How I Would Have Done It: New 52 Batman by Jerry Whitworth
Previously in “How I Would Have Done It”, we discussed DC Comics’ New 52 and how Superman could have been revised in a different way. It’s only natural to follow with Superman’s grim ally Batman, one of the most popular and recognizable heroes on Earth. The Caped Crusader of Gotham City, Batman was left relatively untouched by the new 52 changes save for Bruce Wayne’s great-grandfather being involved with a secret organization known as the Court of Owls and the Joker given a Leatherface-like remodel. Lets take a look at Batman and how I would’ve done it.
Describing the earliest adventures of Batman, we get to observe Bruce Wayne’s return to Gotham in trying to reform a system grinding down the poor, lower, and middle classes in favor of the rich and corrupt government and police (Wayne running afoul of the five crime families taking advantage of the corruption). Inspired by the Superman of Metropolis, Bruce Wayne becomes the Batman and smashes the mob and various other threats like Dr. Death and mad genius Hugo Strange. Even with his new ally Robin (the first teen superhero and sidekick), can Batman stand against the emergence of the supervillain in the Joker as he spreads terror across the city and foes like the Penguin, Catwoman, Riddler, Solomon Grundy, Scarecrow, and many more follow the Clown Prince of Crime? Observe the transition of Batman from outlaw to hero and the ascension of Captain Jim Gordon and Assistant District Attorney Harvey Dent as the trio band together against Gotham’s organized crime and menagerie of supervillains. These tales will uncover the secrets of Two-Face, Black Mask, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Damian Wayne, and Arkham City.
Surviving his journey through time and closing Arkham City, Batman must lead a small army of allies as they try to heal the wounds left on Gotham City by Hugo Strange, Ra’s al Ghul, and the now dead Joker. Joined by his son Damian as Robin, Batman must battle emerging threats like Dr. Hurt and the Club of Villains, Professor Pyg and his Circus of the Strange, Flamingo, Inque, Billy Numerous, and the Joker’s son Anarky (as well as threats of old gone underground since the events of Arkham City’s closing). What role will the League of Shadows play in becoming so close in their goal to destroy Gotham through Arkham City and what part does its new leader in the Joker play in its future?
Returning to a role he made his own, Dick Grayson again dons the garb of Nightwing as he stakes his territory in Gotham’s dilapidated Narrows while Batman focuses on the rebuilding of Old Gotham (formerly Arkham City) and Batgirl on New Gotham. Old foes like Lady Vic, Brutale, Mouse, Double Dare, Sylph, and Torque seemingly follow the hero as villains like Steeljacket, Gunhawk, Nicodemus, Electrocutioner, Gearhead, Lynx, and more make their bid on the territory as their own. Grayson also has his hands full as he finds himself attracted to the daughter of the man who ordered the death of his father in Sonia Zucco as Huntress, Batgirl, Flamebird, and Tarantula vie for his affection.
Former career cat burglar and mostly champion of Gotham’s East End, Catwoman has lived a difficult life complicated by her teenage daughter Helena Bertinelli (adopted into the Bertinelli crime family) reentering it and taking in her cousin Kitrina Falcone (while keeping an eye on her best friend and roommate Holly Robinson). It doesn’t help following the closure of Arkham City that a bounty has been placed on her head by Two-Face as well as drawing the ire of Black Mask for interfering in his dealings. Fortunately for Catwoman, her father figure retired heavyweight boxing champ Ted Grant is more than willing to play babysitter (as well as trainer).
No longer restricted to her wheelchair, Barbara Gordon is given the rare gift of a second chance as she battles crime in New Gotham again as Batgirl. However, her work is not limited to acting solo and must also coordinate her Birds of Prey training young heroines like Huntress, Spoiler, Misfit, and Flamebird with friends Black Canary and Katana. Matters are complicated with the reemergence of Tarantula, free from jail and seeking redemption on the rooftops of Gotham. Should Gordon forgive and forget or see the woman brought to justice for her vigilante activities (or, would such a course of action seem petty considering Tarantula’s past with Nightwing)? And even though Batgirl has abandoned the identity of Oracle, she still has to contend with her number one fan, and nemesis, the Calculator who seeks a final reckoning. The Calculator’s new enforcer in Deathstroke may make Gordon regret her choice to return to her costume.
I wouldn’t change anything. Well done.
BIRDS OF PREY
Formed by Oracle as a team of operatives in Gotham unaffiliated with Batman, the Birds of Prey became a highly effective covert unit that has worked around the globe with an extensive network of superheroes. Following Barbara Gordon’s recovery from her paralysis, Gordon has again donned the familiar garb of Batgirl joined by Black Canary and Katana teaching the next generation in Flamebird (niece of Batwoman), Misfit (metahuman runaway), Spoiler (daughter of the Riddler), and Huntress (illegitimate daughter of Batman and Catwoman). Complicating the mission, however, is Spoiler’s friend Duela Dent (daughter of Harvey Dent that believes she’s the daughter of the Joker), aka Harlequin, who wants to join the group despite being an active criminal the Birds want to bring to justice. In between defending Gotham from crime, the group must face the mercenary band of Cheshire and the Ravens as well as foes like the Twelve Brothers in Silk, Black Alice, and the Calculator.
