Wednesday, March 2, 2016


One of those weird "team building exercises," evidently.

In the annals of battles between the Man of Steel and the Caped Crusader, very few individual clashes can claim the peculiar honor as that of The Feud Between Batman and Superman (World's Finest vol,1 No.143, August 1964), wherein the conflict begins because Batman got his feelings hurt and Superman's trying to make it better.

That is you straight-up advocating
a crime, Superman.
During a battle with some garden variety gunslingers, Superman wades into the melee at top speed, positioning his invulnerable breadbasket between the Dynamic Duo and the trigger-happy goons. One of the slugs ricochets off of Superman's abs of steel and plants itself in Batman's abs of only-flesh, sidelining the Dark Knight Detective in a nonce.

Much as crooks might do to hide evidence of a criminal endeavor which has resulted in an unexpected injury, Clark Kent and Dick Grayson haul the uncostumed Bruce Wayne to the hospital and claim there'd been "a hunting accident." Cover those tracks, Superman, a charge of negligent homicide will really put a dent in your career.

Waking in the hospital, Bruce Wayne hesitates not at all in excusing himself from future crimefighting. He phrases it in terms of being ashamed at his mortal weakness having let down his best super-buddy, but it also might've merely been self-preservation. The next bullet that wings offa Superman's dick might end up shattering Batman's pelvis, and that's how that one lady got pregnant during the Civil War, according to Snopes.

To raise Batman's spirits, Superman encourages him and his kid sidekick to visit Kandor with him and Jimmy Olsen, where they will find some manufactured trouble which Superman has engineered with one of his tiny Kryptonian buddies. Kandorian official Than-Ar is all too happy to help Superman revive the threat of Metalloids, criminals who used wrist-mounted gadgets to turn themselves into half-robot monstrosities and rob the hell out of Kryptonian treasures. It's a good plan but certainly not one that will go out of control.

Well this is new.
The quartet land in Kandor, where Superman is rendered as powerless as Batman, in hopes of evening out the odds. So Batman shoots him in the lung. NO WAIT, that would be fair play and all, but instead they get wrapped up in the Metalloid Mystery. This sends Jimmy and Superman off to the Nightcave where they dress up like Kandor's version of Batman and Robin, Nightwing and Flamebird. This is all well and good but surely it's just reinforcing Batman's low self-esteem. "Look, Batman," Superman seems to be saying, "If I sucked, I'd be you!"

In the interim here, I'd like to mention that this story brings back a long and forgotten member of the Superman universe: Nighthound! The trusty telepathic animal sidekick of Nightwing and Flamebird, Nighthound is a golden, shaggy beast with a nose like if Richard Nixon's face has been a literal penis, and it runs around in a mask because you would too in its circumstances. I've never before suggested that beloved artist Curt Swan had any kind of serious Freudian issues, but you sort of have to assume there's at least a little, looking at Nighthound.

Step one: Put your dick in a mask.
When the hoax goes out of control -- real crooks start using the liberated Metalloid technology to rob the bottle city blind -- so does Batman, Incensed by Superman's shabby treatment, they engage in a grudge-settling custom well-suited for a race of Supermen many thousands of years more scientifically and culturally advanced then ourselves: They fight with swords.

Superman gives Batman a pity victory, but Batman takes it -- and then dashes off to beat the Metalloids at their own game. If you can't beat them, as they say, attach an alien Swatch to your mitt and become a robot berserkoid. The plan seems so attractive that Robin does it too, and it is genuinely disconcerting to see a boy in green short-shorts spawn a bullet-head. Somehow it looks weirder than the default scenario, which I can hardly believe.

Anyway, despite having only captured the criminals by super-powering himself up AND having only defeated Superman in an honor-brawl out of pure sympathy, Batman regains his confidence and returns to fighting crime in the company of his underage pal and their demigod chum.It's an odd solution to depression, and probably difficult for mental health professional to employ in every case, but if you're a therapist with a bottle city handy, you might as well give it a try.

I would have been remiss had I not included
Batman and Robin's rocket-assisted butt-bounce.

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