Celebrating the 40th anniversary of Return of the Jedi

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Post By
Omar Karindu

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,242
In Reply To
Blue JAy

Subj: Re: Check it out again.
Posted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 at 11:11:42 pm EDT (Viewed 319 times)
Reply Subj: Re: Check it out again.
Posted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 at 07:46:56 pm EDT (Viewed 3 times)

> > > Thanks you proved my point.
> >
> > I didn't realize you were a denizen of Htrae.
> >
> > > Notice Batman knew he was hallucinating.
> >
> > No...no, there's...uhm...absolutely no moment in the posted pages where he says anything more than noting he's feeling weird just as he passes out and starts freaking out.
> He noticed and you were dealing with a young Bruce Wayne thinking he was in a safe hospital not a mature Batman ready for anything.

He feels weird while he's passing out. If that counts as noticing, then Morrison's Batman has "noticed" as well in the current storyline.

As to the claim that this is an immature Batman, I have to call shenanigans on you. Engelhart's Batman was meant to be a fully-functioning adult, a man of experience who could reflect upon past loves and see Silver for who she was; a crimefighter talented enough to get the drop on Deadshot by sneaking from one rooftop to another, far higher one in seconds; and a detective wise and seasoned enough that he outwits the Penguin with ease and amazes a distinctly college-aged Robin.

This latter part wipes out your claim that the Engelhart Batman is in "Year Three," by the way: 'Tec #474 quite explicitly puts Dick Grayson in college and leading the late-period Teen Titans, while the Year Three storyline was about pre-collegiate Dick Grayson becoming Robin for the first time. Unless you're tossing out the details of Engelhart's run -- something editor Denny O'Neil actually wanted to do, by most reports, because he reportedly felt that Silver knowing the secret was unacceptable -- your timeline simply doesn't work with the stories as published.

> > Your statement would ahve worked a lot better if I hadn't, y'know, posted the actual panels for everyone to see.
> Your statement would have worked better if you actually showed something good Morrison has done.

Your retort is a straw man, plain and simple; I've nowhere claimed anything about Morrison's run and its quality myself. What I've done is remarked that Morrison's plot elements can be found in the stories of the writers you deem "definitive," and that by your own stated standards Morrison's quality is apparently unimpeachable.

In short, I'm applying the standard reductio ad absurdum method to your frankly dubious claims and insupportable statements.

> > And in Morrison's story it's taken years-ago psychological conditioning and an entire organization of foreign supervillains. Oh, and the guy who kayoes Batman with a chair to the head in the example I posted? Not super-strong, sorry.
> Its a retcon that came out of nowhere that makes Batman out to be a crazy insane manipulative fool.

As opposed to Henri Ducard being able to play Bruce Wayne in the past and Batman in the present during Sam Hamm's "Blind Justice," Denny O'Neil plopping his pet characters from the sub-par martial arts book Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter like the O-Sensei and the Bronze Tiger into his Batman stories as the equals or superior of the Dark Knight, or Denny giving the Joker a shrinking potion in his second story featuring the mad jester, or Denny giving us Batman addicted to the insanity-inducing steroid Venom, or Steve Engelhart making Hugo Strange an infinitely smarter and more honorable character than the version who had appeared a scant three times over thirty years prior as a quite generic mad scientist, or Engelhart.

Hell, the very first O'Neil/Adams Batman story, "Secret of the Waiting Graves," is about an immortal couple and their psychedelic age-repelling death flowers....which fail when they get too excited, in a plot development mentioned only as they die on the next-to-last page of the tale. Th art is fabulous, but the story is, frankly, very goofy and bizarre. It gets by on atmosphere, not logic, consistency, or realism. And it's just fine despite all that, this being a comic book about a billionaire using a bat costume and a batch of sci-fi gadgets to battle weirdly disfigured "theme" criminals with the aid of his Shakesperian-trained field medic butler.

But I'm sure you'll "explain" (read: distort, avoid, and obfuscate) those are ad hoc, crazy, goofy elements at all...somehow or another.

I see you've given up on arguing that the previously posted Denny O'Neil example of Batman being cold-cocked by a guy with a chair contains something it simply doesn't along the way. Let's face it: Batman getting conked from behind by no-name doofuses was a pretty standard move in Denny's stories to pace out Batman's victory on the final page or in the final part.

A lot of this stems from the influences Denny was drawing upon: Raymond Chandler novels often had Marlowe beign uncharacteristically vulnerable to an ambush, the better to pace the story and show the hero's toughness (and let him be an underdog even when it wasn't entirely logical or consistent). Ditto Denny's love of the pulp heroes of which Batman is arguably the thematic apotheosis -- remember those great issues guest-starring Lamont Cranston's alter-ego? Pulp heroes tended to be dropped into the deathtrap of the month by the brand-new villain of the month...and so, too, did Denny's Batman.

