Thursday, May 28, 2009

Batman and Robin Unmasked

I was reading the DC Comics message boards today and I just don't get Batman and Robin anymore. People were going on and on about "what kind of Robin" this new kid Damian is going to be with Dick Grayson being Batman now. I yawned.

When it comes to the point where a character has been replaced so often that the role is typified, then it's no longer a distinct character. It's a company trademark.
The whole point of being a masked vigilante is to go unrecognized. The Batman dressed up the way he does because "criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot" and a bat would frighten them. Okay, when you're driving around town in a bat-shaped car, they have pretty much figured out that you are not a bat, and the symbol becomes a fetish.
At some point, I would like to see a character with no identifiable theme except that no one knows who he is. He gathers evidence and strikes, leaving behind no trace of his identity. He doesn't want thanks or recognition and he doesn't want to join a group. He is always seen from the back or in shadow, and the challenge to readers is to determine who he is. There would be clues left to the readers by the writer and the artist and the mystery would be a fair one. It would be solvable (unlike that piece of crap "Hush" storyline) and the character would be a pre-existing one from the annals of comic book history. At the end of the storyline, his identity is revealed and the story ends. The story would end because his effectiveness is compromised by the loss of anonymity and he fades back into obscurity, teaching all the glory hounds a lesson in how it should be done.
Oh, and that new Robin suit? Sheesh.


KC Ryan said...

The ony problem with that, Jim, is that Batman is such a sales icon for DC.
He's everywhere!
Let's face it, your storyline would be cool, but also a bit unusable, given that Batman drives a flying saucer (in JLA a few years back) and regularly has to battle Omacs and Darkseid (WTF?!). Batman is a corporate tool.
There! I said it!

And you know, I wouldn't mind a little Batman Brave and the Bold - Adam West nonsense once in a while, either.

Theresa said...

Dick Grayson is Batman now? WTF?

Martin said...

Yeah, I'm not a big fan of the direction DC went with this. We all know Bruce is coming back later this summer via "Blackest Night" so this looks to be just a temporary sales gimmick at best.