Thursday, June 12, 2014

Batman: Countdown to Midlife Crisis?

Something for Throwback Thursday: a news article I wrote back in 2007, the year of DC Comics' Infinite Crisis:


The story behind Batman's recent erratic behavior

GOTHAM CITY, August 10, 2007 -- Batman, once believed to be an urban legend concocted by the cowardly and superstitious criminals of Gotham, has been getting plenty of publicity lately, causing some to speculate that the Dark Knight Detective has something to prove. Usually only glimpsed among the ranks of the Justice League whenever the world needs saving, Batman has been making an increasing number of televised solo appearances around the country in order to compete in a variety of sports venues.

Obsessively pitting himself against the world's champion athletes, Batman has engaged in everything from fighting in pay-per-view boxing matches to racing the Batmobile in NASCAR tournaments.

Batman has challenged Mike Tyson to a rematch, attributing his recent defeat to a lack of prep time.

Gotham Globe reporter Vicki Vale was determined to uncover the root cause of Batman's odd behavior, but neither Batman nor his associates in the Justice League were willing to discuss the matter. Everyone Vale spoke to seemed determined to look the other way and pretend the situation was completely normal.

"It says here Batman has a contingency plan for eliminating every member of the Justice League should the need ever arise. I wonder if there's a connection."
Vale's big break finally came when she was approached by a visitor from a parallel universe, calling himself the Batman of Earth-2, who had traveled to our dimension to warn us of an imminent crisis. He granted Vale an interview, during which he made startling accusations against the Justice League.

The Batman of Earth-2 delivers a dire warning about the fate of the multiverse.

"Batman has always been a source of embarrassment for the League," explained Earth-2 Batman. "His obsessive nature always leads to certain... excesses, which must be reined in. Therefore, in an effort to make him more presentable to the public, the Justice League periodically mindwipes Batman and gives him an image makeover."

It's hard to imagine why they would have had an issue with THIS look.

Pressed for details, Earth-2 Batman revealed the ability of League member Zatanna to magically erase parts of a person's memory.

Artist's conception of the alleged crime.

"Over the years, the League has erased Batman's memories of his Aunt Harriet, Batmite, Ace the Bathound, his relationship with Batwoman, his gun-toting days, and the Batusi disco dance, along with numerous other Bat-items they considered 'too silly.' This summer they were at it again, and wiped out his memories of the Bat credit card, the neon Batmobile, the Bat-codpiece, the nipples on the Batsuit, and everything else they considered 'too gay.' (Not that there's anything wrong with that). The results are always the same: the mindwipe works for a short period of time, then causes him to freak out even more as the continuous meddling with his brain makes him increasingly schizophrenic. This will not end well."

Vicki Vale finally had to bring the interview to a close when the Batman of Earth-2 began to describe in excruciating detail the multidimensional apocalypse that would result from Batman discovering he had been repeatedly mindwiped by the Justice League.

"Things will get really bad," he insisted. "We are facing a crisis of infinite proportions!" At that point, Vale had security escort the harbinger of doom from the building.

Batman, upon hearing of his Earth-2 counterpart's wild claims, dismissed the idea that he has suffered any brain damage as a result of the League's alleged tampering.

Seriously, does this look like a man with mental problems to you?

Furthermore, he believes the criticism and speculation resulting from his sports-related activities are evidence of the double standard that exists among League members.

"No one ever gave Superman any crap about fighting Muhammad Ali, or his obsession with beating the Flash in a footrace," said Batman. "And if we're going to talk about mindwiping, let's start with whatever happened to his Legion of Super-Pets."

You'd think the "Man of Steel" could take a punch.

The Muhammad Ali vs. Superman Commemorative Statue, now available on eBay.