That's part of why it's fun. And really, Batman is a vehicle for fun stories, not a real, objectively-definable, or even entirely consistent being. Inconsistency in the service of entertainment is a virtue of fantastical narrative like the superhero story. If you want mathematical precision and absolutely-defined traits, limits, and competencies in your favorite characters, you'd be better served by a tabletop RPG manual than a comic book continuity.

> You take trashing a character as continutiy?

First, I disagree with what you term "trashing" the character. For one thing, characters are pretty resilient. Batman survived Jack Schiff's editorial reign and that godawful Adam West portrayal just fine, thanks.

Second, while I'm not making claims Morrison's greatness on the character myself -- the current run has been quite uneven, with a few above average arcs and a few sub-average arcs -- I'm not seeing where he's "trashing" the character. The hero is supposed to be challenged, and is supposed to hit low points. If he or she doesn't, if all the victories are done in the manner of a fait accompli, they stop working as stories for the reasons I state above.

I take continuity as what's being published in the comic, irrespective of quality. There's lousy stuff in continuity and good stuff in continuity: continuity is what the publishers and owners of the characters say it is. Quality, by way of contrast, can be a matter of personal opinion.

> This shows you cannot tell a copy from the real deal.

There is no "real deal" Batman. There are over six decades of fictional stories by writers and artists of varying viewpoint, style, and purpose, and loads of often opposed fan opinions about their relative merits. The strength of your opinions does not validate them with equal strength; and as to comic-book critics, well, they tend to have the same lack of meaningful credentials and the same clashes of opinion as any other fan without the media platforms the critics have landed.

> Shifting criteria?
> Its 2008, not the 1970s.
> Last time I checked Batman evolved.

So the Batman stuff you cite from the 1940s and 1970s is how he should portrayed, except it isn't, and those stories are the "real deal" except they can't be the real deal now if they're done in similar fashion?

Your response here seems to amount to denying that you're shifting your criteria, then explaining that you are shifting them in the name of "evolution" without explaining what that "evolution" does or should entail.

To paraphrase Lewis Carroll, you seem to be under the impression that when you use a word, it means exactly what you wish it to mean, nothing more and nothing less.

> You obviously plainly would accept any Batman, even if you looked at yourself dressed up in a costume at a mirror.

Now you're simply resorting to insult because you lack structured argument and have yet to produce anything resembling factual evidence.

I'd also point out that you're the one insisting that there's a "real" version of a fictional character written and edited by committee across long spans of time, a position that seems frankly ludicrous.

> > Doesn't the superhero always win by the end of the arc when it's his own comic?
> Not according to Morrison.

The arc isn't over yet. And Morrison's Batman has been the winner in pretty much every prior act: so far he's stopped Talia's Man-Bat scheme, stopped the fake Batmen created by Hurt and definitively proved his superiority over them, unraveled the Club of Heroes murder mystery and saved several of the members, and prevented the Joker's Arkham escape attempt.

I'd also point out that Batman doesn't thwart the major villains in several of the stories by those you deem the Great Masters on the character. O'Neil's renowned classic "Night of the Reaper" concludes with the villain committing suicide while Batman merely watches; "Ghost of the Killer Skies" ends with the killer being destroyed by his own carelessness while he has Batman at his mercy; Engelhart's legendary run never actually lets Batman defeat either Hugo Strange or Rupert Thorne, who run rings around the hero for the whole story and destroy each other instead.

Hugo, notably, simply beats Batman outright; it takes Batman days to work out that the drugs the Professor injected him with have also healed his radiation burns. And the only reason he catches the Joker is because of Hugo's "ghost" leavng him a gas analyzer, having previously sprayed the Joker with a tracking compound about which Batman ends the story with no evident knowledge. Batman isn't incompetent or "immature" in the story for all that; he's simply mortal, and like any mortal, has no other way of knowing what was going on well away from him without direct access to the crime scene or the like.

Again, Engelhart, like O'Neil, goes for atmosphere over logic. Ghosts and elusive madmen and Strange's eventual admiration for the Batman do more to show the character's innate power, skill, and charisma than having him bludgeon and science his way through all obstacles, all the time.

Morrison is trying something similar by planting Batman firmly in the fantastical superhero universe he's pretty much always been a part of -- Denny O'Neil and Steve Engelhart wrote him in JLA, too, you'll recall. The idea is less that Batman is "crazy" than that the DC Universe is a pretty crazy place, and thus the sort of thoroughgoing training Batman must go through in such a fantastical context will sometimes be rather extreme and strange.

- Omar Karindu
"For your information, I don't have an ego. My Facebook photo is a landscape."
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