Wednesday, December 24, 2008

No "all along the Watchtower" jokes here...damnit!
I like the mask, and it seems ready-made to be a toy accessory...
On paper, so to speak, this doesn't seem like a recipe for one of my favorite Batman stories: an aged, but not Dark Knight Batman; the only Rouge's Gallery villain used is Z-list Robin foe the General; and cartoonish art more in the vein of Judge Dredd than traditional Batman. But somehow, it all falls into place nicely: "Watchtower", from Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #55-57, written by Chuck Dixon, art by Mike McMahon.

Set far enough in the future for Batman to be rocking the Nick Fury/Reed Richards gray temple look; Gotham City is still a mess even with all the big bads like the Joker, Two-Face, etc. behind bars. Bats actually misses them a little, though, since now he feels "more like a garbageman" as he wades through thugs and bottomfeeders.

Meanwhile, having had some success averting financial disaster by privatizing other public services, the mayor announces plans to turn over police services for the poor Tricorner district to Vigil, Inc. Even though Gordon and Batman both think it's probably not a great idea, they admit they aren't going to be around to protect Gotham forever.

Using aerial surveillance cameras, Vigil lowers the violent crime rate for the area within six months; although that's in part to the lower rungs of criminals deserting the Tricorner area. Wondering where all the big fish have gone, Batman receives word that the General--he had been a child prodigy crimelord in Dixon's Robin, now a grown-up crimeboss with a military fixation--has a "bunker" in Tricorner.

Of course, Vigil turns out to be corrupt on almost all levels: from the patrolmen who beat to death a low-level pusher, to the deals the upper management cuts with the General and other bosses. After a savage beating, the past-his-prime Batman struggles to recover, but finally opts to take Vigil down by working smarter, not harder.
Won't a rubber bullet in the face still kill you?  Oh, I don't know...
Well, there's more to Batman's plan than this, but you get the idea...As usual, your enjoyment of gun-toting Batman may vary, but I still like this one.

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