The Earth-2 Cavalier

Personal Data

Mortimer Drake

Residence: Gotham City
Occupation: Wealthy Socialite, Professional Criminal 
First Appearance (Golden Age): Detective Comics #81 (November 1943) 

History

    Little is known of Mortimer Drake's life before adopting the identity of the Cavalier.  In the early 1940's, he is living in Gotham City as a wealthy sophisticate, moving in the same social circles as Bruce Wayne.  He is generally perceived as a minimally employed playboy, implying that the Drake fortune may be inherited wealth.  The origins of this wealth are unknown.

    In 1943, Drake began his first outing to explore his identity as the Cavalier.  He set his targets on a wealthy businessman's unique collection of sports memorabilia, something of no major financial value but of great interest to Drake.  He staged a complex series of events -  getting a baseball with a famous signature, accessing a storage container shaped like a bat using the signature, using a key hidden in the bat to access a safe - all the while taunting and engaging Batman and Robin.  He dug into his persona - using dandy flourishes and stopping in mid-getaway to help an elderly lady our of chivalry - confusing his hired henchmen.  As he finally nabbed his prize, he was thwarted by the arrival of Batman and Robin who captured his hencmen but the Cavalier escaped (Detective Comics #81).

    Six months later, The Cavalier again plied his wits against Gotham's Dynamic Duo.  In this instance, the Cavalier again chose an odd and relatively worthless target - a glass model of a cut diamond upon which the cutting of a large and very valuable real diamond would be based.  He staged the theft of this model from a famous Dutch diamond cutter, leaving clues to taunt Batman and Robin.  Twice they caught up with him and twice they captured his henchmen but the orchestrating villain escaped, leaving the Batman to wonder who he really was (Batman Vol. 1 #22).

    A few weeks later, at an exclusive Gotham club for the wealth in which Bruce Wayne and Mortimer Drake are both members, a visiting scientist revealed that he had recently acquired an original prototype of a typewriter he had invented, worthless to anyone else but a priceless memento for himself.  Hearing this, Mortimer Drake was inspired to again assume his kleptomaniacal identity as the Cavalier to steal the prototype.  Tripping an electric beam, the Cavalier was quickly confronted by Batman and Robin and the ensuing melee, a bottle of blue dye was smashed in the villain's hand.  The struggle between the three was interrupted by a group of more serious criminals after the scientist's more valuable works and they join forces against the new arrivals.  The criminals gain the upper hand and leave all three bound while the search the lab.  Escaping, Batman and Robin defeat the burglars but the Cavalier slipped away.  The following evening, Bruce Wayne notices that Mortimer Drake has a stain from blue dye on his hand and realizing that only club members knew about the prototypical typewriter, deduces that Mortimer Drake is in fact, the Cavalier.  The following evening, Batman and Robin stage a trap for the Cavalier, luring him in with a false lead that the prototype he stole is the wrong one.  When he enters, the two heroes confront the Cavalier and reveal that they know his true identity, causing him to flee.  Batman and Robin race to Drake Manor, to find a note saying that while his true identity is compromised, the Cavalier has escaped to fight another day (Detective Comics #89).

    Around Christmas of 1944, Drake needed some maneuvering room to continue to indulge his identity as the Cavalier.  He used his disguise skills to create the identity of Albert Foster and sought out members of the underworld for his next plan.  Using the cover of a high-end masquerade ball, Drake and his criminal colleagues all appeared as the Cavalier and when they suddenly declared their intention to rob the place, Batman and Robin (in attendance in the true identities) could not identify Drake, who escaped out the back with kidnapped Robin.  Setting a death trap, the Cavalier consumed Batman's time with his most brazen crime yet - the theft of a living whale which ended to ransom for a thousand dollars a ton.  Having freed Robin, the Dynamic Duo corner the Cavalier and his gang red-handed with the whale and captured them all, finally including Drake himself.  He was promptly handed over to the police (Batman Vol. 1 #26).

Whether Drake ever served jail time or had further excursions is unknown. By the 1980's, it was said that the elder Drake had "long since paid it debt to society" and was retired his country home to live out his days in peace (Who's Who Vol. 1 #4) .  Whether he is still alive is unknown.

Multiversity

Prior Earth-1 = The early career of the Earth-1 Cavalier is thought to largely resemble his Earth-2 counterpart.  Unlike the Earth-2 Drake, however, the Earth-1 Cavalier has an extensive criminal record after being captured the first time.  Never making a serious breakthrough into Gotham's criminal elite, he was more a nuisance criminal and background character.  By the 1970's, he engaged in a series of low-threat crimes against Wonder Woman (Wonder Woman Vol. 1 #212) and Batgirl (Batman Family #10 and 15) and appeared at more social gatherings of Batman's Rogue's Gallery (Batman Vol. 1 #291-294).  In the years before Crisis, he was known enough to be included his large scale efforts against the Batman (Batman Vol. 1 #400, Detective Comics #526) but not to merit the undivided attention of the Caped Crusader.  His fate on Earth-1 is unrevealed.

Prior Earth-0 = In the world that emerged from the Crisis events, the Cavalier had a similar history but was further diminished and possibly mentally ill.  He was in Arkham Asylum during the Knightfall event (Detective #661) and his secret romantic relationship with Karl Courtney (Captain Stinagree) was exploited by Black Lightning by being an informant (Justice League of America Vol. 2 #2).  He was badly injured by Bane in a free-for-all with the Secret Six and  eventually became a de facto protection of Dr. Leslie Thompkins' clinic.  It was also revealed another person, Hudson Pyle, assumed the role of the Cavalier early in Batman's career, a vigilante who became romantically involved with a woman with links to the mob who he ultimately died protecting (Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #32-34).

Powers/Skills

The Cavalier of Earth-2 possessed a high level of athletic ability, sufficient to engage in combat with the extremely well-trained Batman.  He was adapt at disguise, enough to confuse Batman about his identity on multiple occasions and creates the identify of Albert Foster when his true identity has been exposed. He was at least initially financed by the Drake fortune which allowed him to develop eccentric weapons that fit his nom du crime - a sword that could be electrified, a neckerchief with weights enough to stun an opponent and a snuff box filled with a variety of chemical repellents.  An eccentric thief, he appeared less encumbered by mental illness than some of his multiversal counterparts and his approach to crime remained below a level of violence such as murder or serious bodily injury. The combination of his wealth and minimally violent crimes may have kept the Cavalier from bearing the full weight of the judicial system until he learned his lesson and retired.

Weaknesses and Limitations

While an excellent physical specimen, the Cavalier possessed no super-powers that aided him in hand to hand combat and separated from his equipment, could be captured as an ordinary criminal.

Appearances

Issue Comment Reprinted in
Detective #81 1st Appearance, vs. Batman & Robin The Batman Archives #3, The Batman Chronicles #10, Batman: The Golden Age Omnibus #3, Batman: The Golden Age TPB #5
Batman #22 vs. Batman and Robin The Dark Knight Archives #6, Batman: The Golden Age Omnibus #3, Batman: The Golden Age TPB #6
Detective #89 vs. Batman and Robin, identity revealed The Batman Archives #4, Batman: The Golden Age Omnibus #3, Batman: The Golden Age TPB #6
Batman #26 vs. Batman and Robin, 1st time captured Batman Vol. 1 #258, The Dark Knight Archives #7, Batman: The Golden Age Omnibus #4
Who's Who #4 Summary mention in entry on "The Cavalier"  

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