DC's now-shelved Elseworlds line was an interesting way to take a peek at alternate interpretations of the iconic characters, sometimes with drastically different qualities. You might read about Wonder Woman if she were a cowboy, the Flash if he were a formula one racer, Batman if he were incredibly bad at solving mysteries or Superman if he had a hair-trigger temper and threatened to kill people with almost no provocation.
|Then they repaint that tiny figure a hundred different ways|
and sell each one as a "variant" at Comicon
Hanging out with Superman in the Bat-Cave, the Caped Crusader is busily testing a new ray-beam device on his young ward, Robin, which is literally ninety percent of Robin's job. "Stand in front of this ray, Robin," he might tell him, expecting unhesitating obedience, "Test this bullet-proof vest for me," or "I found this on the floor, taste it" he might instruct the gullible little half-wit. His famous last words, "It tastes like mashed potatoes, URK," and Robin is dead.
Anyway, Robin is actually testing a machine which makes little 3-d models of people and which Batman intends to use to create more perfect mugshot technology, even though it's clearly perfect for making action figures. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's how the WWE does it. All things being equal, though, it's absolutely irrelevant because the tiny-model-mugshot-machine doesn't play a role in the remainder of the story in any fashion whatsoever, which is clearly a violation of Chekov's 3-D Printer.
|Jet fuel can't melt planetary cores, Bruce. |
Don't buy the lie.
But no, Batman has further memories of Krypton, and of flying around a room, and lots of other stuff he's apparently repressed even though he can't stop remembering his dead parents for eight straight seconds. This leads him to the home of Dr.Thomas Ellison, former neighbor to the palatial Wayne estate and occasionally Bruce's babysitter when he was a bat-infink. Dr.Ellison has a guilty secret about the world of Krypton, evidently, as he damn near drops a whole milk carton and a dozen eggs when Bruce mentions it during his visit.
The reason? Well, it turns out Dr.Ellison DESTROYED KRYPTON. Accidentally. He'd been peeping on the planet with the use of a frankly impossible telescope which I'll nonetheless let slide, and had figured out that the planet was imperiled. Inventing a ray-beam which was intended to defuse the alien planet's unstable core, it apparently actually accelerated the destruction,causing the whole planet to explode. This is what you get for not testing a ray beam on Robin first.
|Are you sure you don't want to pick a less-stupid name?|
The downside is that Superman overhears all of this and decides to murder Dr.Ellison.
Luckily he doesn't, and it actually turns out that the whole thing is quite a jolly misunderstanding (insert avuncular chuckling). Dr.Ellison's raybeam did reach the core of Krypton's unstable mass, but rather than accelerating anything it actually just did nothing at all, according to file footage of Jor-El. Again, a good reminder to test your rays on Robin first.
The weirdest part of this story, however, is Batman's memories of Krypton. While under the care of Dr.Ellison - a self-described "lonely bachelor" - young Bruce was shown pictures and told stories of Krypton. Fair enough. Dr.Ellison, extrapolating on what he knew of the planet he'd been subjecting the relentless invasions of privacy, also knew that a Kryptonian on Earth would have amazing powers. To show Bruce what that means, he dresses the youngster in some Kryptonian baby clothes he happens to have around and then stages some photographs using a complete studio setup he has in his house, showing Bruce "flying" and "breaking bars" and god I hope that's all.
In hindsight from our very cynical age, this is ... unsettling ... behavior on the part of Dr.Ellison. I assume nothing untoward happened, of course, because of the medium and the era and also because this would spur Batman to start Batmanning at 125% of his current level of Batmanning at the very least, and that's just overclocking his Batmanning.
|Hey I'm Batman / And this is crazy|
But if you lure Superman / Call me, Robin