So, I was watching Linkara’s review of Batman: The Dark Knight #1 – 3, and a thought occurred to me when he was talking about over-saturation of Batman in the New 52. Now, to answer the question, yes, that was definitely a thing in the New 52. However, on closer observation, it’s clear that it’s not JUST a New 52 thing. Even now, in Rebirth, and I’ll get more into this in June, we have three books devoted to Batman, he’s part of three team books, and he constantly cameos in other books with characters relating to him. In fact, right now in DC, there are seven books that are officially part of the Batman Family line of books, and at least ten other books that either star Batman or another Bat or Gotham related character in some way, shape, or form. That’s seventeen books right there, many of which are shipped twice monthly.
However, it actually goes beyond that. Another point people have made is that other DC characters, especially during the New 52, have been made a lot darker and more brooding, and at times have been given darker coloured costumes. In other words, more like Batman. And if you think I’m lying, rewatch the current DC Cinematic Universe movies involving Superman, and tell me he hasn’t been made a LOT more like Batman. The problem with that being that DC has less of a varied universe of characters. Thankfully, that seems to have gone down a lot with Rebirth. What has NOT, however, is that, in the team books that Batman is in, guess who is usually the one given the most highlighting and oftentimes is the one to save the day? It’s insane, and it actually makes it hard for people like me to be big Batman fans.
Here’s what a lot of people might not recognize, though: This actually hurts Batman in the long run, too. You might be wondering how in the hell that’s possible. Well, it is, and I’ll explain how that is: The more DC and Warner Bros. continue to make other characters be more like Batman, the darker and more assholish (AKA more like when Frank Miller writes him) they have in turn made Batman in an attempt to keep him distinct. Furthermore, the more they over-saturate the character, especially now that he’s so over-the-top dark and an asshole, the more people are gonna be turned off by him. Yes, he’s still selling great, but how long is that going to last? Again, I’ll go over this more in June, but suffice to say, Batman in his solo-title written by Tom King is a complete dickhole, and while past writers have taken him beyond the usual constraints of a human being (and thus missing the point of his character entirely), there was a SEVERE bullshit moment during the I Am Suicide arc. The biggest reason people are still buying is due to the legacy of the character, not what he’s doing right now. So yeah, it’s working out great for him now, but one has to wonder for how long.
Anyway, those are my own thoughts on the matter, but what about you, the readers? Let me know what you think in the comments below, and we’ll see how things change in the future. Ja né!
So, I was at Heroes’ Beacon today (the shop where I buy my comics), and I got some awesome books, so let’s take a minute to talk about…
Now, as I tend to do many times when one book in particular is just a huge flipping deal, I’m gonna cover it on its own, and then do the others in a second post. With that said, let’s take a look at Batman #24!
This issue kinda marks the halfway point for Zero Year. Not necessarily that it’s halfway done in terms of number of issues, but from a storyline perspective, the first half is done, that being dealing with the Red Hood Gang and becoming Batman. And yes, we do see Bruce Wayne in his first (in the New 52 canon, anyway) Bat suit, in all of its purple-gloved glory! 😄 And snark aside, I felt they really did a good job of bringing back the classic Batman costume and modernizing it. In fact, the reveal is done in a two-page spread, where Batman is swinging with a Red Hood in a pose meant to harken back to the cover of Detective Comics #27, AKA Batman’s first appearance.
In the Batcave, Bruce and Alfred begin piecing together a plot by Red Hood One, which seems to be slightly rushed with the appearance of the Batman. However, they’re still lacking on some details, so Alfred suggests Bruce go to see Philip, who is overjoyed to see Bruce alive. Philip admits the Red Hood Gang got to him, and while he’s had enough of Red Hood One’s shit, when he wanted to go to the police, the gang kinda branded RH347 on his chest, thus linking him to them. However, he does give Bruce access to the information he needs, and he and Alfred quickly deduce Red Hood One’s plan. However, while Alfred says Batman has to stop them, Bruce replies that Batman can’t, that there’s only one man who can stop the Red Hood Gang this time: Bruce Wayne.
Bruce decides to reveal himself as being alive…again, this time through an impromptu press conference, Commissioner Loeb deciding to send Jim Gordon down to check it out, and here’s where we get something awesome. Bruce asks everyone watching at home why they love Gotham City. And really, when you read Batman comics, you have to wonder why ANYONE would love Gotham. Even without the super-villains, it’s still Hell on Earth. There’s gangbangers, the price of living comfortably is insane, there’s too much rain, and it just seems to bring out the worst in so many people. So why would anyone stay there? For Bruce, the answer is simple: People come to Gotham to become something MORE. Gotham City challenges the people living there to make themselves more than they are. It dares them to become better, and does everything it can to stop them, and if one can take all it can dish out, they become something more as a result.
