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DC Rebirth One Year Later – Batman

Welcome back to DC Rebirth One Year Later, where we look at DC books that are part of DC Comics’ Rebirth initiative one year after it began. And, with this one, I’m not looking forward to it. I COULD put it off to the end, but…no. I should do this now. And I could sugarcoat how I feel about it, but the truth is, and I have to give my honest opinion on this, Tom King’s Batman, while having its good points, is probably the most disappointing book of DC Rebirth. And now, I’m not just saying that because I was a big fanboy of Scott Snyder’s run. I’ve pointed out in the past when I thought Snyder’s run with Batman disappointed or fell short in some way, so I will not pull any punches here, either. So, let’s take a look at Tom King’s run on Batman.

First off, while there was the occasional head-scratching moment, I actually did like the opening arc, I Am Gotham. Batman interacting with and having to bring up to speed essentially Gotham City’s version of Superman and Supergirl is an interesting scenario, one that we don’t see very often. And here, Batman’s seniority over Gotham…erm, the man, not the city. He calls himself Gotham. The girl is named Gotham Girl. For simplicity, though, I’m just gonna call them Henry and Claire. Anyway, Batman’s seniority over the two makes perfect sense: They’re new. They haven’t been heroes for very long, and while they’ve lived in Gotham for a while, they don’t know it as intimately as Bruce does. So him taking lead and mentoring them makes sense. It’s also interesting to see how their backstory could have been like Bruce’s, but Batman was there to save them from that fate, leading them to a different scenario. And because they come off as genuinely good people, it’s all the more tragic what ultimately happens to them, with Henry turning bad and Claire being forced to ultimately bring him down, all while going more than a little bonkers herself.

The arc also had some awesome moments…even if a couple were complete horseshit. Let’s be honest, people, Batman surfing a plane out of harm’s way and flipping Solomon Grundy one-handed were both completely improbable. But then, that’s symptomatic of a problem I’ll get into later. Other moments, however, like the confrontation with Henry after he’s been driven mad, complete with Alfred in a Batsuit (which was both cool and hilarious), and Batman actually doing the one thing no one would’ve expected and CALLING THE JUSTICE LEAGUE, were pretty damned badass.

After that…Oy. I don’t know what to say, folks. King had me, and then he lost me. I think what did it most for me was the I Am Suicide arc. First off, lemme make this clear: The suggestion that Catwoman would kill over 200 people is absolutely stupid. The thing you need to understand is that Catwoman likewise has a no kill rule. Granted, when I found out the people she supposedly killed were terrorists who took out the orphanage she once stayed in, I felt such actions would’ve at least been understandable, but I still didn’t really buy it. I knew it was one of two things: Character derailment, or a deliberate twist in the making. Turns out, surprise surprise, it was the latter…and kind of the former. See, it wasn’t Selina who killed those people, she was just covering for the person who actually killed them: Holly Robinson. So, in other words, instead of Selina’s character being turned into a Goddamn murderer, it was Holly’s. Um, yay? Am I supposed to feel happy about that?

Besides that, though, the crowning moment of stupid had to be when Bane broke Batman’s back AGAIN, but then Batman proceeded to somehow pop it back to normal and walk it off… … …I will repeat that. Bane broke Batman’s back for the second time, and then Batman managed to somehow fix it on his own, with no medical equipment whatsoever, and then went back on his mission like it was no big thing. And I remember watching a video where Tom King was very excitedly talking about this sequence of events, also fanboying over this moment that he wrote, and all I could think of was “…Tom, you DO know that Batman is human, right?”

Yeah, that’s something that’s been bothering me for a long-ass time now, and it really got highlighted in that one sequence of events. To put it bluntly, hardly anyone writes Batman nowadays to have actual human limitations. We constantly have seen him defy what should be humanly possible for going on two decades now. Granted, some of us online have guessed that Batman might be a low key metahuman, but the thing is, when you look at the founding members of the Justice League, Batman is supposed to be the ordinary man who doesn’t possess superpowers of any kind, and is equipped with human-made tech, meaning he doesn’t even have the advantages of a Green Lantern. However, the truth is that, if he tried to accomplish half the stuff he did with the actual limitations of a human being, even one at the peak of human physical conditioning and mental prowess, he’d have been dead a LONG time ago. Now, that’s not to say that his position on the Justice League is completely unjustified or anything. It’s important on a team like that to have multiple heroes of different power-sets and power-levels, so as to deal with any kind of situation that might get thrown at them. But again, if Batman isn’t going to be written as having human limitations, and is CONSTANTLY the one who has to be at the center of attention and bailing the rest of his team out, then it kinda ruins the idea. And, I’m sorry, but seeing Batman somehow fix his broken back on his own is absolutely stupid, as are him surfing a fucking jet liner away from Gotham City, flipping Solomon Grundy with one hand, surviving a beating from Professor Zoom, walking out of a fight with Darkseid with barely a scratch on him, that bullshit he pulled in Batman R.I.P. with the coffin, and probably most insane of all, surviving the mother fucking vacuum of mother fucking space for 24 mother fucking seconds! And no, I will not get over that!

…Okay, the entire sequence at Batburger was stupid as shit, but I WILL admit to laughing my ass off the whole way through. 😛

And then there’s a moment I absolutely detest as it pertains to what it does to the character of Batman: When Bane returns to get his revenge on Bruce, the latter decides that the only way to ensure victory over Bane is to force Bane to run the gauntlet of the rest of Batman’s rogues gallery. How does he do this? HE LETS THEM ALL OUT OF THEIR CELLS AT ARKHAM AND PUTS THEM BETWEEN HIMSELF AND BANE! Now, on the one hand, this is a clever subversion of how Bane first defeated Batman, by arranging to have the Arkham inmates escape, let Batman tire himself out physically and mentally by catching them all, and then attack him when he was at his weakest. It’s the thing a lot of people forget about Bane: That while he DID beat Batman in a one-on-one fight, it wasn’t exactly a fair fight. He essentially beat him in a chess match that Batman didn’t even know they were playing until his king was in check and all of his other pieces had been taken off the board. So yeah, clever subversion. On the other hand, though, HE LET HIS WORST ENEMIES GO FREE FOR THE SAKE OF MAKING THEM MEAT SHIELDS! AND HE ARMED THEM!!! This is downright villainous behaviour! Yes, he’s doing this not only to save himself but also Alfred and Claire, but my God, Batman, did you even take two seconds to think about all the ways this could’ve gone horribly wrong?! What if your other rogues had killed Bane?! You would’ve been an accomplice to murder, and then you would’ve had the much harder task of rounding them all up!

Oh, but as it turns out, small chance of that, because not only does Bane curbstomp his way through ALL of Batman’s worst nightmares (sans Joker for reasons I’ll get to in a later article), he then proceeds to beat the living hell out of Batman, and Batman just BARELY manages to win in the end! So we’re supposed to believe that Batman has the means with which to take on Superman and Wonder Woman in one-on-one fights, people with Godlike strength, and possibly even beat them in said fights, but he can’t handle one roided-out jock who just fought a bunch of other guys! What a fucking load of bullshit!

