or: Friday Night Fights: Return of the King edition
The true warrior knows that he is never unarmed.
Though he may lack sword, and shield, and spear, a warrior always retains his hands and feet.
Yes, that's King Shark biting the face off of madman and consummate douchebag Black Manta.
Frankly, I'm surprised he didn't like the taste. I've always heard once you go black, you never go back.
p.s. If you enjoy starting your weekend with Friday Night Fights, you might also enjoy closing them with my own Monday Morning Macking. Make Love, AND War.
Friday, June 29, 2007
or: Friday Night Fights: Return of the King edition
Thursday, June 28, 2007
HO. LEE. CRAP.
I got some comics this week that just FLOORED me.
Okay, Amazons Attacks #3 kind of treaded water and The Boys #8 had nothing like the first page of The Boys #7. And the most shocking page of Wonder Woman #10 was the DC Nation page where Matt Idelson is still asking what to do about late books in a book that's two weeks late, edited by Matt Idelson. Nice.
But the OTHER books I got were fast moving books chock full of character and plot, that then socked me in the gut.
She-Hulk 19, the one with the amazing cover, not only has a brilliant and surprisingly action packed trial of the villainous Leader, it also features the long in the works resolution of the She-Hulk/Jen Walters duel identity issue that's been the under current since Dan Slott's first issue three years ago. But I wasn't prepared for that last page reveal, the final fate of Stu Cicero, the comic book nerd too smart for his own good. What horror!
And Blue Beetle #16 is a running battle between Eclipso and Traci 13, last seen in Azzarello and Chang's mindblowing Dr. 13 back-up, with Blue Beetle caught in the middle. From the groan inducing pun title to the surprise call back to 52 (Remember 52? The weekly series everyone liked?) to Eclipso refusing to take the blame for something its host body, Jean Loring, did, this title is a hoot and a half. So I was not prepared when Eclipso unleashed "the THE MONSTER WITHIN THE BLUE BEETLE". I just did not see that coming, yet it made so much sense.
But of course, the real shocker this week, and my hands down pick, was Green Lantern: Sinestro Corp Special. How good was this issue? Well let me put it to you this way: out of curiosity I picked it up to read in the store, and was so impressed that I felt I ought to buy it AND buy Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps, which I don't usually get, just because I HAVE TO KNOW what happens next.
And you know what, that's a great feeling. Well played, DC, well played.
It's a great jumping on book. Like I said, I haven't been reading any Green Lantern title, but I didn't need to because Geoff Johns has filled the book with expository dialogue. There is literally only one important character who isn't named and explained, and even he's introduced in the backstory.
And stuff happens! More stuff happens in one issue than Brad Meltzer's entire Justice League run. Seriously, a plot is investigated, a hero is captured and tortured, an immense army is discovered, Oa is attacked, villains (plural) escape, and the big bad behind it all is revealed, and it's not who you think (unless you're Diamondrock who called it some time ago).
And then there are those shocks. Yes, it's Johns's weakness to go to sudden, bloody violence, but damn if the attack on Oa didn't get real involving real quick, and the most disturbing moment was actually the least bloody, just many rings flying away to look for new Lanterns.
And the villains. Okay, some were given away in the ads, some were extremely guessable, but one or two I just did not see coming, or rather, coming so soon! Stuff happens in the book I thought would wait until the end of Countdown, but it happens here and I just don't know what's going to happen next. I really don't know how our heroes are going to get out of this one, particularly considering that last page spread, that grouping of monsters and gods, and just who is bowing to whom.
But the most surprising moment of all?
The acorn on page 36.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
[from the cover of Countdown #43, on sale in a week]
ROBIN: Okay, Wonder Girl, I've kept my eyes closed, what's the big surprise?
WONDER GIRL: Mmm, you smell so good.
R: I know.
WG: No, really. Really good. Strong.
R: It's Bat-Cologne. Now what's the surprise?
WG: Okay, open your eyes.
R: Oh. Oh god. Is, is that the Flash?
WG: Yes. Robin-- Tim. Bart is dead.
R: I know. They called me.
WG: They called you?
R: Well, ye--
WG: And they didn't call me?
R: You were busy. Fighting the Amazons. Or on the side of the Amazons. We weren't sure. How is that going, by the way?
WG: Don't change the subject. You knew?
R: Cassie, it happened two weeks ago. Jeez, look what they did to him. Burned and frozen and fried.
