Monday, December 14, 2015

Justice League: Darkseid War: Batman #1

I bet this scene would be even funnier if set in the All-Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder-iverse
Previously, in "The Darkseid War"...

Justice League #41 ("The Darkseid War" Pt. 1)

Justice League #42 ("The Darkseid War" Pt. 2)

Justice League #43 ("The Darkseid War" Pt. 3)

Justice League #44 ("The Darkseid War" Pt. 4)

Justice League #45 ("The Darkseid War" Pt. 5)

The Darkseid War has spilled over the borders of Justice League and is now spreading to a series of $4 one-shots, each colon-filled title focusing on a different member of the Justice League that has "ascended" to New New Godhood after the death of Darkseid (retroactive spoiler alert!).

The first, Justice League: Darkseid War: Batman #1, focuses on Batman, who was the first of the Leaguers to get the divine upgrade, having stolen Metron's seat after Wonder Woman pulled the Fourth World's god of know-it-alls off of his magical Mobius Chair back in Justice League #42.

What does Batman do with a magical super-chair that gives him complete knowledge of everything that has ever happened or is currently happening, when he's not trying to figure out what the deal with The Anti-Monitor is? That's the question that this book seeks to answer (well, that and, "Hey, is there a way we can get Justice League readers to give us four more dollars?"), and long-time Bat-writer Peter J. Tomasi will be phrasing that answer. He's joined by pencil artist Fernando Pasarin and inker Matt Ryan.

As we've been reading "The Darkseid War" together so far, we might as well read these one-shots together too, huh?



A rather nice one by artist Francis Manapul, who has taken over art duties on Justice League for "Act II" of the "Darkseid War" story line. This cover looks like it could have been originally meant for an issue of Justice LEague, as it features not only Batman, but also his fellow heroes-turned-New New Gods Superman, Captain Marvel Shazam, The Flash and Green Lantern Hal Jordan (the last of whom won't technically become a New New God until his own one-shot, but there's really no harm in foreshadowing a little, is there?). This will make a fine cover for the eventual trade collection of these one-shots.


A big, shiny black egg with a halo and jet engines on its base hovers far above Gotham City, and then zooms up and down it's streets, while Batman narrates in a New New God narration box (red border, white print, black background). This is what his Mobius chair looks like from behind. I feel a little weird about his chair, as it looks a little too big all the time, not quite large enough to make Batman look comically small while sitting on it, but not just big enough to look wrong. It also kinda bugs me that the chair redesigned Batman's costume, giving him glowing piping and glove-tips, but he hasn't redesigned the chair at all.

Doesn't everything Batman uses have to either be shaped like a bat, or have a bat-logo on it? Even if his mind isn't powerful enough to reshape the chair, I'm surprised he hasn't taken a few hours to have Alfred bolt some Bat-wings on it.


Batman and his flying chair arrive eight feet above the roof of police headwuarters, answering the Bat-signal that Commissioner Gordon had flipped on. This places the events of "Darkseid War" quite a ways back in terms ofrecent DC goings-ons/history/continuity. Not only is Bruce Wayne still Batman and Jim Gordon not bBatman (placing this before the current Batman story arc "Superheavy"and the preceding one, "Endgame"), but Commissioner Gordon is still Commissioner Gordon, placing this before the events of Batman Eternal as well.

Anyway, Gordon yells at Batman for a while, opining that maybe flying around the city in a glowing chair from beyond the stars might not be that great an idea, and expositing that Batman's recent usage of his vast knowledge to essentially Minority Report all crime in Gotham City is causing as many problems as it solves, as the system isn't set-up to arrest people for crimes they haven't yet committed.

Batman's like, "Whatever," and flies away on his magic chair.


We get to see Batman being a huge dick for ourselves! He stops a car full of gun-toting guys planning to rob a club and, after one of them shouts "WASTE HIM!" and we learn that Batman is now bulletproof, he boom tubes them to Antarctica, where he leaves them, informing them (and the reader) that a ship will be along soon to rescue them before they freeze to death.

Apparently, he took Gordon's complaint to heart, and, instead of just dropping criminals off at police headquarters, he's just teleporting them to faraway places.


