We have finally reached the last of the Dark Batmen origin issues, and this is the one I have been waiting for. We have finally gotten to The Batman Who Laughs written by James Tynion IV with art by Riley Rossmo and Ivan Plascencia. Not only is the Batman Who Laughs the leader, or at least face of the group, but he’s a Jokerized Batman. How could someone not be looking forward to it. So how did Batman become this Joker version of himself. As with all of the other Dark Batmen, it happens because of a death.
The Batman we all know and love has a line that he won’t cross, and that line is killing. It’s come up plenty of times. How many lives would Batman save in the future if he just killed The Joker. After beating Jason Todd to death with a crowbar, surely Batman should have known that The Joker is not worth keep alive. But he still has left him alive, for fear of what would happen to him when he let himself go too far. Well the Batman of Earth -22 was pushed to the point of crossing that line.
Welcome to the inaugural entry in our weekly Saturday Morning Cartoons feature. Each week, we will be highlighting an episode of a cartoon that we enjoy. Why Saturday mornings, you ask? Well, growing up, Saturday mornings were time for cartoons. So, it only made sense to have this feature come out on Saturday morning. Each week will be a different writer, likely focusing on a different cartoon. No, these cartoons may not have actually aired on Saturday mornings, but that’s not point. The point is the feelings we have for these episodes, and sharing them with you…on Saturday morning.
So what am I starting with? Well, something from Batman: The Animated Series, of course. Would you expect me to start with anything else? But which episode is the question. Back in September, we did an episode of Podicus Wrecks in which I talked briefly about some of my favorite episodes of the show, and I am going to pick from one of those episodes. This week’s episode is going to be “Beware the Gray Ghost,” written by Dennis O’Flaherty, Tom Ruegger, and Garin Wolf, and directed by Boyd Kirkland.
If you have been following along with the previous issues in this Dark Nights event, you know that things have not been going well. For anyone. Anywhere. Maybe Detective Chimp is doing alright, but that’s a stretch. The last time we really saw Batman was way back in Metal #2, where he was foolishly opening the portal to the Dark Multiverse. This issue catches us up with what Batman has been doing since falling into Barbatos’ trap. Well, kind of. This issue is a bit of a mind trip. Are you ready for it?
The issue begins with an old man sitting in a chair, saying “I can see you.” Who me? Nope, it’s a granddaughter who wants him to read her a Batman story. She chooses one titled “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate,” but that’s not really important. Bruce had suggested “The Case of the Long Halloween.” Again, not important, but a fun Easter egg. Right from the start, the girl, Janet, tells Bruce that he’s getting the story wrong. He’s going through the story, but comes across a detail of blood on a window, and he doesn’t remember it that way. (more…)
DC’s Dark Nights event continues with Batman the Devastator, written by Frank Tieri and James Tynion, art by Tony S. Daniel, Daniel Miki, and Tomeu Morey. With the previous 5 of the Dark Batmen, they have taken on the powers of other Justice League members. Things are a bit different with the final two. Here, The Devastator doesn’t take on the powers of Superman. Rather, he has infected himself with the Doomsday virus. The timing of the issue jumps around a bit. It starts with shortly after the events of Flash #33, which part 1 of the “Bats Out of Hell” story line. It then goes to yesterday on Earth-0, then the past on Earth -1, then back to yesterday, and ending up today. I’ll tell the tale in chronological order for simplicity. (more…)
With Justice League coming out this weekend, we thought we would discuss a Justice League story. We picked Mark Waid’s Tower of Babel. This story appeared in JLA 43-46, with the trade including some other issues, including a weird story about sentient bacteria. So, enjoy this story that may have cemented the calculating, distrusting Batman.
The origin stories of the Batmen from the Dark Multiverse continues with Batman The Drowned. Previously, we have had The Red Death, The Murder Machine, The Dawnbreaker, and The Drowned. With The Merciless, Batman has gained the power of Ares, the God of War.
Generally, I love Peter Tomasi’s writing. And let me just off the bat (ha), that this is a well written issue. I have no problems with the story. It all makes sense. My problem stems from something that they decided to leave out of the issue. In past reviews, I frequently preach that storytellers should show, and not tell. It is something I was taught, and was an idea that stuck with me. Sometimes, alluding to, or hinting at, works. Here, Batman’s internal narration is used to surprise the reader, and it does not work nearly as well as if we had actually seen the scene describe. (more…)