BEAST BOY: Yeah, but it was all the kicking that did it.
R: Oh hey Gar. Did you arrange this?
R: Couldn't you have given him a closed casket funeral?
WG: Oh Tim! Another one of us is dead.
R: I know.
WG: First Superb--
WG: I mean, Conner. Now Bart. Oh, why me?
R: Hey, I lost them too--
WG: But I loved them!
R: Are we really going to play this game?
WG: What game?
R: Whose life sucks more?
WG: You can't understand what I'm going through!
R: Are you sh**ing me? In the last few years, I've lost Bart, and Conner, and my FATHER, and my STEP-MOTHER, and my GIRLFRIEND, and my OTHER girlfriend, not to mention a whole CITY! What have you lost? You're a daughter of Zeus and a Wonder Woman-in-training: what do you care about us mortals?
BB: Tim, I understand. I lost my mother a few years ago...
R: Yeah? So did I, b****, but yours came back, didn't she?
BB: ..she might be crazy...
SPEEDY: I have A.I.D.S.
WG: Yes, we know.
S: No, guys, I mean, I have A.I.D.S. I'm dying. I'm going to be next.
R: Oh jeez, thanks. Like I wasn't depressed enough.
WG: Oh, I have an idea!
WG: You didn't even let me tell you--
R: You want to bring Bart back from the dead.
WG: Well, why not?
BB: Because last time you tried to do that, you were brainwashed by a cult for a year and then later fell for a homicidal bizarro clone.
WG: But this time is different. THIS time we'll... we'll all hold up lighting rods! Yeah, and when the lightning hits our rods the energy will flow through us and give Bart back his life!
BB: Cassie, that is the f***ing stupidest idea I have ever heard.
WG: Can I help it if I want to do something? I'm losing friends left and right. Who will I lose next? What if it's Anita, or Greta? Oh my god, what if it's Cissie? Oh, how could I ever replace Arrowette?
WG: Or when... A.I.D.S.-Lass here finally buys it, are we just going to let that happen too?
R: Cass, calm down.
WG: No, I will NOT calm down. You're right. I'm a goddess.
WG: I've been to Hell. I've punched Hades in the face. I have the power to do something about this and I WILL!
[WONDER GIRL flies away]
CYBORG'S CROTCH: That's not going to end well. Should we say something?
RAVEN'S CROTCH: Shhh! If we keep quiet, maybe they won't notice us.
Monday, June 25, 2007
We know you know how to lay out a beating. We know you know how to lay out a scheme. But how are you at laying out... the charm?
Do you come across too weak?
Do you come on too strong?
Superheroes can help! For over seventy years, men and women in tights have been teaching young Americans the ancient art of seduction,* and I'm looking to YOU, my readers, to post the best panels of your heroes getting the girl, getting the guy, getting jiggy, and most importantly, getting. It. ON.
And just to prove that there is hope for everyone, let's say you are, I don't know, a hideous rock monster who was once a man.
Are you doomed to be forever shunned by gentle companionship due to your deformed nature?
Even you, Ben Grimm, you ugly Thing you, can get.
So come one, come all! Don't Playa' Hate!
Filby shows how a real pimp takes control and makes LOVE, not war!
Johnny Zito remembers that if you can't be with the one you want, there are other fish in the sea!
The Fortress Keeper doubles your pleasure, doubles your fun and reminds you they call him MISTER Fantastic!
*What do you mean, "That's not what Seduction of the Innocent is about"?
Friday, June 22, 2007
Bahlactus calls. We answer. He wants the very best in superhero violence, I give him battle to rock the cosmos!
In this corner, a man whose heartbeat is a thousand Hiroshimas, whose blood is the universal solvent, whose very stare drives all but the purest mad, the King Angel of the Bull Host of Heaven, ASMODEL!
And in this corner, he's faster than a speeding bullet, he's more powerful than a locomotive, he looks great in a tight blue suit. You know him. You love him, It's the Metropolis Kid, the Man of Tomorrow, the Real Steel Deal, SUPERMAN!
Ladies and Gentlemen,
LET'S GET READY TO
And the crowd goes wild!
Green Lantern (John Stewart, of course)
The Flash (Wally West, I guess...)
