Sunday, September 21, 2008

Batman #113 - Part Three

Lastly, Batman #113 wraps up with the Dark Knight’s adventure on what the cover and splash panel call “Planet X” but the interior calls “Zurr-En-Arrh,” check with Wikipedia to be sure.

The story begins with Bruce Wayne changing costume in the middle of the night, looming over the sleeping figure of Dick Grayson pondering “Strange … Dick and I always go out together – as Batman and Robin! Why am I going alone tonight?” I dunno, Bruce. Has Dick maybe had enough of your shit for once? “You know what I won’t do tonight,” he asked himself before he scuttled off to Slumberland. “Tonight I won’t dress in green fairy boots from a Polish circus and what appears to be Aquaman’s underwear and hang off of a hardware store wire twenty stories off the ground with the costumed maniac’s version of Ted Turner, looking for spastics in spandex to kick in the balls. Tonight,” he thought, “Tonight I watch Two and a Half Men and drink from a Coke can I half-filled with Bacardi Breezers and pass out at eight o’clock. Tomorrow, then tomorrow I go to the Sports Card show.”

Whatever the case, Bruce really ought to not be changing clothes in Robin’s room while Robin’s asleep.

Anyway, Batman wanders off in some sort of fog-brained haze, checking the Bat-Plane out of the hangar and just sort of doing air-donuts above the stratosphreic lawn in a state of profound confusion, at which point a hazy space ray transports him to the planet Zur-En-Arrh, where he’s greeted by a useless hunk of red, purple and yellow who calls himself the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh.

He looks like a Mexican knock-off of you, Batman...

The Batman of East Jesus, Outer Space, arguably does what Batman does on Earth, except for the whole of this story he turns out to be utterly feckless. Batman, the proper one, on the other hand, turns out to have developed Superman-like powers, and the rest of the comic feels like a study in Batman’s inferiority complex. Lots of “Now how would my friend Superman handle this problem” and “Why, I have powers just like Superman!” Batman, Batman, Batman … you’re BATMAN, man! You’re just as Bat-God made you, stop fretting.

Batman goes up against a crime cartel of enemy invisible bug people, which I do too every day before lunch, twice on weekends. Aiding him in his efforts is a gift from Tlano (the Batman of Planet X), the BAT-RADIA, which “issues electronic molecules that cause controlled disturbances in the atmosphere. With it,” continues Tlano, “I am able to ‘jam’ atmospheric molecules – even render useless the motors of jet-cars used by fleeing enemies.” Or, in other words, it’s a thing which can’t possibly work because it’s gibberish.

Well, your industrial design is pretty European, anyway.

In any case, Batman cleans up Tlano’s mess eventually by, er, cleverly using the Bat-Radia (alternatively: Using the Bat-Radia precisely as intended) to make the invisible invading enemies … VISIBLE! Which scares them into returning home. This is exactly how we defeated the British, too. Look it up. It’s in your history books.

On his way back from his obvious bout with dementia, Batman ponders the amazing adventure he just experienced. “In the Bat-Plane again,” he shouts, not realizing that psychotic breaks can synthesize a delusion seemingly days in length within a fraction of seconds, “Why, I’ve only been gone for a few seconds – which were hours on Planet X!”

Say what you will, this panel is beautiful.

“It would be far easier to consider this a dream,” says Batman, blithely piloting an enormous jet over a populated area after leering at his sleeping, adolescent ward while changing into his caped playsuit, “But how can I? For in my hand, I hold the BAT-RADIA!” I have wondered the same thing, full like a kastrull and twelve sheets to the wind, wondering if my own drunken delusion could possibly be only as dream when I hold the Bat-Radia (i.e. a knob I ripped off a cigarette machine before they kicked me out of the bar) in my hand! Excelsior, Bat-Believers!

2 comments:

BeckoningChasm said...

That last panel has the most evil expression I've ever seen on Batman's face. He's going to use that Bat-Radia to see through girls' clothing, right?

You Have Lost The Game said...

Batman RIP finally makes sense. The "editors" or whatever it is DC uses now clearly knew better than we the sort of pathetic, AWFUL shit used to be in Bat comics, and alsoe knew, better than we, that the stars are right once more, and the Great-Old-One-like-insanity of Silver Age* Batman must return...

* a Turkish phrase meaning "just plain no good", "reason Marvel rocketed ahead of DC", etc.

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