Anyway, having mentioned the thing with Zoom earlier, let’s talk about The Button, which is actually where things started to pick up a bit for me. I’mma leave the bulk of what happens in that book out for when I talk about The Flash, but for now, let’s just discuss the biggest thing to happen in that book that directly affects Batman: Meeting his father from the Flashpoint timeline. Having somehow managed to arrive there, despite there being no real reason they should have been able to that they could figure out, Flash and Batman meet up with Thomas Wayne, AKA Flashpoint’s Batman. The meeting between the two is sadly short-lived as Flashpoint is slowly erased from existence, but Bruce relays to Thomas that he has a son, making Thomas a grandfather, and while Thomas has a chance to escape death, he stays behind. As he does, though, he has the following advice for Bruce:

…Yeah, I won’t be doing the fail thing here, because holy shit, is this some powerful stuff. And while I have my doubts that Bruce will ever truly quit being Batman, as well as something else I’ll get into in a bit, this DOES have significant follow-up, as Bruce, deciding to find happiness, finally mans up and does something he should’ve done YEARS ago…

Now, I have mixed feelings on this. On the one hand, EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ I have been waiting for this moment for-fucking-ever! Outside of Earth 2 or otherwise Elseworlds stories, this moment has never happened. DC has teased it for decades, but they never pulled the trigger. Well, it seems like the trigger is now officially pulled. And, speaking of Earth 2, one thing of note in Bruce and Selina’s interactions in this book is that they remember two different versions of their first meeting: The Golden Age version, and the one from Frank Miller’s Batman Year One story. Hell, the diamond in the ring Bruce uses to propose is actually the same diamond she stole during their meeting in the Golden Age version, suggesting that this is the actual way they met in this timeline. This COULD be interpreted to mean that, when the ten years of history taken from the DCU are restored, Batman’s Golden Age roots will be brought back, and possibly even his marriage to Catwoman and her giving birth to Helena Wayne, AKA Huntress. These things could finally be made canon to the mainstream DC Universe. There is a great opportunity here to do this. Of course, that would also mean that, when Batman was starting out, he killed people, but I could buy the idea that the no kill rule was actually something he developed over time as a means of keeping himself more grounded. It wouldn’t be the worst thing they did with the character.

On the other hand, though, for reasons I hope I’ve made clear in this article, I don’t know that I trust Tom King with this. Characterization of these two has been passable at best and downright insultingly bad at worst in this book. Oh, and I don’t care if you think them calling each other Bat and Cat is cute or not, it got annoying REAL quick. But just beyond that, I don’t know that I trust DC to actually DO this. I’ll talk more about this later on, but in Nightwing’s book, Dick recently found out he was gonna be a father, and it was a huge deal to me and a lot of readers. Granted, some people hated it because the mother was neither Barbara Gordon nor Kory, instead being a reformed crook he’d met as Robin named Shawn, but it was still a huge deal: Dick Grayson was gonna be a father. This was major character development for him. However, sadly, it was a fake-out. Turned out Shawn got a false positive. And, if current events and future solicits for his book and Batgirl’s are to be believed, it looks like this relationship is doomed to failure. What makes that worse is that even those of us who loved the idea of Dick becoming a father and wanted it to be true…kind of knew they weren’t really gonna do this, because DC pulls this crap ALL THE TIME. I’m STILL amazed that they not only got Lois and Clark back together, but gave them a son to boot. So yeah, there’s a great opportunity here for Batman, his stories, and his legacy in the future, but I don’t trust DC to actually do it. If they do, GREAT. I honestly hope this happens and it’s done right. But I’m not necessarily holding my breath, either.

And that leads me to where the book is going. Well, right now, it’s The War of Jokes and Riddles, a flashback story narrated by Batman to Selina after he proposed to her that takes place during some sort of war between Joker and Riddler. Apparently, Batman did something terrible during this event, and is telling all of this to Selina because he wants her to know before committing herself to marrying him. Of course, there are a couple of problems with this. One, this story has Joker and Riddler being in a state of mind that makes them very morose, AKA wildly out of character and uninteresting. And two…well, if the final pages of the opening issue are to be believed, Bruce is telling Selina all of this after they had sex. Man, and I thought Zayn from One Direction made pillow talk sound unappealing.

But, then there’s one other thing I gather Tom King will get to at some point. Basically, at the end of the I Am Gotham arc, we got some narration from Claire that took place in the future, wherein she is not only married to Duke Thomas, but also apparently killed Batman… … …Okay, I’m just gonna get this out of the way right now: Can we please get a writer on the main Batman book who DOESN’T try to boost sales by teasing killing Batman off? And both Morrison and Snyder were quick to reveal that said deaths of Batman were fake-outs. Why should I have any reason to believe that isn’t the case here? Goddammit, DC, get Tom King off this book pronto and get someone who understands the character and won’t resort to trying to kill him off to write it. Sorry, King, but you’re just not the man for this book. But I do legitimately hope Mister Miracle works out great for you.

Anyway, that’s it for Tom King’s Batman. Leave your comments below on how you felt about the book, and be sure to check back in next time. And, rest assured, if there’s trouble, you’ll know who to call. Ja né!

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Jyger’s Rant – Injustice 2 Story Mode Review (WARNING – SPOILERS AHEAD)

…So, I don’t own this game. Just throwing this out now. Not available for any systems I own, don’t have the money to get a new one, and so here we are. That said, I really wanted to give my thoughts on the story in Injustice 2, especially since I DO own the original and have given my thoughts on it in the past. Luckily, plenty of people, like Maximilian Dood and Kwing, have posted playthroughs of the Story Mode, so I’m thus able to give it my own review. Just remember, though, that as I’m doing this review, I’m speaking strictly about the story, not the game in terms of how it plays and whatnot. Although, I will get this out of the way right now: So far, based on what I’ve seen, it looks like a really good game, haven’t heard much wrong with it from a technical perspective yet, and on a personal note, NetherRealm Studios seem to have HUGELY improved on their facial designs and animations with this game. In fact, over all, I think this is their best LOOKING game of all time. Whenever they wanna make Mortal Kombat XI, they need to take inspiration from this game when it comes to the graphics.

But yeah, the story. So, this takes place a few years after Injustice: Gods Among Us. Superman is in a red solar prison for taking over the world, and his former Regime buddies are either planning to break him out, working to make up for what they did under his rule, or joining Gorilla Grodd’s new group, the Society. However, pretty soon, it becomes clear that the Society are just pawns in a much bigger game, as Brainiac arrives to capture Superman, add a few Earth cities to his collection, and then blow the planet up. Eventually, the situation devolves so much that Batman and his allies have no choice but to release Superman and work with the Regime to try and stop Brainiac and the Society before they destroy the world.

