The End of Year One…and more criticism of Batman

I hated the early nineties Batmobile.  What kind of car is that?  How is he even steering with that thing?

I hated the early nineties Batmobile. What kind of car is that? How is he even steering with that thing?

Knightfall wasn’t that good when it came out. I’m starting the final Adequacy of the year, a two parter, with that assertion. Now, almost twenty years latr, somehow people look fondly back on what was in fact, a pretty stupid plotline. Part of that is the fact that the recent “get that man a throat lozenge” Bat film was loosely based on it.

Summary. Bane, a new crook who wants to “break the Batman” unleashes all the psychos from Arkham Asylum. Batman, already suffering from burnout, is in no real condition to deal with this. Batmn deals with it anyway, and at the end of the gauntlet of nutcases, is in no condition for a hot, fresh out of the box, just delivered Bane. His back is promply broken by Bane.

Got it?

However…in this story, knowing that he has a problem, Batman refuses…REFUSES to let anyone help him. Does he call Dick Grayson? No. Robin is set on permanent, “you barely help, dude,” backup. He tries to handle it all as a one man show.

Forget that THE SAME THING happened in Batman No. 400…with all of the same lunatics bankrolled by Ra’s al Ghul. Bats calls in the rest of the Bat Family, including Catwoman, and it takes a night. A night to solve the problem.

Forget that he could call Clark Kent, or the Justice League, and it would still take a night. Instead, knowing he is not at his best, he does everything himself.

This is supposed to be the superintelligent Dark Knight? Really? Granted, the point was to cripple him, so there could be a new Batman for a while…but he’s a dude in a Batsuit. Shouldn’t be that hard to come up with a more plausible plot. Especially when Batman is currently hailed as some kind of strategic genius. A strategic genius knows when to call Clark.

Hence, the art above. I wanted to have a flashback to the kind of idiot treatment that I was suggesting our hero endured, to make her down on Batsy. In much the same way I’m down on the plot, really. So I delved into Knightfall, and selected a villian that should be very easy to deal with, that took an issue to do so…and made Batsy look haggard afterward.

The Mad Hatter.

The guy is on the older side, small, out of shape with a big head. His schtick? Hats. Traps that are in the shape of things from Alice in Wonderland, and hats. Hats that hypnotize you when you put them on…but since you know that…don’t put on the hats. Pretty easy.

Should be a cakewalk for Batman, even at half wattage.

Hence the artwok above. I was excited enough by it, that I made a part two, for a longer final post of the year. You’re welcome, True Beleievers.

Continuity issue: in page one, our hero's Bat Logo is negative space.  Here it is deep black.  My mistake...but if I were Roy Thomas, I'd write an annual explaining it.

Continuity issue: in page one, our hero’s Bat Logo is negative space. Here it is deep black. My mistake…but if I were Roy Thomas, I’d write an annual explaining it.

And that second page really brings home the point. Accept some help, Bruce. Don’t be such a tool. The second page was inspired by the idea that Ethan Van Sciver is taking over a Bat book in about a month…and will actually be using the Hatter as a heavy. I did not know that when drawing page one, and felt that bonus content was in order.

I do miss old school, Adam West style deathtraps like the big hat.

On that note, two things. We get back to regular sarcasm about education starting next week…as we are still on break at LAUSD. Secondly…it’s kind of a big deal that this site has actually gone for a year. My pencils have certainly improved from it, and I really appreciate the support of the readership.

Nice sentiment over. Tomorrow, we start the New Year off right, by continuing to mock Aquaman.

One thought on “The End of Year One…and more criticism of Batman

  1. Also, since Bane’s stated motivation in Knightfall was to show that he was tougher than Batman in some kind of macho ego-trip fashion, waiting until Bruce had been worked over by everybody else and could barely stand up seems like an awfully cheap shot. I suppose if Bane’s primary concern was being able to tell everyone he’d beaten Batman so as to “rule Gotham” (q.v.), that would be a sensible strategy, but Bane wasn’t really written that way.

    In Batman #400, Ra’s al Ghul’s intention was mainly to make a point about the Sisyphean nature of what Batman does, rather than to actually defeat Batman, but it was pretty much the same thing. (Although at the end of that storyline, a goodly number of the escaped villains are still on the loose, a plot point never resolved due to the change in editorial administration.) Before that, Gerry Conway did the same story back in Detective Comics #526, another big anniversary issue and the culmination of the storyline that introduced Jason Todd in his original pre-Crisis, circus acrobat incarnation. The villain of that story was Killer Croc, back when he was a former alligator wrestler dude with a skin condition, not a half-reptilian monster, and the whole thing is very similar: (1) New bad guy from out of town (2) who either looks like or actually was some kind of wrestler (3) and is basically a strongman with a heavy application of “Dude is smarter than he looks” arbitrary plot logic, (4) hangs around for a few issues being ominous and shadowy, then (5) organizes a whole posse of Batman’s regular antagonists to batter and distract the man so that (6) new bad guy can try to break his back. The difference is that Croc failed on point 6: He tried several times, but the first time was distracted by Jason Todd and the second time Batman gassed him.

    Oh, and like Knightfall, the Conway story was intended to introduce a replacement for a familiar Bat-character, although Jason didn’t actually become Robin until about a year later.

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