Batman No.59 – BATMAN IN THE FUTURE
Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na BAT-MOON
Much to the dismay and disdain of many a diehard fan of Batman’s grimier, grittier, and more gruesome incarnations which leap-frogged from the Forties right over the go-go Sixties into the tumultuous modern era of the Seventies “Dark Knight Detective” incarnation onwards, there was a period where the Caped Crusader spent a lot of time chasing crooks in utterly fantastic scenarios. There were space rockets, alien menaces, weird science and more than any one book’s fair share of time travel.
Some of the popularity of Burton’s – and later Nolan’s – Batman films, Miller’s Batman books, and the stylish Dini/Timm cartoons rest in part on their behavior as “antidotes” to the arch Code-approved campiness of the stories of these two decades. Even Grant Morrison’s lengthy, dense, literate and much-acclaimed run on the Batman titles didn’t do much to salvage the reputation of the wild Batman adventures, and THAT man is a CHAOS MAGICIAN!
Still, they were common currency back in the day, such as in this adventure featuring Batman and Robin inadvertently jaunting to the rocket-happy mid-21st century via the era-hopping hypnotic bullet-train of their scientist pal, Professor Carter Nichols.
When Batman – the world’s greatest detective – proceeds to ponder aloud, in front of his arch-nemesis, why the Joker feels compelled to commit colorful crimes, he receives what I’m sure was meant as a sarcastic answer on behalf of the Clown Prince of Crime; “I come from a long line of famous clowns”. Not only does that not answer the “crime” part of the equation, it answers no part of the equation.
|I think he was being facetious, Batman.|
Nonetheless, Batman takes the answer seriously and attempts a journey into the past, but the distracted professor sends his subjects a hundred years into the future, the wonderful world of 2050, which is the date Marty McFly went to in Back to the Future, see, I have this screenshot here to prove it.
What they find is a world wherein the Joker’s descendant is a law-abiding police chief and everybody dresses in short-pants spacesuits with tiny capes, tinting the whole world with a sort of despondent Chris Ware-esque bleak ridiculousness.
The Joker’s descendant – Rokej, which come the fuck on – is an identical lookalike to his grandfather-removed-by-100-years. This raises many more questions than it answers – the Joker’s features are … genetic? They can be inherited? I mean, if so, then I think maybe Batman’s been committing hate crimes on the poor albino lunatic. Either that or Police Commissioner Rokej decided at some point to fling himself into a vat of chemicals so as to better atone for his ancestor’s crimes, which you think would just be calling attention to it. Just … just change your fuckin’ name. Kevin. I dunno, anything’s better than Rokej.
|"It's waxing gibbous!"|
The whole job interview, I’m sure, was full of surprises.
“Any previous experience?”
In rocket building? Well, my butler and I built my jetcar, and I’ve built a sub and a jetplane. And probably a rocket, I don’t remember, I might have to check that gigantic Batcave print they used to sell at the Warner Bros Studio Store.
“Great, so I want to run some problem solving questions by you – keep in mind, there’s no right or wrong answer here, I just want to gauge how you approach complicated issues. Number one, how would you fit an elephant into a Volkswagen bug?”
Um, hit it with my batarang?
“MM, good. Well, let’s get you down to Lucille in HR and we’ll assign you a parking spot…”
It all ends with Batman building a special Bat-Rocket – see, he could do it! – and solving the case before returning to the modern day via the natural half-life of hypnotic time travel, and at no point does – and again, he’s the world’s greatest detective – begin to suspect it might just be some kind of delusional state brought on by Professor Nichols’ technique. No wonder Kite-Man managed to hit that guy in the back of the head that one time…
|It sounds kind of romantic when you say it like that.|