It’s the retrospective you need, but not the one you deserve.
Here at NerdSwole, there is no shortage of love for the caped crusader. With Batman: Arkham Origins due to hit stores this week, we decided to dedicate this retrospective to look back at our favorite adventures in Gotham.
As most kids in Gotham tell it differently, I have to ask. What did you think when you first saw the Batman?
Erin: That he would probably be my best friend until the day I die. Batman is definitely one of the first five superheroes/comics characters I encountered in life, and he made me very excited to become the nerd I am today.
Alex: I first saw the Batman when I played Batman Returns for the Super Nintendo and loved clobbering baddies. But I didn’t really know who Batman was. He was just a guy in a cape who threw stuff and took on people twice his size (not too uncommon of 90s video game characters). It wasn’t until I saw the animated series that I understood who Batman really was. I grew up with him in his fight for justice in Gotham. For those sweet 22 minutes, I knew there was a silent protector who wouldn’t sit by as injustice and crime run rampant.
Brian: I thought he was amazing. I first saw him in Batman TAS, and here was this guy dressed up in a crazy badass outfit, beating people not only physically as every other superhero does, but with his mind. In a way, Batman made it cool to be smart.
So far into the Arkham franchise, what’s your favorite moment?
Erin: I’m all about the scenery. I love seeing Arkham Island and being able to explore the various buildings and then how that transformed into Arkham City and basically getting as close as you could to experiencing a real-life Gotham environment.
Alex: The scarecrow moments from Arkham Asylum have always tripped me out. Thematically, they’re creepy and heart-wrenching. Technically, they’re a nice break in pace and the battles remind me of the Psycho Mantis battle from Metal Gear Solid where I was scared my console crashed.
Brian: The plot twists of Arkham City.
Now a round of favorites: Comic, Film, and Costume.
Erin: Gonna go cliché (but truthful) and say my favorite comic is Batman: Year One by Miller and Mazzucchelli. Favorite film is of course The Dark Knight. I actually appreciate a lot of the different suits Batman has had. My real answer is probably the suit from the animated series. My less real answers are the suits from the Brave and the Bold TV series and the killer Zur-En-Arrh suit.
Alex: The Batman comic that always stands out, for me, is The Long Halloween/Dark Victory. The artwork, emotional punch, and best Bat-monologues. Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale are one of my favorite teams in comics and their work in the Batman universe is forever etched into my brain. For films, I don’t think I’ll ever get past how incredible The Dark Knight was when I first saw it and how emotionally stirring it remains every time I watch it. And I have to go with the Long Halloween again on the suit. The cap flows beautiful and cloaks Batman as much as his city does. It’s also the perfect mix between 1970s blue batman suit and the modern age/new 52 black and gray.
Brian: Killing Joke. Justice League: Doom. Batman: TAS
We all know that any hero is nothing without a villain and Batman never has a shortage of any crazies in his city. Name your top 3 villains.
Erin: The Joker, Catwoman, and a tie between Doctor Simon Hurt and the Court of Owls.
Alex: Mr. Freeze, Two-Face, and Clayface. Mr. Freeze’s “Heart of Ice” really moved me as a kid and remains one of my favorite Batman episodes. His following appearances and revamped design into the comic universe Two-Face has always seemed so tragic to me. No matter what Bruce does, he can never get back one of his few friends. The dichotomy between the two speaks wonders about Batman’s guilt and his never-ending quest to help Harvey Dent. As for Clayface, I loved his animated depictions. I feel anytime he is present, he can be drawn and animated with such wonder and creativity. From the end-scene of “Feat of Clay” to him being featured in Justice League and Arkham City, everything about Clayface is tragic and beautiful all at once.
Brian: Joker, Bane, and Deathstroke.
Now here’s a tough one. Who makes a better team: the Dynamic Duo or the World’s Finest?
Erin: I mean as much as I love Batman and Superman, I have to go with the dynamic duo of Batman and Robin, specifically if the Robin is Dick Grayson or Tim Drake. Bruce just has a huge soft spot for Robin, and it actually adds to their cooperation and teamwork rather than make them weak. Clark and Bruce just fight too much and fight together more out of respect than love for each other sometimes.
Alex: As much as my childhood would hate to say it, I think Batman and Superman make the better team. I feel the Robin (in his/her various forms) have always complimented Batman. No matter who is behind the eye-mask, Batman is in charge and Robin is the soldier. This is not the case for the Batman/Superman team. They represent different ideals and have their own methods. They challenge each other at every decision, even when on the same side. And most importantly, they can accomplish more at once. I say World’s Finest.
