When I first read Watchmen, I was introduced to the concept of morally ambiguous superheroes who were just as crazy and twisted as the villains they fight. No character embodied this concept more than the Comedian AKA Edward Blake. When the Comedian started his superhero career, he was 16 years old and was more of a thug than a hero. He spent time with the Minutemen for a while before being kicked out of the team after he attempted to rape the first Silk Spectre. The Comedian then went solo as a vigilante and started attacking sleeper agents of the Japanese government. In 1942 when Blake was 18, his activities caught the attention and interest of the United States government and he was recruited to be the enforcer of the United States. Throughout his time working for the government, the Comedian fought in World War II, the Vietnam War, and the proxy wars of the Cold War. Compared to his fellow superheroes, the Comedian was well aware of just how high the stakes were to saving the world and believed it could not be saved by the likes of them. Despite his attempt to rape her, the first Silk Spectre AKA Sally Jupiter fell in love with Blake and they had a daughter, Laurie, together who would succeed her mother as the Silk Spectre. In his own twisted way, the Comedian was being a protective father watching over Laurie. He played a role in convincing Laurie to return to her mother after she ran away from home to join the Hippies and afterwards tried to bond with her after the Crimebuster meeting. The Comedian’s superhero career came to a violent end when he was 61 years old. After discovering a conspiracy that shattered his cynical worldview, the Comedian was brutally beaten and murdered in his own apartment before being thrown out his own window. It was Blake’s death that set the story of Watchmen in motion. I like the Comedian because he demonstrated that even a superhero can be as flawed and human.
It looks like we will finally see Jeremiah Valeska complete his transformation into the Joker in the Gotham Series Finale. I have noticed a few things about this version of the Joker. After he fell in the vat of chemicals, he supposedly became brain dead. However, ten years later, he wakes up when Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City. We know that Jeremiah developed a twisted obsession with Bruce Wayne and only woke up when Bruce returned. It could be that the vat of chemicals were only part of the reason Jeremiah was catatonic until now. It could be he lost all sense of fun and purpose when Bruce left Gotham, but when Bruce came back he saw a golden opportunity to have another play date with his favorite victim. However, he clearly runs into someone who is far more fun than Bruce Wayne ever was: BATMAN!!! Thus the feud between superhero and supervillain begins!
This reminds of me of what happened to the Joker in The Dark Knight Returns. After Batman was forced into retirement for ten years, the Joker became catatonic and lost all sense of fun and purpose. But when Batman returned, the Joker was back to his old homicidal self. I think this is the approach the showrunners are going with Jeremiah’s character arc as the Joker. I can’t wait to find out if I am right.
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.
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.