Last week while taking a shot at the wannabe rocker from American Idol, I wrote the following paragraph:
“I’ve spent most of my life wanting to be Batman, but I’m enough of a realist to accept the fact that it isn’t going to happen. I’m 27 years old, I’m broke, my parents are still alive and I haven’t spent my life traveling the globe, training to defeat the scum of Gotham City. I’ve put that dream behind me because I realized that it’s never going to happen and, sadly, deep down I know I don’t have what it takes to make it.”
Little did I know how terrible the timing of that paragraph actually was. Last Wednesday as you were reading those words, the real Batman was battling the evil god Darkseid in the comic Final Crisis #6. First, Batman broke one of his cardinal rules and pulled a gun on Darkseid – a gun filled with Radion bullets. Batman shot Darkseid in the chest, but not before the nefarious villain fired his “Omega Sanction” out of his eyes, which struck Batman, causing him to be “splintered like light through a prism in an infinite number of deaths.”
Now, if you don’t follow comics and that above paragraph read like a bunch of gibberish to you, allow me to break it down in laymen’s terms – Batman is dead. Really, really dead.
However, in the comics dead is never really dead. Superman was dead once, but he’s back battling Lex Luthor. The second Robin, Jason Todd, was killed by the Joker, but he came back to life. Over at Marvel Comics, Captain America has actually remained dead for two years, but his mantle was taken over by his sidekick Bucky – who was actually dead himself for quite some time.
So while the consensus among comic book fans is that Bruce Wayne will someday be back as Batman (my prediction is by the end of 2009), for now he is “dead” and someone else will have to take his place. This will play out in a series of comics called “The Battle for the Cowl.”
The last time Bruce Wayne had to take some time off (after Bane broke his back in the “Knightfall” storyline), a guy named Jean Paul Valley (a.k.a. Azrael) filled in for him while he recovered. Azrael made a pretty unstable and violent Batman and when Bruce Wayne was ready to come back, Valley didn’t really want to relinquish the title of Batman, so chances are that this time around he won’t be asked to fill in once again (of course, following the whole “dead but not really dead” comic tradition, Valley is presumed dead after he was shot twice in the chest in his own spin-off comic, but in March a new Azrael comic will hit the shelves and it’s presumed that Valley will rise from the dead).
With Azrael out of the picture, the two frontrunners to take over for Batman are Robin and Nightwing. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Nightwing, he is actually the original Robin, Dick Grayson. Grayson got tired of wearing a ridiculous bright red and yellow costume, so he branched out on his own with a new moniker and a dark costume that’s not as easy for gun wielding criminals to spot from 20 yards away. While both Dick Grayson and current Robin Tim Drake are logical successors to Bruce Wayne, I don’t think either one should be allowed to become Batman. It’s a known fact that Robin is incredibly lame and should never be allowed to do anything cool, so making either one of these two Robins Batman is simply unacceptable. I can’t help but feel that having either one of these two take over as The Dark Knight would make Bruce Wayne roll over in his grave (if he actually were in a grave, and not “splintered like light through a prism in an infinite number of deaths”).
So who should dawn the cape and the cowl? Well, while I admit to being slightly biased, I humbly suggest that DC Comics should choose me to become the next Batman. Sure, I doubted myself last week, but after writing that “deep down I know I don’t have what it takes to make it,” fellow HoboTrashcan writer Courtney Enlow posted a comment saying: “Joel, I think you still have some pretty serious Batman potential.”
Courtney is a smart girl. If she thinks that I have what it takes, who am I to doubt her? Who cares if my parents weren’t brutally gunned down in front of me when I was a child? Does it really matter that I haven’t devoted my whole life to studying hand-to-hand combat and honing my detective skills? I’ve seen every Batman movie on opening night. I beat every single level in the Lego Batman videogame. I even have some martial arts training under my belt – sure, it may not be the years of training that Bruce Wayne received, but I did put in two solid months at my local martial arts studio before deciding that it was too time consuming and that it was more fun to just sit at home and watch The Karate Kid on TV.
So maybe I’m not the ideal candidate on paper, but trust me I can do the job. And if you choose me as your Batman, I promise not to phone the whole thing in like George Clooney or to do a ridiculous angry Cookie Monster voice like Christian Bale.
Besides, what I lack in training, I can more than make up for with gadgets. Get me that utility belt and the keys the that sweet Batmobile and I’ll be able to mask all of my superhero inadequacies (I certainly wouldn’t be the first guy to use an expensive car to mask my inadequacies).
So choose me DC Comics. I can be the hero that Gotham City needs. I can be the adequate placeholder that keeps the seat warm until Bruce Wanye is ready to jump behind the wheel of the Batmobile once more. So please, give me this opportunity.
Honestly, what’s the worst that could happen – I get out there on my first night and some two-bit criminal guns me down and kills me in cold blood? I have to be honest, I’m not really worried. Knowing comics, I’ll be back on my feet again in no time.
Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.