Community Roundtable - Batman

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Batman Legends of the Dark Knight Shaman"Once upon a time, there was a little boy who just wanted to watch Douglas Fairbanks play Zorro (that or Tyrone Power or Simon Trent). While I am sure he enjoyed that film, he would not enjoy what happened after the movie was over. Soon, with a spill of blood and purls, he would become vengeance. He would become the [k]night. He would become Batman."

"Razz talks…yatta yatta call me princess yatta yatta Batman yatta yatta… Round Table! " 

Many thanks to the Poet for his introduction to the characters.  We have done characters before,but as of yet we are missing the character with the most comic book appearances ever.  I am going to be honest, I wanted to get this done before the movie, to get some interest in this when the movie came out, but seeing a I missed that I figured I would give myself a healthy buffer instead.  So here we go with the Roundtable, I was joined by the Poet (usually voted as the favourite moderator these days), Funrush, and kfhrfdu_89_76k (which so happens to also be my password for CV.)  Say hello all.   

Poet: Hello all! *removes top hat and bows gracefully* I am The Poet! :D

Fun: Hello, my name is Funrush.

Kfh: Greetings everyone. I`m kfhrfdu_89_76k, the ruler of the %-dimension. But you can call me Kfh.

So what have you gentlemen been reading recently?

Poet: I am currently reading (*takes a breath*) Batman Beyond Unlimited, Green Lantern, Justice League, Nightwing, Snarked, Smallville: Season 11, and last but not least The Flash. I will be getting the first volume of Scott Snyder's Batman series shortly (though I've already read it...)

Fun: Currently, Batman, Batman and Robin, Nightwing, Justice League, Earth 2, and although not released for another week, I will be reading Axe Cop: President of the World. And I've been hunting some JLA back issues, and have been reading various trades.

Kfh: I`ve been reading Steve Ditko omnibus vol. 2. I`ve also read Micronauts annual 1 (which I got as a gift) a bit of Donal Duck and a bit of Spider-man (the Spidey vs. Firelord-arc). So, not much I guess, `cause I`ve been doing other things too.

What is the first Batman story that you can remember reading and if possible what do you remember about it?

Poet: The first Batman story I ever read was also the first comic book I ever read. It was Batman Adventures: Rogues Gallery #1which collected some of the Batman comics based on Batman:TAS. I could tell you about every single story in that volume because I read it so many times (I could tell you about Ra's Al Ghul and Talia's adventures, Joker/Harly's love swip swap, the cameo of Alfred E. Nueman--yes! there WAS one--and everything else). That's how much I remember it. However, the story which stands the most out to me was called, "Free Man" and starred Riddler, who was being attacked by the League of Assassins which was targeting Batman's rogue gallery. It was a nice story and (in addition of the tv show episodes) this is probably one of the first times I was introduced to the Riddler.

Fun: Actually, the first real Batman story I read was Scott Snyder's Batman #1. I've only been in comics for about six months, and after playing Arkham Asylum I thought I'd check it out. I thought it was really great and Greg Capullo's art, although seeming odd at first, really fit after the second read.

Kfh: I guess it was the stories from The Batman Strikes! 1-5. They were published a pocket book in Finland. I remember alot of things from it. For example, that scene in what Bane loses his "brawn juice" (venom), the awesome home made penguin robot, the scene where Penguin has two umbrellas, the fact that they left out a couple of pages from the Finnish book, Joker in a referee suit, Batman getting pretty bad injuries for a kids comic, Man-bat...It was a big shock to see all these characters (some that I had already known that exist) being drawn in such a cool and different way. After the show started to get aired, I watched it. And that one REALLY got me in to Batman. Or maybe it was this comic, after all.

In your opinion is Batman deserving of all the fans and all the attention and why or why not?

Poet: Good question. Sometimes I think he gets a little too much attention because he has saturated himself into our pop culture as he appears in some many different places (tv shows, movies, video games, comics and so...). A friend of mine and myself observed a while back how if we looked at the review section of the site, we would be more likely to see reviews starring Batman than reviews starring say Wolverine (just as example of course). Deserving is such a strong word. I think he most definitely is an iconic character. I can't really say if he deserves ALL the attention he gets, but maybe some. I like to use the metaphor of Lemonade (I know! BEST METAPHOR EVER! :P ). If you notice, almost all restaurants serve lemonade. The same could be said about how almost all Comic book stores have a Batman comic in their shop. Maybe the fact you can get him almost anywhere is why he is so liked. I don't know. I do know, however, that we all have our different favorite beverages and it just so happens a lot of people like lemonade...or in this case Batman. [note: I'm sorry for my weird metaphors]

Fun: Although I do think he is a bit overhyped, I do due to the fact that he is an old iconic hero, with a great super power (Intelligence), an amazing rogues gallery, and (mostly) good stories.

