Thursday, August 20, 2015


Rocking's her vocation, she's a very Comandette
There's not much call for single-use superheroes these days, given that the anticipation is that any costumed do-gooder will sprout a franchise, complete with multi-content crossover and spinoff media. Those are words I heard once and I'm sure have something to do with business. Back in the Golden Age, though, it was really just about filling pages and stuffing the newsstand rack, with a genuinely laissez-faire attitude towards marketing and a hope that something would stick to the wall.

Well, Commandette ("The Female Commando," in case you had a head injury) is definitely a one-and-done superheroine. Debuting and bowing in Star-Studded Comics No.1 way back in 1945, Commandette restricted her crimefighting a very specific crime which happened right under her nose, and didn't have any particular reason thereafter to keep fighting the baddies.

Literally hitting him with her shoe. Hilarious.
Stuntwoman-turned-actress Betty Babble is starring in the title role of a soapy romantic thriller actually called "Comandette," in which she wears the very costume she'll later use in her sleuthing and slugfests. As far as protecting one's secret identity goes, I'm afraid allowing yourself to be captured on film in your costume and using your superhero name and then being credited under your actual name is about as rookie as mistake as they come. The criminal underworld wonders - who is Commendette? Well, we have her W-2's right here.

But, like I say, Commandette doesn't have a particularly long career. In the middle of a scene, one of her co-stars is surreptitiously murdered, literally under her nose! Her good friend and other co-star finds himself framed for the dastardly deed, and there begins Betty's pursuit of crime.

When she and her accused pal are cornered by a phony cop ("Get in here!" he orders them, at gunpoint, "The DA wants to see you two!" leaving Betty to wonder "The DA? Since when have the cops been cooperating with him?" Since the establishment of the legal system, Betty, not much further back than that), Betty has to jump into high gear - crashing a car, making with the ol' jiu-sitsu, and engaging in a dangerous battle high up in the rafters above the studio floor. And all the time, she wears her Commandette costume, complete with kicky little Robin Hood hat.

Possibly unique among superheroes, Commandette manages to defeat her enemy by running away; cornered by the actual murderer - the film's writer, in fact - Betty chooses to safely dive into a pool below rather than fight him, and then just screams bloody murder for the cops. And it works! Who needs superpowers when you have the ability to run away and shout?

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