So, pretty much the worst thing in the entire world has happened…
Who? Fuckin’ Scotsmen. That’s who.
So, pretty much the worst thing in the entire world has happened…
Who? Fuckin’ Scotsmen. That’s who.
About two years ago, Grant Morrison did the unthinkable: he killed Bruce Wayne. Okay, okay…he sent him back in time or some weird shit. It doesn’t matter. The end result was the same. With no desire to read about a Batman who was not Bruce Wayne, I packed a suitcase and left Gotham City, vowing not to return until Bruce did. Well, the day has finally arrived, Bruce Wayne is returning to his rightful place in the here and now.
Unfortunately, a lot’s been going on in Gotham City since I left. There’s a new Batgirl. Tim Drake has abandoned the Robin identity and become Red Robin. And, who’s this mysterious new vigilante calling herself Batwoman? If I’m going to start following Bruce Wayne’s adventures again, I’d have to familiarize myself with the new status quo in the Bat-Family. With that in mind, I spent a large chunk of yesterday reading Batwoman: Elegy, as well as the first trades of Batgirl and Red Robin.
by Greg Rucka (writer) and J.H. Williams, III (artist)
We first met the modern Batwoman in the pages of 52, however a lot of her backstory wasn’t revealed until she became the featured hero in Detective Comics. Elegy collects the first seven issues of Rucka/Williams run. I have to say, of the three trades I read, this one may be my least favorite. Of course, when something like this is your least favorite thing you read in a day, it’s still a pretty damn good day.
I’m just not a fan of the whole Religion of Crime thing that DC has going on these days. And, since a lot of Batwoman’s time seems to be geared towards fighting this organization, you can understand why I didn’t completely love this trade. I did enjoy the flashbacks that explored Kate Kane’s childhood, time at West Point, and eventual transformation into Batwoman. I think Kate is a great addition to the Bat-Family, the DC Universe, and the general world of comics. I love that her dad–the Colonel–is serving as Kate’s Alfred. I’d also like to think that in her new ongoing series, Batwoman will have a werewolf sidekick.
Batgirl: Batgirl Rising
by Bryan Q. Miller (writer) and Lee Garbett (artist)
That image pretty much says it all. Former Robin and Spoiler Stephanie Brown takes over the mantle of Batgirl in a new ongoing series. While I didn’t hate Cassandra Cain (the previous Batgirl), I positively love Steph. Always have. Steph’s Batgirl is a throwback to the adventures of the first Batgirl, Barbara Gordon–and it’s fitting that Babs appears in this first trade to mentor the newest Bat. Between hiding her double life from her mom and trying to juggle being a college freshman and a costumed crimefighter, Steph’s Batgirl reminds me a lot of Spider-Man, and that’s a good thing. And, as much as I hate that little shit Damian Wayne, I love the antagonistic pseudo-sibling rivalry between Steph and the new Robin.
Red Robin: The Grail
by Chris Yost (writer) and Ramon Bachs (artist)
I love Tim Drake. He was “my Robin.” But, I guess no one can be a Boy Wonder forever. So, when Dick Grayson becomes Batman, he chooses Damian Wayne as the new Robin and tells Tim that Robin is “Batman’s student” and he sees Tim as “his equal.” Convinced that Bruce Wayne is still alive, Tim becomes Red Robin and goes on a globetrotting quest to prove that his former mentor isn’t actually dead. While Tim adjusts to his new identity (“What should I call these things? They look like ammo belts. Utility straps?”), he must decide whether or not to accept a deal with Batman’s greatest enemy–Ra’s al Ghul.
Red Robin: The Grail shows Tim using his strengths–his intellect and keen detection skills–but it also shows him struggling with maturity, as both a person and as a hero. With Bruce returning, I’m not sure what role Red Robin will play in the Bat-Family, but I’m excited to find out.
If you haven’t been paying attention to what’s been going on in DC’s Batman titles over the last few months, then you’ve missed what’s more or less been a game of Musical Cowls. All of the new faces in the Batcave got me thinking: what would be my dream Bat-team? Luckily, I have this blog, so I can write down my ideas and force you all to experience my brilliance.
