Tag Archive: villains

Hey there, kids! Dr. Ray Carsillo, Associate Professor of Superherolgy here for EGM. Today, we’re going to speculate as to what villains the Dark Knight may face in his upcoming game, Batman: Arkham Origins.

Along with a slew of screenshots, plot information leaked yesterday that Black Mask has called eight of the world’s greatest assassins to Gotham and put a massive bounty on Batman’s head. We know for sure that Deathstroke is, unsurprisingly, one of these assassins from those screens. But who are the other seven? Here are my best candidates for the job:


First Appearance: Batman #59 (June/July 1950)

Real Name: Floyd Lawton

Bio: Originally appearing in Gotham under the guise of helping Batman, Floyd Lawton actually had a grand plan to replace the Caped Crusader and then use the vacuum of costumed do-gooders to establish his own stranglehold on the Gotham underworld. This failed, of course, and when Lawton finally broke out of prison, he decided to become an assassin-for-hire instead. Consistently proving that he never misses, Deadshot quickly becomes one of the best assassins in the world, but frequent marks in Gotham has seen him cross paths many times with Batman over the years. His constant trouble with the law has led to several stints with groups like the Suicide Squad to put his skills to more noble uses while also trying to get shorter jail sentences.

Powers: Expert marksmanship

Why He Might Appear: Having already been part of an Arkham game increases the likelihood of Deadshot appearing. He’s one of the best-known assassins in the Batman mythos, and the huge bounty would play to the character’s more basic traits. Also, if the developers wanted to touch upon his origins, with the Penguin and Black Mask also being seen in screens, there’s a good chance for strong mob undertones to the game. If Deadshot wants a slice of the underworld to himself, this Batman Bounty would prove a perfect excuse for him to come to Gotham and try to weasel his way into one of the premier organizations before starting his own.

Lady Shiva

First Appearance: Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter #5 (December 1975)

Real Name: Sandra Woosan (or Wu-San, depending on the writer)

Bio: Born and raised in a shantytown protected by Ra’s al Ghul’s League of Assassins, Lady Shiva grew up around martial arts. After fleeing the village with her sister at a young age to pursue a better life in America, Shiva continued her training into adulthood before being tracked by David Cain, one Ra’s al Ghul’s best assassins. In order to free her mind from restraints she didn’t know she possessed, Cain killed Shiva’s sister. Realizing that Cain was right—that she needed to let go of everything, including her family, to reach her true potential—she entered into the League of Assassins with Cain and bore his offspring. This child would go on to become Cassandra Cain, the second Batgirl (third if you count Betty Kane, but most don’t). After Cassandra was born, Shiva abandoned the girl and continued her quest to reach her full potential, often fighting on both sides of the law to fulfill her personal wishes.

Powers: Martial arts grandmaster, expert in reading body language to predict opponents’ moves

Why She Might Appear: In a game revolving around assassins, the League of Assassins would need some sort of representative. Although I’m sure Ra’s al Ghul will also likely appear somehow, he rarely does his own dirty work and often employs people like Lady Shiva to do it for him. David Cain, Shiva’s lover, is also a possibility but less likely due to his niche status in the Batman mythos.  Therefore, Shiva’s easily the best-known candidate. Her past of both helping and attacking Batman could be an interesting side story—maybe even to set up a trap in the game—since Lady Shiva’s best-known story arc is the one where she helped train Batman back to full strength after Bane broke his back in the Knightfall story arc. On several occasions, though, she’s tried to kill several members of the Bat-Family.


First Appearance: Justice League of America #94 (November 1971)

Real Name: Depending on what media he appears in, Merlyn has a bevy of first names, including Tommy and Malcolm, with Merlyn always serving as his last name.

Bio: Once known as Merlyn the Magician, he was a world-class archer who fell out of the limelight after one great public archery contest against Green Arrow. Leaving the contest simply as archery rivals, Merlyn appeared many years later as a member of the League of Assassins, charged with killing Batman. Green Arrow prevented the attempt, however, and Merlyn was ousted from the League because of his failure. While at the League of Assassins, Merlyn also had a hand in Cassandra Cain’s training.