So, right away, I have a bit of a complaint to make. If you didn’t play that game…well, there’re a few details that this game tends to completely either ignore or glance over. Specifically, the heroes of the mainstream DC Universe were brought over to the world primarily presented in these games and the comics to stop an evil Superman who had pretty much taken over with a new group made up of former heroes and villains called the Regime. And while this game takes place on that world, I think there’re maybe one or two passing references to the fact that Batman had help from good Superman and the Justice League in taking down Regime Superman (as in they did most of the work and he got all the credit), and the player is otherwise left to assume Batman was bad enough to bring down Superman all by himself. Also, no mention of the super pills they took last game, which are meant to explain how people like Batman, Harley, and other characters without superpowers can go toe-to-toe with superhumans, get tossed around in outer-fucking-space, and survive without so much as a scratch on them.

Another issue with the story is that it has a bit of a…complicated relationship with the tie-in comics. Nowhere is that more clear than in the first chapter of the story, which is actually set during an operation that Superman, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg were pulling on Arkham Asylum. Basically, some events that happened in the comics are considered canon, others aren’t, and there doesn’t seem to be any kind of pattern as to what is or isn’t, nor is it made 100% clear what all is and is not canon anymore. One thing we DO know about what’s been changed is that, while Damian did apparently still kill Nightwing by accident, it didn’t happen during the operation on Arkham. Instead, the thing that tears him and Batman apart is Damian killing Zsasz…who, in the comics, survived way longer than that, and was actually responsible for killing Alfred. So, right away, we’ve got a double retcon, and that’s not even taking into account certain details mentioned by Cyborg about the deaths of Starfire and Beast Boy.

Before I get to the two biggest things that bother me about the story, though, let’s talk about some positives. First, you know I’m a sucker for stories that involve a ton of characters, and this has a lot of different heroes and villains with a wide range of abilities, from Harley Quinn with her dynamite and mallet, to Doctor Fate, sorcerer supreme of the DC Universe. From Captain Cold, a former bank robber with a freeze gun, to Supergirl, the last hope of Krypton with almost God-like strength and powers. Even Dex-Starr, who is quite possibly the avatar of everything stupid-yet-awesome about comic books, plays a minor role in the story. Characters from all walks of life in the DC Universe have various parts to play in this crisis, and all prove their worthiness to be involved in such a tale. Sadly, the majority of them are taken down a few notches at best by the last two chapters, which I’ll get to, but it’s still awesome to see them all here. Even Joker makes a return via Scarecrow-induced hallucination, which leads to the awesome sight of Harley, in a somewhat close approximation of her classic costume, giving him a good ass kicking.

 

 

Another positive to the story is not quite something I suggested after playing through the first game’s Story Mode, but close and still appreciated. Several chapters of the game give you not one but two characters to play through with, and you choose which one to play as before each fight in that chapter. As such, you can mix and match who fights whom, or you can have your favourite of the two do all the ass kicking. It’s totally up to you. And I appreciate that. I personally suggested classic Marvel vs Capcom 2v2 style fights, but whatever. Still cool, and allows not only for different dialogue and scenes depending on who is involved in the fights, but for more characters to take center stage in each…at least until the end, but again, I’ll get to that.

So, now for something that annoys me to no end, and if you’ve played through the Story Mode and know me and the characters I like, you should be able to figure this out. Simply put, I am NOT a fan of how Superman, Wonder Woman, and Poison Ivy are written in this game’s story, especially the last two (although that could simply be that nothing Superman does could top what he did to Shazam last game, who is a CHILD). In particular, there is a scene where Poison Ivy uses her pheromones on Harley Quinn to turn her against her allies. Now, first off, I’d just like to point out that Harley is supposed to possess immunity to most poisons, toxins, etc., due to injections given to her BY Poison Ivy. But, let’s just ignore that for now, because that’s not what really aggravates me. Instead, after inhaling too much of Ivy’s pheromones, Harley starts going into shock, and Ivy’s reaction is to roll her eyes and show complete and utter apathy over her former lover lying on the ground dying five feet away from her… … …Linkara, I need you again!

Thank you!… … …Look, here’s the thing: I can see a situation where Harley and Ivy could be on opposing sides, sure, maybe even having to fight each other, but there is NO FUCKING WAY that Harley could be dying two feet away from Ivy, and Ivy would be on that level of not giving a shit. This is HARLEY we’re talking about. Regardless of if you subscribe to the idea of the two as a couple or not, the fact is that the second she saw her convulsing like that, she would have dropped EVERYTHING else and tried to help her, because be it in a romantic sense or not, Harley is one of the few people left that Ivy truly cares about. But she doesn’t. Why? Because Ivy is, in this story, irredeemably EVIL, as are Wonder Woman and Superman.

Now, I’ve brought this up in videos before, and they’ve brought up the defense that this is an alternate universe, so of course characters are gonna behave in ways we’re not used to. And yeah, as I said before, that was a thing in Injustice 1, and other than going to the extreme of Superman killing Billy Batson, I didn’t mind. So, why does it bother me here? Well, I thought about that, and I came to the following conclusion: It was easier to watch and deal with characters I knew and loved acting in such a manner in Injustice 1 because we had the versions we knew and loved going up against them. Hell, it actually made for interesting contrasts between them to see how they were so different, and yet had a starting point they could both be linked back to. Here, though, we don’t have that. We just have them acting like…well, MONSTERS. And, for that matter, why is it that we have characters who behave in a way that’s completely removed from the core of who they are, and then some who aren’t? Why are Barry and Hal able to realize the error of their ways in the previous game and try to redeem themselves, but Diana isn’t? You have to remain constant to the rules of how this alternate universe works, otherwise you’re inviting people to bring up these comments when stuff like this happens.

And then there’s my last issue: The end of the game, and if you don’t wanna know, then sorry, MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. This is your only warning…Okay, so Superman and Batman go up to the Skull Ship to stop Brainiac, save Supergirl, and restore the stolen cities. Unlike in past chapters with multiple characters, the final two fights of this chapter have you fighting Brainiac twice, once with Superman and once with Batman. Personally, I would have changed it to where you choose which of them fights him the first time, and then Supergirl takes him on in the final battle. After all, not only does the Story Mode start with a flashback to her escape from Krypton after Brainiac invades, but we frequently see her side of the story as it unfolds even outside of her chapter, plus she gets a good shot in on Brainiac just before the last fight, AND she plays a big role in the ending of the game. So, clearly, the story largely centers around her, meaning it makes logical sense for her to be the one to take Brainiac down in the end. However, what’s a bigger issue is…that’s NOT the final chapter. The final chapter involves Superman and Batman, having successfully stopped Brainiac’s ship from crashing due to Superman interfacing with it, as well as managing to restore all of the Earth cities sans Metropolis and Coast City, coming to an argument over whether or not to kill Brainiac and take control of his Skull Ship, thus risking the remaining cities that haven’t been restored yet, or keep him alive long enough to restore the cities. And guess what? The story ends with them fighting AGAIN, leading to you choosing which one to play as in fighting the other and their allies. So the story ends with either Batman defeating Superman with a Kryptonite-enhanced armor and then banishing him to the Phantom Zone, then inviting Supergirl to take Clark’s place on a new Justice League, or Superman defeating Batman, bonding with Brainiac’s ship, imprisoning Supergirl in the red solar prison, and using Brainiac’s tech to turn Batman into his slave…Oh, and I’m assuming (don’t know this for a fact) that you get the special armor shown in the ending for the character you chose.

