Sunday, February 19, 2012

Batman's Greatest Mistake

Batman is known for his ability to get out of about any situation that lands him in dire straights . He's the goddamn Batman and there is just no stopping him. From battles with Superman to saving the world over , and over again he just about always manages to come out on top.

CONTINGENCY PLAN. Bat Family readers know this two word phase really well. Batman always has one. It's his ability to be prepared , trained , and know who what when where how for any situation. A full proof to always be the guy who wins. Grant Morrison's BATMAN R.I.P series showed us that Bats was even prepared for a mental attack if someone were to attempt to break him down and make him even more bat-shit than what the guy already is.

"Yes , this happened!"

This was a back up personality Batman had on the back burner , The Batman of Zur En Ar ( Zorro In Arkham ). His readiness is to the extent that he has a back up personality if the shit gets to thick , breaks him down mentally to where he can be sleeper celled to have this hobo batman come to be.

So with this supreme ability to ready for anything how can I possibly write about his biggest mistake. That's easy. Batman's biggest mistake is Robin. I'm not just talking out my ass here. The boy wonder is really , and truly his greatest mistake.

Allow me to explain.

"Jason Todd as the 2nd Robin"

Jason Todd. The second person to take up the Robin mantle. My early years of reading Batman books this was my Robin , and I actually liked him. However I'm guessing readers before me absolutely hated him because he just wasn't anything like the first Robin , ( yes I'm going to get to him to! ) because he was rude , abrasive , hot headed and was just quick to mess stuff up. People disliked Jason so much that DC Comics took notice and had two separate 900 numbers where readers could call in and decide his fate. Live or Die. Well , my vote was out shined . YOU ASSHOLES KILLED MY ROBIN! Until almost twenty years later.

"Joker beating Jason Todd to death "

It's common knowledge , almost no one stays dead in the comic universe . There are some major loop holes where people who don tights get to come back I guess. Jason came back and more bitter than ever.

Jason Todd returned in the pages of Batman in the year of 2005. Thanks to the help of the Al' Ghul family using the Lazarus Pits they were able to resurrect him and add uber assassin abilities to his already awesome Batman sidekick prowess. Still angry over getting offed by Batman's greatest foe the Joker ( doesn't matter who it is that offs you I imagine anyone would be pissed ) , Jason learns that Mr. J is still alive and kicking and takes that as more salt in the wound. The guy is wanting back at both now. Joker for killing him and Batman for not killing off the Joker for slaying him. Todd doesn't let on he's back right away though. He plays an elaborate game of Who's who with Batman under the mantle of The Red Hood. ( The Red Hood is an origin story that came about in The Killing Joke as Joker's origin story , who Joker was prior to being who he is now ). So in an ironic twist , Joker's Origin the guy who killed him , is now Jason Todd's new coming to be.

Todd is relentless , damn near unstoppable for Batman since knowing all Batman's tricks , and KILLING off the crime bosses in Gotham and taking over they're gangs as his own. ( Batman says killing is a big no no and against Batman family policy ).

Batman created , what I feel , one of his major foes during this run. It's hard to stop the enemies who know literally everything about you , your style and what you are going to do to try and stop them.

It panned out in Batman's favor in the end though. Jason left him with a choice , which was HIS mistake , of either letting him kill Joker or letting Batman take a fatal bullet. Batman was able to subdue the situation though and no major characters were killed off in the end.

Villain Jason carried on a while longer , and later into more of an Anti Hero , Punisher styled character feeling that killing was necessary , and that crime wasn't going to go away so at least try and control it.

After Batman was sent through out time trying to find his way back to present day , there was the Battle for the Cowl series where everyone tied to the sidekick role was donning the cape and cowl. Even though I knew Jason was to anti to keep in that spot his take on the caped crusader was rather gnarly in my eyes and a Gatman would have been really cool.

" Jason Todd in the Cape and Cowl "

However the biggest mistake of having a Robin doesn't stop there. Bruce Timm , known for the 90's staple of Batman The Animated Series has done goddamn wonders for the franchise. He introduced us to Harley Quinn , who was made specifically for the show , but was such a fan favorite was made canon into the pages of the Batman universe. He also contributed another animated show known as Batman Beyond which was based in the future where Batman had become to old do don the cape and cowl and picked up a protege like always , but to actually be Batman instead of Robin. GRANTED , Toby McGuinness ( future batman ) always has Bruce telling him what to do via radio in his cowl.

Now this series , like Bruce Timm's addition of Harley Quinn is now canon in the Batman universe and more fuel for me saying why Batman messed up on ever getting a Robin.

" Time Drake , the third Robin "

Tim Drake came to be the third Robin and was more than likely easier on the fans of the first Robin simply for the fact he was at that circus and witnessed the Flying Graysons die. He was a huge fan of the Dynamic Duo and was a lot easier around the edges than Jason Todd was. He fell into the tragedy loop of anyone associated with Bruce Wayne later down his road in the Identity Crisis story arc where his father was killed by Captain Boomerang , left orphaned to be brought up by a militant mad man hell bent on eliminating crime in Gotham.

