It being a very slow news day….week, I decided to finally read the Elseworlds Batman & Captain America one-shot that I had picked up a very long time ago, and never seemed to get around to reading. This comic was written and drawn by John Byrne, and was released in 1996. And while it is a pretty basic team-up story, it was still a fun read. And Byrne’s art is still nice to look at.
I say this is a basic team-up story because it has all the elements of one. You get your brief introduction to the individual characters, the chance meeting between the characters, the misunderstanding battle between the main characters, each characters main villains teaming up, and finally the main characters teaming up to take down the villains. Thus, the basic team-up story. But, here are a few details. The story is set in Gotham City (subbing for New York) in 1945. Batman and Captain America encounter each other when stopping a jet hijacking that contained someone working on the Gotham (Manhattan) Project. The military is distrustful of Bruce Wayne, who is helping to fund the project, because his record is “too” clean. Someone that rich can’t be clean. So, they send Private Steve Rogers to be his “bodyguard,” and monitor his actions. Steve overhears part of a conversation that could be construed as incriminating so he follows Bruce to his office. They fight and Bruce realizes that since he is fighting a stalemate with this soldier, obviously, it must be Captain America. When Bruce calls Steve Captain, Steve instantly realizes that Bruce Wayne is Batman. Well, they combine their forces to go after Joker, who’s working with the Red Skull, to steal an atom bomb in order to bomb Washington D. C. Long story short, Red Skull is defeated by Batman and Captain America, with a bit of an assist from the Joker, because the Joker didn’t originally know Red Skull was a Nazi. There was a bit of an epilogue 20 years later, where Batman, now Dick Grayson, is the one to find Captain America frozen in ice.
Like I said. all in all, it was a fun read. It’s not overly dated, though it did seem to be written in more of a Golden/Silver Age style. There was one thing that did bother me. Why does Batman call Robin “old chum.” Hell, he even called Bucky “chum” once. Is that something Batman used to do a long time ago? Oh, I was quite amused how Batman figured out that Steve Rogers was Captain America. Master detective right there. I’m serious. It was a matter of “hey, this soldier/rich boy is going toe-to-toe with me.” And poof, it’s obvious that they have to be superheroes. What, no one is allowed to learn martial arts and work out unless they’re a superhero? But maybe that’s the point. Maybe it’s supposed to be really silly. At least I hope it was meant to be silly.
In the end, I would recommend reading this, because it’s a fun tale, and every now and then it’s good to read alternate versions of things.