Yeah, there’s just no way around this: Bruce Wayne is Batman. I have no explanation for this, because there are certain truisms that just do not need to be explained. The Sun is hot. Water is wet. Bruce Wayne is Batman. Next!
I really haven’t read a lot of Pre-Crisis comics, so I’m not at all familiar with the original Red Robin. However, I guess you can’t be a Boy Wonder forever…and, I guess Tim Drake has earned the right to adopt a new identity. Plus, the costume is kind of cool.
Dick Grayson’s always fought to be his own man. From creating the Nightwing identity to moving to Bludhaven, Dick’s never wanted to live in his mentor’s shadow. So, while I get why he’d honor Bruce’s memory by wearing the cape and cowl, he’ll always be Nightwing to me.
Fuck Damian Wayne. Now, I’ve always been a fan of Tim Drake’s Robin, but I’m willing to accept Tim in his new role as Red Robin. Therefore, we need someone else to fill the role of Batman’s sidekick. Honestly, why was Stephanie Brown only allowed to be Robin for about a minute and a half?
I have absolutely no thoughts on Kate Kane being Batwoman one way or the other.
While I’m pleased that Steph is getting to be the new Batgirl in the actual DC Universe–despite one of the lamest costume designs I’ve seen in a while–I’d much rather see her as Robin. I’m not sure Gotham needs a Batgirl and a Batwoman…and, for my money, Barbara Gordon will always be Batgirl. But, if I need someone in that identity, I don’t see why it shouldn’t be Cassandra Cain.
Yeah, so this is it, cats and kittens: The Big Secret Final Invasion War of the Clone Crisis Saga Blog Crossover Event. Or, as we like to call it, “What’s Your ‘Scott & Jean’?” For those new to the party (where the hell have you been, anyway?), your “Scott & Jean” is your geek sacred cow–the one thing that you are so passionate about that you just can not discuss it rationally.
I was trying to think of a logical introduction for this extravaganza, when one of my fellow Crossover bloggers pointed out that the very notion of a “Scott & Jean” eschews logic and, therefore, I should just feel free to rant. So, here goes:
I love Batman.
There’s really no other way to put it. I don’t mean I want to have Batman’s babies…well, mostly (but, let’s be honest: Batman’s one true love is Justice, so what chance do I really have? Unless Talia has some spare Wayne-gravy laying around). When I was a little kid, I had Batman action figures, Batman Matchbox cars, a Batman cape–please note: I did not say a “superhero cape”, this was a Batman cape…this sumbitch was scalloped. One of the first superhero comics I ever bought was Detective Comics #603.
Anyway, my point is this: I. Love. Batman.
But, y’see, it’s really not that simple, especially when you’re dealing with a character who’s about to hit his 70th anniversary. In the past seven decades, there have been numerous interpretations of the character. Some good. Some bad. But only one correct one.
That’s right. You heard what I said: for me, there is only one correct way to portray Batman. (Hey, I warned you this was going to be a logic-free zone.)
First of all, Batman is dark and broody. He watched his parents get gunned down when he was a little kid, for Christ’s sake…you’d be a bit cranky, too. This is the point when “my Batman” kinda snapped. He’s driven by this event. He devotes his entire life to both avenging his parents’ murder and making sure that no one in Gotham City ever has to suffer the same kind of tragedy. He figures this out on his own. He doesn’t need Joey-effing-Potter to clue him in. So, when you take into account that he’s a guy who watched his folks get gunned down in an alley, you can understand why these are just wrong:
This, however, is more like it:
I’ll get to all those non-Batman people hanging around Ol’ Bats in a second.
Now, we’ve established that the right tone for Batman is dark and broody. His costume is to be dark to reflect this: black or dark grey bodysuit with either uber-dark blue or black boots, gloves, cape and cowl. Accept no substitutes. This guy runs around at night, why the hell would he wear bright blue anything? He doesn’t smile. He rarely jokes. If he ever utters the word “chum”, he better be talking about shark fishing.