Powers: Master tactician, archer, marksman, and hand-to-hand combatant

Why He Might Appear: Even though he’s best known as a Green Arrow antithesis, Merlyn’s recent history has been heavily interwoven with Batman, especially now that he was last seen working with Talia al Ghul again. If the League of Assassins does make its presence known in the game aside from Lady Shiva, Merlyn would make an interesting villain to bring along under the League of Assassins banner. Not to mention it could lead to a Green Arrow cameo, whom DC and Warner Bros. have both been pushing heavily recently.


First Appearance: New Year’s Evil: Prometheus #1 (February 1998)

Real Name: Unknown

Bio: The son of two criminals who traveled the country committing numerous acts of theft and robbery, Prometheus watched from the sidelines as his parents provoked the police—until the cops had no choice but to gun them down in an alley. At that moment, he vowed to take revenge against all forces of “justice” that he might come across.

Powers: Variety of gadgets and weapons, peak human physical and mental ability

Why He Might Appear: Meant to be Batman’s perfect mirror image, Prometheus offers up an interesting battle that we see in many games, where the hero must face him or herself to advance (Dark Link, anyone?). Although Prometheus has a large sum of money due to his parents’ various stashes, he often meddles himself in mob affairs to garner more power. Again, with the mob angle clearly coming into play with Black Mask and Penguin’s respective presences, Prometheus might see this as the perfect time to confront his do-gooder equal while inserting himself into the Gotham underworld scene. Seeing as how all these assassins with underworld ties might possibly appear in the game, this could help introduce other mob bosses as well, like the Great White Shark, Carmine Falcone, Rupert Thorne, or Two-Face to go along with Penguin and Black Mask.


First Appearance: Batman #417 (March 1988)

Real Name: Anatoli Knyazev

Bio: Trained by a secret cell of operatives inside the KGB, the Beast was loyal to the Soviet Union and would do whatever it took to eliminate the targets he was assigned. His first encounter with Batman had KGBeast targeting 10 high-ranking officials inside the U.S. government in the hopes of crippling the “Star Wars” program. The Beast was mostly successful but failed to gun down his final target, then-President Ronald Reagan, after being thwarted by Batman. After this failure and the U.S.S.R. dissolving, KGBeast turned to a more traditional life of crime.

Powers: Prosthetic gun in place of left hand, enhanced physique due to cybernetics, explosives expert, extraordinary hand-to-hand combat skills

Why He Might Appear: The leaked info says that these are the best assassins in the world, and by the time he first met Batman, KGBeast had already successfully assassinated over 200 targets. His unique weapons—and considering the game is set in the past—could allow for KGBeast’s first appearance story to be mostly explored, especially as the game looks to have an open-world feel similar to Arkham City but twice as big. At the very least, it could be an interesting side mission to have high-ranking political figures in town—and Batman having to stop them from being killed by KGBeast.


First Appearance: Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1 (January 1993)

Real Name: Unknown

Bio: Born and raised in a prison his entire life, Bane’s natural skills allowed him to survive and later thrive under the harsh conditions. Building up his body in the prison gym and learning as much as he could, Bane quickly dominated everyone in the courtyard to become the unquestioned “king.” Seeing his potential, prison controllers felt he’d be perfect for an experimental drug called Venom. Using his new-found superstrength, Bane escaped his prison home and made a beeline for Gotham City, feeling it his destiny to break the Bat.

Powers: Master of disguise, photographic memory, expert strategist, Venom usage gives him superhuman strength

Why He Might Appear: Bane’s another character who’s already appeared in the Arkham games. If Warner Bros. Montreal decides to tap into a little bit of the Batman: The Animated Series mythos, it would be easy to make Bane an assassin-for-hire type, as well as a mastermind in his own right. This would explain what would bring him to Gotham in the first place, and since his own origins in the Arkhamverse haven’t really been explored, this could be the time to do it. Plus, he’s another big name from the Rogue’s Gallery and could really help complement Penguin and Black Mask. And let’s not forget that Bane is at an all-time high in terms of popularity due to last summer’s The Dark Knight Rises, and seeing him in a more traditional comic-book setting might be just the thing to keep his villainous momentum going.


