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75 Greatest Friends and Foes of Batman: Allies #10-6

by  in Comic News Comment

In honor of the seventy-fifth anniversary of Batman, we’re doing four straight months of polls having to do with Batman. Future installments will deal with Batman creators and stories, but this month will be about Batman’s allies and his villains.

You all voted, now here are the results (40 bad guys, 35 good guys for a total of 75)! Here is a list of all the characters revealed so far. We continue with Allies #10-6…

Enjoy!

NOTE: There’s so many images in these pieces that I’ll be breaking them up over two pages.

10. Spoiler/Batgirl (Stephanie Brown)

Stephanie Brown was introduced by Chuck Dixon, Tom Lyle and Scott Hanna in a clever story where we learn that the daughter of the villain Cluemaster (basically a second-rate Riddler) is intentionally trying to screw up his plans by leaving clues for Batman and Robin to stop him…




She seemed destined for just a clever one-off character until Robin got his own series and Dixon decided to bring her back as a ally/foil. Her guest appearance went over really well and fans clamored for more. She was a breath of fresh air – someone who was a vigilante because she just legitimately LIKED it (while initially it was just to get revenge on her dad, she quickly moved past that).

The problem was that Batman never quite trusted her. She slowly became friends with the other Bat-heroes, though.

Finally, she seemed to get her chance when her boyfriend, Tim Drake, had to quit being Robin for a while. She tried to get the job and Batman seemed to say yes…


But after less than three issues as Robin, Batman fired her….


As it turned out, it was just all a plan by Batman to make Tim jealous enough to become Robin again. One of the dickier moves by Batman, and that guy is ALL about dick moves.

The problem was, Stephanie then tried to prove herself to Batman by implementing a “War Game” she discovered that he had written that would result with Batman taking control of all of Gotham’s gangs. The problem was that the inexperienced Stephanie did not realize that the plan she implemented was incomplete (it required Matches Malone, Batman’s fake gang identity, to work properly and since Batman didn’t know she was implementing it, Matches was nowhere to be seen). In the end, she paid the price for her screw-up by being murdered by the crime boss, Black Mask. Later we learned that her death had been faked by Dr. Leslie Thompkins.

After first returning as Spoiler, she upgraded to Batgirl when her friend, Cassandra Cain, gave up the identity after Bruce Wayne’s seeming death. Stephanie excelled as Batgirl, even finding acceptance from Bruce Wayne (after he returned from the “dead”) that she was never able to get before. Here she is in one of her very last appearances (it was written before the new 52 but was published after the new 52)…




Awesome stuff.

She has JUST made her new 52 debut and Batman Eternal will spotlight her a bit.

9. Robin/Red Hood/Wingman (Jason Todd)

Jason Todd was introduced by Gerry Conway and Don Newton as essentially a Dick Grayson clone. Honestly, in retrospect, it just seems kind of odd. Dick Grayson was slowly growing out of his role as Robin (mostly because of the great success of New Teen Titans, where Robin played a starring role in a series much different than Batman) so they replaced him with…a young circus acrobat whose parents were murdered and then Bruce Wayne takes in the orphaned circus acrobat. Kind of odd…


Eventually Jason becomes Batman’s new partner, but without a name (he dyed his hair black to match Dick’s – as then-new Batman writer Doug Moench promptly removed the one unique thing Conway had done with Jason)…


Finally, Dick decides to give up the Robin identity and give it to Jason…


Jason then basically plays the Dick Grayson role until after Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Then DC decided to revamp Jason and give him a new-non-Dick Grayson origin. Now he is an orphaned streetwise kid who meets Batman when he steals the tires to the Batmobile!



Under Jim Starlin’s pen, though, Jason gets more and more reckless. This eventually leads to his death at the hands (and the crowbar) of the Joker (plus a bomb)…


When he was resurrected years later, he was a villain for a time (you can read more about his time as a villain in his entry on the villains list here).

Over time, though, Jason has mellowed and Batman even found a place for him in Batman Incorporated!



Currently he is a flat-out hero in the pages of Red Hood and the Outlaws.

8. Robin (Damian Wayne)

Grant Morrison, Andy Kubert and Jesse Delperdang introduced Damian Wayne, the bratty son of Batman and Talia Al Ghul…



Damian continued to be a bit of a thorn in Batman’s side, especially when the kid (who was trained by the League of Assassins) tried to nearly kill Tim Drake so as to replace him as Batman’s Robin…


Damian is seriously injured and leaves with his mother to be treated. During Batman R.I.P., Talia and Damian return to aide Batman in his fight against the Black Glove. Soon after, though, Batman is presumed dead.

Dick Grayson takes over as Batman, but with Tim Drake now becoming Red Robin, Dick needs a partner – enter the slightly more matured Damian Wayne…



The two became a great pair, with Damian’s darkness and arrogance being softened by Dick’s lighthearted nature and his enthusiasm. In effect, they were the reverse of the traditional Batman and Robin role.

When Bruce Wayne returned, Damian began to partner with his father. When his mother began attacking Batman and all of his friends, Batman tried to keep Damian out of the fight, but he was not someone you could pin down. Here, he re-teams up with Dick, who is back to being Nightwing…



However, his mother allows Damian to be killed as he sacrifices himself to save an innocent girl…


Since Damian was himself a clone, there is a VERY good chance that we will see him make a return soon.

Go to the next page for #7-6!

7. Superman

It shockingly took all the way until the 76th issue of Superman before Batman and Superman actually even MET! And HOW they met was hilarious – Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne had to share a room on a cruise!





Soon after, the pair became inseparable, having monthly adventures in World’s Finest for the next few decades. And, of course, being Justice League teammates. They mostly liked to spend time just messing with each other, though, like the time that Superman let Batman know that he was replacing Batman as his partner with a new hero known as Nightman (“It’s the Night Man! The feeling so wrong it’s right, man!”)…




Even after Crisis on Infinite Earths ended up with a new status quo where the two were not initially good friends, they slowly but surely became first allies and then friends (Superman even trusted Batman with a piece of green kryptonite if Superman ever needed to be put down) and eventually even regained their own team-up title, Batman/Superman.

In the New 52, they are once again teamed up together in their own title. I seriously can’t believe DC didn’t think to re-name World’s Finest “Batman/Superman” fifty years ago.

6. Catwoman

As detailed in her entry in the Villains list, Catwoman (created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson) was one of Batman’s most popular villains throughout the 1940s and early 1950s.

After making a comeback, of sorts, during the late 1960s and early 1970s, the early 1980s saw Selina Kyle make her longest sustained attempt at reforming.

First, as Selina Kyle, she began to date Bruce Wayne…



Even after they broke up, though, Catwoman was now a legit costumed adventurer, teaming up with Robin and King Faraday for a mission in a far off land…




Crisis reshaped Catwoman and gave her more of a hard edge. Even after she got her own ongoing title in the early 1990s, she was pretty much a hero but did not interact with Batman that often, except when the whole Bat-line of books would have crossovers.

That changed during “Hush,” when Batman and Catwoman gave their relationship a real go…


She even tried to stop him from killing the Joker…



Ultimately, though, the relationship stalled, partially, I presume, because of her then-ongoing book, where Ed Brubaker re-established her as the protector of Gotham City’s East End (it was a really good book).

In the new 52, Catwoman is once again primarily a thief, although still technically a hero, I presume (she and Batman have a physical relationship – friends with benefits, basically).