Batman Supplemental #1

01Jun11

So these are some things that occurred to me, or were pointed out to me, about my recent reviews. I was tempted to just edit them in, but then they’d probably be missed. Plus, I can’t watch and review the next episode tonight, so I might as well discuss them here.

The first one comes out of “Joker’s Wild.” Now, it’s widely acknowledged that the Joker is Batman’s greatest villain. Whether or not you like him, or think he should have had a very lethal “accident” in a holding cell 20 years ago, he’s the one at the top of the heap. But that’s out of character knowledge. Batman would never say “Oh, Two-Face doesn’t worry me, but the Joker does.” However, the Joker sees himself  as Batman’s greatest villain, too. When I think about it, it’s an attitude of breathtaking arrogance, and sometimes I wonder if that should be more apparent in the Joker.

In fact, that might be why “The Joker’s Favor” is my favorite Joker story ever. Because for once, he’s brought low not by Batman, directly or indirectly. It’s some nameless nobody that he never thought could be any kind of a threat, suddenly bringing his whole world crashing down. How could that happen? After all, he’s the JOKER! He only gets to be challenged by someone like Batman, who’s extraordinary. The Joker isn’t enraged by the casino bearing his name because it’s stealing his gimmick, he’s enraged because the man behind it pretends it’s unrelated to him. Obviously most people focus on the murdering side of the Joker (or the attempted murdering side, in the animated series), but it might be nice to read some comics where the Joker isn’t killing people left and right for a laugh, and instead another part of his personality is the focus.

On a completely different note, my girlfriend pointed out something I had thought about some, but hadn’t fully explored in the “Tyger, Tyger” review. I noted that Tygris ends up having ethical qualms about the fact that his father has kidnapped Selina Kyle and turned her into a cat person against her will. However, I didn’t go further in that, where the reasoning for doing it to her-to provide a mate for Tygris-means he’s explicitly setting her up to be raped. Emile Dorian can argue it’s instinctual once the transformation is complete, but considering she didn’t ask for that in the first place, it remains a violation on every level. In light of that, it’s kind of amazing that the show allows Tygris to be a sympathetic character at all, since he actually listens to Selina’s objections about what’s been done to her, and how she wants to become human again. Of course, it’s also somewhat unrealistic, considering his father’s philosophy amounts to “Cats are awesome. Fuck humans, they’re worthless.” Then again, a story that was decent would have become amazingly creepy if they’d been more realistic, and considering it was a kid’s show, creepy would not have been a good thing. Sure, the message would have been “Rape is evil,” and since it is, I can get behind that. But that’s probably not a discussion parents would have wanted after their children watched a cartoon.

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One Response to “Batman Supplemental #1”

  1. 1 Posky

    I’ve always loved the relationship between The Batman and Joker because I’ve found myself identifying with both more than most other comic book characters. As scary as it was to realize, they are both sociopaths. The Joker, while having no empathy or remorse, is keenly aware of the world and his role in it. Sure, it’s distorted and crazy but he also know it has to be that way.

    I like the comics that deal with the Joker’s character and not just his image. He’s very complicated and unique for a villain. I think one of the things that make Batman comics so good is the amount of time they spend with the villains.


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