So, what’s my problem there? Well, it’s two-fold. The first reason I dislike it is because I would’ve personally ended the game with Brainiac’s defeat…then I would have had Superman DIE trying to use the ship’s systems to restore the Earth cities. Yes, I would have KILLED Superman. Barring that, I suppose he could’ve been left critically injured past the point of being able to recover quickly from solar rays, thus leaving him comatose or the like. Either way, I would have had the story end with him making that sacrifice, and then, as he lies on the floor, surrounded by friends and family, he looks back on how everything that went wrong stems from his decision to kill the Joker, and finally realizes his mistakes. It wouldn’t have magically taken away everything he did, but it would have at least let him go out saving the world and acknowledging that he did wrong. And then, from there, I guess you have Supergirl taking his place on the new League, the Regime all either surrender, go into hiding, or likewise realize their errors and join the new League, and so on. Oh, and I also would’ve added a teaser at the end for Darkseid deciding to try his hand at attacking Earth next, since…well, let’s be honest, that’s probably where they’re going.

The other reason I don’t care for the end of this game, either one, is because… … …Well, because I don’t care. I don’t care that Superman and Batman are fighting AGAIN. I’m too numb to it now. Why should I care that Superman and Batman are going to fight for the 11,311th time?…That’s one for every day since The Dark Knight Returns #4 came out, btw, and oh dear lord, I just now realized I’m two days removed from being exactly one year older than that comic. My God, I’m old. But the point still stands, I’ve just seen it too often, and I just don’t care to see it ever again. So ultimately, the ending doesn’t impress at all. It literally leaves me going “Oh yay, this again…”, and that’s not how a story should end. Like, it really says it all when, the first time they fight in the game during Chapter 1, all I can think during this scene that’s supposed to be really dramatic and sad is “Wow, I love the gold trim on Superman’s cape in this scene. Looks really good, and adds some much-needed colour balance between the red, blue, and yellow”.

So, as a result, for the ending leaving me so disappointed and for everything else that went wrong…I have to unfortunately give the story a thumbs down overall. There ARE moments I like and even love, like Harley beating down Joker, Hal Jordan fighting off the urge of the Red Lanterns’ rage, Cyborg vs Grid, the reveal that Batman kept the old round table for the Justice League, and so on. But it’s just overshadowed by a story that is infuriating at times and just unenthusing at others. Sorry, NetherRealm, but this is one story I just couldn’t give my approval to. Better luck next time, though.

Anyway, what did you think of the Story Mode? Let me know in the comments below, and let’s hope that Mr. Boon and DC listen to what we have to say next time. Ja né!

Injustice 2 – The Lines Are Redrawn Trailer

Welp, Injustice 2 is four months away, and we’ve got a new story-based trailer up, so let’s take a look, shall we?

So, with this trailer, we have confirmation of Robin, Poison Ivy, Brainiac, Bane, and Darkseid all either being playable or playing a role in the story. If they are all playable, then they join Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Blue Beetle, Atrocitus, Aquaman, Deadshot, The Flash, Gorilla Grodd, and Harley Quinn. Also, as I understand it, at least A Green Lantern (probably Hal Jordan) will be in the game, there’ll be skin/voice patches to include Reverse-Flash, John Stewart, and Power Girl, and we’ve had hints that Doctor Fate and Captain Cold will be in the game. All in all, a rather impressive roster so far.

As for the trailer, I could do without the call back to Lois and little Jon’s murders, since, as you all should know, that’s kind of a hot button issue with me. Wasn’t fond of it when it was first revealed, still don’t like it now. But, I understand that it was the event that kicked Injustice off in the first place, so it would be impossible to continue this story without it. It sucks, but what can you do?

Anyway, still plenty of spots open on the roster, and more to come via DLC, so who would you like to see announced? Lemme know in the comments below, and we’ll see what happens between now and May 16th. Ja né!

An Idea On How To Shake Things Up In DC Comics

So, I’ve been thinking lately about ways DC could keep things interesting in their comics. More often than not, their ideas include reboots or big epic crossover events or stuff like that. And not to say that plan doesn’t work, but I don’t really think it’s necessary all the time. Instead, I had another idea on how to shake things up: Rotate villain rosters a little. Add variety to the different antagonists that show up in the books. Give us some new dream matches of heroes vs villains we either haven’t seen before or don’t see often.

For example, let’s say that some of the villains in Gotham City actually wised up and realized “Hey, this city sucks and Batman is always kicking our asses! Let’s leave this shit-hole!” Like, what if Poison Ivy decided to find her own home away from everyone to continue her research and whatnot, only to accidentally end up on Themyscira and become a recurring character in the Wonder Woman books? Or if Penguin realized he had an opportunity to become the kingpin of crime in Star City and thus became a villain in the Green Arrow books? Or Bane could go to Detroit to test the power of muscle (with illegal strength enhancement, lol) against metal by fighting Cyborg in his book? And none of these would HAVE to be permanent, so those worried that Batman would lose some of his precious and continuously expanding villains roster wouldn’t need to panic.

But hey, Batman’s not the only hero with villains to go around. And maybe everyone could just kinda swap one or two with another. Maybe Parasite could go try to absorb Flash’s connection to the Speed Force or Shazam’s incredible strength. Perhaps the Injustice Gang could try their luck at their enemies’ teenage counterparts, the Titans? Conversely, what if the Justice League had to engage in a battle of wits and strategy against arguably the devil himself, Trigon, to keep him from rising? What if Nightwing was forced into a situation where he’d have to occupy space with the man who killed him, Lex Luthor? Or hell, why not have Deathstroke, a guy with a healing factor, fight Cyborg, an old enemy from pre-Flashpoint and a guy whose body was saved by technology?

 

Lastly, there’re a few villains that haven’t appeared in a really long time that could be brought back under the right circumstances to fight new heroes. What if Composite Superman returned to fight the Super Sons, Jon and Damian? Perhaps Roxy Rocket could decide to try her luck at becoming a Green Lantern and become a rogue for Jessica Cruz? Or hey, Wally West is back now; how about bringing back Inertia as a rival for him?

 

Anyway, that’s all I got for now. If you think of any other good ones, lemme know in the comments. Ja né!

My Own Answer To My DC Multiverse Questionnaire – The Villains

So, as you saw in an earlier post of mine, a few days ago, I sent a number of people on Tumblr a sort of questionnaire, asking what they would do with their own world in the DC Multiverse. I guess with Multiversity being out (and being AWESOME, btw), with the possibility of the return or integration of the previous continuity on the horizon, and with other stories involving multiple universes being told in other books across DC and Marvel, it’s just really hitting me the mass potential that can exist in stories like these. But, just because I sent the questionnaire out in the first place does not mean that I am exempt from giving an answer myself. As I said before, I’ve done stories with my own take on the DCU, but that was more-so becoming my idealized versions of the characters. So, I guess this is how I would do my own world in the DC Universe, who would its heroes be, and who would its biggest villains be (besides alternate Earth villains or singular entity enemies like the Anti-Monitor or Darkseid). And since I did the heroes already, let’s take a look at the villains, starting with arguably the most memorable of all, Batman’s rogues gallery.

