Thursday, May 05, 2005

"Say My Name!"

"I want to kill you at the peak of your powers!"

There are many things to praise about the miniseries"Batman: Dark Detective", the return of the team Englehart, Marshall, & Rogers, the first issue of which came out this week: giant props, lunatic schemes by the Joker, a competent Two-Face. Okay, sure, Roger's & Austin's pencils are a little rusty, and Englehart's dialog hasn't improved over the years, but it's a fun comic book story, unencumbered by worldshaking implications.

It also reminds us why the Joker is 9000 times cooler than Bane. [Heck, Marsha Mallow is cooler than Bane.]

You remember Bane, don't you? He was the "Hush" of the 1980s. Random villain with no agenda other than defeating Batman, and with little sensible motivation. Who is then made to seem important by having him throw every other major Bat-villain at Batman before attacking him directly. Who, once the big confrontation is over, looks around for his cue cards and no longer serves any purpose. Same monosyllabic, abstract name thing, even. Of course, in the 1980s, professional wrestling was in, so Bane was your basic Mucha Luchador. In the 2000s, I guess, trenchcoats are in. Or surgeons. Or mummies. Something like that.

Bane and Hush, well, suck on so many levels it would take longer to catalog than the 1186 Greek ships that sailed against Troy. But the new Englehart story reminds us why...

Both Bane and Hush used others to do their dirty work, using real opponents to chip away at Batman so that he was at his nadir when they finally approached him. It's like in Heroclix when your opponent has Despero, Amazo, and Bizarro whittle away at Batman then kayoes him with the Security Guard pog. Do we say, "Dude, the Security Guard pog rocks, it's so borken!"? I should hope not. Then why foolishly elevate Bane and Hush, who are Security Guard pogs, with, I might add, worse costumes?

Yes, it's no accomplishment to defeat the hero when he's next to dead already. But the Joker?

"I want to kill you at the peak of your powers!"

Now THAT is a villain.

8 comments:

Jer said...

You know, I've often thought that Bane and Doomsday were the same character - a motiveless, nearly mindless plot device used to kill/maim the hero in a way that his pre-established villains were not allowed to do for some reason. I felt that both Knightfall and the Death of Superman arcs were weaker because of the weak choice of villains.

Scipio said...

Although they didn't kill anyone (except Hippolyta, curse you, DC!), Imperiex, Magog, and Maggedon fall into the same big box.

Let's label it "Straw Men" or "Golden Calves"....

Shane Bailey said...

Good analogy. I recently started playing heroclix with my friend again too. Sadly we only have the first DC set and the first two Marvel sets though. I'm going to have to pick up some individual characters like Bizarro and such.

Do you play the "DC VS" card game?

Scipio said...

No. I've been tempted by Versus, but it just seems like it would feel like, well, a card game.

Heroclix = toy soldiers. Hard to beat it for "playing superheroes".

My friends/opponents know how to work me, though. I can't play figures as figures, I have to play them as characters, because their comic book association is too strong for me to resist. If Hawk, for example, "wants" to charge then I can't stop him, even if it's a stupid move...!

Scipio said...

Oh, and Jer...

I couldn't agree with you more!

Benari said...

It's great to see a good Batman story where you can just enjoy it, and not have to endlessly discuss/speculate what the long term ramifications are going to be for the Batman mythos forever.

Instead of "events" (like Bane/Doomsday/Hush/endless crisis on infinite secret Houses of M), comics would be doing much better if they just focused on "good." Think of how many civilians scooped up copies of "The Death of Superman." Imagine how many more new comic book readers would have been created if that actual comic had been good.

oh, and on a technical note, Bane was a product of the 90s.

Shane Bailey said...

"My friends/opponents know how to work me, though. I can't play figures as figures, I have to play them as characters, because their comic book association is too strong for me to resist. If Hawk, for example, "wants" to charge then I can't stop him, even if it's a stupid move...!"

Oh you mean the fun way to play instead of trying to win. :)

I would play like that, but my friends I play with don't even know who the characters are.

Scipio said...

Bane was in the 1990s? Ugh, I was trying to push him FARTHER BACK in my memory...!LOL

And, yes, Shane, we play for fun at my place! Why would anyone have any interest in playing Heroclix if they don't know the characters?