow smiled. She did not look nearly as old when she smiled, but her smile held no warmth, only malice. “In any event, we can practice our technique on the woman he brought in, can’t we?” she cooed.
“Practice makes perfect!” he answered.
Ted Grant, alias the hero called Wildcat, never got to check on Diamond King. He had every intention of doing so and even planned to rough up the old felon if necessary, but before Grant could take action, he stumbled into a bank robbery and could not turn away when he was needed.
While he cheerfully busted heads, his protégé Yolanda was on her way to King’s gym. She had spoken to Grant by phone and had been warned to be careful in case King was looking for revenge on all of the Montez family. She had demurely agreed to his terms, then raced off over the rooftops for the gym.
If that old goon tries to hurt Papa, I’ll scratch his eyes out, she thought. I have no way to track Maty yet, so I better deal with the threats first. As hard as it is to concentrate on anything with the threat of exposure as Catwoman looming large, I know family always comes first.
She decided to scout around first, so she pried off a heating vent with her claws and slithered through a long shaft deeper into the gym. She smothered a sneeze as she crawled toward the office of Diamond King.
Sheesh! Has anyone done any type of cleaning work on this system since 1940? she mused. I will be gray instead of purple when I get done!
Catwoman listened as the rough-voiced King praised a shapely blonde woman. “You did good,” he said. “Sammy Skinner is in the hospital. I’d rather have you safe than have him dead. The cops were coming, so you did good to run.”
“I could have finished him off, but it would have meant beating the cops, too,” she said. “That would bring even more heat down on us, huh?”
The old man laughed with pride. “That’s my girl! You sound like one of the old gang!”
Yolanda curled up in a ball and kicked out suddenly. She dropped down the now-open shaft to confront the pair. “I hate to interrupt this family moment, but the Hallmark folks want to do a gangland Christmas, and you two would be just perfect!” she joked.
“Get her! She’s with Wildcat!” gasped King.
Diamondback grinned. “I want to get my hands on her! She’ll be one sorry cat!”
Catwoman dodged and kicked out to trip the girl. She succeeded and pounced upon her back, pinning her arms and cradling her in a wrestling move.
“You sent a note to Carlos Montez,” she hissed. “You won’t touch him or his family. You won’t hurt anyone anymore. You’re both going to jail.”
The old man fell forward from his chair. “My heart!” he gasped.
Yolanda whirled to see what was happening to the aged gangster, and she received a right cross from Diamondback that knocked her cold.
“Works every time!” said the man called Diamond King with a grin.
Yolanda awoke to find herself laying in the middle of a boxing ring, while a metal cage hung suspended from the roof above the ring. She groaned and gazed steadily upward, and her keen sight soon revealed a shocking sight. Papa! she thought.
“I got the man who ratted on me years ago in that cage up there,” said King. “An egghead pal of mine fixed it so’s your gloves send a shock through the old sneak every time they connect with anything. See?” He kicked Yolanda’s hands, and her father screamed above them.
“Boxing gloves?” she gasped as she raised her hands.
“Yeah! I put them on ya while ya was out like a light,” said King. “Now you are gonna box my daughter, Diamondback. She don’t know who ya are.” He lowered his voice to a whisper and grinned as he added, “I took a peek under that mask while you were out. Got yer old man, too. I’ll keep your secret. Let the girl think you’re just too slow to hit her. Remember, every blow you land sends current through the Mauler!” She knew he was right; Mauler Montez was helpless above the ring in the wired cage.
Diamondback, with her short blonde hairdo and pink and black costume, smirked as she jumped into the ring. “I can’t wait to beat you into kitty litter!” she grunted.
Yolanda frowned. Her work was cut out for her.
“Don’t worry about me, Catwoman!” yelled Montez as the bell sounded. “Get that little tramp!”
Yolanda’s mind reeled as she took in the garish spectacle. The seedy gym, the eager expressions on the faces of those loyal to King, the leering old man himself, her captive father in his cage, and above all the smashing fists and ready malice of Diamondback passed through her mind. Even as she saw and felt it all, she was also moving.
Catwoman used her agility to keep just out of range of the manic blonde. She could not strike back without sending a remote electric current through her father high above. She danced back and forth, always remaining inches beyond her foe’s lightning-fast blows. She also formed a plan even as she desperately raced aside.
“Stand still! I want to feel the impact when I connect!” said Diamondback.
“I’d rather not!” said Yolanda. She began to claw at the interior of the gloves with all her might. As she tore through the fabric and reached wiring, she took a calculated risk.
Got to tear up the connection that he’s using to send the current to Papa, she mused. That means staying away from those lethal fists of hers and taking the current myself!
She staggered as Diamondback connected with a glancing blow. Even if I could put Uncle Ted’s lessons to work for me, I can’t risk hurting Papa! she thought. Blood flowed from her lip as a second blow struck home.
Catwoman kicked out suddenly and sent Diamondback across the ring.
“No cheating!” cried King from the sidelines.
She ignored him and felt one claw reach the wiring. Here goes nothing, she mused.
Slicing through, she felt a surge of power rock her frame. She saw the world dim before her eyes, then felt nothing.
Did it! One glove is useless to King now, she realized.
Catwoman waited, then connected with all her power. Diamondback fell flat.
“Good blow!” said King’s daughter. “Now this could get interesting.”
Yolanda frowned. Great! she thought. This psycho likes it! I think she enjoys the pain! Catwoman danced back and swung out to keep her blonde foe back.
Diamond King grimaced. His daughter was not supposed to fight a foe who could hit back. And Yolanda did just that, connecting again and again.
Catwoman clawed within the second glove and smiled as the wiring slipped free. She delicately pried the wire loop out of the glove and left it intact.
She allowed her foe to close in and suddenly rammed the wire toward her body as she sliced through it. The electric current shocked both women at once.
Yolanda gritted her teeth and spun to kick the shocked Diamondback down. She cast off the gloves and leaped up toward the cage.
A swift flip and the arching of her back enabled her to reach the door and manipulate the door open.
As Diamondback staggered back to her feet, Yolanda dived back down from directly above the ring.
Catwoman landed with both feet on Diamondback’s head, and her blonde foe lay still.
Diamond King roared as the door swung freely high above. “You’ll regret this!” he said. Holding a remote in his hands, he cackled, “I can still turn the cage into an inferno!”
“Ah, shut up, you old loser!” said a stern voice as Wildcat burst in and knocked the gadget out of King’s hand. “Sorry I took so long. Had to rough up a few of this geezer’s goons!” he said with a smirk.
Yolanda helped Carlos down and greeted Wildcat warmly. “You got here just in time!” she said, smiling.
“You got quite a hook, young lady. Bet your old man is proud of you,” said Wildcat as they led King out, while the police rushed in to gather the goons and the angry Diamondback.
“He is!” said Carlos “the Mauler” Montez.