This Week in WWAC History: The Batman

Batman Logo (1989)

Are you counting the days until Batman v. Superman releases? Even if you aren’t, maybe it’s still a good time to immerse yourself in some Batman inspired articles from the WWAC archives.

Was Micheal Keaton your Batman? Kayliegh discusses the movie Batman in Black and White, Red and Green: Thoughts on 1989 Batman, 25 Years Later, June 23, 2014,

Batman (1989) TeaserBy strange coincidence, I rewatched the 1989 Batman film yesterday, with no idea that today was the film’s 25th anniversary.

I don’t remember when I first saw Batman. I was only three in 1989, but looking back on my childhood, Batman was one of those movies that was always wonderfully there, and I saw it early enough that it’s always had a warm, Tim Burton-y place in my heart. (I do remember seeing Batman Returns in the theater, and loving it immediately, though my mother was appalled by its dark tone.) Like a lot of kids in the early 90s, I was hooked on Batman media: the two Tim Burton films, reruns of the 60s television series and film, and of course the legendary Batman: The Animated Series. If Batman was on screen, I was all over it, though it wouldn’t be until years later that I actively dove into the Batman comics. I was a pretty young kid, but wise enough to look at Jim Balent’s Catwoman and realize, “this is not for me.”

Michael Keaton is “my” Batman, and 25 years later I feel that his performance is somewhat overlooked, maybe because it’s neither the corny campiness of Adam West nor the gritty realism of Christian Bale. Like Edward Scissorhands or Lydia Deetz, Bruce Wayne is Tim Burton’s quintessential hero: the lonely weirdo in the old, dark house at the end of the street. Bruce is introverted and reclusive — his meet cute with Vicki Vale hinges on the fact that neither she nor her colleague, both journalists, know what Gotham City’s richest man looks like. His initial courtship with Vicki is awkward — that dinner scene! — and a far cry from Christian Bale Patrick Bateman-ing it up with a ballerina on each arm.

And then there’s the whole “sleeping upside down like a bat” thing. Burton understood that for Bruce Wayne to be Batman, and to do what Batman does every night, the guy has to be somewhat strange. Unfortunately when Keaton and Burton left the film series, Bruce lost that melancholy weirdness, and only the rich boy with snarky quips remained. (Can you imagine George Clooney’s smug-on-a-stick Bruce Wayne botching a date with Vicki Vale?) READ MORE

Do you have firm feelings on the Batfamily? J.A. does in her article on Firm Feelings on the Batfamily: Jason Todd is the Key to Everything, January 30, 2015,

Batman Annual #25 [2006] - Judd Winnick/Shane Davis/ Mark Morales/Alex Sinclair - DC ComicsOver the last few years, I’ve been thinking a lot about A Death in the Family, Jason Todd, and their role in Batcanon. It’s generally agreed that Jason was a so-so Robin and that he’s much improved as Red Hood. However, I’m going to take that general agreement a step further and state that not only is Jason Todd the most interesting member of the Batfamily, his death also represents the emotional peak of Batman canon.

We’re going to approach that in reverse, though, so bear with me. To understand why this death is the most important event, we have to unpack why Batman became a superhero in the first place and how that has shaped his values.

To start with, Bruce has demonstrated a vested interest in the stability and happiness of children. It’s a theme that has continued throughout most iterations of Batman canon. Because of the events in Crime Alley and his traumatic childhood, he becomes determined to ensure that other children don’t suffer as he did. He adopts Dick Grayson after the loss of his family. He adopts Jason Todd after discovering he was living his life on the street. This is something that seems like a possible move for any superhero, given it falls under the “right thing.”  I can certainly imagine The Flash or Wonder Woman adopting a kid in this situation, but it’s only Bruce who goes this far because of his personal history and trauma. We read his choices differently due to what he’s gone through. What immediately comes to mind is the second season finale of 2005 animated series Justice League Unlimited. I completely disavow the main push of what happens in that episode, but one of the things I value is the portrayal of Bruce. READ MORE

And lastly, count the Batman cameos with Christa in her reviews for the Batman Eternal series, Unlikely Team-Ups: Batman Eternal #31 – 32, December 16, 2014,

Batman Eternal #31: Buried Deep Batman Eternal 31 Fernando Pasarin DC Comics 2014

Story by Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
Script by Ray Fawkes
Art by Fernando Pasarin 

Last issue we saw the collapse of Arkham Asylum. This issue touches on a tiny bit of the fallout from that event. Primarily, the fate of Alfred and the escape of many of Gotham’s most notorious super-villains.

I have to say I was a little disappointed at how easy everything was in this issue. I had expected the collapse of Arkham to have greater, and more far-reaching, consequences than it did. Normally, the escape of not one, not two, but all of the super-villains would cause some serious problems for the Bat-family. But in this case, Batman is already conveniently on scene, and that scene is being run by Bullock, who is still on the Bat’s 31_Flipside. A couple well placed  punches and some flips that would make Dick Grayson jealous, and the villains are taken care of.

Meanwhile, Alfred is trapped in the rubble of Arkham and convinced this is the end for him. But who should come to his rescue? Bane!

It’s an unlikely pairing and the main hook of this issue. But it’s an unlikely pairing for a reason. Bane claims to have helped Alfred because he can tell he’s ex-military and he might be an asset in their current situation. Not long after he gives this explanation, they are attacked by an overwhelming number of strange black goblin creatures. Bane, being Bane, immediately starts to take them out, but Alfred also kicks some goblin butt and proves Bane’s theory right. He is a helpful guy to have around. Feeling vindicated, Bane decides to trust Alfred to lead the way out of the sewers.

But Alfred is, of course, a lot smarter than Bane gives him credit for. He tricks Bane by actually leading him into a secret bat-hideout and knocks him out with some kind of gas. This whole plot line feels forced, as though it is nothing more than a convenient way to get Alfred out of Arkham. I have a hard time believing Bane actually needed help from a rather small, senior  citizen, even if he was ex-military. Especially since it appears he has no idea who Alfred really is. READ MORE

There are many more great comic reviews, movie essays, and character design opinions from the Batman franchise at your fingertips if you search the big man’s name from the home page. Or if you’re a fan of Superman, check out last week’s WWAC History for more of the Man of Steel as well as Lois Lane! Enjoy!

Melinda Pierce

Melinda Pierce

Contributor for WWAC, mother of 2 mini-geeks, writer, and girl geek. Dreams of having enough time to write Veronica Mars fanfiction. @melindabpierce
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