First Appearance: Azrael: Death’s Dark Knight (March 2009)

Real Name: Michael Washington Lane

Bio: An ex-cop, Michael Washington Lane is approached by the Order of Purity when the former Azrael went mad and killed an undercover cop. Dressed in holy relics that speak to him—and after undergoing numerous purification rituals by the Order—Lane has lost some of who he once was, but his personal sense of justice is still his primary driving force, which has led him to be both an ally and an adversary to Batman.

Powers: Artificially enhanced physiology, specially armored costume

Why He Might Appear: I chose the more recent incarnation of Azrael—not the original from the early ’90s in Jean-Paul Valley—because Lane is another figure who’s appeared in the Arkham games. It makes sense for this version to be used here, because instead of trying to teach people about two different men as the same character, you create a bit of a new backstory for him in the Arkhamverse. All in all, this would be a lot simpler—and more interesting. Azrael’s always been a character who lives in that gray area and whose methods are too extreme for Batman to use himself; his religious undertones also make him a bit of a lightning-rod character. This could also lead him to believing that Batman is some sort of devil or demon—and that by purging him from the world, he’d be doing his holy duty, instantly providing a bit more depth in terms of character motivation beyond “I want to get rich and famous.” His character’s also susceptible to being easily manipulated—and he has a history with Ra’s al Guhl as well because of this.

What do you folks think of this list? Who do you think should be on here? What non-assassin villains do you think will crop up? Are you excited for Batman: Arkham Origins? Let us know with comments below! 

Originally Published: May 10, 2011, on Comicvine.com

A short while ago, I remember reading that DC planned on giving Dick Grayson his own rogues gallery, on top of those we’ve seen him fight for years as Robin and Nightwing, that would fit more his interpretation of Gotham’s Batman. And so far they’ve been true to their word with the introduction of Professor Pyg, The White Knight, and The Dealer to name a few.

Now, one of my nightly routines, when not out and about, is to watch the Adam West Batman series on The Hub. It is one of my earliest comic book related memories to watch its syndicated re-runs growing up, usually right after Captain N the Game Master and the Super Mario Bros. Super Show, so it’s a nice way to relive my childhood for 30 minutes every night now that I’m an “adult”.

This all got me thinking back to a three-issue Batman: Confidential storyline from a couple years ago that introduced King Tut into the comic world of Batman. It seemed like a blatant reach to introduce new villains into the comic universe, but if DC is desperate for some new foes, then maybe they’ll be willing to reach back a few more times to those 1960s classics to help flesh out Dick’s rogues a bit more with some faces that us old-school fans might also have an extra appreciation for. Here’s a list of a few suggestions that I think would fit and not be too cheesy if written right.

1. False-Face: Originally played by Malachi Throne of Star Trek fame, False-Face was rumored to be a replacement for a story line that was going to incorporate Two-Face played by Clint Eastwood, but was scrapped because of a conflict he had since he was shooting a little movie called “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” at the time.

This expert jewel thief and master of disguise was actually featured in one three issue story arc in the comics in the late 1950s before retiring, but found his way into infamy more as a ghastly looking figure in the Adam West Batman series.

In order to modernize this character, instead of just making him a regular jewel thief that’s awesome with make-up, we make him a professor at STAR Labs or Cadmus. For one reason or another, one of the Clayfaces has been transported there for another gauntlet of tests and much like how many of Arkham’s inmates corrupt those around them, this time there is an accident and some of the basic compounds of Clayface splash onto a random scientist’s face, giving it malleable properties similar to Clayface. From there you can do a couple of things. Obsessed with the power he now has, False-Face attempts to finish the experiment and become the ninth Clayface, which I would like NOT to happen, but DC loves making more Clayfaces as laid out in a previous article of mine here. Or, he simply uses his abilities to turn to a life of crime and crosses Batman’s path.