The Martian Manhunter (old look, please)
Hawkgirl (I'm a JLU fan, so sue me)
Aquaman (the new one, actually, He's a fun character)
The All-New Atom
Static (52 Universes. You telling me he's not in one of them?)
Fire and Ice
Green Lantern (Guy Gardner. Seriously, he adds personality to the team)
Plastic Man (see above)
Mr. Miracle (Shilo Norman)
Shining Knight (Ystin)
(oh screw it,)
Manhattan Guardian, Klarion, Bulleteer, and FRANKENSTEIN! too
The ghosts of Ralph and Sue Dibny
The Blue Beetle (though he should turn them down, considering they left him in space for a year!)
Red Tornado (shut up. I like him)
Prince (Yes, Prince. Seriously, he's like Batman, but short and purple)
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
There's not much to say about today's "big news" beyond what Graeme McMillan says at the Savage Critics, but there was one thing I wanted to add. But even I think that talking about the "shocking" events in a comics that came out today deserves a SPOILERS warning and jump cut, so here it is:
Flash: the Fastest Man Alive #13 features the death of Bart Allen, a.k.a. the Flash, a.k.a. Impulse, and it's pretty unenjoyable, for all the reasons Graeme mentions: all the announcements this weekend about fake-out solicitations and relaunching the book made it pretty clear that Bart was not making it to the end of this book, making his death feel inevitable rather than surprising, and ending with his death makes the 12 previous issues seem pretty pointless.
All I wanted to add is that killing Impulse, of all characters, demonstrates that some people at DC just aren't interested in fun. Impulse was one of the more fun characters DC had. Thanks to a couple of accelerated bouts of aging, Bart may have looked like a teenager, but he was actually, roughly, six, and acted like it:
He saw the world in black and white morality, he thought in images not words, he wasn't that interested in girls, he had an incredibly short attention span, but he also truly loved his friends and family, when he wasn't annoying the hell out of them, and wanted to be a hero like his grandfather more than anything.
He could make you laugh, he could make you cry, and, occasionally, he could make you do both and save the universe at the same time. (Seriously, pick up Bart Saves the Universe for one of the cleverest and heart breaking time travel stories ever.)
I thought having him "grow up" in Teen Titans was a mistake that took away Bart's most charming feature, that he actually had difficulty taking superheroing seriously. Artificially aging him (again) into a whiny adult made him even less fun and further unrecognizable, and this made it all the more pointless. I mean, why seemingly kill Bart Allen in issue #4 of Infinite Crisis, only to bring him back in issue #7, if they just kill him again a little more than a year later? Couldn't he have stayed dead the first time?
Instead of just seeing Bart go out like a champ, taking out a monstrously powerful opponent, surrounded by his friends and family, we have to watch all the fun sucked out of him for a year before witnessing yet another member of Young Justice beaten to death for saving the world (Empress better watch her back, all I'm saying).
It's like they* weren't killing Bart Allen but the concept of fun itself: like the point of the story is that superheroes can't be kids pretending to be adults, saving the world with a laugh and occasionally learning lessons. No, superheroes have to be humorless mopes who are afraid of their own powers. And then they die.
*Not that I know who "they" are. I doubt it was issue scribe Mark Guggenheim, who was only recently added to the title. Dan Didio's interviews indicates that DC Editorial had planned on killing Bart Allen for a year now, so whose idea was it back then to have a humorless mini-series ending in Bart's death? Geoff Johns, who aged Bart and made Wally disappear? (apparently not) Mark Waid, who knew he was returning to The Flash, but for some reason didn't want to write Bart Allen, his own creation? or Dan "Enemy of Fun" Didio, who personally wants to ruin your childhood?
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
John from Cincinnati, HBO's replacement series for The Sopranos, from Deadwood creator David Milch, is about an enigmatic, detached stranger (who claims "the end is near") and the family of surfers he joins.
But, who is John, asks the show. Is he an alien? Is he Jesus? Is he both?
I mean, is he... this guy?
Posted by Steven at 2:37 PM
Monday, June 18, 2007
52 made official what Captian Atom: Armageddon implied: the Wildstorm Universe is now an official component of the DC Multiverse, similar to the Charlton Universe (the Question and Blue Beetle), the Quality Universe (Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters) and the Whiz Universe (SHAZAM!).