Kfh: I think that he gets all the attention he deserves. I mean, if there`s an appearance by Batman, you shouldn`t give the credit to Green Arrow. Is he iconic? YES. He`s been around since 1939, appearing almost constantly! Doesn`t that make you iconic? And yes, he does deserve all the fans out there, because he`s awesome. If written damn well. Or simply entertainingly. But it can`t all be just entertainment. There`s also got to be class. But not necessarily too much.

So bear with me here for a moment, because I have another analogy to make. In the movie "Nixon" the main character (that would be Nixon) looks at the portrait of JFK and says "when they look at you they see who they want to be, when they look at me, they see who they are." I have always thought that this would be a good description for Superman and Batman respectively, in that Superman is the idealized version of modern society, whereas Batman is the world we live in. Any thoughts on that?

Poet: hmm...that is an interesting concept. Superman to me is always this spotless proud figure who flys above the city, looking for trouble. However, Batman is not afraid to get his hands dirty threw becoming Matches Malone, infiltrating the crimanal populous. He is not above making "deals with the devil", such as joining forces with his one of his own rogues, to keep the city safe. With the exception of his perhaps his own death plus a few other exceptions, I believe Superman hasn't faced death as much. However, Batman has seen the deaths of Sarah Essen-Gordon, the original batwoman (Kathy Kane), Vesper Fairchild, and so many other characters (even his parents). I like to think we try to be the boyscout with a smile on our face, acting all peaceful and such without blood on our hands (either metaphoric or literal), but then we face challenges which make our life different than our ideal situation and make us flawed; make us human. Sorry for kick to the gut sups, but it's the truth. We're not all blessed to have been granted superpowers or a perfect situation. Sometimes we have to work those ideals. Sometimes we have to be Batman. 

Kfh:   I don`t think that Superman and Batman are that different from each other. They both scare people (Batman is an intelligent, crazy and a perfect athlete, Supes is the most powerful person on the planet) in their own way, like it was noted in issue 8 of  Justice . They have both seen about the same amount of death (People die in Metropolis, too. And other planets.). They can both get really angry (depending on the writer or their state of mind), and they both make really crazy/stupid decisions. They also share the same kind of ideals (even if they vary), and while the other does seem different from the other, I don`t know how much they actually differ from each other. But maybe I should read more comics of them. I could find it out that way, couldn`t I?  

What`s different about them for sure though, is their working styles.

Oh and as for the primary question, I don`t think that we live in either of the heroes. We live in an entirely different universe. Or maybe we don`t...

Fun: I don't really find Batman that much different from Supes in that aspect. I guess I don't really have much to say here as I've never been much of a Superman guy, and I've only read some of his Golden Age stuff, but the only main difference from them, at least that I've noticed, is that Batman has a grimmer outlook on what he does. About the analogy, although it is said by fans that with enough money, and intelligence, anyone could be Batman, I don't really see that. You would have to extremely smart, and likely more athletic then most professional sports players. So, Batman, like Supes, is something people want to be but probably can't. The only main difference in my opinion, is that although you outright can't be Superman, there is only a small chance you could become Batman.

That is an interesting point about people say that with enough of anything that Batman is possible, as in a sense Batman does not have any superpowers, but in place of that Batman is the "Best of ... " numerous things - detective, escape artist, fighter (one of the best in that case) and so on. Is there any one of these "best of ..." categories which best describes the character in your mind?

Poet: Best of the Month :P I couldn't help mentioning my monthly poll. sorry...Anyway, serously though, I think the catagory which comes to mind most to me is the phrase "survivor". For me, he's the best survivor, because he has faced so much in his 8,911 (and counting) appearences. From the very begining with Joe Chill killing his parents to Darkseid sending him back in time, he has survived so much. There are many "Best of" titles he has been given in the past like Detective (*cough sherlock holmes is better cough*) or fighter, but I like to think of him as the "Best of the Survivors". However, that's just my perspective.

Kfh: I`ve always thought Batman as the best detective of DCU-earth, or the best detective still alive.

I think that might be true. Butthen again, Mr. Miracle is still better, or equally best at surviving. Actually, escaping. But surviving is part of escaping.