Batman's Rogues Gallery

Batman’s Rogues Gallery

Of course, I’d want the big names like Joker, Riddler, Penguin, and Black Mask around, but I’d also wanna introduce lesser-known villains and tweak some of the more well-known ones. For example, what if Victor Fries was actually an ally of Bruce Wayne/Batman’s, and the man to become Mr. Freeze was none other than Joe Chill, the man who killed Batman’s parents? What if Roxy Rocket, originally conceived for the 90’s animated series, was the one who played cat and mouse with Batman the most in Catwoman‘s absence (we’ll get to her in a bit)? What if Mirror, from Gail Simone’s run on Batgirl, was trying to kill Bruce Wayne for surviving when his parents didn’t? And then there’s the Joker. I think I’d want him to be more akin to Heath Ledger’s Joker in terms of, rather than having his skin bleached and hair turned green by falling into chemicals, he’s just a guy in make-up with no traceable fingerprints or identity. Also, I think I’d give him a bit of an Alex DeLarge Clockwork Orange twist on him in leading the Jokerz, though perhaps toned down a little from that in terms of…*ahem*, ‘Singing In The Rain’. After all, Joker should still keep that part of him that you can laugh at and/or with while still being frightened of him.

Poison Ivy's Rogues Gallery

Poison Ivy’s Rogues Gallery

For Poison Ivy, who I envision as being akin to Greg Pak’s interpretation of Storm in this world, her villains would be a mix of wealthy tyrants (Veronica Cale and Knightfall in particular come to mind), other elementally-based baddies (Volcana, Killer Frost, and Livewire), and general villains for hire (mercenaries and assassins like Deadshot or Bane). And of course Floronic Man…’Cuz, duh. And, just for the hell of it, SNOWFLAME! XD Otherwise, though, most of what Ivy would do is just help people out and get into conflicts with governments that either distrust her or don’t want her involvement, even though she’s just trying to be of assistance to people that could use it.

Doctor Fate's Rogues Gallery

Doctor Fate’s Rogues Gallery

For Doctor Fate, since Khalid hasn’t really been around long enough to earn a Rogue’s Gallery, save for Wotan, I’m thinking he would fight a lot of the mystical/paranormal threats to the world. Mordu, Enchantress, and Morgaine le Fey were easy choices, but I also wanted to bring in villains that hadn’t necessarily gotten much in the way of attention. Then I remembered an old enemy of Batman’s, one that even pre-dates Joker, that was vampiric in nature, and hadn’t been seen much in years: The Monk. Surely someone like that could prove a sufficient threat to the newest person to claim the Helm of Nabu.

The Rogues

The Rogues

Yeah, not much of a shocker, huh? Of COURSE it’d be The Rogues. They’re pretty much THE trademark villains of anyone carrying The Flash mantle since just a little while after Barry Allen took up the role. All the really great ones, like Captain Cold, Weather Wizard, Golden Glider, Mirror Master, and so on. Also, as a sort of take-that to how he was portrayed in Countdown as unapologetically homophobic, I think I’d want Trickster to be gay (seriously, suck it, Countdown). I’m thinking they could perhaps take a bit more directly antagonistic role with the female Flash, in that she has little time for their quirks and wants to shut them all down. And of course I’d need to include a Reverse Flash, and other villains like Gorilla Grodd.

Green Lantern's Rogues Gallery

Green Lantern’s Rogues Gallery

In addition to other ring-bearers like Sinestro, Black Hand, and Atrocitus, I’d like to see some of the classic Green Lantern villains come back. Solomon Grundy is of course a great pick, and a fairly well-known baddie, what with his appearances in the Justice League animated series, Batman: Arkham City, and Injustice: Gods Among Us. Doctor Polaris is another good one, since he’s pretty much Magneto, only in an even dumber costume. Although technically, I’m pretty sure neither one is a rip off of the other, since they both made their debuts a couple of months apart from each other. Not really enough time to cheat off the other person’s test sheets, if you get my drift.

Wonder Woman's Rogues Gallery

Wonder Woman’s Rogues Gallery

Since Diana would be Queen not only of Themyscira but of Atlantis as well with Mera, I’m thinking her rogues could be a blend of her usual enemies and Aquaman’s. So, on one hand, you’d have the typical Wonder Woman enemies like Cheetah, Circe, and Giganta, and on the other, you’d have people like Ocean Master, Black Manta, and King Shark. Of course, as a result of that, Mera would naturally get in on the fun of taking them down from time to time, because hey, she can’t just stay behind sitting on the throne ALL THE TIME, right? 🙂

Superman's Rogues Gallery

Superman’s Rogues Gallery

And finally, we come to Superman’s enemies. Of course, Superman has some of the most powerful opponents, as well some weaker-yet-varied ones, which makes sense. I mean, let’s say you’re Lex Luthor, calling in villains to kill Superman. Sometimes, when you’re evil and you’re trying to bring down a man as powerful as Superman, you gotta just throw random shit at him to see what works and what doesn’t. I think I’d wanna bring Ultra-Humanite back as one of his primary enemies, since he was his arch nemesis before Luthor came around in comics. Others would likely include Mongul, Brainiac, Atomic Skull, Metallo, Parasite, Bizarro, Toyman, and so on. As for his most notable and recognizable enemy, though…well, we’ll get to him in a sec. One thing I’d probably change is that Brainiac in this universe DID cause the destruction of Krypton. Why? Because otherwise, it makes the Kryptonians look REALLY stupid for not being able to tell (save for one or two scientists that they considered babbling madmen) that their frakking PLANET was about to blow. Seriously, why is it that in every single continuity, they NEVER believe it?! They never for one second suspect that the world is about to end…until right before it ends?! At least in the Superman animated series, we were given the semi-believable excuse that Brainiac lied to them about it!

Justice League's Rogues Gallery

Justice League’s Rogues Gallery

I’m thinking Justice League level threats, bad guys that are so powerful that they require the League’s attention instead of just one member’s, would be ones that are so powerful and dangerous that no single member of the team can take them down. Amazo‘s a good example, since it can replicate the abilities of anyone it interacts with. Mongul’s another good one, as he’s been shown to be able to be a match for even Superman. Starro would of course be a must, as the first villain the Justice League of America ever battled. And I think I’d want to re-establish Doctor Light as a credible threat to the team, minus…erm, certain things they did with him over the years (see Identity Crisis, unless you have a weak stomach). I suppose, depending on the situation, you could see supervillains like Brainiac, Grodd, and Black Hand as being League threats, and of course groups of villains would require the team’s attention…speaking of whom…

The Legion of Doom

The Legion of Doom

The Legion of Doom are typically recognized as being the ultimate group in opposition to the League. As such, I’m thinking that only the most dangerous, powerful, and brilliant villains of the DCU would form its inner circle. Lex Luthor, Riddler, Grodd, Vandal Savage, those kinds of villains that are a tad bit more devious, diabolical, and dangerous than the average rogue. Also, to round it out, I think I’d want people like Enchantress, Floronic Man, and Lion-Mane to be members, as villains with personal vendettas against members of the League.