Anyway, once the speech is over, Bruce points to the building he’s been standing in front of all along, and reveals it to be the Red Hood Gang’s hidden base: A.C.E. Chemical. Red Hood One is creating a flesh-eating poison that they’re going to unleash upon the city, Having given away their position, the Red Hood Gang decide to take out Wayne, but in the confusion of them shooting rockets at him and the GCPD getting involved, Bruce manages to get inside. Red Hood One finds him and holds him at gun-point, but Bruce literally tells him he’s “so full of #$%”, that his concept of ‘life is meaningless if you can die at any time’ is crap, since what matters most is what you do in the time you have. Red Hood One has heard enough and is ready to kill Bruce, but the lights go out, and as can be seen from above in a GCPD helicopter, the whole area has blacked out, the outline of which now resembling a bat. Sure enough, as the lights come back on, Batman kicks the crap out of the entire Red Hood Gang, all the while Red Hood One watches from the shadows, his eyes fixated on the Dark Knight.
While Batman deals with the grunts, and impressively so for a guy only in his first year as a crime-fighter, Red Hood One takes aim at him, but is caught by a bullet from another Red Hood bouncing off his helmet. Red Hood One straight up executes Red Hood 347, which Batman realises to his horror is Philip, just as the police finally manage to bust in. Granted, while they DID have charges, considering the chemicals in the building, they obviously couldn’t risk it. Unfortunately, the deflected bullet causes one of the tanks to leak, which in turn creates a chain of explosions, so I guess it didn’t matter in the end. The police try to arrest Batman, but you can probably guess how well that works…as in, not at all. lol
Batman catches up with Red Hood One, who is trying to escape in a helicopter, but they tumble back into the building, there’s another explosion, Red Hood One is dangling over a vat of chemicals, Batman tries to save the poor bastard, but he just says it wouldn’t be any fun, and…well, you can probably guess how this ends. However, there is a twist. A while later, we see that Bruce and Alfred have updated the Batcave a bit to look a little closer to the more modern take we see nowadays. Bruce suggests it’s only a matter of time before people start piecing together that he’s Batman, and jokingly offers to share a cell with Alfred. Pennyworth, however, says that at least the Red Hood Gang is defeated and he can move on from them…However, it seems Bruce can’t. The body of Red Hood One was never found, and while Red Hood members all pointed to a man named Liam Distal as the leader, HE was found dead the day before.
Distal’s corpse was mostly dissolved in lye, so that it’s impossible to tell exactly when he was murdered. So, now there’s a mystery regarding the identity of the man he fought…Okay, I’m just gonna say it, it’s The Joker. Either Joker killed Distal weeks ago and took his place, or he was a patsy reading lines for Distal and only made the switch recently. It’s also possible someone else killed Distal, and then switched places with ‘The Man Who Would Be The Joker’ before Batman caught up with him on the roof at A.C.E. In the end, without more evidence, there’s no way to know……..Scott Snyder, you redefine what it means to troll your readers. 😄
At any rate, Alfred finds it unlikely people will figure out Bruce Wayne is Batman, relating back to his days as an actor. He used to try too hard to make the characters he performed just perfect, and leave no trace of himself in it, as to avoid seeming like a faker. However, what he learned is that the audience WANTS to believe in the actor. They want to forget who is under the mask, and become enthralled by the character, because the actor put so much hard work and passion into it. Add in the fact that Batman can pretty much make the rules of logic his bitch, and the everyday ordinary people of Gotham won’t WANT to know who Batman is.
Alfred and Bruce decide to make up after their most recent issue, but are cut off by a broadcast from Edward Nygma, who had become The Riddler. He delivers the second riddle of the Sphinx: ‘There are two sisters; each gives birth to the other. Who are they?’ Bruce, Alfred, and Commissioner Gordon all recognize it, just before Nygma calls for the ‘dark, dark night’, and our comic ends as he sets off explosions that cause a massive blackout all over Gotham City.
This comic is frigging awesome. The modernizing of Batman’s original costume is great, as is the little Easter Egg of the words “BK was here” on the roof in the two-page spread where Batman is revealed for the first time. Also, the result of his confrontation with the Red Hood Gang went VERY well. While I’m all too willing to say that the individual dressed as Red Hood One is the Joker, since it all but outright says that, the fact that we don’t see the transformation still leaves some ambiguity. And even if it IS him, we still don’t REALLY know who he is, and that’s how the Joker SHOULD be. As he himself said, “If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!” The ending where Riddler appears DOES seem kinda rushed, but I think that’s the idea, where Batman has defeated the Red Hood Gang, and yet only NOW is the shit getting real.
Anyway, that’s it for Batman this week, but we still have Nightwing, the Fearless Defenders, and Red Sonja to go through, so check back in a few when I talk about them. Ja né!
- Batman – Under the Red Hood Movie Review (detectivemaxxzeqsterscreepycrawlyamazingadventures.wordpress.com)
- Batman #24 (comicvine.com)
- EXCLUSIVE: Guillem March’s “Zero Year” Variant Sends Red Hood To His Fate (comicbookresources.com)
- Does Rockford, Illinois need a Batman? (therockfordblog.com)
- Batman Through The Years (costumesupercenter.com)
- The Side of Batman We’ll Probably Never See on the Big Screen (nickverboon.wordpress.com)
- The Red Hood Strikes in ‘Batman 66′ #3! (mancave.cbslocal.com)
- Off My Mind: Batman Zero Year and the Red Hood Gang Leader (comicvine.com)
- The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) Says Ben Affleck Will Make Batman “Cool Again” (cabletv.com)
- Batman: Under the Red Hood (therealmoffilm.wordpress.com)