The Brave and the Bold: Team-Ups Without Fear!

Ah...Batman.  Always there for me when I need content.

Ah…Batman. Always there for me when I need content.

So, I’m in a meeting, and thinking about the humorless way that Batman is portrayed in comics these days. I started to wonder to myself if that was a byproduct of the character’s design. His eyes are represented by white slits in his mask, his hair can’t be ruffled, due to the cowls, and really, you have such a small amount of face to work with for expression. It seemed to me that perhaps the “grim creature of the night” unflappable, very boring Batman might be a feature of the design.

As a result, I wanted to draw Batman looking uncomfortable, scared, and even sick. Really, it has a lot to do with the shape of the eye slits, and also with the eyebrows that are on the cowl of his mask. Those are key. Posture of the overall figure helps a great deal as well.

For those not in the know about the Hyperclan, they are from Grant Morrison’s JLA run…the first story arc, in fact. They come to Earth as new, insanely effective superheroes, and rapidly turn on the Justice League. It turns out that they are in fact White Martians…aliens from Mars with physical powers competitive with Superman, and with a mess of other powers, like shape changing and telepathy, that ol’ Supes doesn’t have. Fire is their Kryptonite…light a match, and they are in big trouble. In that storyline, Batman defeats a decent group of these crazy tough aliens, in the same time it takes Green Lantern and wonder Woman to handle one each.

Let’s hold up a second here. Batman takes on at least three aliens that can work over Superman, and isn’t scared in the slightest? I’m not buying it.

In the prior Justice League series, by Keith Giffen, Batman punches out Guy Gardner. Forget that in order to punch him, you have to touch him. That’s gross enough…Guy strikes me as being, well, icky. Nope…I’m thinking that the fact that you are punching someone who is wearing the most powerful weapon in the universe, on a regular basis…that might upset your stomach a bit. Just a tad.

Plus…in order to hit him…you have to touch him. Again…he strikes me as not the most savory of Lanterns. Especially as he is depicted now. 80’s Guy Gardner is positively “bring home to Mama” material compared to the foul person in Red Lanterns (yay, New 52!…uh…not.)

Still…this got me to thinking of other men without fear. Daredevil, over at Marvel, is billed as the Man Without Fear…and I don’t get it. I mean…I understand it, I just haven’t ever found the character, or the book, all that readable for very long. Fine, he’s blind, and gets around via a hearing based radar sense, and his other hypersenses. He has mega karate. Great.

I’ve seen Zatoichi, the blind swordsman, too, Frank Miller.

It’s not bad…it just doesn’t grab me very much.

This did get me to thinking though…Daredevil’s blindness is pretty much something other superheroes know about. The Punisher uses it against him in the “Welcome Back, Frank” storyline…and that pretty much lets us know that the knowledge is…common enough. Daredevil is also portrayed as something of a ladies man these days…having had relationships with all kinds of women in Marvel continuity.

So, one thing leads to another…I thought, wow, if Daredevil is going to team up with you, does he use that as an opportunity to verify your identity, like Alicia Masters prepares to sculpt someone? Is he creepy about it? I bet he’s creepy about it.

Watch the hands, Matt.

Watch the hands, Matt.

I couldn’t think of what on Earth Daredevil, the Black Cat, and our hero might be teaming up for. I mean, Daredevil and the Cat deal with mafia men and ninjas. The protagonist can chuck things into the Sun. Still, it’s not all that important for the gag, so I’m not worried. There have been dumber issues of Marvel Team Up and Marvel Two in One than this team up.

Just some thoughts about comics, on this Labor Day weekend. It’s nice to think about that, instead of the sweeping problems at my day job as a teacher.

Next Issue: Sunday Bonus Post!

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