Thursday, December 24, 2009

Fresh New Bats for Gotham. [Detective Comics #860 and World's Finest 3/4]

This week Detective Comics #860 came out, wrapping up the origin story of Kate-as-Batwoman (And possibly ending Greg Ruck and JH3's run on the title? I guess she's getting her on ongoing or something. I don't know, I've fallen out of following rumors.)

It's not like my feelings on TEC have been unclear over the past few months. Despite a few quibbles, it's effing awesome.

This issue wasn't any different. I read a great explanation of why the art was so damn awesome at iFanboy. So go read that, because I agree and it makes more sense than I could.

What I love about this is the reason Kate becomes Batwoman. Not because of her trauma. Not because she's got a chip on her shoulder or something to prove to someone. She does it because she's a soldier.

A good one.

You know what that reminds me of? Carrie Kelly. And the more I think about Kate Kane, the more I'm reminded of Carrie Kelly. Carrie has literally zero trauma in her past, other than the trauma of being a teenager in a really nasty version of Gotham. Her parents are both alive, if inattentive. Her friends are around. She does well in school. And then one night she decides to throw on a Robin costume and go be a hero. This is one of the reasons I've always liked Carrie as Robin, and one of the reasons that I've always disliked Bruce as Batman and Dick as Robin. It's probably one of the reason I kind of like Damian, ass that he is. Bruce, Dick, and Tim later on... they were all forced to wear the symbol because they couldn't deal with their demons. Carrie, Babs, Damian, Kate, Steph... they want it. I like when the hero knows what they're getting into but makes that choice anyway. Bruce did it because he was broken. It was interesting the first time, with him, but it's been 80 years. Having new reasons is totally okay.

The difference between Kate and Carrie is that Kate knows what she's getting herself into. She's a soldier from way back. Carrie becomes a soldier through her life with Bruce. Bruce is the old soldier, like Kate's dad. Bruce turns Carrie into something special. But he couldn't do it if she didn't want it.

Kate wants it. (I think I'm getting repetitive.)

Kate wasn't forced into being a Bat. The splash page of her going through training is brilliant for just that reason. It shows us that she's had it drilled into her over years: vengeance is pointless. You've already lost. Bringing them back won't work (erm). Do this to save one life. One night, one life. Another night, another life. That's victory. That's war. You kill to save.

The Bat becomes Kate's insignia. Not of fear or vengeance, but of war. And I may be a quasi-realistic pacifist (I understand but dislike the need for war), but it's damn nice to see a Bat start out for reasons like that. And in this world, in 2009, it rings absolutely, one-hundred percent true.


(Which reminds me that I enjoy the irony of her getting booted from the military only to go on and be a superhero. Suck it again, DADT.)

And then there was World's Finest #3 (of 4). I've been following this mostly for the next-gen team ups. Specifically Red Robin/Nightwing and now, the issue I've been waiting for, Batgirl/Supergirl.

I've talked before about why I love Steph Brown as Batgirl, right? LOVE. HER. And her team-up with Supergirl was both kick-ass and fun. I want to see them team up more often. After the battle of the Supermen, or wtf ever is going on with the Supes next year, let them be the World's Finest front-runners. Neither of them are going anywhere, probably, and the fate of all the other Bats and Supes is still up in the air.

What I loved about this was that it was two teenage superheroes going forth and bonding and kicking but. They were clearly having fun together without losing out on the point of why they were together: to save people. (Scene with Catwoman in the crate? Priceless.) They were both trained by Batman, to some extent. They both mourned his loss.

They both knew they had to move on.

(If only DC got that hint. You know, over in Marvel, Captain America just handed his shield to the guy who was wielding it while he was dead, his old sidekick, Bucky, and while it was totally awesome, it was underscored by the fact that there's this stupid Siege thing coming up and he'll probably just end up as Cap again anyway. But maybe I'm wrong and, if I am, I hope DC does something similar and Bruce Wayne finally moves on from being the Batman.)

Every issue that Steph is in is fun. She's like Power Girl, with a proportionate breast-to-body ratio. I don't feel guilty reading her title though, because it's just flat out awesome. And throwing a somewhat-snarky Supergirl into the mix makes it more fun.

Kon and Tim's friendship was great, back in the day (and made for some good drama after Kon died). Let's have a new Super/Bat friendship! I'm all for it. (Thumbs up from Kara, yo.)

Props, also, to Babs getting annoyed at Dick listening in. Because. Really. C'mon now. Also, Kara questioning Oracle's omniscience after an unknown answer... classic! I love it when smart, young women are smart and strong. It's so nice to see. Comics is really one of the few places to actually see that sort of thing, so I'm glad that, even with some of the bumps in the road, they keep on going.

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