I think that Batman is best at being exaggerated. Here`s an example: "Oh my god! Everyone who has superpowers has had their powers nullified, and nobody can stop that meteor (that`s pure exploudium, the most exploding sensitive matter in the universe) from hitting Earth! We`re doomed!"

Batman: "No we aren`t. I used my "petty" human skills to nullify the meteors energy, and changed it`s course so that it will miss Earth by 1000 miles. And I did twelve minutes ago."

Batman is awesome! He can do anything! Bat-power*!

*He keeps that in his utility belt.

Fun: You guys took my answers! I need to get to my comp faster. XD. But on topic, I really think that he could be listed as the best at preparing. Although extremely exaggerated to no end, I personally think that combined with his intelligence and strength, his preparation abilities make him a dangerous foe.

Anyway, coincidentally I was just reading an old of JLA where Batman is piloting the Bat-Plane while trying to fight some evil minions and maintain Green Arrow's balance on the wing of the plane. At one point he kind of gives up and just goes into a steep climb hoping that Green Arrow will hold on somehow. When I was reading this I was thinking that this would likely never happen in the modern day, as he would be multitasking fifty things at once, not just three. So the roundabout way to my question is whether the hero which has been portrayed as the most realistic in the past, has become increasingly non-realistic as time has gone on?

Poet: As writers have expanded the "Batman universe" with new stories, I think some of them exaggerated the reality of the stories just a bit. I mean, he now goes up against Gods and Superman for goodness sack. I would think they would have to change what is realistic so the fellow could remain relevant when he is fighting a guy who could pulverize him with a single flick of his finger. Looking at some of the popular Batman stories, you have to realize that his version of realism and our version of realism are slightly different. I mean, he broke his back and now he's working at his usual peak strength. Of course, realism depends on the writer. Some portray his heroics as something more realistic, while others make him out to be something beyond human. So, I have to say, as the imaginations of the writers expanded the DC universe and as he faced different foes, reality has been tweaked slightly so he can do things a normal human can't do; or at least I can't do.

Fun: In my opinion yes. Think for a moment, do you think Nolan's Batman (who is the epitome of a realistic Batman) would stand a chance against say, Darkseid, or Superman? Nope, however, it seems that the version in the comics has those chances increasing daily, with all of the exaggerations he's getting from fans.

Kfh: I think it`s pretty funny.

Actually, I think it depends on the god. Darkseid is more humane a god than others, like all of the New gods (at least in Jack Kirby’s and Grant Morrison’s stories), and therefore I find it more realistic for Batman to have at least a chance at beating him (which he has never done, as it can be seen in a JLA-issue and the "Final" crisis).

The thing with Batman is, that he`s supposed to get you say or think: Oh come on, he can’t do that!

He`s one of the perfect men of the DCU-world(s). He`s supposed to do unbelievable things. Like almost every superhero ever.

But, to answer the question, yes. He has become less realistic. Hundred times less realistic. And about fifty times more cooler.

Shifting gears a bit, now that the Nolan trilogy is over, where would you like to see the Batman movies go in the future?

Poet: Good question. I would love to see some villains who have not had a movie before get the spot light. As a Riddler fan I suspose I would like to see a non-wacky portrayal of the Edward Nigma, but there are others like Mad Hatter, Hush, Clayface, Black Mask, Hugo Strange, Firefly, Man-bat, and Ventriloquist among others who I think would be fun to see on the silver screen that could turn out pretty well. Whatever they do, I don't think we need to retrace our steps with another origin story film. Maybe slip in a few flashbacks to make sense, but I think the film should focus not on how he climbed up to where he became Gotham's protector but how he fought to continue to be that protector. I have not seen the third film yet (though I suspect I'll see it one of these days...), but based on the first two I have to say the Nolan trilogy was well done and does deserve some praise. That being said, I think we can use those films as an example to build new trilogies of films which are just as successful if not more so. I hope the future holds films which awe and inspire a new generation of fans.

Kfht: Agreed.

Fun: Since I have a feeling the next Batman films will be possibly building into a possible JL movie, I would love for the movies to showcase villains not from Nolan's trilogy (Riddler, Penguin, Croc, Zzasz, Harley Quinn) and have it be realistic like Nolan's, but not too realistic, so it could work with a JL movie.

Funrush mentioned Zzasz and Croc as characters that might be good to see on the big screen, though they are relatively obscure. Are there any villains that will never make it to the big screen in your opinion but that you would love to? (Mine would be Maxie Zeus.)