He was accepted by the readers , he was a lot like Dick Grayson the first Robin in many ways. He followed suit and eventually became a Teen Titan and broke off from the Robin role to don his own identity of Red Robin.

" Tim Drake as Red Robin "

But if Tim followed suit of Grayson , how is he a mistake? Okie doke , here's the explanation. Like I said Batman Beyond was made canon and probably the best tale to come from that was the Return of the Joker story arc.

The story does a flash back scene where Tim get's kidnapped by Joker and Harley and tortured and experimented on to the point where the kid just snap's. Reveals all the stories and secrets to the Joker , names , locations of things you name it , Robin sang like a canary. ( see what I did there ).

So as you see the shit went down , Joker dies and Harley went on to have offspring who had offspring who also appear in that film. That alone isn't the only reason why Tim went left though. During his time kidnapped and being brainwashed joker in his absurd level of insane brilliance found a way to implant his DNA in to Tim to literally take over his body and live again another day STILL RETAINING all Tim Drake knew of Batman. That's right Tim became a WERE-JOKER!

While not as purpose and direct as Jason Todd's heel switch was non the less it's another case of a Robin going bad and wouldn't be the case if Batman had stayed solo.

Batman has down time every so often and he had enough one night to knock up Talia Al' Ghul. He didn't know until some time later till the boy was approaching his almost teenage years when Talia had to hide him because the boys nut job grandfather Ras Al' Ghul needed to use his body as a vessel to live on forever. Where did she hide him? With Batman of course.

" Damian Wayne as Robin "

Now this situation of a Robin gone " fowl " ( ha ha I DID IT AGAIN! ) isn't totally Batman's fault. Should he have worn a rubber ? YES! But the kid's up bringing was done by the League of Assassins and he's a trained killer , and so that's his way of thinking. Kill and be done with it.On top of everything he has a shit nose punk kid attitude when coming into the Wayne family way of things. He doesn't get the logic in letting the bad guys live ( which is another great Batman argument ) and is all around annoying. You would want to beat his ass if he couldn't beat yours first kind of deal. Time and time again he gets his Xbox taken away for killing on the job. ( Figuratively ) He just brings animosity to the situation in his earlier stories. Basically putting a mini killing ninja in the Robin costume is a lot for the family to keep up with. Now day's they have him a little more mellow but he still jabs in a death blow time to time.

After Bruce Wayne dies in the future it's up to this kid to take on the role of The Dark Knight , and he does. His role is a mix of everything he learned on both sides of the field though. He's for Gotham's defense but he has never been scared to take a life. We learned all this in issue #666 of Batman. He's darker , will kill you and has a tad bit of an ability to heal major damage at will. Not to mention he names his cat Alfred.

Killing isn't the way of who wears the cape and cowl but left in his hands he just did what he saw fit. Bruce never would have agreed and in return would have been marked as a failure .

All this brings me to the most recognized of the people who have taken the mantle of Robin. Dick Grayson.

True and true Grayson has been greatest sidekick. Everyone's favorite Robin and even after going solo as Nightwing he still remained a fan favorite. I always pictured the Nightwing character as a Batman with a Spiderman attitude. He will be all dark and hidden but during the fight he's going to keep your mind busy with the smack talk. He's the perfect good hear-ted Boy Wonder.

" Dick Grayson as Nightwing "

So where is the mistake in this guy? He seems pretty good and clean cut. " A good soldier " as Batman would say. Well , he is. Too good.

As I stated earlier Batman Beyond was made canon , and it got turned from animated series to print in the good old comic format. Within those pages we learn something about Grayson , he gets cloned.

Amanda Waller snags some of his DNA in the event something happens to the Bat Family and no one is there to take on the role of Batman , because , Gotham will always need a Batman.

So this Dick Grayson clone get's out and starts gunning down all the old criminals of yesteryear under the mantle of another old Batman enemy named Hush.

Terry and Bruce catch hell trying to figure it out , Terry almost is killed by fake Dick Grayson , and Real Dick Grayson has to get involved. I'd like to comment there is some serious bad blood between Wayne in Grayson in the future as well. All in all they thwart the would be may some day clone of Dick to become Batman but at the near cost of Terry's life. Until they revealed the cloning process I was a little pissed that Grayson had made the list of bad guys. Thank goodness for cloning.

Garyson is destined above all though out of the Robin roles to messed with in the stories I feel. In non canon but totally awesome , Frank Miller's The Dark Knight returns series Dick goes bad guy in it as well in a very Joker style fashion , and going through some gene therapy to top off his abilities even more.

These enemies are big . They all spawn from Batman's sidekick. By Robin. Batman's got your back guy , the people he trains to be him. they know everything about him , why he does what he does , they know his weaponry , his fighting style and even how bad he can stink up a bathroom. In turn you can say Batman knows these things about his Robins as well , but he never expects them until it's almost to late. These near fatal incidents , wrong people getting his spot all could be avoided if he didn't bring others into his war. I love having a Robin character don't get me wrong by this , but I feel Robin because of the closeness and destiny they turn on him is Batman's greatest mistake.


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