September 16th, 2010

cass, can you not

When bats cheat, that's when they become most dangerous

Rereading a bit of Kingdom Come, I noticed once again how badass and effective was post-cowl Bruce during the period when Superman was away. He no longer had to contend with most rogues (as one of the "new heroes" helpfully bombed the hell out of Arkham and the major prisons), but as for the rest of crime, he patrolled Gotham with a veritable army of semi-autonomous batbots (and surely any other number of Bruce tricks and techniques). While a lot of the rest of the world became increasingly chaotic, Gotham was actually safer with a physically banged-up Bruce doing things from the Batcave than it had ever been when he was out there wearing the suit. (This is one of my many peeves with Batman Beyond.) Sure, it wasn't a nice, cheery place to live, but given that we're talking about Gotham, it makes you think.

The same moral can be read in Elseworld's Finest. Although Barbara Gordon Wayne (adopted into, not married with) obviously had serious training in combat, etc, she wasn't as good as Bruce was in that regard. But, Barbara being Barbara, she built the Oracle system, basically transforming the entirety of the Gotham infrastructure into her tool. Thus Barbara!Batwoman gained a level of control over Gotham that Bruce!Batman would have envied. Bruce's (psychological) limitation is this: he has to be there. It's understandable, given what moves him — he's not fighting crime as an abstract problem, but as something he has to fight with his own hands. It's emotional.

Anyway, I hereby grant Elseworld's Finest!Barbara Gordon and Batman #666!Damian Wayne al-Ghul the provisional titles of Champion Gotham Metrohackers, for their pioneering uses at urban scale of extensive surveillance and explosives. Kingdom Come!Bruce gets a respectable third place.