WARNING: This article contains minor spoilers for Justice League #1 by Scott Snyder, Jim Cheung, Mark Morales, and Tomeu Morey, in stores now.
We've all done it. Put on a grizzled voice to match Michael Keaton's iconic line, or Christian Bale's inhuman growl. We've all tried out hand at creating a "Batman voice." And, as revealed in Justice League #1, so has every one of the Dark Knight's teammates.
For two delightful pages, the heroes of the Justice League take turns roasting the World's Greatest Detective, all while holding their own in the heat of battle.
It all starts innocently enough, with the Flash mimicking Batman's know-it-all posturing. "J'onn, I live in a cave, I know my damn rocks," Barry says in Bat-voice. He jokes that this is in the interests of teamwork, to speed up the conversation.
Then Wonder Woman takes it up a notch.
With its evocation of that infamous bit of dialogue, this scene does almost raise the question of whether Frank Miller and Jim Lee's All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder is now in continuity. It certainly suggests that Bruce has, at one time or another, referred to himself as "the Goddamn Batman" within earshot of the other heroes.
The League, fighting in multiple locations around the globe, are communicating via J'onn J'onzz's telepathic link, a bond intended for coordinating strategy but which can support banter, as well. Aquaman doesn't take part himself, but enjoys the festivities. "J'onn, never leave," he says.
As one of the League's newest members, Hawkgirl laments that she doesn't yet have a Batman voice. Give her a few issues, she'll get there. Meanwhile, paired with Superman, poor Cyborg doesn't want to embarrass himself.
Unfortunately, readers will just have to take Cyborg's and Flash's word for it for now, as Clark does not actually offer his Batman impression this issue.
The fun thing about these scenes is imagining what these heroes sound like as they're mimicking the Dark Knight. Through years of reading these characters, and augmented by various actors' performances in cartoons, television and movies, we have a sense of their voices -- which gives us a sense of how they might sound when putting on the Dark Knight's grim demeanor.
Barry's is maybe a bit reedier than the real deal, like a kid playing "Dad." Diana is your friend that just cuts through all your clique's nonsense down at the bar -- she's loud and loved, her Bat-voice sounds like herself but a bit deeper and with pointed inflection. Clark doesn't get a line, so it's a bit harder to read, but one imagines he plays it pretty straight and gives the most naturalistic interpretation.
Of course, remembering that Superman once had the power of super-ventriloquism, it's also possible that accurately mimicking Batman is literally part of his power set. Comes in handy when they have to switch clothes to confuse villains, one would imagine.
For all of comics' interstellar action, wild plot developments, and EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS WRONG twists, the sort of good-natured humor seen in Justice League #1 brings it all down to Earth and shows us why we should care. It allows readers to appreciate the League not just as the World's Greatest Heroes, but as relatable folks that we actually like. That, even more than the mysterious burst of energy from beyond the Source Wall threatening to remake all of existence, is the best reason to be excited for the next issue.