And our first exploration of that idea comes in September, in COUNTDOWN PRESENTS THE SEARCH FOR RAY PALMER: WILDSTORM #1, with a cover that gives me no end of glee:
I don't know if you can tell from the sketchy cover, but that's DC Comics heroes Kyle Rayner, Donna Troy, and Jason Todd standing over reflections of Wildstorm heroes Apollo, Engineer, and Midnighter. Which reminds me a lot of this cover for JLA: Earth 2:
In the Earth 2 cover, the reflections are not merely other heroes but literally alternate versions of the same character, (i.e. Superman is standing over Ultraman, who IS Superman, but evil). And that almost works for the CPSRP:W cover as well (gosh, that's a long title).
Jason Todd is a homicidal, nigh-immortal version of Batman, and if anyone is an overpowered pretty boy doofus, it's Kyle.*
I think most people see where this is going, but let me take it to its natural conclusion.
Arthur Adams, the cover artist, could have picked other characters to reflect Jason and Kyle, perhaps someone from Gen 13 or W.I.L.D.Cats, but he didn't. No, he picked the two characters who are totally gay for each other.
Does this mean what I think it could mean? Could Kyle finally give in to the love that dare not speak his name? Is it time for him to have a boyfriend who cannot be killed, no matter how many fans call in asking for him to die?
And would they move to Boston?
*Donna Troy to Engineer is a lot weaker, unless the Engineer has trouble reading history books without crying as well.
Posted by Steven at 10:12 AM
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Dwayne McDuffie to take over Justice League of America.
About goddamn time.
After the snoozefest that has been Brad Meltzer's run on the title, it will be good to have a writer who understands serialized plotting, how to do character bits and plot bits at the same time, and that the Justice League is a team of experienced world-savers, not the cool kids hanging out in the clubhouse.
I'm really excited about this, as McDuffie's run on JLA has the potential to be remembered with Morrison's. McDuffie just knows how to write superheroes, and since taking over Fantastic Four for Marvel, has shown how to make superheroes both relatable and yet still amazing.
I'm willing to believe that it's his time spent as a writer for Warner Bros. animation. Not that he wasn't a great writer before (Static was Milestone Comics's best book), but from 2000 to 2006 he was a writer for Static Shock then Justice League Unlimited, perhaps the best interpretation of the Justice League I have ever seen, and he seems to have brought some of that fun and excitement (and skill!) back with him to comics.
Come to think of it, so has Paul Dini on Detective Comics and Darwyn Cooke on The Spirit. Guys who were good enough to be paid animation money for their work also seem to have gone through a superhero writing boot camp and come out sharper, brighter, and more entertaining for their time in Burbank.
Since Warner Bros. has shuttered their main animation studio in favor of cheaper product, it might be time for Didio and Quesada to just raid raid raid their roster of writers and artists and get them to bring their "A" game to comics.
I mean, in general I think ongoing comics are closer to TV shows than they are to novels, and it would be great to have writers who understand that an issue is an episode, not a chapter.
Posted by Steven at 8:24 AM
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Matt Idelson takes over the back page of every DC comic this week to ask the million dollar question, "what should an editor do when he runs into production delays?" He doesn't give the answer, of course, he just gives three options—delay the book, call-in a "guest" writer/artist, or drop in an inventory story—and leaves it up to "You, the Reader" to say what you'd prefer. Which feels A LOT like a post I did last September on the exact same topic.
While the response was hardly unanimous, there was a general consensus that fill-in issues were fine, as long as they happened between arcs, and a guest writer/penciler/inker was preferable to no comic at all. But the real problem was a lack of transparency, that fans would be better able to handle delays if they could just be told the why's and wherefore's of the delay.
Idelson, for the sake of context, is the editor on Wonder Woman, Superman and Action Comics, all of which were plagued with production delays for the past year. Based on the response I got, if I were in his shoes, I would have said that as beautiful as Carlos Pacheco's art is, people would rather not wait for it, and better to bring in a penciler who can hit deadlines than wow the crowd.
Which is the decision editor Peter Tomasi made on Detective Comics, where "regular penciler" J.H. Williams was off the book after one issue and Don Kramer's been knocking issues out month after month. And the sales numbers seem to back that up, where Detective has lost only 9% of its sales from the OYL boost, whereas Superman has lost 25%.
(Wonder Woman, which was even MORE delayed, has lost over 50% of its initial sales. There, the problem was apparently the writer, not the artist, which suggests Allen Heinberg should have been dropped sooner and another writer brought in to finish the arc. But, it should be pointed out, Wonder Woman is still selling twice as much now as it averaged during the Greg Rucka run.)
