Important Batman hero and villain questions finally answered

If you found yourself with superpowers, would you go and smack around criminals?  Because if so, you are in the extreme minority in the comic world.  For instance, Superman’s Wikipedia page alone contains 230 supervillains.  Batman clocked in at 227, and I didn’t even count normal mobsters. Since there are only so many casinos to rob or cities to bomb, what do all the supervillains do in their downtime?  If you guessed alcoholism, you’re probably right.

Some though, become mercenaries, which led to the wonderful series Secret Six written by Gail Simone.  While the comic was bloody, full of drama, and spectacularly written, I want to look at two specific parts.  Let’s explore together!

What did Batman eat?

One of the Dark Knight’s lesser villains is Catman, real name Thomas Blake.  He’s in no way related to the woman version.  Imagine him like Batman, just with cat stuff.  Yeah, he’s easy to figure out. But can Catman outsmart the world’s greatest detective?

When two major costumes meet, the meeting is usually routine.  It’s always one part witty conversation and one part fight scene.  This way the reader gets to see two characters they like interact and subsequently beat each other up.  While Catman isn’t terribly famous, he is one of the stars of this series, so that counts.  Problem is that Batman’s not funny.  No quips, no banter, no smiles.  Sure, Bruce Wayne will tell a knock knock joke to a bunch of drunk socialites after he’s downed his fifth ginger ale, but the second that mask goes on, he’s fresh out of anecdotes and just refilled his scowls.

Of course they scrap for a little bit, because that’s a requirement in comic books.  I know Batman is some sort of ultimate ninja warrior, but Catman gets a few hits in and Batman gets all pissy.  More importantly, Blake is just hanging around being nosy and keeping Wayne from his real job of fracturing the skulls of pimps and drug dealers.

What’s the Dark Knight supposed to do?  Because Catman answered his questions and Batman is an honorable man, it’s only fair he return the favor.  Make sure you’re sitting down and buckled in, because our mystery is about to be shattered open, exposed for the world to finally gaze upon the answer to the question soaking in our minds: What did Batman eat?

Mission accomplished.  For an added bonus, Catman makes a final point that’s actually quite introspective and something I’ve never really thought about before:

If you think you’re missing out on some missing panels, no, there’s no chance for Catman.  But seriously, Batman’s on patrol for a good eight hour shift.  Longer if he has to break up a gun ring or shut down Mr. Freeze’s ice fortress.  He’s certainly going to get hungry.  Though I don’t know what joints are open at 3 AM, so we all get to enjoy the fantastic image of the Dark Knight sticking a night’s supply of churros and mini pizzas in his utility belt.

Let’s skip ahead 30 or so issues and follow along one of the Secret Six’s day off.

Bane goes on a date.

It’s a good time to talk about Bane, seeing as he’s the new villain in The Dark Knight Rises movie coming out next month.  A relatively new villain, Bane was introduced to the DC universe in 1993. Born in the fictional South American country of Santa Prisca, his father committed a ton of crimes and then fled the country.  Because of how the legal system worked there, Bane had to be sent to prison in his father’s place, regardless that he’s a toddler.  So when you spend every waking moment fighting for your life and reading a library full of books, you become crazy tough and insanely smart.  I mean, it wasn’t like he was going to spend his free time riding tricycles.  And if he did, he’d have to hide a shank under the seat.  A cruel prison doctor made him a test subject for the dangerous drug venom, which made him super strong.

After he escapes prison, he’s looking for a new challenge and settles on Batman.  One thing the movie seems to be getting right and the animated series got wrong is that Bane’s a strategic genius. He easily figures out Batman’s secret identity and instead of jumping him on a rooftop one night, he works for months to set up every possible advantage.  Bane breaks into Arkham Asylum, freeing every supervillain.  Batman’s then forced to spend three months rounding up all the baddies he put away, leaving him injured, sick, and wiped.  So on the night the last villain is returned to the crazy house, Wayne returns to his own mansion.  Except Bane is waiting for him.

What follows is ten pages of Batman getting the crap beat out of him.  You think Batman will muster up the last of his strength and defend himself from this monster of a man.  Nope.  It’s just a major beatdown unlike anything seen in comics to that point.  In the end, Bane picks Batman up and breaks Batman’s back over his knee.  And oh, how victory is sweet.  Later after Wayne heals, he engages Bane on equal terms and wins, but technicalities still count.

Anyway, flash forward to today, Bane, trying to kick his venom habit, has taken time off from mercenary work to enjoy some personal time.

Carnival date!  Sure, growing up in a prison gives you zero social skills and a complete lack of any flirting ability, but he works out and is trying his best to be a decent person.  Why shouldn’t women like him?

You ever hear that carnies aren’t always the most trustworthy of people?  Turns out supervillainy pays quite well.  So to get an added tip, the worker commissions his buddies to help themselves to Bane’s pockets.  Sure, he’s seven feet tall and jacked, but they have a pipe, so it should be okay.

Before the inevitable confrontation, it’s important for the two to bond, right?  Physical feats are nice, but nothing helps get a second date like an emotional connection.  Luckily, Bane is ready.

Now let’s go watch some juggling!  Fortunately, his date doesn’t work with sick farm animals or on hiatus from her job as a high-powered attorney – she can look past his past.  Still, he’s kind of charming.  Sort of.  Except now he’s going to have to deal with the hooligan problem.

Y’know, Bane is a supervillain.  The first to successfully take down Batman.  A physique professional wrestlers wished they had.  Doesn’t give a second thought to a knife through his hand.  Couple that with his tragic upbringing, he’s the ultimate badboy.  All those yahoos accomplished was allowing Bane to skip three dates.

Good for him.  Date finished and all objectives completed.  Obviously, being inquisitive readers, your next question will be: how does Bane make love?  Well, don’t worry your confused little heads, because I’m prepared and ready.

Like a gentleman.

A total gentleman.

3 Comments on “Important Batman hero and villain questions finally answered”

  1. nicholas says:

    I found you blog and started reading like an hour ago. Its been pretty funny.

    Secret Six has always had a special place in my mind- what other comic could make the Mad Hatter look like a badass?

    Anyways, I don’t have anything topical to add. Thanks for writing.

  2. wwayne says:

    “But can Catman outsmart the world’s greatest detective?”: Exactly, Bruce is the world’s greatest detective. The problem is, Batman’s writers don’t always remember this.
    if the leading character of the series you write has a huge detective talent, you must highlight this, and make the most of it. I read a lot of Batman comics where, on the contrary, Bruce was just kicking a psycho’s ass, without any psychological deepness. In those comics Batman was so one-dimensional that he could have been replaced with any other DC superhero, and there wouldn’t have been any difference.
    Luckily, the current writer of Batman’s main title heavily focuses on Bruce’s detective talent.

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