Batwoman: Who Is Slam Bradley?

Batwoman returned from midseason hiatus tonight, giving us the first indication of what a post-"Crisis on Infinite Earths" world look likes in the Arrowverse. The episode had some action-packed and emotional moments for Kate Kane/Batwoman (Ruby Rose), some of which revolved around one very specific part of her public persona. In the process, the show introduced audiences to a bizarre new character - who was quickly dubbed the show's take on Captain America - with a very specific history in the comics. Spoilers for tonight's episode of Batwoman, "How Queer Everything Is Today!", below! Only look if you want to know!

The episode opened with Batwoman saving a runaway train from crashing, only for her grappling hook to break off once the train stopped. Kate was pushed out of the grappling hook's path by a young blonde GCPD officer, who was quickly photographed laying on top of Kate. The moment became tabloid fodder across Gotham City, with quite a lot of people shipping Batwoman and the Chris Evans-like cop.

For those with a specific relationship to Golden Age comics (and various other forms of storytelling in the decades since), the name of this cop probably rang familiar -- Slam Bradley. (Yes, really.) Slam was depicted as a private eye who can "slam-bang is way out of a barroom brawl or mob attack", and often liked working cases brought to him by other women, but enjoyed the "platonic company" of his sidekick, Shorty Morgan. While the character was largely well-received at the time, "Slam Bradley" stories have come under scrutiny for racist caricatures of antagonists.

The character came to life after Malcolm-Wheeler Nicholson conceived the idea for the character in a letter to Jerry Siegel, and was created by the two men alongside Joe Shuster. Slam Bradley made his official debut in Detective Comics #1, a year before Superman and two years before Batman, and became a fixture in the series until Issue #152. Slam then disappeared from DC canon for over 30 years, but re-emerged in Detective Comics #500 and in various Superman titles (which also established his successor, Slam Bradley Jr.). He then made his most prominent return in the "Trail of the Catwoman" arc, in which he investigated the death of Selina Kyle and went on to become a fixture in the ongoing Catwoman series.

Slam Bradley's television debut is certainly a surprising one, especially with him being reimagined as a sort of dopey, perfectly-coifed cop on the GCPD. Still, the cameo is certainly an interesting homage to the early days of Detective Comics - a title Batwoman has since found her home in - while also being a catalyst for Kate to reevalute her public persona.

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Batwoman airs Sundays at 8/7c on The CW.

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