Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Batman is the scientist. We call his creation "Batman's Monster."
Ripped from yesterday’s headlines, a literally adrenaline-packed story of time travel and mindless rampage!

I’m sure that Batman has met Frankenstein’s Monster on more than a few occasions, but I’m not sure if any of them have necessarily purported to tell the real story behind the famous book, much less have ended by ripping the sense of accomplishment out of Mary Shelley Wollstonecraft’s hands. Dumb ol’ girls, what do they know about writing timeless literary horror? Batman’s the real master of prose here!

Before we get that far along, though, this story doesn’t even begin with Batman (providing that we discount the splash panel and the giant logo reading “BAT-Batman’s face-MAN” right at the beginning of the book. Unrelated, but imagine a post-apocalyptic future where generations some several millennia down the road try to parse what scraps of the English language remain in order to piece together what little information about our culture persists, and imagine that an old Batman comic is one of the documents to have been preserved; how do you think they’ll pronounce Batman’s head sitting in the middle of his name? “A hero of ancient Ah-Mur-I-Cun folklore, known to its people as ‘baht-poink-mon’…” Maybe then another academic speaks up, ‘That’s not an individual word, it’s an accent mark, it affects the pronunciation of ‘Baht’ to ‘Beet!’ It’s ‘Beet-Mon!’” Then the whole seminar devolves into arguing. Something to think about, right?).

This is an unsettling amount of power
for any one person to wield.
Batman and Robin’s personal hypnotherapist Carter Nichols takes time away from his “Be The Best You and Travel Through Time – Through HYPNOSIS!” seminars to ponder lightly about the true story behind Frankenstein, so uses his hypnosis time-travel powers on himself (thanks to his assistant, the full-length mirror) to return to an unspecified locale in Central Europe sometime around 1800 or so.  Science isn’t precise, folks, it just pierces the time and space barrier.

In short order, Nichols manages to meet up with Victor Frankenstein, his cousin Mallert and their titanic manservant Ivan. “I don’t see any monster here” Nichols thinks to himself, disappointed, “Ivan is a giant, yes, but he’s kindly!” Carter Nichols is hard to satisfy, apparently.

An accident with an electrostatic machine damn near kills Ivan, but Nichols saves his life with an emergency injection of adrenaline, which he apparently carries around on him when traveling through time in case anyone wants to fuckin’ party. Ivan is saved, but returns to life as a mindless brute. Carter’s sure that another dose of adrenaline – not yet discovered in Frankenstein’s time – will return his mind, but in the interim Ivan provides a handy tool for the malicious Mallert to arrange for the murder of his cousin.

Yes, who would have guessed it, there was a black sheep in the Frankenstein family! Ivan’s attempt to murder the famous doctor in his bed is interrupted by the cast of Downton Abbey, at which point he takes out his frustrations on the townsfolk below. Realizing that he simply could not have more badly fucked things up, Dr.Nichols uses his hypnosis powers to summon Batman and Robin into the past in order to deal with the marauding giant. Oh, Carter Nichols, when will you realize that not all of life’s problems can be solved with time-hypnosis?

"Oh no, he's been David Finched!"
Somehow Nichols can indeed remote-hypnotize Batman and Robin through time without their consent, which is terrifying, and brings the Dynamic Duo into the mix in order to further complicate matters. Packing an emergency bottle of adrenaline – apparently Gotham’s number one party drug in 1948 – Batman attempts to restore Ivan’s mind, but is himself overpowered and then jazzed up with adrenaline by the malicious Mallert. The result? BATMAN RAMPAGES THROUGH THE VILLAGE. Bat-rampage! Batpage!

It turns out that Batman was faking the rampage, although exactly why isn’t really made clear. Listen, it was part of his plan and in the end Ivan has his mind restored, that’s all we need to know. Well, also, all that adrenaline has left Ivan with a post-maniacal rampage hangover and a deep abiding sense of regret, so he grabs the coy Mallert and dashes into a room full of exploding chemicals which Frankenstein keeps around for giggles and dynamic suicide.

The subsequent explosion knocks the castle to the ground and kills everyone involved, including Batman and Robin the en- wait, no, sorry. Batman and Robin make it out with Doctor Frankenstein and Professor Nichols safely, but apparently end up hanging around town for a few more days because they hadn’t yet messed with local timelines catastrophically enough. When “an Englishwoman writer” shows up, “attracted by the terrible case,” Batman spills the beans on everything that’s happened, prompting the young lady to return home and write a “fictionalized” version of the weird events, lest no one believe her account. Which either means she thought the guy dressed like a rubber ferret and the bare-limbed, masked boy who accompanied him weren’t notable enough to include in her final draft or the DC Universe’s version of Frankenstein includes a pivotal role for Batman and Robin. “Polluted by crimes, and torn by the bitterest remorse, where can I find rest but in … vengeance! Yes, that’s it,” says the monster, “I shall become a BAT!”

Western literature in Batman’s world is a weird creature, I bet he shows up in Love In The Time of Cholera, too.

"Listen here little lady, let Batman write the timeless prose of an English-language masterpiece. You go back to darning socks or whatever it is you ladies do, okay? Okay sweetie, that's a good girl."

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