The 7 Stupidest Attempts to Reinvent Batman
There are two kinds of people in this world: People who look at Batman and say, "Yes, Batman, hooray, forever, erection, Batman, badass, terrific!" and people who look at Batman and say, "Yeah, I see what people like about Batman, but wouldn't he be better if I ruined him?"
This article is about that second group.
Apparently vampires have no interest in basic cape maintenance.
Not a lot of time was spent on an origin story here. In this universe, Bruce Wayne starts off as the regular, human Batman that we know and fear. He wakes up one morning to find a woman biting him on the neck, and she's a vampire, and for unexplained reasons Bruce is totally cool with this and trusts her implicitly, because we all know Batman loves strangers who sneak into his home and steal his humanity.
"I'm cool as long as you didn't get red on the sheets."
It turns out Tanya's a vampire who has come to Gotham to ask for Batman's help fighting Dracula, and somehow, by turning him slowly over the course of a month, she has given Bruce all the strength of a vampire and almost none of the weaknesses or blood lust. This doesn't make any sense according to any vampire lore we've ever read, but any sense this book was planning on making gets thrown out the window when Bruce suddenly grows wings.
"Ain't nobody's going with God now, Alfred. It's pure metal all the way."
After blowing up Wayne Manor and Tanya herself in order to kill a few dozen vampires, Batman then takes on Dracula in an aerial fight for vampire bat supremacy, where he totally kicks Drac's ass in the fashion competition.
At some point in between fights Batman stopped off to buy 80,000 more yards of cape fabric.
Batman manages to kill Dracula, which one would think should just wrap up the whole Batman-as-vampire saga, but it goes on for a while. Batman continues to grow as a vampire and even develops the blood lust that he was never supposed to have to begin with. The blood lust is so strong, in fact, that he finally has to kill someone to survive.
"All his makeup has rubbed off on my face! I look like a giiiiiirrrrrl!"
"NO," he screams, "though this was great, I'm absolutely going to keep eating bad guys," he obviously thinks. Now that he's crossed over into full-on murderous vampire, he decides to go all Dexter on the whole city and proceeds to hunt down and viciously slaughter every single villain available.
Oh no. Somebody stop him. He's killing all the psychopaths in a really awesome way.
There's nothing like a monocle to class up your rampage.
To save himself some trouble in the future, Batman even kills the prisoners safely locked up in Arkham, because really, we all know they're getting out at some point in the next 60 days anyway.
"Warden? I think Batman's a ghost vampire made of blood, do you -- oh, that's the sense you're getting, too. OK."
Obviously something needed to be done, so Alfred and Commissioner Gordon agree to team up with Two-Face and Killer Croc to become a vampire-Batman-hunting team. ("Founding Member of Vampire-Batman-Hunting Team," by the way, is the single most impressive title anyone can ever put on a resume.)
Next of course would be "mutant croc" or "half a red skull rip-off."
This whole thing goes about as well one would expect, and it ends with Batman killing not just Two-Face and Killer Croc, but also Alfred, who offers his blood to redeem himself for betraying Bruce. Batman is tormented with as much guilt as a vampire can be expected to ever feel and asks Gordon to kill him now that Gotham is literally devoid of all evil except for him. Basically agreeing with him, Gordon blows up the Batcave, letting in the sunlight and killing Vampire Batman permanently, along with everyone else in the story.
But at least Commissioner Gordon will live to remember this tragic ... oh no wait, he gets crushed by a giant rock while trying to escape. Never mind.
At last, the city is ... oh shit, everyone's dead.
Round the corner from Batville, and twinned with Batingrad.
In Castle of the Bat, set in the 1800s, Bruce Wayne has of course had his parents murdered in front of him as a child, but is now a scientist instead of a Batman. While exploring the organ cellar of his university (sure!), he stumbles upon his father's brain.
"I won't ask why you had it, and you won't stop me from taking it. That's our deal."
See, in this universe, instead of trying to fight crime to avenge his murdered parents, Bruce has devoted his life to reanimation in an attempt to just bring them back to life. With the help of his hunchbacked servant, Alfredo, he turned to grave-robbing for parts for his Dad's new rocking bod.
Yup, that's Alfred Igor. Or Al Gore.
After digging up a sufficient number of giants to finish his mix-and-match Dad puzzle, Bruce shoots the corpse up with lightning (he is a very bad scientist).
"Of course he lives, why wouldn't a bunch of rotting meat struck by lightning not work?"
