Thursday, February 19, 2009


#1. Batman vs. Superman

The last book of the “Batman: Dark Knight” series was sub-titled “The Dark Knight Falls.” In this book, things take a turn for the worse for Batman in terms of public support when he finally kills the Joker while all of America is following the situation. Although Batman escapes police custody, his actions are not hidden from Superman, who determines that he must be brought in to take care of Batman once and for all.

It is hard to believe how much of an influence this Frank Miller series was, from the depiction of Bruce Wayne's parents' murder (and the pearl necklace of Martha Wayne) to the return to a yellow oval-less costume, but most importantly, to the relationship between Batman and Superman, as pretty much every writer featuring both heroes after this series used their interaction in this comic as their guiding light.

Batman views Superman as a government sell-out, but Batman also sees both men as dinosaurs in a new world. After Superman keeps a Russian nuclear missile from detonating on its target, the bomb still gave off a massive electromagnetic pulse that practically sent the United States back to the Stone Age. Superman is close to death from the blast before he sucks in some energy from a flower (the blast cuts Superman off from the sun, period, but gains power from flowers, which in turn collect energy from the sun).

Superman then goes to take care of Batman at the place where Batman was born, Crime Alley, where Thomas and Martha Wayne were gunned down. Superman does not know, though, that Batman has spent weeks preparing this final battle. First, he hits Superman with thousands of volts of electricity. Then he blasts Superman with ultra-sonic soundwaves. The startled Man of Steel is even more startled when Batman lands a clean punch on Superman, knocking him to the ground.

Superman quickly recovers and commences beating Batman up pretty badly when Green Arrow enters the fray as part of Batman's plan. The archer (now old and only having one arm!) plays his role when he shoots Superman with a Kryptonite arrow, developed by Batman. With the weakened Superman in his grasps, Batman delivers a chilling statement – "We could have changed the world…now…look at us…I've become a political liability…and…you…you're a joke. I want you to remember, Clark…in all the years to come…in your most private moments…I want you to remember…my hand…at your throat…I want…you to remember…the one man who beat you."

And at that moment, Batman has a heart attack and dies.

At his funeral, Clark attends (which some attendees find in poor taste) and as he leaves, he manages to overhear something strange – Batman's heartbeat.

Yep, Batman faked his death, and Superman is willing to go along with it. Batman formulated a plan earlier when Green Arrow notes that the government needed Batman dead. If that's what they needed, Batman figured, why not give them just that?

He is then able to proceed with his mission, but now in complete secrecy.

Until the next time he needs to pound some sense into Superman, that is.

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