Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Batman is not putting up with your Lois Lane-style tomfoolery.

This was rather an odd story for the animated continuity, since it doesn't feature a major villain: it could just as easily have been done as a regular Batman story with more traditional art than the animated style. But why? Now I'm having a hard time thinking of Batman stories that wouldn't be better animated style. Well, let's just take a look at 2002's Batman: Gotham Adventures #54, "Masterwork" Written by Scott Peterson, pencils by Tim Levins, inks by Terry Beatty.

Working the case of stolen, priceless manuscripts at the Gotham Library (which should probably be a case for Batgirl...because she was a librarian on the TV show, silly.) Batman meets writer journalist utter hack Mel Staines, who is working on the story for newspaper the Gothamite. Batman warns her off contaminating a crime scene by digging around, but Staines claims to know "the criminal is a master of arcane fighting styles!" She tries to use that knowledge to get Bats to take her with, but he doesn't bite.

At a gallery break-in, the security guards give Batman the hassle, and after a stray bullet nearly hits Robin, Batman beats them pretty soundly before finding Staines there again. Still, by this point Batman has the case all figured out: the Riddler, of course...

...not! Batman lied, to get Staines to tip her hand, and catches her trying to make off with a manuscript of Catcher in the Rye. (Is there a manuscript of that extant?) Still, Staines isn't going to go quietly, and attacks Batman with a chain-knife combo! Her attack may hurt her worse than Batman, though, as she first destroys her hard drive and her un-backed-up novel; then slips on one of her own cover stories and knocks herself out! At first glance, it looked like she very easily could be dead; but that's a hair dark for this book. (Where Staines picked up her fighting skills isn't mentioned, but I think the League of Assassins weighed heavily on the early issues of this series, and I could see her joining the League with the intent of writing a tell-all later. Maybe a how-to. She did seem more adept as a fighter than a writer, though.)

Batman finds the manuscripts Staines stole...vandalized, torn up and covered with paint. "You might say I made my mark on all of them." In Arkham, Batman tells her the vandalism may be remembered, but her writing "will never be more than a footnote." Ow. I always kinda suspected Batman does that with most of the criminals he puts away: taking a moment to tell them they suck, so they'll almost certainly re-offend...I also reckon Bats uses that "Riddler did it" trick a lot too: "Riddler? Like hell! It was me! ME!...oh, damn it."

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

I love this one so much now.
This is why I love Batman so much.
That last quote especially, about them not being smart enough to know when to quit...because he's just that damn smart. And not because he's Bat-God that can beat anybody ever. No, it's not like that. He's Human. But he's a really smart, high IQ type of guy who started off as per his original origin, he was an inventor, an (amaturer)scientist, world's greatest detective, etc...that's a very scary smart person right there. Not to mention his minor set of medical knowledge.

But yeah, cool ass story. Sometimes some of these stories should be animated. Such a stark contrast in styles can actually work sometimes.

Oh, BTW, I can definitely see Mark Hamil in his Joker voice saying that last line.