Reporting Luke McKinney
With Arkham Origins coming out in a couple days, we figured we’d get a jump on all the alternate universe versions of Batman you can get as DLC costumes. If you have no idea what downloadable content is, just sit back in your rocking chair and enjoy the mockery.
A man dressed as a giant flying rat has been kicking ass for over seventy years, and is now responsible for almost as many billions of dollars in the real world as he is in Wayne Industries. You’d think making a few Fort Knoxes from “Furry rodent violence-puncher” would encourage DC to try other original ideas. Unfortunately, “Making thousands of copies of comics they already have” isn’t just their physical business model, but their creative strategy too.
Batman’s brilliance results from a lifetime of intense thought and dedicated training. His ripoffs result from five minutes of a writer wondering what to do next, four minutes of which was trying to get the child-proof cap off a bottle of cough syrup before throwing a dart into a dictionary. These copies were worse attempts to truly capture the Batman than a Riddler deathtrap, and used more ridiculous themes.
Behold, the worst of the Crapped-Out Crusaders.
Crying Priest Batman
Alternate universes are how you get your heroes to do things they normally wouldn’t, like praying and crying. Notice how that suddenly started sucking? You’ve now effectively read Holy Terror, where Batman becomes a priest instead of a badass.
It’s set in a world where the British never lost America, which seems like a lot of work to change just one person, until you realize you would have to undo at least five centuries of human progress to create a world where a young Bruce Wayne sings hymnals his entire life before learning to kick ass.
This results in a theological quandary: pretty much every version of Christianity looks at vigilantism and says “Don’t do that.” The whole point is letting criminals do whatever they want for their entire lives on the grounds that they won’t enjoy it after they’re dead. Which is undoubtedly true, but the exact opposite of Batmannery.
Another exact opposite of Batmannery? Weeping. Which is unfortunately how he resolves his existential crisis. It doesn’t matter whether he’s defending the innocent or punching a thug in the crotch, it always ends with Batman crying. Batman crying. It’s weird, no matter how many times I type that autocorrect doesn’t change it.
The result is a whining Wayne who spends more time sniveling than straightening sinners’ spines, and at the end a dead Superman’s corpse does more to defeat the villain than the Crying Crusader by ricocheting a bullet back into an evil scientist’s head. Which proves that we’re in the wrong universe, because it’s a fundamental fact of our reality that Batman is better than Superman.
“Wait a minute, Dracula is also a bat and a man! I’m a genius!”
If you disagreed with the above, you passed the secret test of the Batman writer. Unfortunately, several actual Batman writers didn’t. The main problem is that bat themes and a fancy cape are the entire overlap between Bruce Wayne and Nosferatu. And he already had those. The only thing vampirism adds is wanting to drink blood and then whining about it, but Batman’s coolness depends entirely on dressing in black but NOT being a goth.
Besides, Bruce Wayne is a master scientist. He’s cured more and stupider diseases than draculism dozens of times, and even if he can’t, Wayne Industries probably owns more blood banks than Transylvania already. The only way vampirism could cause problems is if the writer made him too stupid to think of that. But since they already made him a vampire we have to accept that “stupidity” is their entire contribution to the comic.
This inevitably results in the creation of a monstrous animal hybrid, which is what’s meant to happen to Batman’s enemies, or suicide, which is just totally awesome in any comic, really. When even your own main character is killing himself to get out of the story, you might suck worse than the vampires.
The Justice League Axis are exactly what parallel universes are for. Nazi superheroes!
You’ve got the ultimate Aryan fantasy in an actual Superman, and the Flash’s new logo is evil genius, but the real appeal should be Batman, known here as “Leatherwing.” It’s an evil design wet dream: the brooding Bat and the sinister Gestapo. You could create the ultimate vision of terrifyingly misapplied fashion sense.
Or you could scribble a Swastika on Batman’s chest and call it a day.
Leatherwing’s only alteration to the costume is crudely Photoshopping a swastika onto his chest. Though he does use advanced smart materials, fabulously expensive computational fabrics which alter their pattern to make the swastika lines look perfectly straight no matter what angle he’s standing at. Either that or even the artist couldn’t be bothered to spend more than three seconds on this lazy jerk. It’s also a bright red target on his center of mass, meaning that not only is Nazi Batman less scary than the original (the first time that adjective has ever had that effect), he’s also obeying the Indiana Jones law of Nazi by making himself much easier to shoot than non-National Socialists.
The character is about as well developed as the property rights of sandcastles. He’s both Batman and a champion of racial purity on a world where not being that gets you executed. Batman’s entire deal is insane devotion to his principles, no matter what. Despite which, Leatherwing tries to bang an alien female almost immediately. Apparently a lifetime of dedication and a global ideal of racial purity aren’t as important as reminding comic readers that women are things you can have sex with.
Elseworlds was all about crazy alternates of existing heroes. The problem is that “rich man dresses as winged mouse to punch people” is already impressively crazy. It’s hard to beat that. Which doesn’t excuse this comic for not even trying.
They were given Batman and turned him into a pirate. Then they were given a gold bar, which they used to hammer a crooked nail into a filthy outdoor toilet. Afterwards a team of nymphomaniac cheerleaders offered to do anything they wanted, and were asked to go buy some hand cream, tissues, and a lingerie catalog.
Pirate Batman. That’s only one step up from “You Stupid Nerds Like This S**t”-Man. His only Bat-aspects were parking the boat in a cave and using the word “Bat” much more than someone in a marine environment normally would. The story was so far from being Batman that an accidental marriage became a major plot point. When you’re challenging the Dark Knight with soap opera gimmicks you’d better be a brand new and extremely short-lived villain, not the goddamned writer.
The comic’s only achievement was making Robin even more annoying.
We’ll stop the article here, because any sane human would stop reading anything after seeing that.
For more Bat-madness, learn how The Dark Knight’s Dumbest Moments Come from His Best Bat-Qualities or enjoy more superfailure with The Worst Supermen Ever