Task Force X

Task Force X

Task Force X I think would basically be a mixture of Secret Six and Suicide Squad, in terms of some of the people that have been on both teams. Also, I think it’d be a well-balanced team of strength, speed, and varying skill-sets. In that case, I think Catwoman would be a must for the team. Also, I think I’d want to include Yo-Yo. No, not the one King Shark ATE that time, but the one from Flashpoint who, I’m not 100% sure, but I think was supposed to be Harleen Quinzel in the altered timeline. Again, not certain, but would certainly explain a bit. Otherwise, the obvious members include Deathstroke, Deadshot, King Shark, Scandal Savage, and possibly Bane at some point.

Whew! That’s the end of that! Got your own ideas on who would be the heroes and villains of your own world in the DC Multiverse? Lemme know in the comments below, and I shall see y’all next time. Ja né!

Batgirl Future’s End #1 Review – Why Must The Simone Troll Me So? XP

Batgirl Future's End

…Just…Just, dammit, Gail. I thought we had an understanding that I was NOT going to get anything of Future’s End, that I was not interested, and that I was not going to give DC my money for this event…and then, not only did you make Stephanie Brown Batgirl again, not only did you bring back Cassandra Cain as Batgirl, and not only did you make Lucius Fox’s daughter Batgirl (I thought it was Nell to be honest, but whatevs, I’ll take what I can get), but you brought back the Gooperangs. I LOVE THE GOOPERANGS! XD

Okay, for realsies? What makes this comic so awesome is a couple of things. The first, as I’ve made clear, is the three Batgirls, not only for being there, but how they interact, work together, and play off each other. Of all the stuff revealed to be in this possible future of Future’s End (and yes, let’s not fool ourselves, it’s a POSSIBLE future, regardless of what DC says or wants us to believe), this is one of the very few things I would LOVE to see be a thing in the future. But the other thing that makes this comic awesome is Barbara. Despite some truly AWFUL things that happen to her in the future, and finding herself delving into the wrong side of the law at times, we see in the end that, no matter what happens, she is always Babs, and she will never give up nor give in. In many ways, it feels like one last love letter from Gail to Babs…Oh, and also, because Bane is the main antagonist and is used brilliantly.

I will say, though, that one problem I have with the comic is Babs’ costume as the Bête Noire. I get that she’s supposed to look like a cross between Batgirl and Bane, but does she have to have the collar and the megaboobs? Also, and I get that this is totally a me problem, but I still think Babs should’ve gotten married to Alysia. Though, on the flip side, it’s nice to see her with someone who is apparently expecting their child, so that’s another happy ending hinted at.

Ugh, so yeah, I did in fact buy one comic in Future’s End, and because it’s so good, I have little choice but to mark it as highly recommended. There, YOU WIN, okay DC? But only because you had an evil genius writing this book who knew exactly how to loophole herself a way to get damned near every Batgirl fan what they wanted with this one book, so to The Simone, I say this: Well played, Gail. I honestly don’t know whether I hate you or love you with this book. lol

Taking Requests For DC Team-Up Fics + Last Chance To Vote on Fanfic Universe Name (FEEDBACK REQUESTED)

So, remember a while back when I talked about What I’d Do Instead of Superman/Wonder Woman? Y’know, the random crossover book? Well, having FINALLY written Will & Hope, I’ve decided that I’m going to start taking requests from people to do crossover team-up fics of various DC superheroes. Basically, you post a request on here or in the comments for my fanfics, listing 2-3 heroes and 2-3 of their villains, and provided I like the idea of the team-up and it works within the canon of my fics, I will give it an honest shot.

Just as examples, you could ask for something like Wonder Woman and Batman taking on Cheetah and Bane, Robin and Raven battling Harley Quinn and one of the Sons of Trigon, Superman and John Stewart fighting Atomic Skull and Atrocitus, whatever. You don’t HAVE to post a plot idea if you don’t want to, but I suppose it could help. One thing I do ask, or rather recommend if you want better odds of me agreeing to do it, is that you list characters that have appeared in my fics thus far, the heroes at least. I’ll probably post a list of characters that have appeared thus far in my Fanfiction.net profile, (which is J.A.Phillips, btw), but for now, here’s a list of heroes and villains that have appeared or been referenced to thus far, more or less in order of appearance.

Heroes: Batman (Bruce Wayne), Robin, Martian Manhunter, Batman (Thomas Wayne), Superman, Supergirl/Power Girl, Cyborg, Wonder Woman, Black Canary (Dinah Laurel Lance), Raven, Huntress, Batwoman, Batgirl/Oracle, Green Arrow, Black Canary (Dinah Drake-Lance), The Flash (Wally West), Green Lantern (John Stewart), The Flash (Jay Garrick), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)

Villains: Tony Zucco, Copperhead (female version from Arkham Origins), Rupert Thorne, Lew Moxon, Carmine Falcone, Gillian Loeb, Victor Zsasz, Manchester Black, Lex Luthor, Plasmus, Atomic Skull, Magpie, Baud, Dyna-mind, Parasite, Solomon Grundy, Toyman, The Joker, Firebug, The Riddler, The Jokerz, John Corben/Metallo, Nasthalthia Luthor, Bizarro, Jared, Trigon, Omerta the Silencer, Aquarius, Bleez, Atrocitus, Sinestro, Weather Wizard, Volcana, Dex-Starr

All of that aside, I’ve decided that, starting with my upcoming Justice League fanfic, I will be listing all of my fanfiction under a name for my fan-made universe. So, with that said, this is the last opportunity to vote on the name: Either Earth 52, so named for being the reality that doesn’t exist in the comics, or Infinite DC, named after Ultimate Marvel and for being influenced by the events of an infinite number of other comics, TV shows, movies, and so on.

Anyway, if you have a request for a team-up, post it below, and I shall see what I can do for you in the future. Ja né!

What I Bought Today – Talon #12 (WARNING – SPOILERS)

So, I went to Heroes’ Beacon today, and you know what that means. It’s time to look at…

What I Bought Today

Only one comic this week, so let’s get right to it. Here is Talon #12.

…Yeah, cover’s kind of a lie. Batman and Talon don’t come to blows in this issue…and thank God for that. Getting sick of heroes fighting heroes lately.