2. The Minstrel: An electronics expert played by Van Johnson, The Minstrel appeared in only two episodes of the Adam West Batman and covers up his strong technology and electronics background with the simple motif of a wandering minstrel who distracts with both his song and various gadgets in order to pull off his crimes, including holding all of Gotham ransom to the whims of a sonic earthquake machine he creates.

Similar to the Joker in that he loves hijacking TV signals to torment the people of Gotham with his songs, The Minstrel takes pride in the fact that most people think his character is simply a joke while they listen to his pre-recorded telecasts consisting of him strumming and singing threats directed at Batman and the GCPD while he robs Gotham blind at the same time.

This classic use of misdirection and his strong electronics background makes The Minstrel could be just as worthy of being in the comics rogue gallery as The White Knight or Professor Pyg if this wandering wannabe musician becomes a bit more vicious and apt to kill while holding all of Gotham ransom with a more modern doomsday device.

3. Egghead: One of Hollywood’s most well-known actors of the last century, especially for the low budget horror films he would take part in, was Vincent Price. But when speaking of his favorite roles, Price went on record several times as saying the five full episodes and several cameos where he played Egghead in the Adam West Batman series was some of the best times he had on a soundstage.

Although featured in the background of several Batman comics and even having one issue of the Batman: The Brave and the Bold comic based off the Cartoon Network show (that pays homage to the campy days of Batman more than some may realize) devoted to him, Egghead has never been a major player at any point in the main DC continuity. But if Egg Fu can become a major player like in the series 52, why can’t Egghead get a facelift and get a couple issues devoted to him?

The biggest problem with Egghead is just trying to figure out how to revitalize arguably the campiest character ever. He has some interesting weapons like egg shaped tear gas bombs and laughing gas, but maybe he’d have to go darker. Acid filled eggs and mustard gas filled eggs for example. His crimes could still have the egg theme as well. Some kind of priceless Faberge eggs could be on display by the Wayne Foundation when he drops his mustard gas eggs on the wealthy socialites of Gotham. He’d definitely have to lose the egg-related puns though.

4. Zelda the Great: The great Anne Baxter would be called upon the play Zelda the Great very early in season one of the Adam West Batman series before being recast to play Olga, Queen of the Cossacks, in the third season. Her time as Zelda though was one of the more interesting two episodes of the series as Zelda was the first of several reluctant villains over the course of the series.

Zelda was once one of the greatest magicians and escape artists in the world, but as time went on her act grew stale and her career began to flounder. It is here that she procures the services of a retired trickster who promises to revive her act at the price of $100,000 per new trick and escape maneuver. Unable to come up with the funds but not willing to relinquish the spotlight, Zelda resorts to crime to pay for her rejuvenated act.

This could be the easiest character to rejuvenate. Cut out the secondary trickster and you could link Zelda back to the Dick’s Haley Circus days, turned to a life of crime for various reasons. Or, you could put it up as a Batman and Zatanna team-up, as Dick needs assistance with the more magical element. A disenchanted magician and escape artist who only saw the craft as a means to make money and once no longer able to fill the theatres, she turned to things more macabre than simple parlor tricks and sets her sights on robbing Gotham blind.

5. Sandman: Played by the English born Michael Rennie and only featured in two episodes, and even those saw him needing to be supported by the lovely Julie Newmar’s Catwoman, the Sandman is another easy modern conversion.

An infamous European criminal mastermind, Sandman concocts a plan to retire for good if he could pilfer the fortune of Gotham’s billionaire noodle queen, J. Pauline Spaghetti. J. Pauline is an infamous insomniac and so Sandman poses as Doctor Somnambula, an expert in curing insomniacs. In reality, Sandman simply sprays her with his sleep inducing powder where the victim slips more into a hypnotic trance and has J. Pauline reveal the location of her private financial records including stocks, bonds, and a couple hundred thousand dollars in “petty” cash that Sandman documents in the hopes of pilfering later on.

Obviously, if Sandman were to be done in a modern story arc, he’d have to be a bit more grandiose in his schemes. Instead of putting one billionaire to sleep, he could focus on the whole of Gotham before he lets loose with his sticky fingers. Or maybe you could make it a bit more personal and have the billionaire he plans on targeting be Bruce Wayne.