You’re probably asking yourself, why the hell would someone like that go out of their way to surround themselves with friends and associates? Now you’re catching on, Eugene: my Batman does not have friends and associates. With the exception of loyal Alfred (who’s been on thin-ice a few times, himself), my Batman is too practical and paranoid to worry about something as useless as friends. Friends don’t keep the criminal scum off the streets. No. But, tools do. If Batman spends more than five seconds in your company, he clearly needs you for something and, when that task has been accomplished, you better get the hell outta Gotham, because Bats doesn’t take kindly to interlopers in “his city.” Oh, and you better not expect a “Good job” or a “Thanks, pal”…Batman doesn’t have time for that, crime’s afoot. Oh, and did I mention he’s a paranoid freak? Odds are, if you can run faster than the speed of light or bend steel in your bare hands, he has a file on how to take you out should you ever “go bad.” What’s that you say? What about Robin and Batgirl? Please. The second they mouth off or show the slightest bit of independent thought, my Batman brooms his sidekick and gets another pliable young mind to warp.
My Batman is also a freakin’ genius. He’s called the “Dark Knight Detective” for a reason. Hello, he premiered in a book called DETECTIVE Comics. Did Bruce Wayne study martial arts? Sure. But, he also studied criminology, psychology, forensic science. He’s been trained as an escape artist and a master of disguise. Christopher Nolan will have us believe that Batman is just some thug in a cape who beats the snot out of gangsters and needs Morgan Freeman’s help to come up with an antidote for Scarecrow’s fear gas. Um, no. Sorry, Mr. Nolan, but you are wrong. Batman does not need anyone’s help coming up with an antidote. He can come up with an antidote in his sleep, while he does the crossword puzzle and designs a new Batmobile. Why? Because Batman is a freakin’ genius! That’s it. End of story. And do you know what else Batman can do? He can break into a skyscraper all by his lonesome, as well, thank you very much. I don’t care if it’s in Hong Kong. I don’t care if it’s on the Moon. He’ll get there, he’ll break in, and he’ll do it without your help.
Finally, if it hasn’t been made clear by this point, only Bruce Wayne can be Batman. I don’t care what hack writer DC throws at us…what dumb-ass “event” sends Bruce Wayne back in time or to Never-Never Land or wherever the bloody hell we’re expected to believe Batman’s been sent…Tim? Dick? Jason? They are not, nor ever will be, Batman. Only Bruce Wayne can be Batman, because Batman is Bruce Wayne. The Wayne persona is the mask that Batman wears to conceal his identity, not vice versa.
That’s who Batman is. It’s who he’s always been. It’s who he’ll always be. If a writer or an artist portrays Batman in any other way, they’re wrong. End of story. Thanks for playing.
Here endeth the rant.
I found a bunch of these videos on YouTube that parody the Mac/PC commercials using Marvel and DC characters (actually, that reminds me, are they even still making those Mac/PC commercials?). Most of them are a pretty general ribbing of the differences between Marvel movies and DC movies. However, this one focuses on Iron Man and The Dark Knight (or, as I like to call them: “I Hope This Never Ends!” and “Ugh, Is This Over Yet?”).
So, there’s this little independent movie called The Dark Knight (maybe you’ve heard of it?) that’s doing really well at the box office. So well, in fact, that almost as soon as it opened, the internets were abuzz with geek-chatter and rumors about who was going to be in the next Batman flick. Some of these ideas have been pretty spot-on, some have been okay, and some have been just wrong (see below).
As a service to DC, Warner Brothers, and you, Mr. and Mrs. Internet, I’ve compiled a list of some of Batman’s better known (more or less) rogues and who I think should play them in any upcoming sequels. Unfortunately, two of Bruce’s foes–Killer Croc and Man-Bat–were just too weird for me to convincingly think of a way to fit them into the uber-realistic Batman world that Christopher Nolan’s crafted for his films.
Anyways…here we go:
Angelina Jolie as Catwoman
Although I won’t deny that she’s a good-looking gal, I’ve always found Ms. Jolie to be more than a little terrifying. But, as a lot of folks have been saying, Catwoman has been the role that Jolie’s been auditioning for in every movie she’s ever made.
Timothy Olyphant as The Riddler
The rumors are linking Johnny Depp to the role of The Riddler. Now, I like Depp as much as the next straight guy, but I think it would be too easy to let him take Riddler down the twitchy, shuffling road that Heath Ledger’s Joker walked. No, I think Olyphant (Deadwood, Live Free or Die Hard) can pull off Riddler’s cold, calculating narcissism perfectly. When an Olyphant character thinks that he’s better than everyone else in the room, you believe it.