Unfortunately for Bruce, his creation not only lacks sentience and speech but is also the wussiest monster of all time. It immediately hides in the corner, as it is both scared of the dark and hurt by the light. So basically all aspects of existing suck for this poor thing he stuck his Dad's brain into.
"It's like nothing I do is good enough for you, zombie-dad!"
A few days later, Bruce realizes his father's brain is probably traumatized from all that dying it went through 15 years earlier, so he injects him with bat DNA to try to fix him. How is this supposed to help, exactly? Well, it means they can put the words "Batman" on the cover of the comic book, so that's really all that matters. The less believable explanation is that he assumes the monster will be less afraid of the dark if it becomes a creature of the night. Bruce also dresses his dad up in a cape, cowl and outfit with bat symbols all over it because ... well, that first thing we said about the cover.
"I just want my Dad's corpse to feel normal, so I'm dressing him up in a costume, OK, Alfred? Jeez!"
The bat DNA ends up making his father super strong and slightly sentient cause, yeah, sure, bat DNA is magic. Even though he can't speak or communicate, this new Bat-man is able to break out of the castle, track down and kill the highwayman who murdered him 15 years earlier, solve crimes, fight bad guys and rescue damsels in distress, just like a good Batman. Oh, and he did it all while looking like a surprised cat-head stuck on a huge man's body.
"HELLO I WONDER IF YOU'VE HEARD THE WORD OF GOD."
Eventually, due to some kind of bat-science related accident, Wayne's castle collapses, and when Bat-man rushes in to save Bruce, he gets killed in the process. Before he dies, we get to see a truly touching moment where the monster manages to speak his one and only word to Bruce:
"Oh yeah right, I remember this. I got so caught up in the whole bat thing, I forgot I had a Dad."
In which Batman violently takes down a plastic surgeon and that irritating waitress who thinks she's the next Megan Fox.
This story is set in a universe basically like our own sad reality where Batman only exists as a fictional character. In the movies, Bruce Wayne is played by actor Byron Wyatt, and in the strangest casting choice of all time, Robin is portrayed by war veteran/stuntman Rob Davis, who apparently fought in the war for his right to wear a hairpiece and short pants as his day job.
For a middle-aged man, he has unsettlingly smooth legs.
Eventually the mob decides that they want in on those sweet Batman movie profits, but when Byron refuses to give them anything, the mobsters decide to invest in the sound business plan of shooting him in the head.
"Now that he's dead we can make tons of money off those Batman mov ... ooooh, we're bad at crime."
Getting shot in the head ends up having two unexpected side effects on Byron. The bullet doesn't kill him, despite going directly into the back of his head and, more importantly, the ensuing brain damage makes him think he's really Batman, and somehow also leaves him with the mental and physical capabilities to back this belief up.
"No need to investigate further, I'm gonna go ahead and say 'Batman' is who I am. Off to fight crime!"
Armed with only stunt-fight training and an arsenal of weapons taken from a prop truck, Byronman starts swinging around rooftops and hunting down criminals, successfully! This is basically the equivalent of Adam West running around New York in his '60s bat costume punching out bank robbers single-handedly, all while bleeding profusely from the head.
We're not saying it wouldn't be awesome, we're just saying he would die.
"Hey, can I have your autogr -- ow what the fuck?!"
The brain-damaged Byron is so good at being Batman that even when presented with irrefutable evidence about how real Batman isn't, he refuses to believe he's not a superhero, despite the fact that there are comic books chronicling his life.
This probably happens to Christian Bale all the time. The man's a method acting genius.
Even with all the successful crime-fighting and not dying, though, Byron knows he needs help, and he goes to find the guy who plays Robin to convince him to help him fight the crime of Gotham City. In what easily amounts to the craziest thing in this insane comic book, this decorated war hero who is not suffering from a severe head injury says yes, puts on his hot pants and jumps into the Batmobile that Byron stole from the movie studio.
"Would Batman ever cry? No. No he wouldn't. You are not Batman."
To be fair, Robin only goes with him to try to keep him alive and attempt to convince him that he's not the goddamn Batman. Eventually, though, Robin gets kidnapped (as all Robins in all universes are contractually obligated to do) by the mobsters who are still in the process of trying to kill Byron, or profit off of Batman or ... something. Some fucking stupid thing.
Batman shows up to save Robin, unaware that the mob boss has laid a cunningly vicious trap to disable him: a slideshow of his life.
"Anyway, I'm a big fan, is my point. I'm real sorry I shot you."
Eventually Byron gets his memories and all the mobsters go to jail because Batman secretly filmed them with massive 1940s cameras while they confessed to all the crimes they had committed.