Poet: two words: Condiment King :P

Fun: Condiment King. XD And, I guess maybe Hush.

Kfh: Mad Hatter. Clock King (but not too psychotic). Mr. Freece (right now someone remembers Batman and Robin and shudders), but differently this time. The Penguin. Riddler (because I like him, and I want to cause some kind of reaction in The Poet). Calendar man*. Lex Luthor **. Poison Ivy***. And well, pretty much anyone. Condiment king would be cool too. But not as the main villain. Or, maybe...

*Not the Jeph Loeb version, because we already have too many Hannibal Lecter wanna-bes. No, the one with the silly costume (maybe a bit more cinematic though), and who IS a bit silly. You can always make silly cool. Geoff Johns sure knows this (although he sometimes mistakes cool with gory).

**Vs. Batman. Seriously! How cool would that be. I mean, he has gone toe to toe with him for a few times, so why not in movies. First though, there should be an awesome LL vs. Batman-comic. Or maybe it should just be limited to comics.

*** Someone shudders again. Or maybe not. Someone stops to think about how sexy Ivy, and therefore Uma Thurman, was in B&R (I, myself, can`t get over that tacky costume). Then someone shouts: HECK YEAH!

Fun: I actually can imagine Mister Freeze as a secondary villain in a Black Mask movie, like if they did one on Under the Hood.

I thought that if they did another Batman movie in the Nolanverse, that it would be interesting for Luthor to be one of the bad guys, just like in No Man's Land at the end. Also to tie in with Superman and maybe a Justice League movie. On the subject of the Justice League though, how do you feel about Batman's role in it. He is with a group of 6 others that can do pretty much anything by themselves, and yet he is there as a normal man?

Fun: For me, while the others all have some sort of superpower of some sort, I always considered Batman's power on the JL to be super intelligence. That and his wealth secures his position IMO.

Kfh: I don`t like Black mask, myself. But, he can be an ok villain, if written properly.

I agree with you on Batmans position. But, I think that he`s also great being a hand to hand-fighter.

Poet: I had to think about this question. I think batman is the detective of the group. The strategist who considers the situation and maps out a battle plan. Look at most versions of the JLA and you'll see a batman-like character in the group or a person who trained by Batman. Even a future superhero team like Justice Legion Alpha needs a Batman (Batman 1000000), so I think he is a necessary variable in collecting a JL

Kfh: Also true. But I guess it`s part of being intelligent. Still, true.

Martian manhunter/J`onn J`onnz is a more important leaguer, though. He`s been in every league (or most). Even in the ones that don`t have Wonder woman, Batman or superman.

If there was one thing that you could change about the character, what would it be?

Poet: This is another hard one. I think the only thing I would want to see changed about Batman is his love interests. I realize it's part of the character to be a loner and I would not want to see him marry someone, but I would love to see a relationship which lasts longer than just a few issues. That would be interesting and might present some cool story lines.

Fun: Basically what The Poet said, along with the fact that I'd like him to show a bit more emotion. Reading Year Three, his stubbornness towards Dick about how he wouldn't say that he loved him (or something similar, I haven't read it in a while) was so irritating to read.

Kfh: would change him by taking away some of his popularity, so he wouldn`t be too popular. Like he is now. He has had too many series over the years. Too many stories. Many of them aren`t that good. Why? Because DC/Warner wants to make more money outta him (because alot of readers like `im), and almost everyone wants to make a Batman-story (even if they wouldn`t come up with anything good). This is because of too much popularity.

Maybe he should change his bat-cologne. I bet that`s the reason why so many like him.

Thanks for the discussion all, now lets retire to the Batcave for some milk and cookies. Before disappearing into the darkness though, let's all say good bye

Poet: Holy Cliffhanger! Bruce Wayne hurtling toward the abyss that is the future! What will be his fate? How can he possibly be saved this time? Be in front of your Bat-sets very soon. Same Bat-time, Same Bat-channel! One hint: the most horrendous is yet to come. Be seeing you.

Fun: The Joker's on the loose again! But before go stop him, I must have some of those cookies! Farewell, Comicvine viewers!

Kfh: Goodbye everyone! Me, I`m not gonna go to Batcave yet, because Talia al Ghul threatens to cause World war III, and I have to stop her. I most certainly will not get out of this alive, but rest assured that I will think highly of all of you, during my dying moments.

And Poet is awesome. But we already knew that (By that when Poet was editing this together, he knew that I would want to say thanks for his help :)