Batman foils another about-to-be-a-crime, when a drunk Wall Street type sneaks into his ex-wife's house and grabs a knife, intent on killing her. He, rather hilariously, finds Batman hiding in the shadows of the kitchen...sitting on a ten-foot-tall, eight-foot-wide chair.
Batman booms this guy to Themyscira. One of the Amazons points her sword at Batman, and says "You were here before, with Diana, searching for your son." This is a reference on Tomasi's part to his own Batman and Robin #30. He and DC show remarkable restraint in not also adding a little asterisk leading to an editorial box pointing that out, and letting readers know that if they missed it, they can read all about it in Batman and Robin Vol. 6: The Hunt for Robin).

Batman tells the two Amazons that the man he's dropping off "likes to beat his women" and "intedende to murder his ex-wife" and that he thought a short visit to Themyscira would change the man's perspective on women. Then he chairs away, apparently feeling pretty confident that the Amazons were simply going to beat the living shit out of the guy, rather than kill him with the edged weapons in their hands.

PAGES 10-11

Done pre-crime fighting for the day, Batman know engages in what is apparently a weird-ass hobby of his. He visits the past, Christmas Carol style, and watches Joe Chill murder his parents in front of his childhood self. Later, Chill says he committed that crime "over 20 years ago" (which makes New 52 Batman over 28, just FYI), placing the time of the murder just prior to 1995 or so.
I find it amusing that he still dresses like a burglar stereotype from the 1950s or so, though; I almost wish he had a Beagle Boys-style mask to wear with his old burglar alarm commercial-style bad guy hat.

PAGES 12-15

Then things get even weirder, as Batman appears at "The Gotham State Penitentiary" (Wait, is Gotham a state as well as a city, like New York...?). There Batman visits the present day Joe Chill, somehow fitting his giant-ass chair into the "eight by eight" room.
He takes Chill with him to Crime Alley, and they discuss how many people Chill's killed over the years. Chill is pretty clearly terrified of the glowing Batman in the giant chair in his cell, but loosens up once they arrive in the alley, even bragging about killing the Waynes and the 38 other people he's killed over the years.

PAGES 16-18

Then Baman pulls off his cowl and yells "I'm Bruce Wayne!" so loudly that it knocks Chill down (see above). In a riff on the classic origin story in Batman #47, Wayne threatens to reveal that it was Chill who created Batman, thus making him the target of every criminal everywhere.

But Batman ends his verbal abuse of Chill by using his new New New God powers to make Chill and his cellmate forget that anything that happened on the previous six pages even happened.

I guess Batman just wanted to work that out of his system, maybe...?

PAGES 19-20

Batman returns to the cave, where two-handed Alfred has a sandwich, two bottles of water and a whole bunch of dry, British sarcasm ready for his Master.

He notes that Batman is bleeding from his ears, nose and mouth, and the Dark Knight responds that it's only because he's been fighting the chair, pushing it to do things he doesn't want to do (and, as anyone who reads many comics knows, psychic stress results in nose-bleeds).

Batman refuses Alfred's offer of food, noting that the chair "sustains" him now, and when Alfred, like Gordon earlier, says that maybe this whole super-chair thing isn't a great idea, Batman responds with "I can get off this chari any time I want."


He struggles for three panels, but no dice. He can't get up. Hopefully the chair is more comfortable than it looks, as he's been sitting in it for days now, and his lower back has gotta be killing him, and his butt must have totally fallen asleep by now.

Batman quickly switches gears, saying that not being able to get off the chair's not that big a deal, especially if it means that he can be "an absolute Batman dealing absolute justice."

And now that he's pretty much defeated all crime in Gotham by dropping dudes off in faraway places, and blown off some steam by watching his parents die and messing with Joe Chill, he's ready for his next big challenge...


...finally dealing with this guy, whose secret identity he finally learned (thanks to the chair) in the pages of Justice League #42:

If you look closely, you'll notice that Pasarin didn't just sample all those images of the Joker from their original sources, as many artists might have, but actually went to the trouble of drawing his own "cover" versions of the images, including three by Bolland, a few by Capullo, one by Doug Mahnke and several classic images.

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