Brian: With so many different Robins it’s hard for me to say. If we were talking grayson/drake then it’d be a toss up for me. But since we’re talking about all of the robins through out different eras and timelines, I’m going World’s Finest.
What’s one tool (that Batman doesn’t already have) that’s missing from the utility belt?
Erin: The same sort of helicopter helmet/head that Inspector Gadget has.
Alex: I’ve never understood why every robin has a staff but Batman never carries one. I’m sure he loves jumping around and smashing everyone’s faces in with his own hands and legs, but for a man of efficiency, I think an extendable weapon would help more than hurt.
Brian: A quick inflatable batman that he could just throw out after the smoke bombs.
If Bruce Wayne were to actually die in battle (like real people do, not like Superman) or go the way of Peter Parker and be swapped indefinitely into nothingness, who do you think could be Batman?
Erin: I honestly like the way Christopher Nolan and the animated universe interpreted the Batman symbol in that anyone could really take up the mantle. Anyone with the passion and heart could learn from Bruce Wayne, in the same way that John Blake (Robin) and Terry McGinnis do. It has to be someone as troubled or hurt as Bruce Wayne though, so that they can be driven by that passion to save a corrupt area.
Alex: If he were to die and be gone for good, I would hope that Batman would have inspired someone new to take his mantle. Someone who would’ve figured out how to do some of these things. I just watched The Dark Knight Returns in full and seeing the sons of Batman from the comics compare with the film versions, I think someone must have taken it upon themselves to become a Batman in case he dies. Brian reminded me that this is akin to the Reign of the Supermen! and I think someone like Steel, who is inspired by Superman to do good, could become Batman and be inspired by hope of a better Gotham. This new guy (or gal) would not be Batman Beyond, because I would hope for this Batman to become all their own without Bruce Wayne.
Brian: To me the precedence that was set, was someone who was taught or learned heavily from Bruce Wayne. Whether it be nolanverse, animated, or comic book. The mantle of Batman can be a symbol, but it always comes back to Bruce Wayne in some way. That’s why I’ll go the obvious answer, and say Dick Grayson.
In your opinion, what makes Batman one of the greatest superheroes of all time?
Erin: Oh man, the million dollar question. He’s flawed and not afraid to explore those flaws. In fact, his brooding and introverted nature make him unique. He’s also one of the only detective superheroes, and the original too. He has one of the darkest pasts and origin stories in all of comics, and beyond anything else, he’s a character with so much depth that there are never a shortage of great stories about him. He’s not afraid to do what’s necessary, but at the same time he’s very compassionate deep down. His complexity is unmatched by any other superhero, and honestly, that’s what makes him so cool.
Alex: Batman, for me, symbolizes everything that Superman is not. Superman has always had to power that helps him save those who do not. Exponential strength, an never-ending list of new powers and creativity using them, finding peaceful solutions to subdue enemies instead of killing them (whether it’s trapping Doomsday in a series of tele-porters or subduing the Elite by faking his own madness) and above all, doing everything in the name of peace. He lives to inspire those to stand proudly above what’s wrong. For Batman, he had to strive to do this all his own. He became a legend in his streets, an enigma to 99.9% of the world, created a family to help in his fight for justice, and honed his body and mind to perfection. Superman does everything with a smile, but Batman remains a dark, grim face that accomplishes everything with fists and wits. For Batman to endure all the fights, all the tragedies, and all the suffering is a colossal burden to bear. All the while having his body withering away and his mind becoming more and more jaded by the terrible things he sees, Batman never gives up. No matter what anyone thinks of Batman, there is always the upmost respect for him around the world because of his dedication to his duty and a compassionate heart that is forever shrouded by the bat.
Brian: It’s interesting, a lot of people look at Superman and call him the beacon for what humanity should strive to become. What I think is really cool and inspiring about Batman though, is that he is essentially the perfect example of what the peak of human perfection can be when completely committed to a cause. His mind, body, and soul are completely focused in his mission for justice. And even though he is motivated essentially by vengeance, he still shows what a human, that is completely committed with an indomitable will, is capable of. Despite having constant setbacks and tragic happenings, you can never truly count the Batman out and that isn’t a superhuman power unless you have a certain green ring, but with Batman, it certainly seems like it is.
For more guys going gaga over heroes, make sure to visit NerdSwole for a new retrospective every monday!