Thursday, February 23, 2006

Batman Kicks Ass

Warning: No poker content. In fact, this is a post entirely about comic books.

It's the end of the universe! DC Comics has pushed the button on the destruction of its multiverse, which will basically reset most of their titles. This time next month, we'll have some new titles, and a few old ones, like "JLA," will be gone (for now).

I love it when this happens. It's a giant crossover involving most series, from Batman to Superman to Aquaman. I haven't bothered buying any of the individual titles, but I have been keeping up with the miniseries that tells the main story, "Infinite Crisis."

The last time DC did something like this was with the "Zero Hour" story, in which Hal Jordan (the original Green Lantern) turned evil, wiped out the Green Lantern Corp and beat up Superman (which is always fun) in a quest to revive Coast City, which was obliterated after the death of Superman in the 90s. I think it's also similar to "Crisis on Infinite Earths," but I don't recall the details.

One character that's involved is Jason Todd -- the infamous second Robin who was killed off by the fans in the 80s. Which was awesome. The fans hated him, so DC set up a 900 number where people could choose whether he would live or die. They voted for the lamest Robin to bite the dust, which he did, at the hands of the Joker.

I was pissed off to see that they brought him back. I hate it when they bring characters back. But especially Jason Todd, whose death was real, final and significant. It encouraged the "Death in the Family" series, which led to years of angst on the part of Batman after his apprentice died at the hands of his worst enemy.

Fortunately, his revival will be explained away in Batman Annual No. 25, which comes out March 8.

In the main storyline, the JLA lobotomized Dr. Light after he raped one of their friends. Batman didn't sign onto the plan, so they erased his memory. Later on, Batman (because he's really smart) caught on to the JLA's undemocratic overpowering of his mere-human memory, and he set up a satellite surveillance system to keep an eye on all the superheroes. Big mistake. It was taken over by mysterious bad guys and turned into a weapon, by creating Sentinel-like robots to target and kill all of Earth's heroes.

Woops. Batman screwed up!

Meanwhile, the rest of the universe is literally falling apart at the seams as the bad guys are trying to eliminate all realities except for one. This is comics, so that means a lot of characters' worlds would be getting the axe.

We can look forward to a few things:

1) Batman will play a key role in saving the day, because that's what he does. Where all the superheros fail, Batman steps up to the plate.

2) Superman will get beaten up. I love watching Superman lose because he's such a one-dimensional character who mostly relies on his powers for natural superiority to nearly everyone else.

3) The comic store guy told me that all of DC's comics will skip forward one year in time, and then the company will come out with 52-issue series (appropriately called "52") to explain what happened. He said there will be a new Batman, too.

4) If there is a new Batman, it will be fun to watch Bruce Wayne make a comeback. Last time, after he had his back broken by Bane more than 10 years ago, he had to redo all his training and then eventually overthrow Azreal, who had overtaken Batman's mantle. Once Bruce Wayne was healthy again, the fight was no contest.

One more note: It's been in the news recently that Batman will take on al-Qaida in an upcoming series done by Frank Miller! I love Miller's Batman -- he's so pissed off, anti-government and intimidating. He's much more of an angry vigilante than a boring do-gooder. If Batman doesn't put the hurt on Osama, then we're letting the terrorists win.

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