So, remember how last issue ended with both Casey Washington and Sebastian Clark seemingly dead? Well, guess what? Both alive and…well, not quite well, but doing alright. Following the assault from Felix Harmon, Casey has lost an eye and had to have her right arm amputated. However, she’s good friends with Morgan Freeman, I-I mean Lucius Fox, who vouches for her to Bruce Wayne and Batman (remember, in the comics, he doesn’t know they’re one and the same…even though he REALLY should) and lets her hide out in the lab for as long as she needs. And while I feel like I should be giving James Tynion a hard time for doing this to the female lead in this comic, I really can’t since, as we see in this issue, she’s still being awesome and witty despite her losses, talking about having to practise being a lefty and trading snarky comments with Fox as they get to work designing a prosthetic for her. Her only concern is the well-being of her daughter, and possibly getting some punches in on Harmon when they find him. Seriously, Casey NEEDS to become either the new Oracle, or a new heroine version of Cyborgirl. She’s just too damned awesome.

In the meantime, however, there’s a bit of a problem, which Calvin Rose and Batman learn upon investigating the Court’s hideout and sending Robats to Bane’s island: The Court of Owls has gone back into hiding, Harmon has officially gone rogue, and Bane and his entire island have disappeared, though readers of Forever Evil: Arkham War can learn what he’s up to. However, Batman and the currently beating himself up Calvin Rose have to get their priorities straight: They need to find Sarah and rescue her from the Court of Owls. Batman hands over what information he has on the Court to Calvin, to fill in any blanks he might have and give him some clues on where to find them, since his experience with them probably trumps his own. However, Batman isn’t completely sold on a good Talon, and makes it clear he has a cryo-tube in Blackgate ready for after Calvin has located Felix Harmon. Granted, kinda untrusting and paranoid of Batman, but to be fair, look at what happened to him a year ago at the hands of the Court of Owls and their Talons. Plus, while I love Calvin, he hasn’t done much to prove himself a good ally to Batman to keep loose.

Throughout the comic, we learn more about where Felix Harmon comes from, how he was brought into the Court of Owls, and how he earned the name ‘The Gotham Butcher’. By the end of the comic, we see that his great atrocity was that he murdered 17 people in one night and set an orphanage on fire. In the present, he returns there to hide out while planning his next move, only to find someone there waiting for him: Sebastian Clark. I kinda have to tilt my head at this, since we last saw him on the boat with Bane getting the frak punched outta his face, but regardless, he’s done some reading from The Secret History of the Court of Owls on Harmon. It seems that Clark, having had all of his plans torn apart and any sense left in his brain punched out by Bane, has come up with a much more simple plan of revenge against the Court, Calvin Rose, Casey Washington, Batman, and everyone else that’s crossed both him and Harmon: They’re going to kill Gotham City!

This issue was pretty good, setting the stage for the next couple of issues as Clark and Harmon get ready for the killing spree to end all killing sprees. If I have a complaint against it, it’s that it feels like it skipped a few details. Why is Batman instantly willing to work with Calvin Rose, even for the short-term? How did Clark get back to Gotham, seemingly so fast? How did the Court of Owls relocate so quickly? How did Casey go from being in danger of dying to just losing an arm and an eye? I feel like there’s an entire issue worth of stuff that was glossed over to get us to this point. Still, I guess we can attribute Casey’s survival to the money and resources available to Batman and Lucius Fox, and the Court disappearing because…well, because they’re the Court. The only remaining thing I feel the need to point out is that, even IF Calvin is put in cryo-stasis, it won’t be permanent, since we clearly see him on the cover of Batman: Detective Comics #27. Still, a good issue nonetheless, and I suspect the next couple to bring conclusion to the current arc in a powerful way.

So, that’s it for this week. Next week, we get an in-depth look at Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson‘s history as a duo in Nightwing Annual #1. Ja né!

 

My 12 Favourite Bat Villains

So at the beginning of the month, I listed my 10 Favourite DC Villains. However, since I knew it would otherwise be a Batman/Batgirl bonanza of baddies, I limited them to two. And since I wanna cover 10 villains who I haven’t already covered in my previous list, and two of my favourites are characters I’ve yet to shut up about, let’s just say that they’re #1 and #2…

#1 – Poison Ivy, and #2 – The Joker

…and let’s look at #3 – #12 of my 12 Favourite Bat Villains!…Also, just FYI, be prepared for more than one of these choices to be as a result of Batman: The Animated Series. Just FYI.

#3 – Harleen Quinzel, AKA Harley Quinn

What’s funny about this one is that she’s worked VERY closely with both my #1 and #2 picks, being the on-again/off-again sidekick/one-way lover of The Joker, and the on-again/off-again partner/BFF of Poison Ivy. Originally, she was just The Joker’s henchman from Batman: The Animated Series. Once a psychiatrist, she was drawn in by Joker and became part of his criminal lifestyle. Since then, while she still regularly finds herself suckered back into working for The Joker, she’s also branched out on her own on occasion, teaming with Poison Ivy and Catwoman to become the Gotham City Sirens, being made to join the Suicide Squad, and even leading Joker’s army of crooks in an alternate universe in Injustice: Gods Among Us. Like The Joker, she tends to enter combat against Batman and other superheroes with an array of more comedic looking weapons, though they are generally quite lethal. Also, due to injections from Poison Ivy, she’s immune to most known forms of poisons and toxins.

#4 – Clayface

There’s been a few villains who have answered to the name Clayface, though arguably the most well-known is Basil Karlo. An insane Hollywood actor, he was originally just a villain in a mask, but later injected himself with samples of the others to become Clayface, gaining their shape-shifting abilities. Not only has he battled Batman, Robin, and Batgirl, but he’s also gone up against Wonder Woman and Donna Troy, and has had less than stellar relations with Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy. Recently, his shape-shifting powers have evolved to the point where he can assume the DNA of anyone he comes in contact with. However, this has come with a heavy price, as his own DNA has all but rotted away.

#5 – Victor Fries, AKA Mr. Freeze

Originally just a minor villain by the name of Mr. Zero, Paul Dini reinvented Mr. Freeze as quite possibly one of the most sympathetic villains in DC history. Voiced by the late great Michael Ansara, we learn that Victor Fries was a scientist whose wife, Nora, had to be cryogenically frozen to keep her alive after she’d been plagued with disease. At some point, Doctor Fries was involved in an incident with cryogenic substances that left him mutated. Now, he requires a cryo-suit that keeps his body at sub-zero temperatures to keep himself alive. Turning to a life of crime, his goal is to eventually obtain the resources required to find a cure for his wife, even if he has to kill to get it. He’s typically armed with a freeze ray of varying design and overall power, while his cryo-suit increases his physical strength to levels where he might actually be able to duke it out with the next guy on my list…

#6 – Bane

The man who broke the Bat, Bane is a criminal whose genius and physical prowess make him one of Batman’s most dangerous foes. However, I feel like something writers tend to forget, even when they know he has a genius level IQ, is that it was because of THAT that he beat Batman initially, NOT his brute strength. Bane knew that Batman could take him in a straight out fight. So, rather than attempt that, he opted to release the inmates at Arkham Asylum and let Batman go about bringing them all back in, all the while Bane deduced Batman’s alter ego and prepared to face the highly exhausted Bruce Wayne in his own home, when and where he was least expecting attack. This is what makes him so dangerous: It’s not his impressive strength that might actually be enough to inflict small amounts of damage to Superman, but rather, it’s his mind that makes him a near-unstoppable monster.

