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I think a good anti-Batman argument would be: we live in a society where the State has the monopoly of law enforcement and the use of force (the latter is less true in the US, but the former is... at least for now, knock on wood). Whatever the motives and outcome of his war on crime might be, it's a huge, prolonged crime, premeditated to a ludicrous degree.

The counterargument for this — although it is a counterargument in favor of other crimes — cannot be that in a more just society what he does wouldn't be a crime, because he knows that's not true, and is actually rather active preventing vigilantes in Gotham other than himself (or, of course, the people he trains and/or controls).

A possible counterargument, as much as I've grown to actively loathe Frank Miller, is that of course he's a criminal. He's a master criminal, an Arsene Lupin who has never had to steal anything, so he could indulge his ethics from day one. I'm fine with that Batman, but it's one that could/should embrace the fact that he's a criminal; do the same things he does, but with less of a chip on his shoulder (at least regarding, say, thieves; even career thieves have the right to feel righteous anger against a murderer, but Bruce breaking and entering into somebody's house to beat them up because they robbed somebody else's might be ethically arguable if you grant his skills as a detective and moral integrity, but he should at least be aware of the irony).

Not that Bruce will, ever. Because he's a generally mostly moral man, an assertion I'm more comfortable making about the animated series' Bruce Wayne than many versions in comics, by the way, but Batman is something he has to do, not something he chose to do. Batman is how he sort of copes with his trauma; morality and the law only factor into it because it was a criminal who killed his parents (for another scenario out of an infinite spectrum of possibilities, cf my Fuga fic). Bruce empathizes with victims, cares for people, wants to help even his enemies (again, more true for some versions than for others) but if that were his main drive he wouldn't be Batman, he'd be doing Wayne Foundation stuff all day long, and/or be a doctor, and/or enter politics. He's Batman because he was hurt, and the injustice of how that kid was hurt makes the concept of law a joke. He's not punishing criminals because they break the law. He's punishing them because they break people.


The more I think about Batman vs Superman, the less sense it makes. Even disregarding the hailstorm of idiot balls hitting everybody, what sorts Batman fights do we see? Two relatively Batman-y ones, true, the one at the beginning and the one at the end when he rescues Martha Kent, but the main ones are the chase scene, where he spends more bullets per minute than Punisher crashing a mob meeting, and the one where he fights Superman in full weapons plus power suit plus kryptonite mode.

What we don't see, what we are taunted with, is him breaking into LexCorp to steal the kryptonite. We're shown enough to know it must've been epic, but between Bruce's "resolved face" (and, really, World's Best Detective (not that he *ever* has been that in any of the damn movies, which might be the worst of the oversights, given how the Holmes movies have shown us that it can do well commercially), in what world would a Superman gone bad kill everybody with a damn explosion? That's not even one of his powers! He'd burn everybody, collapse the building, tear them down to cells, whatever, but nothing non-explodable would explode!) and Lex riding into his front gate to see ambulances drive away, and inside a wrecked building and a damn batarang nailed to where the kryptonite was... Batman must've teared through everything, and, assuming he didn't use weapons, it must've been glorious.

That's the Batman movie I want to see: half a Holmes movie, half The Raid (or a quarter Holmes, a quarter The Raid, a quarter Matches Malone noir, and a quarter of humorous Brucie and Alfred shenanigans).

We're more likely to see the Budapest Black Widow-plus-Hawkeye spy movie than that one, but one can dream about a better world.


By popular request (n=2)

Here's the text of Batman's letter to Selina, as narrated during an issue-long Batman-fights-everybody scene in Batman #12. I took a wild guess at the paragraph structure, but who the hell knows.

ETA: Just to be safe, and without spoiling anything, consider this a generic trigger warning above and beyond it being about Bruce's psyche and life history (nothing sexual, though).

Not just spoilery; pretty much the whole damn text of the issue.Collapse )

Holy crap. Remember, this isn't somebody else talking about Bruce. This is him talking about himself.


Holy crap, people

Batman #12 is almost entirely a long, silent fight (conceptually similar to, although not as visually striking as, the famous Moon Knight sequence during the early issues of the Ellis reboot). The only words are the text of what seems to be a letter from Batman to Catwoman. And the content of that letter...

I did not see that coming. It's a form of self-image for Bruce that I don't recall having seen in any comic before. I'm not sure how I feel about it, either. My Bruce is a fundamentally sane man with a very bad approach to dealing with trauma and a very interesting approach to fourth-generation asymmetric urban combat. When Bruce is crazy in canon, it's often in terms of a peculiar form of a multiple personality condition, plus severe interpersonal issues beyond what could be explained by that, or by his obsessive dedication to his work.

This Bruce has a very different psychological structure, and a very — gods, how very much — different perception of Batman. I might post something after pondering about it for a bit (or not, these are crazy days), but if you're into Bruce meta it might be worth tracking down and reading in full. Your usual source should already have it, or it will soon.

Movie paused to ask myself

... Did Dick, dressed as Batman, just comment on some katana-wielding Sisters by saying That would make them nunjas?

Yes. Yes, I think he did. Of course he did.