Meanwhile, across town, remember that that shocking revelation that will rock the Marvel Universe to its core?" Turns out it's Skrulls.
Yup, Marvel's shape changing alien conquerors are back, and if this is supposed to be as important as the hype tells us it is, then it means Skrulls are behind superhero on superhero violence of Civil War, and probably World War Hulk as well, which, as I said it would be, is neither shocking nor new: just another Psycho Changer being used to explain why Iron Man is suddenly such a dick.
So, instead of evolving Marvel comics, changing what their superheroes stories are or could be, they are apparently just going down the same road they always have, in which all the bad things in the world are the result of evil alien interference. Good job!
(Ironically, had they not HYPED the last page as a shocker, or said it was important, the fact that "Elektra" turns out to be a Skrull honestly would have been surprising and might, MIGHT have led to speculation that it had import outside of the New Avengers. But Marvel can't seem to let their surprises actually be surprises.)
Posted by Steven at 4:59 PM
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
(Video not exactly safe for work)
Champagne, Glamour, Sex, Respect!
(For those of you who are confused, I give you this link. Not that it's going to relieve your confusion, but actually add to it).
(real post coming soon)
Posted by Steven at 10:01 AM
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Sometimes, you need to fight.
But, if you're smart, you can avoid the fight altogether. And so, Diamondrock has decided to celebrate the thinking man, the intellectual, the schemer. The Man with a Plan.
A no man has a better plan than... uh... this guy:
That's just evil.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
What's up with Kandor these days? Does anyone know?
It used to be simple*. Kandor was a Kryptonian city, shrunk down and collected by Brainiac before Krypton blew up, which Superman rescued and, unable to return its citizens to their rightful size, stored in his high tech Fortress of Solitude. Then came John Byrne, who, in a quest to make sure Kal-El was the last survivor of Krypton, dammit!, erased Kandor from continuity, along with Supergirl, Krypto, and others.
But, during the 1990s, as old ideas crept back in in new forms, Kandor was reintroduced as a bottle city full of supermen from diverse planets, none Kryptonian, collected by an alien wizard as weapons to use against his enemies. Again, Superman rescued the city and saved it in his fortress, but couldn't restore the city to its proper size. And that was alright.
And then came "Godfall". Or rather, Superman #200, where Superman falls into a different timeline, effectively erasing Byrne's continuity. (Hey, live by the reboot, die by the reboot.) Or rather, a slightly different timeline, so that some stories, like Doomsday, were still in continuity, but some, like apparently the mullet he wore for three years after he came back, are not.
And the first sign of this was "Godfall," which took place in a bottled city of Kandor that had Kryptonians, AND non-Kryptonians, AND had been shrunk by Brainiac, AND worshipped Superman as a savior who had possibly abandoned them. What?! How did that happen? The Supergirl storyline where she becomes the protector of Kandor didn't clear anything up either!
Here's the thing: I don't care that one version of Kandor's history has been replaced with another ("Forget it, Jake. It's Hypertime.") I just don't like the fact that writers continue to use Kandor as a place we're supposed recognize (as recently as 52) and yet it's clearly not the place we were introduced to in Action Comics 242 nor the one we met in Action Comics 725. It has the same name and shares major features, but it has a history that is completely unknown. It just lacks exposition, and that's frustrating.
And why I care is because Kandor is a really interesting playground. Bottle cities are amazing bits of fantasy (and if you don't agree, watch The Matrix again). The idea that you can live your entire life in a city, full of people with complicated lives, yet really be trapped, is an amazing bit of metaphor. I like the irony that Brainiac was in some way right to preserve a city, saving a major chuck of Kryptonian science and culture, not to mention Kryptonians, from the annihilation of their planet. And of course, tiny Supermen is just cool.
Not that there aren't problems with the concept. As the plot of "Godfall" is predicated on, Kandor tends to get forgotten. Despite the fact that his inability to restore Kandor is supposed to prey on Superman's mind, he doesn't actually spend that much time trying to fix the problem, leaving a bunch of tiny aliens to rot. And it's hard to believe that, on a planet with Ray Palmer, Professor Zuel, and occasionally Brainiac himself (or his morally upstanding descendent, 12th level intellect Brainiac 5), it's actually that hard a problem to solve.
