Hell yeah he bench-pressed a coffin lid and 600 lbs. of loose dirt.

Batman’s dead. That’s what Grant “Godlike Genius” Morrison would like us to believe in the most recent issue of this beloved comic book institution.
Proceeding under this – completely naïve – delusion, I’d like to take a moment to consider my top five, all-time Batman moments.

5. “They’re rubber bullets. Honest.”

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Known for his psychotic, libertarian take on the Dark Knight, Frank Miller has entertained us for years with an over-the-top, scarred version of Bruce “I’m the goddamn Batman!” Wayne. While “Year One” is, in my humble opinion, a much better story, “The Dark Knight Returns” is second-to-none in terms of its iconic-status in the Bat-cannon.
The dystopic (effing Ronald Regan is president for life), gritty world we find our hero in sets a perfect backdrop for a character study of an aged, apathetic Dark Knight who is called back to duty by a new breed of criminal.
It’s a story we’ve heard many times before and since, but setting up a story where the protagonist must once again wear his old mantle reminds us both why we love a particular character, but also gives creators and fans an opportunity to push the character in new directions.
This being said, the slightly sadistic streak Bruce displays when incapacitating criminals with a high-powered sniper rifle is funny, but unfortunately a portent of crappy writing to come.

4. “SWEAR TO ME!!!”

Batman Begins
However, even more so than “Year One”, writer David S. Goyer, director Christopher Nolan, and Christian Bale were able to give us what may be the definitive Batman origin story for a generation of filmgoers.
The slight insecurity that Bale was able to bring into the character’s first interrogation, of Detective Flass, was completely believable, if now a bit comical and much-imitated.

3.  Selina decks Pam

Batman :Hush

Sometimes our reactions to things say as much about us as our actions themselves. After being the victim of Poison Ivy’s “charms” and doing her bidding, and nearly being fried and smashed by an Ivy-intoxicated Superman, Batman, Superman, Krypto and Catwoman track down Ivy. Once captured, Selina takes the opportunity to floor Pamela Isley. After Supes asks her if it was necessary, Batman and Catwoman share a brief glance and flatly reply “yes” in unison. This is why she is a better Bat-girlfriend than Talia, despite what anyone might say.

2.  Batman outwits Darkseid

JLA: Rock of Ages

Disguising yourself as Desaad for 15 years to learn of and thwart the God of Apokalips takes some serious effing committment. Nuff said.

1. Requiescat en Pace Ultima?

Batman # 681

What can I say? After going through an ordeal that left his mind literally shattered (I AM THE BATMAN OF ZUR EN ARRH!) Batman is gassed by the Joker and the woman he loves — the fittingly named Jezebel Jet — and burried alive. In true Lucio Fulci fashion, Batman disinterrs himself by lifting the coffin lid and loose earth off of his body, all the while calmly describing his mental state and the means by which he has countered his enemies. He hunts down Dr. Hurt, and in a fire helicopter crash “dies” (maybe) while reminding us of the steely determination and borderline insanity that makes us love Batman.



9 Comments on “Hell yeah he bench-pressed a coffin lid and 600 lbs. of loose dirt.”

  1. you included a scene from hush – hush! of all the batman stories! – but did not include the joke between joker and batman at then of the killing joke?

    disappointments abound!

  2. bluecollar49 says:

    Here’s another resounding bat moment..

    Bane, breaks the Batman’s back..now this is just one nasty guy.


  3. Doctor Brown says:

    Hey, you are welcome to make your own list, Michaels. We at “Doctor Brown” feel that the so-called “Killing Joke” exchanged between Batman and the Joker was much to obvious, and — honestly — says more about Alan Moore than the established character of Batman.
    The scene from Hush shows Batman as someone who values free will, loves the people in his life intensely, and who is willing to bend the word of the law to enforce its spirit.
    It is much to easy in this post-Watchmen/Miracleman/Killing Joke- world to see superheroes as whackjobs in capes who are no better than the villains they senselessly beat on. But if they aren’t any better, and if there can’t be a sense of fun and morality to them, then we’ve wasted countless hours of time masturbating our own bully-boy desires instead of being inspired by tales of heroism. I refuse to believe that.

  4. psycholarry says:

    I actually thought the ending joke of “Killing Joke” was the weakest part of the story, and the most incongruous given what preceded it.

  5. Tito says:

    I’ll throw in a third opinion… that the joke at the end of “The Killing Joke” was a definite Joker moment, not a Batman one.

  6. i guess i am stuck defending the end of the killing joke. given my skillz at literary analysis, this presents a problem. but i’ll try anyway.

    i consider the end of the killing joke to be a great joker moment AND a great batman moment. what the joke means, i think, is that batman and the joker are two crazy – one for order, the other for chaos – people who in the end can’t let the other survive. their ideologues are just so incompatible. eventually one day one will kill the other – just not today. and that’s why they laugh – the both realize the insanity of their situation. yet neither can – or will – leave the path they are on – the joker will not reform & batman will become a terrorist. thus one day one of them will be the end of the other. i think the killing joke is a very complex story with a lot to say about the nature of sanity, law, order, and fate.

    the reason it is such a great moment is that it really sheds a lot of light on one aspect of batman’s character – one reading of him.

    and doctorbrown you well know that i’m not a believer in the “all superheroes are whackjobs” school – as known as the ennis and ellis school. such stories have their place and can be interesting but often – especially these days – they suck. just like any other “take” on superheroes.

    and i DON’T think that batman-as-crazy is the definitive take on the character. i mean, i LOVE batman: the animated series and there batman is decided NOT crazy. there are other examples.

  7. psycholarry says:

    But the laughter at the end of the Killing Joke also represents Batman laughing uproariously with the guy who just crippled a young girl and partner, humiliated her, then tried to drive Batman’s close friend mad to prove a point. It felt inappropriate, like laughter after Jason Todd was killed or Ted Kord was shot. As DoctorBrown said: Batman loves his friends deeply, and I don’t think the levity jives with that.

  8. i don’t think the laughter represents “levity”. it seemed – to me – the sort of laughing so that you don’t cry. or the laughter of a lunatic.

  9. Doctor Brown says:

    but Batman is not a lunatic. His insanity is meticulous and driven, but organized. I can see him as crazy for order, and I understand the semi-orgasmic laughter at the end of the story from a “laughing so you don’t cry” stand-point, but I agree that it does not jive with the situation or character at all. To reference the much beloved Batman TAS — the lack of a scene from that series in this list is a grave oversight on Doctor B’s part — Bruce won’t even watch It’s A Wonderful Life because he can’t get past the title. This man would laugh with a mortal enemy who physically/psychically wounded two of his best friends?

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