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|07/18/10||New Batman Family, The||(Blog) (Forum) (List)||Batman Family||(Back) (Next)|
This is something that's been bothering me ever since Batman was an "urban myth." When Bats was an "urban myth" - never seen or photographed by the public - it didn't make sense that he was still out there with the JLA, or doing everything in Gotham personally. Even now that he's dropped the urban myth angle, it still doesn't make sense to me that Batman's so good he can do it all himself. I think he'd need a team of partners to accomplish everything he does, and DC has the characters available to break it down pretty simply. So who would be in the new Batman Family?
First, the standards are all there: Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, Huntress, and now, Red Robin and Batwoman. You can't lose them. They can serve in an all-around capacity, but they've got their own stuff going on too, so they're not strictly Gotham-bound. I'd include Flamebird too, just because I liked her.
Include Azrael if you must, but personally, I'd turn him into a villain again. I don't like it when popular villains get turned into dark heroes. Why can't some of the badguys be cool looking? Azrael was a real physical threat to Batman, edged out only by the fact that his moves were dictated by a system that had him fighting from a sort of trance state. Batman needs a physical challenge guy. So for me, he's a villain. Let the stoning begin. Moving on...
I don't really know what to say about Jason Todd. I was around when DC did the 1-900 vote to kill him, and I was glad the "no" vote won. I thought it was a bad decision for DC to bring him back, but they have made him interesting this time around. I think he's going to be around for awhile, because I don't see DC killing him again, but I really think he should be a villain. Therefore, he wouldn't be part of the Batman Family. The black sheep role they've got him in has promise, but I question if they can keep it balanced in such a way that's believable. "Believable" meaning that Batman wouldn't just take him down for stepping too far over the line. That's why I say he should be a villain.
I'd include Blue Beetle (Ted Kord - okay, this part was before he was shot). He's one of the few DC non-powered, fights-with-gadgets guys that's not part of the Bat-Family, and that's mostly because he started at Charlton. I think Ted would be the tech guy. He'd take the place of Harold - designing Batman's gadgets and vehicles, just like he'd design his own. I think his villains would be a cool addition to Gotham too - I'd love to see the Madmen working for the Joker. I think The Bug would look really cool over the night lighting of the Gotham skyline, but I think that Ted would be the daytime guy. When Batman's sleeping, during the day, Blue Beetle would be out there doing the legwork needed and fighting the fight during those hours. A possible replacement for Ted as Blue Beetle would be Tim Drake (discussed in another blog), or maybe Connor Hawke, who's redundant as Green Arrow II. Neither of them have enough tech savvy to replace Ted's inventiveness though. Maybe the next version of Ted's Blue Beetle should be another Charlton character that DC doesn't really use - Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt. Having learned to utilize the other 90% of his brain power (something that killed the original Ravager, btw), perhaps he'd be smart enough to invent stuff like Ted did? ...Yeah, he could operate as Thunderbolt, but personally, I want to see Ted's version of Blue Beetle back out there.
Of course, Oracle is still around, because the Bat-Family needs its info and communications guru. Babs is indespensable.
When Batman needs information from the streets, he sends out the Question.
When Batman needs someone found, he sends Manhunter. When I first had this idea, I was thinking of Mark Shaw, who was working in the same sort of bounty hunter role, as Manhunter, as DC later put Kate Spencer in. So Kate's Manhunter would work just fine. Huntress works well in this role too.
When Batman's trying to find more than the average hood or non-powered Bat-loonie, he hires a detective: John Jones, Martian Manhunter. (C'mon, you know that's cool.)
He might have a couple of other people around, like keeping Richard Dragon on retainer as a sparring partner, so he stays in shape as a fighter - needing more of a challenge than the average enemy gives him. He might hire Connor Hawke, Roy Harper, Katana or Bronze Tiger for the same - he might want to practice with multiple attackers.
Special mention: Green Arrow. Bruce used him in JLA: Year One, to act as the financier of the JLA, because they wouldn't have accepted Bruce Wayne's financing directly. I think Bruce would use him in costumed capacity as well. Green Arrow's got his own stuff going on, but I think he'd be on call as a stand-in for Batman. He'd have to shave the blonde goatee and 'stache for it, but Oliver Queen is even more prepared to be Batman than Dick Grayson. Dick's learned it and earned it, but Oliver outright imitated it. Bats has his utility belt; Arrow's got his quiver full of trick arrows. Batcave; Arrowcave. Batmobile; Arrowcar. Batplane; Arrowplane. Robin; Speedy. Batgirl; (Miss) Arrowette. Queen clearly applied a business principle of "why reinvent the wheel?" He saw a formula that worked for crimefighting, and copied it. A simple costume switch and change of theme, and he's Batman. Dick will stand in when he has to, because he doesn't want the Batman name tarnished, but he has respect for Ollie, and I think he'd be okay with Bruce's decision to have him stand-in, when the situation calls for it. Not always instead of Dick, but in extreme circumstances. If they wanted to tie him more firmly to the Bat-Family, Bruce might hire Ollie to represent his interests in Wayne Enterprises. Ollie has the business savvy for it, but I think it would be out of character for him to accept the business position.
Having these characters in place as a team isn't lessening the Batman. Great leaders put good people around them - often people even smarter than they are (which would be the case with Peter Cannon). Having these people to handle some of the details for him frees Batman up to be Batman.
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