That evening Liz Jones joined Donna Adams and waited in a comfortable living room. She had rested, and she and Donna had enjoyed a delicious meal in a relaxing setting. It was all too clear that Donna made sure everything at Blair House went as smoothly as possible. She seemed to remember even the smallest detail.
“Kitty will be joining us shortly,” said Donna. “She works so hard. I have to really nag her to get her to sit down and eat like a normal person. She always has something to see to. The poor dear doesn’t really know how to relax!”
“She certainly seemed to amuse herself at my expense back at the… back where she found me,” said Liz. “She is a strange woman. I’m going to listen to her job offer, but I’ll be frank with you, Donna. I don’t like Miss Kitty Blair at all!”
A sharp laugh rang out as the sultry Kitty Blair herself stepped out of the shadows. “Well, you certainly don’t mince your words. You still have that girl from the Bronx manner about you.”
Liz blushed slightly, the reaction coming more from a feeling of discomfort at being caught speaking so bluntly about her hostess than from any real concern about the wealthy woman’s feelings. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I guess I spoke out of turn. I just can’t shake the feeling that I’ve been brought here for something I may not like at all!”
“So you’re Michael Caine, and I’m Olivier,” said Kitty with a smile. “Is that it? Life is like the movies for you, and this is a scene from Sleuth.”
“Now, Kitty, don’t tease Liz,” said Donna. “She does have a right to be curious. Remember how amazed I was when you first found me.”
Kitty touched her hand and nodded. “I do. Sorry to be so mysterious. I’m going to clear up the whole affair right now. Let me begin with a more accurate introduction or two.”
She stood up, and Liz noticed that the trim blonde was wearing a floor-length robe. “As you already know, my name is Kitty Blair. I was a bored rich girl with too much money and too little to do. Then, while I was in Europe several years ago, I fell in with a group who did not share my boredom. You see, they had plenty to do. They were thieves. They lived the good life and appeared to be nothing more than partying jet-setters. The truth was that, wherever they went, crime followed. They were thieves, and they invited me to join them. Oh, I know. You wonder why I would have considered such an act. I had all I wanted, but I was bored. They offered me thrills and stimulation beyond the idle rich life I knew.”
“Hold it,” said Liz. “I think I’ve heard this record before. You see, I was a thief, too. I was recruited in that way as well when a boyfriend dumped me. He and I backpacked across Europe, and he dumped me for a Swedish girl. I was distraught and bitter, and was no stranger to petty crime. I decided to rob the youth hostel in which we were staying, and before I could get away, I was discovered. I was taken in and trained by a group of thieves who operated across Europe. They taught me everything I needed to know. I was hooked by the glamor of the whole situation. Are you saying that you were part of that same gang?”
Donna sipped her tea demurely and said, “As long as we are swapping tales, I’ll just add that I belonged to the same gang, too. I was always desperate to get the good things in life, and when my parents died while we were living in England, I was at my wit’s end. I also met a woman who convinced me that I could live by crime. She gave me things and a place to stay, and then explained that all of it had been stolen. I was guilty by association. I really had no choice except to submit to her training.”
“Wait a minute!” said Liz. “Is this nothing more than a reunion of her gang?”
Kitty smiled and said, “Her gang? You are right in thinking that we were all part of the same organization all those years ago. The woman who truly led the group was a European gang boss who called herself Starfire! (*) She met us all separately and trained us. That is what we have in common, among other things!”
[(*) Editor’s note: Starfire first appears in “Love Conquers All, Even Supergirl,” Adventure Comics #402 (February, 1971).]
“Starfire did make me the woman I was!” said Liz. “She even gave me a costume, and provided me with equipment and plans for all my major jobs. I led one of her gangs. Still, I don’t recall leading you two!”
Kitty smiled and tossed back her long blonde hair. “Now, really, dear. Do you think you or anyone led me? Starfire made each of us leaders of our own gangs. In truth, she ruled all of us from the shadows. Still, we each acted on her behalf as allegedly independent criminals — super-villainesses, to be exact! Maybe you’ll remember me when you see this little number?”
She dropped her robe, revealing a costume of orange and black. Her legs were bare above orange boots, and artificial wings folded in an arc behind her black-and-orange-striped top. She slipped a mask over her keenly staring eyes and posed before them.
“Tiger Moth! You were Tiger Moth!” gasped Liz. “You wore a mask, so I never knew your real appearance. I was the Dragon Fly! When we met, it was only for a few moments. We’d been tricked by Poison Ivy in meeting each other in order to prove which of us deserved the number one spot as world public enemy! When we showed up, she trapped us and left us for Batman and Robin to arrest! She set us all up!” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Beware of Poison Ivy,” Batman #181 (June, 1966).]
“Right!” said Donna. “I was known as Silken Spider. When we met that evening, we each thought of the other two as rivals. I had no idea that we all secretly fronted organizations ruled by Starfire! Why didn’t she ever tell any of us that we were all working for her? We could have been a real team!”
“She had no desire to unite us,” explained Kitty. “Together, we might have challenged her. After all, our gangs thought of us as the true leaders. None of them knew we were just following her orders.”
“Still, she wasn’t to blame for our arrests,” said Liz. “Poison Ivy was the one who set us up.”
“I’ve often wondered how she managed to contact us and lure us together like that,” said Donna.
“She had help,” Kitty explained. “Our esteemed mentor Starfire plotted the whole thing. She was tired of us, and saw us as a possible threat. She never counted on our reputations growing to the extent that they did — as world public enemies numbers one through three! We were bigger names in underworld circles than she was, since no one knew about her! I learned all of this during my time in prison. My money paid several sleuths to dig up the facts for me. Starfire didn’t want to made herself known even then, so she provided Ivy with the means of contacting each of us, and she allowed that bad weed to leave us gift-wrapped for the dynamic duo!”
“I’d like to wring her neck, that one-eyed witch!” Liz said furiously.
Kitty removed her mask and sat down. “Well, that’s encouraging to hear. You see, I’ve brought you here for that purpose. I want to team up with you two and regain all of the pride Starfire took from us. I want to see her rot in a cell. She is still alive. I am hiring you two to help me bring her in!”