There are several other villains who were also original or adapted to fit the series like the counterfeit stamp maker Colonel Gumm, the wayward cowboy Shame, the master thief, assassin, and bowman the Archer who tangled once with Superman, or the first Puzzler who was also adapted from a Superman adventure, and many more, but I felt these five would be the easiest to adapt to modern times and also fit somehow into Dick Grayson’s Gotham.

So, what do you folks think of this list? Would these characters fit into modern times after a facelift? Are there some other villains that could work if they shed their campy origins and were brought into modern times? Let us know what you think with comments below and be sure to always stay tuned to the SAME COMICVINE TIME, SAME COMICVINE CHANNEL!

Thunderbolts #156 Review

Originally Published: April 20, 2011, on Comicvine.com

With Satana joining the A-team of Thunderbolts, Warden John Walker and Songbird move forward with the selecting of the B-team, The Underbolts!

The Good

A cavalcade of villains we haven’t seen or heard from in quite some time look to be thrust into the limelight depending on what the exact role will be for this B-team of Bolts. With folks like Shocker, Mr. Hyde, and Troll looking to top the list, this B-team could definitely make for some interesting scenarios and leave Songbird with more than she can handle as team leader. Not to mention this could be an interesting set-up for a future standoff between the current team and this B-Team in the Raft.

As for the A-team, the new supernatural situation mission they find themselves on is definitely something we haven’t seen before and it should be very entertaining finding out how they’ll work their way out of this mess and just how much use their newest team member can be.

The Bad

After adding Satana to the team, you would have liked to see a little more of her interactions with the team aside from her barely failed attempt at seducing them all. Instead, the A-team of Bolts is immediately thrust into a new mission without her having a chance to really work her magic on the group or to the reader.

Along with this, the bouncing back and forth between this new supernatural zombie threat in Germany and the recruitment process back at the Raft was jarring and difficult to follow. I think it would have flowed much better had the A-team stuck around and helped take part in the screening process so we could see a lot more villains who have been gathering dust. Instead, it seems like an obvious build-up to have the B-team come save the A-team if this becomes too much to handle, even with Satana in tow.

The Verdict

I loved seeing some of the villains that took part in the screening process for the B-Team of Thunderbolts. Even if they don’t make it on to the team, it was great to see Shocker, Mr. Hyde, Super-Skrull, and many others even if Marvel will throw them back into a cage again after this issue.

This light-hearted cameo-fest was poorly balanced though by the A-team of Bolts being thrown back into a new, occult themed mission that seemed like an excuse just to see what Satana could do. I would have preferred a slower introduction of her character to the team and having these two stories going on at the same time made it harder to follow this cavalcade of stars we were seeing in these 20 pages.

Despite this, Thunderbolts #156 was an enjoyable read, especially if you’ve been following the series up to this point, and makes you want to pick up the next issue just to see what will happen between the A-team and B-team, even though you know it can’t realistically last having two teams of Bolts.

Originally Published: April 12, 2011, on Comicvine.com

It has become a very popular argument by Batman’s rogues’ gallery, especially the Joker, in recent years. The villains taunt Batman with the idea that if he weren’t around, most, if not all of them, would never have come into existence and that he is just as much to blame for their brand of chaos as he is. It is all an attempt to throw Batman off his game, but there is clearly some truth behind their words. Without Batman there surely would be no Joker venom, giant penny, or trick umbrellas. There definitely would be no “Same Bat-Time, Same Bat-Channel”. And there would be no Boy Wonder, Oracle, or Batman, Inc.

And speaking of Batman, Inc., the basis of this new idea is that there is supposed to be Batmen all over the world that will be supported by Bruce Wayne. But what if Bruce’s next logical step on his unending war on crime does the exact opposite though of his intent and escalates it instead? Could all these new Batmen, in an attempt to quell crime around the world, be the launching point for more villains worldwide, much like Bruce theoretically was for some of his in Gotham? The world has enough trouble staying together what with the threats the JLA, JSA, Green Lantern Corps, and others are constantly having to snuff out. I’m sure that exactly what the world wants is three new Jokers, two new Two-Faces, and a Penguin from Sicily.

