Wednesday, 14 April 2010

If Batman fell in love with a goose...

You try finding a picture of Batman with a goose!
Yahtzee, he of the funny game review vids (see below), wrote a piece this week about his God of War review where he likened Kratos, the lead in that game, to Batman.  That they were both 'heroes' who's redemption back story had out stayed its welcome.  That essentially the least interesting thing about a Batman comic was Batman.  You probably, dear reader, think I'd disagree with that, but no I completely agree.  (Press read more to, well, read more, there may be swears.)

Batman's parents got killed when he was a kid and as he grew up the festering anger that built within his tortured soul led him to become the Batman.  Blames himself or something.  Anyway that's all well and good in a film setting, the whole story can essentially be about redemption and poor lil Bruce Wayne sorting his fucked up brain out but in a comic book, that's been around since 1939, it kinda gets a bit tired.  Ok DC have rebooted the character a few times to make the history thing sort of work but eventually the 'I'm a messed up psycho,' in a cape thing gets boring.  What remains interesting is the villains he busts but the character is never allowed to move past his issues.  I get that if he did it would maybe spoil the whole reason for him being Batman at all.  So how did DC deal with this?  They killed him off.

Except of course they didn't really.  My major issue with all comics is their inability to actually kill anyone off for good.  DC are probably more guilty of this than Marvel.  The Silver Age Flash... dead.  Silver Age Green Lantern... dead.  Modern era Superman... dead.  Batman... dead.  Marvel have in recent years killed off Captain America so they don't get off completely either.  Of course none of these characters have actually died.  Give it a year or two, in some cases give it a few decades and back they come after being stuck in the arse of a giraffe.  Picking their nose.  It's perfectly acceptable to still do stories with these characters, just set it in the fucking past you mooks.  It's about comic sales though, so back they all come in a blaze of confusing glory after a an inter dimensional time shift dislodges them from the aforementioned giraffe.
'Don't worry love, my hearts stopped but I'm stuck in a giraffe in another dimension.  Cremate me if you like, I'm still coming back.'
The problem is that these characters are the bread and butter of DC and Marvel.  Multiple film deals see to that, although for me the two best superhero films ever are Watchmen and Kick-Ass, which stray beautifully away from the norm.  Batman is the comic that likes to think it's dark but few writers have truly brought any real menace to the character.  Frank Miller, Alan Moore and Grant Morrison being the obvious examples of writers that have stepped away from the formula.  But even with these its really only Miller who imbibes Batman with anything like a 'real' personality.  His Batman is a wonderfully grumpy, slightly skewed version of the one we know.

I do love the Batman character, maybe it's the losing a parent thing, but to quote Yahtzee (sort of), 'he's never going to do anything interesting, like fall in love with a goose'.