"Though you might say the plot, like my skull, is full of holes! Seriously, get me to the hospital."
Oh, no, we're sure this is all handled in a sensitive and tasteful way.
After being around for more than 70 years, it's understandable that it might be hard to create new Batman stories that are truly original and exciting. After all, fans have seen so many comic books and stories that it can't be easy to shock readers anymore. One would almost be forced to resort to some cheap shock tactic like ... oh.
Nazis are easy mode for writers.
Set in an alternate universe where the Germans won World War II, this Batman is 100 percent villain, and 110 percent sleazebag.
"My boner trumps my race hate, so are you up for some deep dicking? I'm Nazi Batman."
That's Forerunner, an alien who has been hanging around Earth lately who just hates Nazis. Turned on by how good she is at breaking bones, Nazi-Batman, who is "averse to interracial relationships," as Nazis tend to be, totally wants to wine and dine her.
"I should rephrase -- I'm not actually asking: I'm Nazi Batman, for Christ's sake."
This universe's Batman is a member of the JL-Axis, the Nazi version of the JLA, created by Hitler to protect himself and the entire Nazi Party. But, once again, we have to question just how committed to the cause Hitler is, as 4/6 of his Justice League aren't just non-Aryans, but are actually aliens from another planet.
"The Aryans are the superior race," said the indestructible alien Gods.
Eventually, Forerunner manages to take out the entire JL-Axis and never does go on that date with Nazi Batman. Poor, lonely Nazi Batman.
Batman: Holy Terror (or BatPriest)
Holy tonal U-turn, BatPriest!
Take everything you love about Batman. His dark, brooding nature. His resources, cool gadgets and toys. His unflappable badassery. Batman: Holy Terror is the exact opposite of that. He's super naive, loves to sing gospel songs, loves Jesus super hard and is very sensitive. Finally, a Batman to make us all feel more adequate. And oh, he has one super ability: Power Weeping.
This will be a recurring theme.
The universe of Batman: Holy Terror involves such a long and complex back story, it would be impossible to sum it up in a single Cracked article, let alone a single entry. Here are the main points: Oliver Cromwell never died, America lost the Revolutionary War, Commissioner Gordon wears a powdered wig now, women hold little to no power and no one's votes count. Also, there's a Batman in the mix.
In this world, Batman grows up seeking solace from his parents' death in the arms of the church and eventually becomes a priest. Before leaving Wayne Manor for the last time, Bruce indulges in one last romp of Olympic caliber gymnastics.
"See, Grayson? I didn't fall. You just have stupid parents."
Just as Bruce is about to stick the landing on a double back flip with spastic joy, old friend Inquisitor Gordon drops by to lay a bombshell on Brucey-Boy: his parents' murder was a state-ordered assassination. While outwardly appearing to be prominent and loyal members of the State, Thomas and Martha Wayne operated as undercover rebels, secretly running a clinic for injured dissidents, castaways and others brutalized by the intolerant government. Bruce throws a hissy fit, accusing Gordon of trying to harsh his Jesus-loving buzz, and cries (again). Too curious to let it go, Bruce decides to investigate Gordon's accusation. He dons a bat costume his dad used to wear for Passion plays.
What part did bats play in the crucifixion of Christ?
The newly born Batman gets to the root of the matter, kicks a few asses, cries some more. His investigation leads to a testing facility full of human guinea pigs, including Barry "The Flash" Allen. Barry shows Batman around the place, where humans have been subjected to the most bizarre, grotesque and inhumane experiments imaginable -- including electrocuting genitals, because it's not evil science without fried genitals.
"Can you smell grilled salmon?"
Barry introduces him to Arthur, a man with the ability to breathe underwater (Aquaman), mentally broken by the scientists' torture. In just one of many horrific experiments performed on Arthur, scientists force-bred him with some kind of merwoman, the resulting offspring a poor nameless soul we'll call Boner Killer.
While it's unclear what purpose the facility serves other than as a Nightmare Factory, Batman eyes potential in the inmates. Seeing all these prisoners with super powers and a royal beef against the government, Batman begins to think he could assemble some sort of league of heroes, a justice-oriented one. Before he can wipe his eyes long enough to think up a team name, the evil head scientist, Erdel, arrives to piss all over his parade. Barry takes a run at the guy, but Erdel uses a device to switch off the aura Barry's body creates to protect him from friction. The Flash bursts into flames, which is pretty harsh, but don't pretend that isn't the most badass way to go out. When you get to heaven after dying by way of exploding from going too fast, you get a high-five from God.
