Sad JLA: BatmanPosted: 12/26/2013
As we end our series today in JLA #106, written by Chuck Austen and drawn by Ron Garney — even the Dark Knight gets his own traumatic moment, an event that shatters his emotional stability and moves the readers to tears:
Okay, so today’s going to be a shorter article than normal. The final issue of the arc spends the majority of its pages wrapping up that whole superpowered kid story you saw last time. Plus, if you’ll allow me to make excuses, I’m still fairly sick and I’m moving tomorrow. But let’s be fair: Batman’s entire narrative drives from watching his parents’ shooting anyway — and that’s about as emotionally destructive as one can get. I mean, everything he’s done since that moment has been to avenge their deaths (and a never-ending breaking of criminals’ jaws). So with all of Batman’s lessons already learned, he can concentrate on the more important things. Like playing with children.
What follows is the normal superheroic setup. The lady and her family with their new fancy superpowers attempt to take violent revenge while the JLA teaches the family a valuable lesson that with great power comes great responsibility. The responsibility not to splatter the brains of corrupt men across their mansion’s fireplace. I’m okay with clichés like this. We can ask for deeper meaning or themes in our superhero comics (and oh, are there examples of those being delivered), but we’re also reading stories about men and women in spandex who solve their problems with roundhouse kicks. Look, we can argue the literary value of comics later — I’d actually kind of like that — but a good story is a good story regardless of its cultural impact or groundbreaking originality. Plus, my NyQuil just kicked in and I’m feeling woozy.
As we end, I think it’s important to note the most important lesson learned today:
Batman would rather hide in a tree than show emotional fragility to his teammates. If you don’t mind, can I make a recommendation? Have you ever read Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight by Travis Langley? I picked it up when I was feeling a bit dumb after being out of college for a few years and wanted something smart to read. It delves into Batman’s identity, supporting cast, villains, and more in a manner that goes way above my head. Seriously, it’s like an awesome college course on something you already adore. And the tests consist solely of you lording over your friends as you discuss in length about Joker’s anti-social personality disorder and why Batman’s PTSD from childhood brings forth the need for teenage sidekicks. Don’t you deserve a book like that?