Each day in November, I will read and review/discuss/whatever one comic taken from a box of some of my childhood comics. Today, it’s Batman annual #15.
The Nostalgia November archive can be found here.
Batman annual #15 by Alan Grant and Jim Fern is another “Armageddon 2001” tie-in, this time Waverider looks to Batman’s future to determine if he’s the hero who goes bad, becoming Monarch. Titled “The Last Batman Story,” it’s not as ambitious or compelling as yesterday’s Superman story, but it’s not bad. I hadn’t intended to do two Alan Grant Batman stories during the first four days, but I also have been just grabbing whatever looks interesting.
Even when I was younger, the only thing about this issue that really grabbed me was the cover, a gorgeous painting by Scott Hampton of Batman in cuffs. In this issue, someone is killing off Batman villains and, after a confrontation that results in the Penguin dying, Batman is arrested, tried, and sentenced to death. Before this, the Joker was released from Arkham, declared sane. Can we all see what happened? Yeah, it’s a bit obvious in its plot development and doesn’t really say anything of value as the Joker arranges his own release, gets a talk show, and is obviously just as insane as ever — and is the person responsible for framing Batman.
The look into the future here does have some nice/odd touches:
* In the year 2001… mayors have the power to determine if the death penalty is used in their city. They also have the power to stay executions.
* In the year 2001… 12 million have died in a war over oil.
* In the year 2001… Killer Croc wrestles Batman and Robin on TV every week.
* In the year 2001… Tim Drake quits being Robin to run for the senate after he sees that putting on a costume and beating people up may not be the best way to fix society.
* In the year 2001… Batman, though innocent, will allow himself to be executed because he believes in the rule of law that much.
* In the year 2001… Alfred got really, really, really old.
* In the year 2001… Batman and Robin have rocket-boots.
* In the year 2001… Batman watches Catwoman die and then shakes his fist at the sky, screaming “THIS IS IT, JOKER! TONIGHT IS IT!”
* In the year 2001… the heavy favourite in a senate campaign can visit a convicted murderer who dresses as a bat in prison without anyone wondering why.
* In the year 2001… the Joker can using his Joker Gas on an audience and kill a guest by drowning him in a giant toilet and no one questions his sanity.
* In the year 2001… the world looks rather bad, because it’s drawn by an artist who doesn’t really rise above mediocre.
Not a bad comic, but yesterday’s selection was better. No idea what’s on tap for tomorrow.
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