Already the Batman of Japan, the former Mr. Unknown Jiro Osamu, has an arch-nemesis it would seem in Lord Death Man who re-emerged after a long hiatus in the launching of the Batman, Inc. series. What is it to say that this could not be the jumping off point now for Jiro’s own cavalcade of themed villains that could feature crazed samurai, ninja, or dragons that wish to take down Batman, Inc. and its representatives? And we all know how much Japanese people love dressing up in costumes (just check out the entire cosplay section of Anime Vice here).

Then there is Bilal Asselah, the Nightrunner, and currently the Batman of France. He truly lacks any sort of a rogues’ gallery, but that just sets him up for any number of possibilities. Bilal was last seen dealing with the difficulty of not being accepted by the Muslim people of France as they see him as an extension of an unnecessary American system. This leaves the door open for some extremist to come up with a gimmick to take him down. Or how about that France is home for many of the most evil and twisted group of clowns (even though they originated in Ancient Greece): mimes. It’s only a matter of time before one decides to become the French Joker that traps people in real invisible shrinking boxes that crushes them to death or hangs them from invisible ropes.

Of course, this is all dependent on these new Batmen at some point popping back up in the DC Universe and being fleshed out some more. Otherwise, are all these new Batmen simply tools to forward a current concept and never to be heard from again except as future fodder for another Crisis? Should the more popular ones come back as recurring characters in Batman, Inc. or get their own limited series or monthly spin-offs to expand the roster of DC rogues as a whole? Or will we start seeing more global inspired plots for Bruce Wayne’s villains in order to features these new Batmen more often?

And just how many Batmen are destined for Batman, Inc.? There are nearly 200 countries in the world. Will each one have a Batman? As interesting as it might be to see Batmen all around the world, and it would probably take several hundred issues to get to them all, the gimmick would definitely burn itself out at some point without adding some twists to the creation of dynamic, recurring, new villains with unique stories for these new Batmen or some huge event that features a lot of them all at once. Because right now Batman, Inc. seems like a drawn out version of an Elseworlds I read when I was a kid called Brotherhood of the Bat and in the end of that, “Damian” kicks the snot out of all the imitation Batmen.

So what do you guys think? If there were not a spike in the villain population caused by these new Batmen and some epic storyline that results from it, would this just be a waste of time? If new villains don’t start appearing all over the world, will Bruce Wayne’s rogues’ gallery have to give up the “Batman is the reason why we exist” argument? If the concept of Batman, Inc. doesn’t fail in the comics, does it mean the story will dry up and fail on newsstands instead if nothing radical happens? Let us know what you think with comments below!

The Return of King Tut

Originally Published: April 12, 2009, on 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com) and Lundberg.me

I usually like to use my column here as a chance to inform people and maybe entertain at the same time. I usually like to use my column as a force of good. I also usually don’t have the clarity of mind when driven to such a rage by bonehead maneuvers by the powers-that-be to properly channel it into a semi-coherent comic book rant. This article goes against that norm, though.

The powers-that-be in this case happens to be DC Comics, which also happened to be the subject of my last semi-coherent comic book rant after they killed off Batman.

Even with the death of the Dark Knight well behind us and being about one-third of the way through the “Battle for the Cowl” story arc, DC still has several titles that deal with the Dark Knight by using the spin that these are simply excerpts from Batman’s greatest case files (after all, Batman kept meticulous records). These titles are the Batman/Superman crossover and Batman: Confidential.

For the most part, I’ve enjoyed these titles as you see interesting spins on Batman’s first team-up with Superman against Lex Luthor or a different take on the Joker’s origin story. However, recently I’ve been noticing a trend becoming quite clear after the events of the recent 3-issue story arc in Batman: Confidential.

This trend is the integration of long-forgotten villains or villains introduced through non-comic book media into the comic canon.