#7 – Roxanne Sutton, AKA Roxy Rocket

…I just like this one, okay? Although I find it interesting that she chose to be a villain. Given her back-story, she could’ve just as easily decided to become a crime fighter. Roxanne Sutton was a stunt double for big action movies, but was blacklisted when she began making the stunts too dangerous, clearly getting off on the thrill. Frankly, if she wants a thrill, she shoulda helped the Justice League against Darkseid. Now THERE’S a life-or-death scenario for ya. Then again, she’s also tussled with Batman, Batgirl, and even Superman on occasion, so make of that what you will. She’s never seen in action without her trademark rocket, which she has spares of hidden away for emergencies, and she generally likes to be armed with flare guns and other explosives. She’s not really cruel to the people she robs, though. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her intentionally try to outright kill anyone, save for the end of her début, when she almost crashed herself and Batman into a cliff, and we got to see just how far her obsession with thrills (and pushing the limits of the censors) went…

…Yeah, don’t pretend you weren’t thinking it. lol

#8 – Edward Nygma, AKA The Riddler

Riddle me this, riddle me that…he really SHOULD be afraid of the big bad Bat. Nevertheless, Edward Nygma has proven again and again that he has no fear of Batman. While he’s by no means a match for Batman on a physical level, he lives to test him on a mental level. In fact, his obsession with proving to be Batman’s intellectual superior is usually what leads him to leave riddles for his enemy, to see if he can actually keep up. However, Batman more often than not is more than capable, which has led to more than one humiliating defeat for The Riddler. Still, he should never be underestimated, as he has at times gone to Joker levels of manipulation and cruelty.

#9 – The Court of Owls

Kinda cheating, I know, but it’s hard to pin down a specific individual within the group that makes a better antagonist for Batman than the others, other than Lincoln March/Thomas Wayne Jr., whereas the group as a whole has proven to be a MASSIVE threat to Batman more than once in the past couple of years. They’re deeply entrenched in Gotham’s past, their soldiers are undead and near-unstoppable, and they have near-infinite amounts of time and resources with which to make their plans. Eliminating them for good may yet prove to be impossible, but their plans can be stopped, even if only long enough to force them back into hiding.

#10 – Shauna Belzer, AKA The Ventriloquist

If you thought the original Ventriloquist was creepy, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! This woman is a freaking horror movie monster! Like the others, she’s a psychotic killer with impeccable voice-throwing and impersonation skills. Where she differs is her general attitude, her sickly appearance, and the fact that she may or may not be a metahuman of some sort, able to control dead or otherwise inanimate objects. For example, her doll, ‘Ferdie’, and even her dead parents. This hasn’t been confirmed, however, as it could simply be some sort of trick, but there’s no way to know so far…which is just how I like it, to be honest. Of course, as her appearance might suggest, she’s not exactly very adept at defending herself otherwise, and is taken down rather easily. Still, that requires one to get past Ferdie and the rest of her unwilling accomplices.

#11 – Harvey Dent, AKA Two-Face

You know how I said Mr. Freeze is one of the most sympathetic villains ever? Well, if there was ever another DC villain to dispute that title, it’s these next two, starting with Two-Face. Once Harvey Dent, a district attorney who, together with Batman and Commissioner Gordon, sought to put the worst of Gotham behind bars, he faced horrid tragedy when the left side of his face was horribly burned. With that act, a lifetime spent keeping a lid on his anger, bipolar disorder, and paranoia were undone, creating the split personality of Two-Face. His obsession over the number two has led him to enact crimes centered around it, and he’s obsessive-compulsive toward his coin, which he uses to settle most of his decisions. And if that doesn’t seem terrifying to you, just imagine a man holding a gun to your head, flipping a coin, and then trying not to piss yourself in fear over the results.

#12 – Mary Dahl, AKA Baby Doll

Yeah, it was a tough call deciding on the last pick. Granted, guys like Penguin, Hush, Professor Pyg, Ra’s al Ghul, and Scarecrow are great villains, but for me, this is a villain who, despite appearances, should NEVER be taken lightly in terms of overall threat level, and is really hard to hate, given her circumstances. Mary Dahl, an actress born with a condition that kept her from growing past the physical stature of a little girl, she became the sitcom character Baby Doll, until the show was cancelled and she eventually was set on a life of crime due to general reactions to her appearance. She came very close to murdering her castmates in an explosion, but was stopped by Batman. And I’m not gonna lie here, people: This episode of Batman: The Animated Series might possibly have the saddest ending to a DCAU production EVER. Don’t believe me? Well…you’ve been warned, people.

…I warned ya. And frankly, I’m not really sure why she was never used in the comics. Despite her obvious flaws, she’s inventive, creative, manipulative, and has a mean streak longer than…Yeah, I’m not using the short jokes. That’s a good way to get smacked. I’d kinda like to see her tussle with Babs one of these days in the comics. But, if not, I can always look back on this episode with fond, albeit sad, memories.

Anyway, those were my Top 12 Bat Villains. Got a favourite who’s not on here? Leave a comment below, and I will see you guys next time. Ja né!

What I Bought Today – Talon #11 (WARNING – SPOILERS)

Well, shouldn’t be too hard talking about…

What I Bought Today

 

…considering that I only bought one comic, and I’ll talk a little bit about what I didn’t buy later. For now, let’s take a look at Talon #11.

Well, I’ll give Mister Rose this much: He makes a pretty solid argument for the use of a good ol’ tactical retreat. Calvin makes it clear that Bane could easily crush him, but that getting into a one-on-one fist fight with him was never his goal: Instead, with Calvin’s buddies taking out Bane’s lieutenants, Calvin decides to head back to Gotham to warn Sarah of the coming army. However, when he calls, he gets Batman instead. While Calvin and the others were fighting Bane’s army, Sarah had escaped police custody and lit the Bat-Signal, only the Gotham Butcher arrived first. Although Batman managed to stop him from killing Sarah, her wounds are critical, and she may not survive. However, she’s still better off than Sebastian Clark, who Bane decides to kill in a single punch after his recent failure and with The Outsider giving him a better offer.

…Yeah, so some good news/bad news regarding this issue. First, please don’t let Sarah die. She’s been a delight to read in this series, and while she wouldn’t exactly be meaninglessly killed off, since you could say that, with her final act, she steered Batman in the right direction to help Calvin, it would still be a loss of a character that I feel has so much more to contribute. Also, I gotta say, Sebastian getting his face Falcon Punched in seemed kinda…wasteful. However, I somehow doubt this is the last we’ve seen of Clark, since he WAS the Grandmaster of the Court of Owls, and might have some of their stuff hidden away, HINT HINT.

Anyway, that’s it for this month, and looking to Villain’s Month, I see that the grand total of books on my checklist is…6. Half of which come out next week. lol So yeah, next week, we check out Batman and Robin 23.1: Two-Face, Action Comics 23.1: Cyborg Superman, and…yes, believe it or not, we return to Batman: The Dark Knight with the guidance of Gail Simone to learn more about the frakking freaky new Ventriloquist. Ja ne!