My (very) short pitch for a Gotham series

damian, 666
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.

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Beware the Batman 1x01: Hunted

damian, 666
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 )

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I've got buttons, alright?

damian, 666
Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness S02E15 was totally a Batman: The Animated Series homage-slash-spoof. Not only the title and and premise (The Midnight Stranger) but also the Stranger's voice, some of the music, some of Po's movements... I mean, it wasn't a Batman knock-off episode. It was an explicit Batman homage thing — and unequivocally a Batman: The Animated Series thing.

I laughed my ass off, and it was beautiful.

Bonus-ly and not coincidentally: the writer also wrote ten episodes of Darkwing Duck.
damian, 666
Yesterday I read a Miami Herald article about some of the medical issues of active NFL players: chronic use of painkillers, an athlete who played multiple games with a hidden catheter pushing antibiotics next to his heart, regular brain and nerve damage, and 24/7 pain. Players aren't healthy, and they aren't well-conditioned in any generic sense of the word. They are biological wrecks optimized to perform one specific set of movements without any regard for integrity or sustainability; they can only perform during games thanks to highly specific chemical help, and the rest of the week they aren't much better (I'm overgeneralizing, but not, I think, too much; when an active, professional athlete cannot bend enough to put his kids to bed, we are far from anything the Greeks had in mind).

There's much to think and write about this (its ethics, its economics, what it says about american culture that this is the dream, the impossible contradiction between the ideal "warrior" male body and lifestyle and the realities of physiology, and so on) but my first thought was, unsurprisingly, of Bruce Wayne. Somebody should write an AU where Batman trains Robins since year one, because a Batman's career cannot last more than two or three years on the outside, and half a dozen intense, crippled-to-semi-crippled men meet every night in the Cave to work on cases, be the current Batman's backup eyes and brains, and train the next ones.

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I reread Final Crisis yesterday

doc savage
I guess I just wanted to feel confused and didn't have access to LSD *g*.

Anyway, I realized that Final Crisis isn't the first time that Batman is killed/"killed" by Omega Beams in a Darkseid-controlled Earth; that had happened before in the alternate future of Rock of Ages.

A quick googling later and, yep, that was Grant Morrison's. As a matter of fact, both Darkseid and the universe are destroyed at the end of that alternate future, too. And Batman was tortured for a long time before he escaped and was killed by Darkseid (although not before he hurt him).

A first observation would be that Rock of Ages could be read as a sort of draft of Final Crisis.

A second observation would be that everything seems to happen an infinite number of times in Grant Morrison's comicsverse, and never in chronological order.

A third observation: is Rock of Ages Batman still drifting through the timestream? We now know that the Omega Beams can be survived if you're bloody-minded enough, and that Bruce's future was destroyed, so it could make (comics) sense for him to be alive, but not able to return anywhere.

Not that it's likely that DC will return to that, but I'd like to think that there's an old-but-still functional Bruce somewhere in the everywheren, crazy and Gothamless, falling hard on those who think there's only one Batman to worry about.

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doc savage
(Caveat: I don't consider either this or Morrison's recent Batman run in general as necessarily part of my personal canon — at least not until we've had five or ten years to see how it plays out. But it's a damn interesting thing by itself, and here I'm looking at it in that spirit.)


This is how the Omega Beams work: They don't kill you. They corrupt your past, your story, your history, they twist you and everything you hold dear into everything you hate... and they do it both to your future and to your past.

This is the Black Hand: since before Bruce was born, the Omega adapter (Darkseid's hand - Dark Hand - Black Hand) has been working on corrupting and twisting the Bat. Hence the XVIIIth century Thomas Wayne. Hence Hurt's experiments with a young Batman. Hence the Batmen. Everything that happened just before the Final Crisis, and for decades before that — that was all part of the wound created by Darkseid's parting shot (that it would be fired later than all of this is only relevant to beings other than deities and the people who fight them).

That is how Darkseid kills you: from your future, and through your past (that is how he killed his son Orion, too).

Darkseid didn't put tragedy in Bruce's life, and he didn't put the Bat in there, either. His shot was meant to corrupt them, and to a degree it did. There's something faintly rotten in the Wayne past. Had Hurt won, everything Bruce had stood for would have been sullied and destroyed. Gotham would have become a hell under the control a perverted, evil Wayne --- a *death* of Batman centuries in the making, put in motion both before and during his life, and coming to fruition months after the dark god was dead.

But Bruce won. He won, first, because he has the will and the smarts to play chess across centuries, with most of his memories wiped, against an immortal opponent pursuing the goals of a dead (and to be dead) god.

And he won because his legacy extends beyond his past and himself. Because of Dick, because of Damian (this, also, because of Dick). Because, in its own funny way, of the Joker, too. All of them, because of his heart. That's why Dick loves Bruce, and why the Joker can't let go: because as... weird as Bruce is, they both know he has a soul to love/hurt.

Hurt - the Black Hand - it was all meant to usurp the Bat, to create a twisted Wayne and a twisted Batman. It seemed to go well (and really, with so much power and so much time, when you began before your target was born, you do have a large advantage).

But in the end it was just another deathtrap for Bruce. Larger than most, and more complex than most (made of centuries and legends, and his own family, and himself), but in the end just a deathtrap. And he's the world's greatest escape artist because he thinks in more dimensions than you. He knows the secret you seek because he planted it there. The cage you're tricking him into? He built it, and you forgot what that means at your own peril.

In the end, Hurt was Darkseid's dark hand, and the servant of the Bat. And he lost because Bruce — with the family he created, not the one he inherited, and his ingenuity, not his legend. Darkseid aimed at Bruce's past and myth. Bruce blindsided him from the future he creates with his heart and mind. When all is said and done, Bruce, Bruce Fucking Wayne and not the Goddamn Batman, is more badass than the Bat.

And now he knows that, too. Which is why now there can be more than one Batman, why Bruce can fund the Batman and not the other way around, and why he could run around in that powered armor (and the ridiculous Insider name). He has a fucking Bat-god for a familiar spirit. He can do Batman. But, ladies and gents, he is Bruce Wayne.

Darkseid (the freaking DARK GOD) loses. Bruce (that freak of a human badass) won.

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Fic: A Certain Slant of Night (PG13, DC)

doc savage
Title: A Certain Slant of Night
Fandom: DC
Rating: PG13
Author Notes: A bit of an experiment, trying to get, somewhat obliquely, to a certain post-Batman side of Bruce (in a psychological, not a chronological sense).

One night, long ago. Before he was a legend. Before 'your first Batman experience' was a standard prison tale.Collapse )

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