With the upcoming release of Matt Reeves’s “THE BATMAN” (in theaters on March 4th, 2022), we figured we’d take the opportunity to do a quick rundown of every confirmed character appearing in the new movie (as well as a couple who *might* make an appearance?), along with where they first appeared in the Batman comics, who played them in previous movies, and some of our recommended stories to read before (or after) seeing the new movie!
With the recent (long-awaited) release of Zack Snyder’s “Justice League” (2021) now on HBO Max and 4K Blu Ray, we now have the fully realized vision that first started in 2013’s “Man of Steel”, and continued with 2016’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”! Considering this is essentially the third chapter of a trilogy, it only feels right to revisit the first two acts of this epic superhero saga before diving into this new (and very different) version of 2017’s “Justice League”…Continue reading
With another new animated Batman series in the works (Batman: The Caped Crusader), we figured it would be a great time to revisit the classic that has stood the test of time and remains to this day one of the absolute best superhero cartoons to date!
Created by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, “Batman: The Animated Series” first premiered in 1992 and lasted 4 seasons (including “The New Batman Adventures”), spinning off into several other animated series throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s – Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Static Shock, Justice League, Justice League: Unlimited, and Young Justice! Inspired by the style of the 1941 Fleischer Superman cartoons, the 90’s Batman series was a dark and faithful adaptation.
Batman: The Animated Series is, in my humble opinion, the absolute best version of Batman to date. Sure, the Tim Burton movies are great, Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy is a masterpiece of cinema, and the Arkham games are a lot of fun, but nothing has really captured the magic of the old school Batman comics quite the way that this show did. Not only did Bruce Timm and Paul Dini draw heavily from the source material, in some cases they streamlined and improved on some of the classic storylines and characters from the comics!
Unlike the campy Adam West series from the 60’s, this one took a darker and grittier look at Gotham, while still retaining the fun elements. Further, the voice talent on this series is incredible, including but not limited to Kevin Conroy as Batman / Bruce Wayne and of course, Mark Hamill as The Joker! And to top it off, the show was actually geared towards adults, while still being appropriate for kids, which is not an easy task.
The following list is 100% up for debate, so feel free to yell at me on Twitter @ErikSlader!Continue reading
In their first episode: “Holy Bad-Movies, Batman!” – Chris Carroll and Erik Slader endure 8 hours of Batman films (two of which were good) so that you don’t have to!
Will they decipher the plot of “Batman Returns”?
Will they solve the Riddler’s ‘e.nigmas’?
Will they survive “Batman and Robin”?!
Find out here, this Bat-time, this Bat-channel!
(Also, be sure to check out Issue Zero: This Time, it’s personal!)
One of the go-to moves for editors in comics that want to bring a lot of attention to an established property is to replace your main character with a new version of that character. For instance, Hal Jordan was replaced as Green Lantern by John Stewart, then Guy Gardner, then Kyle Rayner, and most recently Simon Baz. Barry Allen was replaced as the Flash by Wally West. Steve Rogers was replaced as Captain America by John Walker (aka USAgent) and Bucky Barnes, Tony Stark as Iron Man by James Rhodes, Peter Parker as Spider-Man by Ben Reilly… hell, for when Superman ‘died’ it took 4 (!!) people to replace him.
This really hit a head in the 1990’s, when Green Lantern, Spider-Man, Flash, Superman, Batman, and a host of others were replaced by newer versions. Even Wonder Woman!
For the sake of this column, we’re going to be focusing on Gotham City’s dark knight: Batman.
It goes without saying that Bruce Wayne IS Batman. That said, there have been a surprising amount of times when someone else was wearing the cape and cowl. Hell, Dick Grayson has been Batman twice!
So, who is the best replacement Batman? Is it Dick Grayson, Jean Paul Valley, Tim Drake, Terry McGinnis, Damien Wayne, Thomas Wayne, or someone else?
COMICZOMBIE: For my money, the best replacement Batman is Jean Paul Valley, aka Azrael, an assassin for a holy order descended from the Knights Templar.