The most recent example is the villain King Tut. For those who are not familiar with the many forms of Batman in the media through the years, King Tut is a villain who never appeared in the comics, but was a fabricated villain for Adam West’s 1966 Batman series. Victor Goodman was an archeologist obsessed with the legends of King Tut. While moving part of his King Tut exhibit into the Gotham Museum of History, an Egyptian urn was dropped on his head and when he awakened, he imagined himself as the ancient Egyptian ruler (As was the motif for the show, the villain was always played by a celebrated actor or actress; in this case, the split personality archeologist Victor Goodman was played by Victor Buono). WHAM!

The obviously bad idea that, 43 years after King Tut’s appearance in the campy TV show, the brass at DC felt it was a good idea to bring this character into the comic storyline is a clear sign of desperation in terms of writing. It symbolizes a lack of confidence in their planned re-launch (when they bring the Dark Knight back sometime within the next six months) that they are adding campy 60s villains to one of the most celebrated rouges’ galleries in comics. ZZZAP!

The next thing you know, we’ll be seeing Vincent Price’s “Egghead” character (a man with an egg-shaped head, pale complexion, and an obsession with poultry embryos) or Roddy McDowell’s “Bookworm” (a really ticked-off librarian and a Riddler knockoff) with his “Book-Mobile” causing Batman and Robin about as much difficulty as they did in the 60s (also, both never in the comics). BONK!

“What about characters that did appear in the comics and the TV show?” you ask. What? Like False-Face (master of disguise character), who only made one appearance in the comics (Batman #113, February, 1958; a bad year of villainy for the Dark Knight as it was also the year Calendar Man made his infamous debut) before people said he was nothing more than a toned-down Clayface? (False-Face would be re-imagined again when the animated series Batman Beyond used him as an international spy, but he failed there, too) He was used in the TV show only because he was a jewel-thief and not a murderer which played better for 1966’s primetime audiences and his costumes were easier to construct using the technology for the time (he was played by Malachi Thorne of Star Trek fame and nearly sued the producers of Batman for refusing to put his name in the credits in order to sell the illusion that False-Face could be ANYONE; in the end they settled on his name appearing in the end credits of the last part of his two-part arc). BAM!

If Louie the Lilac (played by Milton Berle, a gangster obsessed with lilacs and the color purple; basically a cheap Joker knock-off because Berle refused to wear any heavy make-up for a different character) makes an appearance, I may have to swear off Batman comics like I did with Spider-Man after his most recent re-launch. OOF!

To prove my point, with the “Battle for the Cowl” re-launch effort underway, old one-shot villains are re-emerging for no reason whatsoever. Jane Doe, Adam Bomb, Anarchy…do any of these names ring a bell? No? Of course not! They are being dragged out of obscurity and into the limelight for no reason except for DC to show you how much they’ve screwed up over the past 70 years and that maybe you can hope they’ll just kill them off in one fell swoop and promise to do better in the next 70. KER-SPLASH!

And let’s not forget Composite Superman who only appeared in a two-part arc in June and July of 1964 before his recent return in Batman/Superman a couple of months ago (basically a Bizarro rip-off that is one-half Batman and one-half Superman). One of the worst concepts ever, but DC brought him back for a one-shot story. THWOCK!

I love the history of comics. I love where comics have come from to where they are today. I understand why the characters in the 60s, no matter what the medium, no matter the level of success or failure, are important. That is why I am so furious that it seems that DC feels the need to try to re-justify a time period long since past by re-introducing these characters and re-working them for modern audiences into a canon they no longer fit into. POW!

The Joker has lasted 70 years for a reason. Clayface wasn’t an original villain, but he has proved to be one of the most popular even 50 years later. There are reasons why some characters fail and some succeed and these reasons usually translate over time so there is no reason to believe that a character that failed in the 50s and 60s will translate to today even with some re-tooling. When DC makes major plot decisions like this, all I see is the tarnishing of my memories of the 1960s Batman and the watering down of modern Batman stories. It is unnecessary and, as tacky and campy as the 1960s Batman was, moves like these are even more so.

-Ray Carsillo