Johnny Depp as Mad Hatter
I think Hatter is a much better fit for Depp. I see Nolan’s Jervis Tetch being a combination of Sweeney Todd and Willy Wonka…and that would be truly frightening.
Bob Hoskins as The Penguin
Hey, everyone who thinks that Philip Seymour Hoffman should play Penguin, have you even read a Batman comic? Two, maybe two-and-a-half Cobblepots could fit into one of Hoffman’s suits. As much as I liked Tim Burton’s mutant freak Penguin, I also really dig what DC has done with the character in the last few years–turning him into a more-or-less legitimate businessman, who also happens to be a black-market arms dealer, among other things, making it hard for Brucie to run around and pound the stuffing out of him. Not only is Hoskins…um…physically perfect for the role, but he played such an awesome British gangster in The Long Good Friday, that I’d love to see him do it again in Gotham.
Christina Hendricks as Poison Ivy
Let’s downplay the “she can talk to and control plants” thing and focus on the “she’s a slightly off eco-terrorist” thing. She can still use toxins derived from exotic flora, and there’s no reason why Ivy can’t even possess her comic counterpart’s natural immunity to poisons. And who better to play the slinky redhead than a redhead who slinks her way through the halls of Sterling Cooper every week on Mad Men? And, if you don’t think that Christina Hendricks can be a homicidal loon, than you haven’t met Yo-Saff-Brig.
David Hyde Pierce as The Ventriloquist
What’s scarier than a puppet? How about a gangster puppet who may or may not be alive? Yeah, thought so. I know that Hyde Pierce has been tearing up Broadway lately, but I miss seeing him on the screen. I think he could bring the same kind of milquetoast fussiness that he brought to Niles Crane to the man behind Scarface.
Jeff Kober as Clayface
We’re going to have to alter Clayface a little bit to fit him into a Nolan-Batman flick. Sadly, gone will be the gooey mound of muck that I’ve come to love. But, we can keep the concept of him being a “Man of a Thousand Faces”-type actor. Only, this time, he uses his make-up skills to replace the people he kills–think Darkman, only evil and not so time-sensitive. Kober’s been around for a while and, besides being a little freaky to look at, he’s been under the make-up more than once, which I think would bring a bit of verisimilitude.
Ben Kingsley as Mr. Freeze
Arnold who? Forget the puns. Forget the ice-skating minions. When you get down to it, Mr. Freeze is a pretty intense villain. He’s a man who is physically and emotionally frozen. Since the loss of his wife, he’s devoid of any human feeling and seeks to make everyone else suffer the loss of their greatest love, as well. Can’t you picture Sir Ben as the shattered doc, systematically hunting down the people who he holds responsible for his wife’s death and watching, dispassionately, as they slowly freeze to death.
Steve Buscemi as Firefly
Not all of Batman’s foes are freakishly scarred lunatics. Some are just regular criminals who really enjoy their work–like the pyromaniac arsonist Garfield Lynns, a.k.a. Firefly. Sure, you couldn’t build an entire movie around Firefly, but if you had two factions (say, one led by Penguin and the other led by Riddler) who were trying to take over Gotham’s underworld, then an arsonist would certainly come in handy. And, let’s be honest, isn’t every movie better when Buscemi oozes across the screen? Yeah, I think so, too.
David Tennant as Calendar Man
Okay, guy dressed as Uncle Sam trying to steal the U.S. Constitution on the Fourth of July? Not scary. Pasty, basement-dwelling sociopath who crucifies three people on Easter? Scary. Don’t even get me started on the kind of body count he could have during the Twelve Days of Christmas. Calendar Man is a goofy name, but a dude who kills people according to the days of the week or the nearest holiday, can be kind of creepy. And, I’ve said it before, Doctor Who not withstanding, Tennant was pretty creepy in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
I, too, can admit when I am wrong.
It’s been brought to my attention that I misidentified the artist of Grant Morrison’s previous Batman story arc. Tony Daniels did not draw the “Batmen of Many Nations” arc. That arc was, in fact, drawn by J. H. Williams, II.
Thanks, Tom. And apologies to Mr. Williams.