I was one blessed geek today! I got to meet the man who has been the voice of Batman for as long as I have been alive: Kevin Conroy! I grew up watching this man’s version of Batman! Just being in his presence made my life complete! It was like meeting the Dark Knight in person!
I watched the first episode and trailers of the fifth season of Gotham and I look forward to seeing Jeremiah complete his transformation into the Joker. Based on what I have seen, it looks like Jeremiah will become even crazier than he was last season such as laughing more often and displaying more theatrics. On a map of Gotham City’s current state, it was revealed that every supervillain has carved out their own chunk of territory and are defending them to the death. However, when Harley Quinn snuck into the room, she drew a smily face with a mouth that said “HA HA HA”. This implies that Jeremiah is the true ruler of Gotham City’s criminal underworld and is seemingly ruling from the shadows. Later in the season, we will see Jeremiah fight Bruce Wayne within the Ace Chemical building, right above some vats of chemicals. This is obviously a reference to the Joker’s origin story in the Tim Burton Batman film. In that film, the man who would become the Joker fell into a vat of chemicals, which resulted in him becoming the Joker. With this in mind, it is obvious that Bruce is going to knock Jeremiah into one of those vats of chemicals, which will result in his completed transformation into the Joker. I hope this is what will happen because it was such a letdown when Jerome died.
I look forward to Gotham Season 5 for one specific reason: we will get to see Bruce Wayne complete his transformation into Batman! Many fans don’t realize this, but we saw Bruce Wayne die with his parents in Crime Alley in the first episode. Up until now, “Bruce Wayne” has been a shell filled with raw untamed psychological power without an identity of his own. Now, Gotham City is under siege, its criminals are taking over, and its citizens are trapped. As they say in Game of Thrones, “kill the boy and let the man be born.” In its darkest hour, Gotham City needs Batman more than ever. From the fires of chaos and madness the last remnants of Bruce Wayne will fade and the Dark Knight will rise! It will be the start of a war Batman will fight for the rest of his life.
In the Flashpoint comic, we were introduced to an alternate version of Batman. Instead of Bruce Wayne, this Batman is his father, Dr. Thomas Wayne. Due to the Flash altering the timeline, Bruce was shot in Crime Alley instead of his parents. As a result, Thomas Wayne became Batman while his wife Martha Wayne was driven mad with grief from the murder of their son and became the Flashpoint Joker. Compared to his son, Thomas is a darker and more brutal version of Batman who has no problems of killing to get the job done. Witnessing the death of his son and the madness of his wife turned Thomas Wayne into a bitter and constantly angry old man. While Bruce uses high-tech gadgets to fight crime, Thomas uses guns and explosives. As Barry Allen once said, if Bruce Wayne is James Bond then Thomas Wayne is the Unabomber. Overall, I like Thomas Wayne as Batman because he provides a much deeper and darker look at the persona of the Dark Knight.
Many people regard Bruce Wayne to be Batman’s secret identity. Personally, I think it is much more complicated than that. As the supervillain Bane put it, Bruce Wayne is the mask and Batman is who he truly is. That may sound like nonsense, but allow me to explain. From a psychological perspective, Bruce Wayne died in Crime Alley along with his parents. Afterwards, he became raw, untamed psychological power that took the form of the fragments of the Bruce Wayne persona. After years of training, the psychological power that was Bruce Wayne was hammered into his new personality: Batman. Batman is the glue that is holding the shattered remnants of Bruce Wayne together.
Easily one of the most famous hero/villain relationships in the superhero genre would be Batman and the Joker. For years, these two have battled one another in the streets of Gotham City. In addition to being a famous relationship, I find that their relationship is also quite more complex than a regular hero/villain relationship. The Joker’s greatest weakness is that he cannot imagine a world without Batman. The Mark Hamill Joker said, “Without Batman, crime has lost its punchline.” The Heath Ledger Joker said, “I won’t kill you because you are too much fun.” In the Batman animated series, the Joker thought Batman was dead and threw a funeral for his nemesis. In the Dark Knight Returns, when Batman disappeared into retirement, the Joker lost his will to live became catatonic, but when Batman returned, the Joker was back to his old self. Batman, on the other hand, has no such obsession with the Joker. There are even times when Batman toys with the idea of killing the Joker. In The Dark Knight Returns, during his final battle with the Joker, Batman said, “All the people I murdered by letting you live.” Batman feels responsible for every death the Joker causes because he spares him every time. However, he does not kill the Joker because he knows there would be no turning back. The Joker is like a twisted reflection of what Bruce Wayne could have been when he witnessed his parents’ murder. Overall, Batman and the Joker are the best and most complex examples of how superheroes and supervillains interact with one another.
After watching the documentary, Superheroes Decoded, I became aware of the old 1943 Batman short films. After watching it, I can instantly see how low budget it was. Batman’s cape kept wrapping around his arms when he fought and the ears on his cowl were flopping everywhere. It was kind of funny. Still, I enjoyed this part of the constant evolution of the superhero genre and would recommend it to the die hard Batman fans.