Nevertheless, Kandor is fun, and I think could be used to better effect if we just knew what the hell it really was.
*Okay, relatively simple.
Posted by Steven at 11:09 AM
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
I could not, would not, in JLA.
I will not, will not, with the Ray.
I will not read him in a plane.
I will not read him with Bruce Wayne.
Not with giants!
Not very small!
Not as a chick!
No not at all!
I do not like him fighting Lex.
I do not like him, nor his specs.
I will not read him in the sky.
I do not like him with... this guy.
I do not like him red and blue.
I do not like him. WHY WOULD YOU?!
I do not like Blue Superman!
I do not like him, Sam-I-am.
(with a hat tip to Shane Bailey and apologies to Dr. Seuss)
Monday, June 04, 2007
Authorial intent is meaningless.
It really doesn't matter what a writer or artist (or editor) intended to say with any given piece of art (or, in our case, comic). What matters is what they actually say, and that is determined by the audience.
Lobo's a good example. He was intended as a satire of the ultra-violent superhero (Wolverine, specifically) but was read by an audience that took him totally seriously, to the point where he written seriously and became that which he was meant to mock.
And going in the reverse direction, All-Star Batman and Robin may be intended to be taken seriously, but is so gloriously over-the-top that many people love it as a parody (perhaps of itself, but a parody nonetheless).
This is complicated by the fact that art does not exist in a vacuum nor is "the audience" a monolithic entity. "The audience" is thousands of individuals with different backgrounds, experiences, and contexts for understanding. So each person interprets a work differently, and the meaning of a piece is fluid across people. Something I read as a celebration of female power, another might read as a dismissal of a woman's worth. And neither of us are necessarily wrong.
And a work's meaning changes over time, too, as new events reshape interpretations. The first issues of Watchmen, for example, were published before the Iran-Contra scandal broke. So while Moore and Gibbons' story of abused, hubristic authority could not have been intended to comment on the (then) current administration's illegal activities, by the twelfth issue it most certainly did! (Especially since the Tower Commission opened their report with "quis custodiet ipsos custodes," i.e. "who watches the watchmen?")
Which is a long way of saying, you can't defend your art by saying "This is what I meant to say" or "I didn't mean to offend anyone". Once your art is out among the public, you are just one more interpreter, and have no more or less authority than anyone else. If someone says your work is offensive, then it IS offensive, at least to them, and you cannot just say they are wrong. All you can do is decide whether or not you care.
Friday, June 01, 2007
One of the many things I love about superheroes is how versatile they are. They are multifaceted, slipping easily from one story type to another while retaining their inner core. Just look at the many faces of Batman.
Batman the Detective: Sherlock Holmes in a funnier hat, Batman can be the genius detective Commissioner Gordon calls in when the crime is too brilliant or bizarre for the average investigators on the police. This is the Batman that loves gathering mud at crime scenes and running it under a microscope.
Batman the Vigilante: Batman can also be the untouchable crusader who takes on the criminals the cops won't investigate, the powerful, the connected, the rich. This Batman threatens corrupt politicians in their very bedrooms.
Batman the Spy: James Bond in a cape, Batman uses his stealth, disguises, and sophisticated gadgets to sneak high security bases and sabotage weapons of mass destruction. This Batman gets his kicks hijacking enemy communication technology to his advantage.
Batman the Adventurer: Batman travels the globe, charges in to right wrongs and saves damsels in distress. And there's nothing he loves more than swinging in on his bat-rope.
Batman the Horror: Batman sometimes scares the hell out of his enemies. He stalks them like the killer in a slasher film, striking from the shadows and picking them off, one by one. Greatest pleasure: leaving one behind, knocked out and tied up, for the rest of his enemies to find.
Batman the Asskicker: And sometimes he drops all subterfuge and just beats the holy hell out of the bad guys. Whether using Asian martial arts, old fashioned fisticuffs, or hitting criminals with other criminals, sometimes Batman is just about hurting people.
Batman the Superhero: The Batman in the Justice League, who fights colorful, gimmicky supervillains, trains apprentices, occasionally goes to other planets and fights aliens and dinosaurs and robots and shape shifting mud puddles, THAT Batman isn't any of the ones above, and yet he's all of them.
Which is what's so great. You can tell almost any story with Batman, and still he remains, at his core, Batman.