I think I now understand better Robin's tactical role. No matter how focused you are on following your plan, it's impossible to stay on mission when there's this kid dressed like a colorblind elf saying things like that. You just can't. You'd be aiming at Batman's back, ready to shoot, and you'd hesitate half a second too long, struggling between your cherished goal of killing Batman and your sudden, physical need to shoot that kid so he'll shut the fuck up. Must've been excruciating.

Hell, I'm sure Batman had to train himself specifically so he wouldn't stop during a fight to make sure he heard Dick say what he knows he said. Alfred probably has to deal every month with one or two young orphans bent on revenge who have crossed the world to reach Wayne Manor and learn Battle Punning at the feet of Dick Grayson.


On Daredevil's latest costume change

Never change, Matt, you beautiful insane person.

He has either the best or worst secret identity management skills in the business.This has lead to some of his friends suffering, but, to be fair, this also happens a lot to his more secretive colleagues. In a world full of cameras and databases, there's much to be said for the open, humorous approach.

I mean, can you imagine Clark Kent doing that? Granted, he has much more powerful enemies, and it wouldn't be compatible with either Superman or Clark's public images as they currently stand — you can't really be Superman (I thought about using words like "the world's most beloved superhero", "iconic", etc, but, no, the right phrase is "you can't be Superman", which is both all of this and more) if people know you have a day job and lived in Smallville, USA. Hell, the US would reinstate mandatory military service just to get to give him orders.

So, really, there are practical issues to this idea. Bruce could be an open Batman more easily. He breaks the law every night, but have you seen his lawyer pool? If Luthor gets away with trying to take over the world every other week, Wayne would definitely get away with saving people all the time. Plus, most of his big enemies already know who he is, so that cat (pun not intended) has left the bag.

But Bruce, professional trinity-level badass that he is, doesn't have the kind of godlike power Clark does. Nobody particularly wants to use him, either as weapon or for propaganda; if anything, they'd like him to go the hell away.


Going by the released images, post-Convergence Batman is going to wear a small-sized mecha suit (complete with shoulder-mounted missile openings) and, I swear I'm not making this up, a gun.

I can't bring myself to believe that even DC would rise to this level of insanity (it makes Az!Bat positively traditional), so this has to be somebody else than Bruce Wayne. Damian has powers, and League of Assassins training and preferences in any case, Dick's been using guns but he wouldn't be a guns-using Batman, ditto for Tim, Jason loves guns but he'd neither use a suit nor be Batman, not really, we know it's not Barbara from leaked covers of insane!"Batman" "targeting" her, Cass needs neither a suit nor guns. Maybe somebody out of left field like Jason Bard. Or maybe it's a robot instead of a suit; Hiro could easily build one, and in fact built a suit for Bruce in one of the recent futures/continuities/whatever (I think Earth 2 after the first invasion from Apokolips), but not with weapons.

I don't know. It's just too insane to get angry about, although, frankly, the last reboot is where DC lost me as somebody investing any canonicity in what they publish. Using Bloom's agonistic critical framework, it's too aesthetically weak (mostly from a character point of view) to win against what they have published previously — being published later doesn't make it more authoritatively, regardless of what DC might commercially need. (E.g., recent versions of Shiva are so generic and uninteresting that they don't even *begin* to compete with, say, the Shiva from The Question.)


True Detective, except that always inside the city, and it's always night. (Oh, and no bats ever, human or otherwise).

Of course, I realize that this misses the whole business point of a Gotham TV series, which is Batman, but, look: the main point of the Batman-Gotham relationship for me it has always been that they are *two* distinct entities (for lack of a better term --- embodied concepts? chaotic semi-stable systems?). There's Gotham, which is a city locked up in an almost supernatural cycle of crime, violence, and evil, and there's Batman, which is a *something* Bruce came up with that is locked up in an almost supernatural cycle trying to save Gotham. Bruce loves Gotham like nobody has ever loved anything (to steal a phrase I once wrote), and in a sense Bruce is a natural product of Gotham as much as anybody else, but Batman, icon that he is, isn't. Sure, he's dark and violent, but that's because he has to. He's not the kind of thing Gotham naturally produces --- it's the kind of thing Bruce created to *counter* Gotham's darkest tendencies. That's part of what makes him so important/inspirational to me as a concept. He might seem shaped by his environment, but he's actually the most radical counterpoint to it you could imagine. (This is also why I get so mad with any plot that hints at Bruce being pre-ordained to become Batman, and so on; that completely misses the point of Bruce's achievement. And it's part of why I liked Morrison's storyline of Bruce coming back in time --- it mostly explained away all historical bat-hints as *Bruce* himself leaving clues and setting up things, which is neat.)

Anwyay. For me, there's not Batman before Crime Alley, and there never was, not even remotely close. That's the achievement of what Bruce built. Before that, there was only Gotham. So forget the bats. Let Bruce be the regular kid he was. Forget those that will be his foes. Tell the story of a city so rich and dark that people thought it was insane before Batman and the Joker.

Tell the story of Gotham. It's more than interesting enough.


Beware the Batman 1x01: Hunted

I began to write a things I liked/things I didn't post, but then I realized that, to be honest with myself, what I wanted to say was this: Mild spoiler(?)Collapse )



cass, can you not

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