Batman and Superman switch powers, Pt. 2Posted: 09/30/2014 Filed under: Characters, DC 5 Comments
Here’s the problem with a Superman-powered Batman: he’s never going to stop. Ever. Until his dying breath in a post-apocalyptic kryptonite meteor shower, Batman’ll never pause or take a break from heat vision-ing crime. Y’see, the only reason he heads back to the Batcave during dawn is to do normal human stuff like collapse into his bed or suture up his wounds or do that whole feeding himself nutrients thing. But no more. Superman always had a stable alter-ego in Clark Kent, but not Bruce Wayne — and you can see his obsessions fully manifest as the arc progresses:
I looked up the word unequivocal: leaving no doubt, unambiguous. Part of Batman’s war on crime relies on evil-doers knowing Batman’s out there and ready to strike. With heat vision, the bad guys can’t crop up their failings on bad luck when the Batman symbol gets seared into their car. Also, take a moment to appreciate Batman perching/brooding on the Eiffel Tower.
Oh yeah, and his friends are worried, but like all great teenage logic, no one could ever understand Batman, right? Gosh, just leave him alone and let him text his friends in peace.
It’s the “with great power comes great responsibility” cliche, except if Spider-Man never stopped swinging around New York City from the day he got bit by the spider until his heart gives out on the way to the Spider-Nursing Home. I know what you’re thinking: someone’s going to have to talk some sense into Batman, and his friends are very poor at talking sense. The Justice League punches first, negotiates second. But if his buddies can’t convince Batman that an equal balance of work and life prevents him from going crazy with power/duty/freeze breath, then it’ll have to be his most trusted ally. His dearest comrade’ll make one of the stupidest decisions I’ve ever seen him make, and that includes the pixie boots.
All this after Batman beats up Catwoman, though. We need to see his instability before the escrima sticks become justified.
Batman’s (very) minor weakening will be explained in a few pages. We all agree Nightwing made a terrible choice. Maybe he thinks Batman’ll take it easy on him or might even refuse to fight him at all — though to be fair, Nightwing did just see Batman wipe out Catwoman, and those two have seen each other’s private parts. So if you’ve ever wanted to see a very human Dick Grayson fight an angry Superman-powered Bruce Wayne, your wish has been granted. Spoiler alert: it goes as well and lasts about as long as you think.
For our big finale on Friday, Batman takes on his toughest opponent yet (excluding a healthy relationship with a woman). Hint: everybody. He fights everybody.
A fun story. What comics did it appear in? I’d argue that a (mentally balanced) Batman would stop, and would value meditation more than sleep, and planning his overall strategies, which would require the bat-cave and bat-computer. Eventually he would become more like Ra’s Al Ghul, with longer term plans as well as everyday crisis management.
I thought this was a great comic arc. Batman may have gotten a little extreme, but I really don’t blame him. He has saved hundreds (Maybe thousands depending on just how much crime he’s stopped) of people and he really could end at least 90% of crime in the world. He’ll never end all of it of course, but he was doing great. It’s too bad that he got unstable since I think Batman could resist it. Still, it does make Superman look a little bad in retrospect when he takes so much time off to be Clark Kent…
I think its a difference in philosophies. Superman essentially believes that humanity needs to sort itself out, and has the essential goodness to do so. He can act as inspiration and take care of the bigger threats that may destroy everything he believes in, but he can’t do people work for them.
Whereas Batman’s view on life ever getting better is fundamentally broken. At his heart he’s still that angry scared kid who wants to lash out and make things all better. How? By making sure he controls everything so the terrible thing that happened can never occur again. Which is impossible – but his way of thinking doesn’t allow for that.
I think that is the entire point of this story. It is the fact that Superman “takes so much time off to be Clark Kent” that enables him to maintain his connection to humanity. If he was Superman twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week he would eventually become disconnected from the people on the ground. Perhaps he would even go off the rails and become some sort of angry god who believed he could solve all of the world’s proplems, in the process subjugating humanity and eliminating free will. That’s exactly where Batman is seen heading in this story.
There was an extended storyline that ran through all of the Superman titles back in 1999 where Superman (due to the manipulations of an entity called Dominus) abandoned his life as Clark Kent and attempted to fight crime & injustice non-stop. The results were NOT pleasant.
On the bright side, Catwoman likely will think something happened to him and it will all work out. Because stuff like that happens to superheroes periodically.