He replaced Bruce Wayne when he was taken out of commission by Bane during the “Knightfall” trilogy. Jean Paul has a complicated past, to say the least, and his grasp of sanity was tenuous, at best. A man that was just beginning to understand his inner demons, let alone conquer them, he was given this humongous responsibility and tossed into the deep end: a Gotham overrun by half of the inmates of Arkham Asylum, plus Bane and his goons. Yes, the weight of the mantle of the bat caught up to him quicker than he would have liked, and he went crazier than hell, but while he was Batman it was incredibly interesting to see him slowly, and yet all too quickly, crumble under the weight of the conflicting missions of Batman and Azrael. Both dark avenging creature of the night types, but Azrael’s role was as a destroyer, and Batman’s role has always been a protector. The dichotomy made him very intriguing, even if he never felt like the ‘real’ Batman. That said, he existed in Bruce Wayne’s Gotham. He argued and fought with Tim Drake as Robin, he strained the relationship between Batman and Jim Gordon, and he fought guys like Bane and the Joker.
Jean Paul Valley: best replacement Batman.
ERIK SMASH! : Bruce Wayne is and always will be Batman. Even in 95% of the Elseworlds tales Bruce is still Batman. He’s one of those character-archetypes that simply transcends the decades. That said, there are plenty of kick-ass, Batarang-throwing, Bat-replacements.
When looking at a line-up of potential Batmen, Terry McGuiness is the natural choice for Bruce Wayne’s replacement. Why? Well, part of it might be because when Bruce retired and put up the cowl for good, it was Terry who he finally deemed worthy of the mantle, the other reason might be because it was later revealed that Terry McGuinness was in fact Bruce’s illegitimate son/clone via Amanda Waller (long story…)
For those of you that don’t know (hand over your nerd cards, you know who you are), Terry McGuinness was the main character in “Batman Beyond”, the sequel series to Bruce Timm’s 1990’s “Batman: The Animated Series”. “Batman Beyond” picked up decades after Bruce Wayne gave up crime fighting when he was nearly killed by a couple of low-life crooks, and was forced to use a gun to defend himself, something he swore he would never do. “Never again,” he states coldly as he shuts down the Batcave forever (it’s really an amazing and emotional scene).
Then in the somewhat far-off (unspecified) future, where Bruce is an old fogey, Gotham looks more like Neo Tokyo from Akira, and the legend of the Dark Knight has been reduced to urban myth, rebellious teenager Terry McGuinness picks a fight with a pack of ‘Jokerz’ (gangster punks ripping off The Clown Prince himself), and gets cornered at the front gates of Wayne Manor where Bat-hermit Bruce ironically happens to be taking a stroll outside for the first time in apparently ever. Bruce then manages to fight off the wannabee thugs with his cane. After helping Bruce back home, Terry accidentally stumbles upon Wayne’s secret, which leads him to stealing the Bat-suit, and then eventually realizing the error of his ways and convincing Bruce to train him to become Gothams’ new protector. (‘Mask of Zorro’ style)
Now I do realize that Terry is very different from Bruce in several aspects. He’s a much more flawed individual, and his personality more closely resembles a cross between Nightwing and Spider-Man in a bat-suit. However, part of that is because he is still young, and never experienced the kind of psyche-shattering tragedy that Bruce was unfortunately subjected to. Instead, Terry’s inner demons compel him to make up for past mistakes.
You get to see Terry struggling with the duel lifestyle in a way that Bruce never had to face, because let’s face it, for Bruce, Batman was his life, and for Terry, he still has a chance to have a life of his own, and carry on the never-ending war on crime. Regardless of the mistakes he makes, you can tell from the get-go that Terry has it in him, he has the potential to one day live up to Bruce Wayne’s standard, and eventually impart the way of the Bat to his apprentice and so on.
Unlike Jean Paul Valley, Terry possesses the perfect mix of badassery, and a good heart.