Of course he's single
And to continue with the Martial Arts week with another Batman post to exemplify my obsession. Now this post proved to quite challenging, as I felt the brawl in this story automatically belonged to this week, kind of, but the story had so many great moments and scenes to choose from while trying not to cross the posting limits. In the end I decided to stick with the fight scene in the beginning and the ending scene, which actually refers to said fight. What is this story I'm writing about? A masterpiece called Batman/Planetary: Night on Earth by Warren Ellis/John Cassaday.
To those unaware of the team, Plantery was/is/I don't know a three member team featured in a comic of the same name, written by Ellis, which took place in the Wildstorm universe, although it was completely independent of the other books. The team was the front of an international organization which researched the secreat history of the world and weird events which took place, they were even advertised as superpowered archelogists. In their stories Ellis used a lot of tweaked versions of fictional characters, mostly superheroes, but also other characterypes, and the big bad of the story was actually a twisted version of the Fantastic Four. The planetary team consisted of Elijah Frost, a grumpy investigator who could drop temperatures at will, Jakita Wagner, who had superstrength and endurance, and Drummer, who could control eletrical signals of all kinds. It is a fantastic storyline and I recommend it to everyone, but I won't discuss the team anymore as their history is somewhat complicated and the story isn't actually that much about them, but rather an interesting character study on Batman, well Bruce Wayne, to which I'll return at the end of the post so that my babbling won't bore those just wanting to enjoy a good fight.
To quickly, well as quickly as is possible, to sum up the story, is that the Plantery team has arrived to their worlds Gotham to give chase to a man called John Black, whose father survived a govermental experimental camp and thus they wish to find out what he knows of the said camp and what powers his father acquired through the testing done to him. Their version of Gotham is lacking of Batman, but the Planetary field office is manned by their versions of Dick Grayson and the Joker, who can tell what Johnny Boy. He can kill people in extremely gruesome ways, with people missing body parts or having been melded together. Elijah recognizes the method from a time when several universes collapsed together, which happened to take place in 1986. Anyhow Elijah takes the team to where most of the victims have been found, which happens to be Crime Alley, which turned from a prosperous and lively street to one of the most decript and dangerous place in the city for some reason, which certainly has nothing to do with the Waynes. There they stumble across John Black who tries to flee them before having a nervous attack and having a bright blue ball of energy expand from him, with the team being within that sphere. And we finally get to the fight.
Jakita tells Frost and Drummer to go after Black, while she keeps the Bat busy.
Frost and Drummer try to catch up with Black, who stumbles and has another of his episodes, with the blue sphere once again appearing.
Awesome fight, wasn't it? So, somewhat predictably turns out that everytime Black has one of those seizures, he cycles himself and the surrounding area through the different versions of Earth, with tthe events he causes happening on all of them. So while Black and Planetary are constantly shifted, the versions of Batman they encounter react to them as if they have been dealing with them all along. It's kind of difficult to explain. Jakita encounters next the Adam West version of Batman, who is completely ridicilous of course, yet manages to take out Jakita with Bat-female villain repellent. No, I did not make that up. Seeing the West Batman approach Frost things he can easily handle that weirdo, but Black has another seizure and suddenly Frost is face to face with the Miller Batman, who is at the same etremely more dangerous and somewhat more psychopathic than the West Batman. Frost disables him for a moment by giving him brainfreeze, but severely underestimates him as the Miller Batman begins his assault and has his Batmobile run over the fleeing Black. This leads to another shift, with the 70s Batman who seems to think that Black ran in front of the Batmobile and checks his wellbeing while informing the team that they have good doctors at Arkham. The team try to explain to him what is happening, telling him how Black's parents were murdered, but after a moments pause Batman stresses that Black must face justice. Another shift and we see the original, guntoting Batman ready to execute Black.
Finally Drummer recoveres enough to detect a signal from the alley, tapping it so that everyone can see it. It is of course the murder of the Waynes, which is so powerful that it actually resonates through all the realities, even in the one where it didn't happen. With that, they shift to the final variation of Batman. Sorry about explaining so much, by the way, I just always strive to give the context to the best of abilities, which is difficult at times.
I love how even Frost seems to impressed by Batman at this point.
It's kind of awesome how sceptical the ultimate Batman is about Wagner beating any variation of him.
I just love this story and I hope that those reading it have enjoyed it as much. I shall now continue to my ramblings, so feel free to stop reading. Anyway, one of the reasons I admire this story is that it expressed one of the factors which I consider make Batman as great a character as he is. In the story we are shown several classical versions of the character, the first one being the closest the current DCU Bruce Wayne, yet at the same time despite all of them being incredibly different in their methods and behaviour, they are all at the same still Batman. That is ultimately, in my opinion, a source of greatness for the character and what has allowed him to remain so popular and adaptable over the years. There are so many approaches you can take with the character, so many different stories you can tell with him, while remaining true to the core of the character, as can be seen simply comparing the DCU, DCAU and the movie Batman.
So this story to me feels almost admiring of the character, despite the occasional claim of Ellis's problems with superheroes. Although at the same time Ellis does seem to point out in the story that Batman isn't a superhero or even a vigilante, that he is something greater than that, although I guess only he can say if that was intentional or if fanaticism with the character has once again blinded me.
I think I'll stop here before I bore someone to death and retreat to think which fight I'll post next, as there are so many possibilities that I don't think I'll be able to post them all this week.