Another great book. Scandal Savage, Bane, Catman, Deadshot, Rag Doll, and a seemingly rotating sixth member and their misadventures based out of the House of Secrets in Slaughter Swamp.
Originally formed as a proactive unit against crime by Batman (opposed to reactive like the Justice League of America), the Outsiders has gone through various incarnations most recently under Jason Todd as part of his road to redemption as the murderous Red Hood. This version of the Outsiders are also proactive and covert but differ from past incarnations in their willingness to break any and all rules to bring criminals to justice. Membership includes Manhunter (District Attorney Kate Spencer), Creeper, Onyx, Black Bat, Proxy (niece of retired GCPD detective Harvey Harris), Nemesis (Andrew Tresser), and Ragman.
While featuring Batman, Nightwing, Batgirl, Red Hood, Red Robin, Batwoman, Robin, Outsiders, Birds of Prey, Secret Six, and Batman, Incorporated, the stars of the title will be the lesser known members of the heroes operating in Gotham like Plastic Man, the Demon, Zatanna, Manhunter (Mark Shaw), Azrael, Creeper, Question, Ragman, Man-Bat, and Deadman. As an anthology comic, the title offers insight into the changes in Gotham City through the eyes of the various players featuring guest creative teams set to tell a finite story in brief chapters.
THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD
A team-up title for the Batman family, it could feature adventures like Batman and Martian Manhunter or Hawkman, Batgirl and Aquagirl or Wonder Girl, Nightwing and Miss Martian or Cyborg, Robin and Kai-Ro or Lian Harper, and many more. The series offers an opportunity to give a look at the new and revised heroes of Earth as well as test the waters for new series based upon them. It also offers creators the opportunity to work on characters they otherwise didn’t yet have a chance to play with or produce another chapter for characters they’re known for their work upon.
Born from the ashes of the Club of Heroes, Batman, Inc. is an international franchise spearheaded by Bruce Wayne who trains, supervises, and finances superheroes across the globe. While these heroes draw their own personal rogues galleries through their efforts, unknowingly they form a united front against the international efforts of the League of Shadows. With the Joker leading the League, global terrorism enters a new stage as the villain is given the opportunity to play with over a dozen Batmen across the Earth. The first class of Batman, Inc. will be forced to learn by a trial by fire they may not survive from.
TALES OF THE DEMON
A mini-series telling the story of the Wayne family as it relates to Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Shadows. In the nineteenth century, the League first crossed swords with the Wayne family in brothers Solomon and Joshua with the construction of Wonder City driving its occupants insane and attacking the rest of Gotham. The League would return trying to destabilize Gotham’s infrastructure but is hindered again by the efforts of the Wayne family in Thomas Wayne. When Bruce Wayne draws the attention of al Ghul in his journey to become an instrument of justice, can the millenniums old leader of the League of Shadows turn him into an asset? Discover the origins of Arkham Hospital, the feud between the Waynes and Cobblepots, the connection between Thomas Wayne and Jim Gordon, and the origins of other notable families of Gotham like the Sionis’, Golds, Falcones, Lawtons, and Elliots.
BATMAN BEYOND UNLIMITED
When Bruce and Damian Wayne are lost in the future of Gotham, they learn of the continuation of the Batman legacy in Terry McGinnis under the watchful eye of an aged Bruce Wayne. The arrival of Batman and Robin from the past is timely when Ra’s al Ghul again returns from the dead, more powerful than ever before becoming one with the Lazarus Pit. Will the Justice League Unlimited be able to save the Earth or did the Bruce Wayne of old come to the future only to see his legacy fail to save the world?
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[zstore contributorhandle=”batman” showhowmany=”12″]
It’ seems like your Batman is inspired not only by the comics but by the Dark Knight Trilogy and Batman Arkham Games cool.
Sad no love for Red Robin.
Why the change of making Spoiler the Riddler’s daughter? He has Enigma who could be her rival.
Thanks! I was inspired by Young Justice who sort of consolidated a lot of story to try and produce the best product, both for the fans and from a story level. So, I made a few cuts to emphasize this. Anarky is Joker’s son (which was hinted towards but editorial turned down), Huntress is again Batman and Catwoman’s daughter, Duela Dent is back as Harvey’s daughter without any pseudo-multi-parents, Wendy Harris is Harvey’s niece again, and I chose Stephanie as the Riddler’s daughter because I think it provides more story. Cluemaster, who is well and good, isn’t an instantly recognizable name and lacks impact. As Riddler’s daughter, however, it reinforces the brand without losing a great deal of its base context. In this way, now you have several of Batman’s greatest enemies’ daughters trying to be heroes (Huntress, Spoiler, and Harlequin).