Monday, February 1, 2010

Looking Back at the "0*"s - The Busiest Hero of the Decade

So in closing out our look at the past decade, who would be considered the busiest hero of all? Well, Hal Jordan came back from the dead, and so did Barry Allen. Superman got kicked out of Metropolis, and Aquaman died and came back again. Martian Manhunter bit the dust as well, and Dick Grayson moved into the cowl and cape of the Dark Knight.

But of all these heroes, the busiest 10 years had to belong to one man: The Batman.

Let's see why... 

His sidekick came back from the dead

After Jason Todd was killed by popular vote in the 90's, the possibility of him ever becoming cool again would have been blasphemy. He remained this ominous failure in Batman's life that always reminded him he was human and could fail from time to time. Like Bucky to Captain America, Batman had the shadow of Jason over him at all times.

Then one day he came back. During the "Hush" storyline, Jason Todd was briefly thought to actually be Hush himself (a really cool plot twist). Later we found that he wasn't but had been working with him to throw Batman off. Now, the weird thing was how he died a teenager but came back as an adult...but whatever.

Eventually Jason came on strong as Red Hood and then Red Robin, then even trying to become Batman before disappearing in the final battle with Dick Grayson. He'll be back, there's no doubt, but it was his return that really started the Caped Crusader reeling. 

He became a baby-daddy

Oh, we know he had those urges, but to think that Batman had actually done the nasty with Talia A Ghul was a little beyond him. Then we find not only did he make it happen in the desert, but that he was unsafe at the time! Years later, we find a young dude named Damien when Talia shows up on Bruce's door with a little surprise. Like my grandpa always told me: "You play, you pay."

Taught by ninjas in wonderful methods of fighting and killing, Damien wasn't your average kid. Batman had his hands full early on with this one.

The kid is currently Robin to Dick Grayson's Batman, but before he calmed down he was one mean little dude. He even tried to kill Tim Drake for the title of Robin! 

He's had two hit movies and a video game that finally didn't suck!

Not being mean here, but the steam had run out of hearing "We're going to make a Batman movie." After "Batman and Robin", we were pretty much through with that franchise...or so we thought.

Jonathan Nolan wrote a killer screenplay and Christopher Nolan directed the fire out of it. We ended up with the retelling of Batman's origin that made sense and was very true-to-life. With "Batman Begins", we saw light on the horizon. With "The Dark Knight", it was a nuclear blast.

The Joker wasn't just a funny bad clown, he was a serious psycho! For once we could understand why they had such hatred for each other, and if Heath Ledger had lived there's no doubt we'd have seen him return to the role that he'll always be remembered for. Will there be a third Batman film? Only time will tell, but I hope so. It's safe to say that Superman won't be "returning" anytime soon though.

On top of all that, we had the announcement of a new Batman video game. Again, there had been enough failures in this arena to keep most fans leery, and again we were slapped silly by the finished product. "Arkham Asylum" gave us the Batman game we'd always known was possible but had never seen. You actually got to try and scare the bad guys before dropping down on them and beating them up! How much fun was that! The icing on the cake was Kevin Conroy stepping in to voice the character. To me, he'll always be the voice of Batman I hear when I read the comic books. All in all, fans of interactive media had a lot to cheer for this decade!

Batman Becomes a Lantern...Three Times

You want tough? Batman fits the bill. And of course the question became why wasn't he ever chosen as a Green Lantern for Earth? After all, he's about as "without fear" as they come. Well, this was the decade we saw for just a fleeting moment what it would be like if he had a green power ring. Batarangs made of willpower...that would have been epic.

Now flash forward a little further and we see another aspect of Batman we hadn't paid attention to. He strikes fear into the hearts of criminals everywhere. He's been doing that for years! Who would have thought that was all it took to be a Yellow Lantern as well? And again, for just a brief moment, we are treated to the prospect of what he might be like if he could use that fear as a real physical weapon. Batarangs made of fear? Yes please!

But it doesn't stop there. Dead and gone, he's still a prospect for a ring. This time, however, he becomes a Black Lantern! As before, it's only for the briefest of moments (though this time he makes it three whole pages before it's gone), but we see just how tough this dude really could be. And this time it's Batarangs made of black lantern rings. The fun never stops!

While Hal Jordan may have been more Lanterns than Bruce, it's safe to say this guy is a close contender for the "most coveted Lantern" title by the guys handing out the colored rings.

He's Died...Twice!

This poor hero was so tough he had to be killed twice, baby! Once in Final Crisis, and once in Batman R.I.P., both by Grant Morrison.

Bruce was soon replaced by Hush, who has given the world a Bruce Wayne to see running around while Batman is supposedly dead. No doubt the confrontation when Bruce comes back will be awesome. 

And then we find out he's not dead, but is in a cave in the past (a fact that Red Robin recently found out in his own series). So he dies twice but doesn't really.

Of course, the recent announcement of "The Return of Bruce Wayne" miniseries sets us up pretty easily to know he's on his way back. Will he take the cowl from Dick, or will he pull a "Captain America" and let the sidekick have it? Time will tell.

And as for the future...well, my son came up with what he believes will be the next logical step:


And with that, we close out our look at the "oughts". Thanks for joining me through it all! Back to business as usual next week.


Rick said...

Just wanted to let you know that your site Comics in Crisis has been given the One Lovely Blog award. You can get the picter of the award to put on your site on mine at my comic book letterheads museum

Phaethon said...

Great post. As a huge Batman fan myself I approve of seeing him shown for being the hero he truly is.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin