Batman pisses me off

December/2004: Comics - Yeah, Batman is pissing me off. A lot. Growing up, I read a ton of comics. Only a couple Batman stories. Here is Batman, beating up gang members and thugs. Great, I liked Batman. He was good. He beat up bad guys and took them before the justice system. What a great guy, this Batman.

That's me at ten. I loved comics. Had I known what the future would portend in the way of the internet, I would have been very happy and impatient awaiting the day I turned twenty-five... knowing that comics would now become very accessible due to the internet. Problem is, at ten then, I would have known not to enjoy those Batman comics. Not to enjoy them at all.

For those unaware, Batman is Bruce Wayne, Gotham City's great defender and master detective. When he was young, his parents were gunned down before his eyes and he inherited their cash. He turned himself into a master crime-fighting and solving machine. He's a hard-bitten character, not easily given to emotional outbursts or emotions of any kind. He invents great crime-fighting weapons. If you ignore the Robin thing (which most comic fanboys do), he's pretty cool... on the surface.

For once you begin to dig deep into Batman's continuity and character, you find that he's actually pretty much a loser. A total loser. He pisses me off. In fact, at this point, he makes me a bit more angry than any other comic character has in my entire life. Yep, even when I was twelve and got mad at the suckiness of Quasar.

Comic history lesson: Spider-Man is, as we know, Peter Parker, mild-mannered HS/College student. He fights colorful characters with wit aplomb, wisecracking all the way. During the early run, he had a flame named Gwen Stacy. Green Goblin kidnaps her, throws her off a bridge, Spidey shoots his webbing... but Gwen dies of a broken neck from the jolt of the sudden stop. Spidey freaks out, and beats the fucking shit out of the Goblin, who ends up impaling himself on his own glider when he tries to get away.

That's realistic. Spidey is pissed at the loss of his love. He beats the fuck out of Osbourne. It makes sense.

Batman is ten times grittier than Spider-Man. His rogues gallery (A term for a hero's combined supervillain enemies) kills many more people than Spidey's rogues gallery. Compare say, The Shocker to Killer Croc? Yep, Batman is ten times grittier. He doesn't have a supermodel wife. He has a butler. And a cave. And he has a dark costume with which he prowls at night against killers aplenty.

Batman has a gritter attitude. He's tougher than Spidey. Sure, he doesn't have Spidey's super-strength, but Batman takes a licking and keeps on ticking better than Timex. The guy is tough. Mentally tough. And he's not as emotional as Spidey. He's a very logical character (If you ignore the Robin thing, as all comic fanboys do) who is absolutely brilliant.

For a putz.

I recently read (finally) the classic TPB "A Death in the Family." It deals with the murder of the second Robin, Jason Todd. Jason Todd was a two-bit punk who took his parents death too fucking emotional. Batman suspends him from Robin work, he runs off like a baby, Batman ponders, Robin finds that his mother is still alive, since he was given up and lied about who his true mother is, and then by insane coincidence, Batman and Robin both end up in fucking Lebanon. Robin is there to find one of three potentials for his mother, an Israeli Mossad agent. Batman is there to stop the Joker from selling a cruise missle (which is also armed with a nuke, but Joker doesn't know that... he thinks it's just a cruise missle he stole) to dirty arab terrorists. They meet up on the street in Beirut, and work together to take down the Joker.

The Mossad agent isn't the mother. Then they try another possibility, another woman in Lebanon. Yep, not her either. So they go to Ethiopia (!!!) where the Joker has also fled. The Joker went there to steal donated medicines and drugs on the black market. The volunteer-nurse is the third potential, a woman whom Joker knew from Gotham City. See, she's a volunteer doctor and paid well. But she used to perform back-alley abortions. Joker uses this fact to blackmail her into giving him truckloads of donated drugs and medicines.

Just then, COINKYDINK, Batman and Jason Todd (robin) show up. It IS his mother. They're overjoyed. But she's kidnapped by the Joker! Batman goes off to stop some crime (after waxing poetic about starving people) leaving Jason alone. He instructs Todd to not try to rescue his mother (???) but to wait for him to return. Jason Todd goes to try to rescue his mother. He does so! But his mother turns out to be an evil bitch, and serves up her son to the Joker.

Then she laughs while the Joker's goons knock Jason out. And then laughs as Joker beats Jason to a bloody pulp with a crowbar, over... and over... and over... until his white gloves turn red, chuckling gleefully over doing it. Of course, he double-crosses the mother, leaving her there with a bomb set up to kill the twosome. Jason barely gets up, half alive, and tries to save his mother again... but they die as the door was left locked by Joker. Just then, Batman arrives on the scene to find a dying woman, Jason's mother. She recounts how Jason tried to save her, but she wasn't worthy of him, and how Jason tried to even shield her from the blast, fingering Joker as the assailant. She conveniently leaves out the fact that she is the cause of this happening and the crowbar beating she sat around and laughed at. Truly one of the most evil bitches of all-time in comics.

He then finds Robin's dead body, and freaks out.

Well, the Iranians summon the Joker and make him their diplomat at the United Nations, located in Gotham. He has diplomatic immunity for all crimes in the US. The president assigns Superman to protect Joker from Batman. Joker plans to kill the entire UN (Nice!) and is foiled by Superman inhaling all his poison gas. Batman has Joker dead to rights. He can kill the Joker... he knows Joker will just escape Arkham (Supervillain jail) again. He knows he will kill again. He killed the ward he was responsible for.

He doesn't... kill... the... Joker.

Then I read "The Killing Joke", a story by Alan Moore. In the Killing Joke, Joker escapes from Arkham (AGAIN!) and decides to prove that he's sane and everyone else is insane by driving Commissioner Gordon insane through despicable acts. First, he buys an amusement park. Then he shows up and shoots Barbara Gordon (Commissioners daughter, aka Batgirl) in the spine, paralyzing her, while his thugs kidnap Commissioner Gordon. After Gordon is taken away, he strips Barbara down to nothing and takes photographs of her shot and waist-paralyzed naked body in various obscene poses. He takes the Commish back to his amusement park.

Bruce Wayne visits Barbara in the hospital and is told by her what happened, including the aftermath. He is very pissed. This is Batgirl, even if the Joker doesn't know that.

At the amusement park, he strips the Commish to nothing and tortures him with ghouls and torture devices. Then he shows the Commissioner the naked pictures of his shot and abused daughter. Gordon flips out. Batman arrives (Invited by Joker himself) and rescues Gordon. GORDON THE FUCKING IDIOT HE IS... instructs Batman to bring him in alive, to serve justice for his crimes... THIS IS AFTER JOKER ESCAPED ARKHAM ALREADY SENTENCED TO LIFE!

So what does Batman do? He finds Joker. Joker shares his motivation. Batman says he has proven Joker wrong, and that Gordon isn't insane and that Joker is the only one with a real problem. Joker then tells Batman a joke and they both share a hearty laugh.

Nope, I didn't make that ending up.

To top it off, I read the second issue of the Batman/Punisher crossover. Batman fights Jigsaw, Punisher fights Joker, blah blah blah. Batman hates Punisher. Punisher kills criminals. Batman doesn't. End of story? Punisher has Joker dead to rights. He's got the muzzle against his head. Joker taunts Punisher about not being able to kill him, thinking that he is no different from Batman (Ha, now that's a funny one. Castle's the man). Joker openly mocks the inability of Batman and the Justice system from killing him again. Batman hears all this. And attacks the Punisher, saving the homicidal lunatic.

Punisher basically says "fuck this, you're an idiot, keep your shitty town" and leaves.

Then there's another story where Joker FINALLY fucking gets the death penalty. FINALLY. He's going to die. But guess what? The crime he's been convicted of? He didn't do. Sure, he killed a couple hundred others, all those other heinous things I mentioned... even Commissioner Gordon, the idiot he is, doesn't care. But what does Batman do? Work to prove Joker's innocence and then gets him tossed off Death Row, back to Arkham, where he knows Joker will easily escape again.

Fuck Batman.

If his original crimes weren't enough, and paralyzing Batgirl and then sexually abusing her helpless state isn't enough to kill the fucker, and his brutal beatdown of Robin with a crowbar before killing him with a bomb isn't enough... then what could be enough? Batman is a pussy. A stinking, stinking pussy. You have a man, clearly unrepentent. Found guilty each and every time. The most heinous acts possible. And Batman allows him to live to re-offend, over and over again. That is retarded. I cannot cheer for a superhero who is so stupid.

Even pansy Peter Parker wouldn't allow that shit. Batman doesn't even PHYSICALLY ABUSE Joker after each time. Literally, in The Killing Joke, he shares a larf with the fucker. Parker would have at least cracked his skull. Batman laughs. How can you root for a guy like that? You can't. He's as bad, if not worse, than the criminals and villains he fights. The guy is responsible for thousands of deaths through his own inability to take decisive action to halt crime.

Now, this is after reading only a handful of major Batman stories. I haven't even started on the complete run of Detective Comics, where I'm sure Batman is scripted to do even more illogical and dangerous-to-the-public-safety shit left and right. What's next? Killer Croc has sex with Batman's mother's corpse and Bruce ends up playing gin rummy with Croc? Will Poison Ivy rape Alfred with a brick before Batman apprehends her and drools at her breasts, rather than end the danger to the community?

Fuck Batman, fuck Commissioner Gordon, fuck Arkham. Batman's a pansy, overrated to the core, and in the end is nothing more than a hapless pollyanna villain. He makes Quasar seem like a rootable superhero. Quasar. Lame-ass power-bracelet bitchass Quasar.

The fact that Batman treats the common criminal with MORE force than his greatest arch-nemesis, a literal butcher, is disgusting. it's morally foul. It offends the senses. If he finds a crack dealer, the crack dealer receives equal treatment by Batman as the sidekick killing asshole. Even Captain America, the big blue moralist, tried to kill Baron Zemo for Bucky's death. And that was not nearly as brutal, just an explosion. But Batman can't kill Joker?

I was right to not read DC as a kid. So, very, right.