We like to think he smashed straight through the pearly gates, lit God's cigar and landed in a hot tub.
To break Batman's justice-seeking spirit, the evil scientist leads him to a being called "The Green Man," this comic's stand-in for Superman. Also Jesus, apparently.
They nailed subtlety to that cross last week.
What little hope is left in Batman dissipates when he learns the Green Man is dead, poisoned by Kryptonite. Seeing Superman, the one hope the world had left, inspires Batman to tap into his true superpower: a deep reserve of suppressed rage. He'd held back all his anger over his parents' death, all his contempt for the corrupt world around him, all the anger at the inhumane injustices he witnessed -- and the moment he sees Dead Superman, he snaps and kicks major BatAss. So remember, kids, if you want to grow up to be a hero like Batman, take your feelings and cram them deep down inside.
Unfortunately, super rage or not, Erdel has discovered Batman Kryptonite: bullets. Erdel starts unloading his pistol on Bats. One of Erdel's stray bullets reflects off Superman's sculpted abs and strikes Erdel dead.
Even in death, Superman and Batman make a great team.
Batman makes his way into the innermost sanctum, the Star Chamber, to find out who ordered the kill on his parents, only to discover that the System, and not one man, is really to blame. Bruce dedicates himself to preaching by day and taking down the State as Batman by night, punching down criminals and then immediately apologizing for it and crying.
"Dear Lord, forgive me, I punched a guy in the dick for like three hours to get him to talk."
Pirate Batman's a strange phenomenon. Separately the components work, but combine them and the math gets wonky. Batman = Badass; Pirate = Badass; Batman + Pirate = Ass.
Captain Leatherwing (Batman) is a pirate under contract with the British crown to raid and plunder ships of England's enemies, especially Spain. This doesn't exactly put Batman on the right side of history, as we don't remember the British Empire for benevolence, justice and humanitarianism. Sure, Pirate Batman is still an irascible rogue, kind of like Han Solo if Han did freelance work for the Empire.
The cast of characters includes all the regulars: Alfredo (Alfred), Batman's sassy Italian servant; Capitana Felina (Catwoman) and Robin Redblade, who no one seems to notice is a transvestite.
A very pretty transvestite.
Oh, and of course the Joker shows up as the Laughing Man, a rival pirate.
What a jolly old swashbuckler!
We meet Captain Leatherwing as he saves the princess of the Caiman Islands from seafaring brutes. Leatherwing loans the lady a dress and when they get to the islands discovers that giving a woman a dress is the Caiman custom for proposing marriage. Because, of course, introducing a slapstick accidental marriage into the middle of the story makes total sense. For an '80s sitcom.
This is exactly the kind of plot children wanted when they'd heard about a Pirate Batman comic.
Meanwhile, Capitana Felina's crew is in the throes of mutiny, because someone has to do things that aren't related to marriage in this comic book about pirates and Batmen. Captain Joker steps in to save Felina and proposes they collude in a plot to discover Leatherwing's Cay (Batcave) and all his riches. Joker will use Felina to seduce Leatherwing, making Joker a pimp, which totally explains why he's dressed like that.
"I hold one of my balls in each pant leg."
Leatherwing's ship, the Flying Fox, comes upon Joker's Spanish galleon. Leatherwing spots a Spanish contessa (Felina) being made to walk the plank into shark-infested waters. Of course Leatherwing totally buys it, because the last thing a ship crowded with unscrupulous, lonely pirates needs is a sexy woman with a leather and whip fetish.
Felina falls, Leatherwing goes in after her and in the most badass moment, Batman lands a flying drop kick to a shark's face. Even the shark was like, "Holy shit, that was awesome!"
"It's a real honor, Pirate Batman!"
Felina's plan backfires and she eventually falls in love with Pirate Batman, because of course you fall in love with Pirate Batman he's Pirate Batman! Felina no longer wants a part in Joker's plan and will marry Leatherwing. That's when the Three's Company seed planted a few paragraphs ago really takes root and Batman's Caiman princess bride pops up. Catwoman is pissed (which is understandable), so she jumps off the boat to rejoin Joker (less understandable).
"You're great and all, but Joker understands my need for constant emotional abuse."
We could explain how the nutty romantic triangle issue gets sorted out, but why should we when the book hardly cares. Batman's "wife" never shows up again and it's never explained how the predicament got resolved. Lazy writing must be the Caiman custom for marriage annulment.
Now it's on to the final showdown with the Joker. While our Batman would never intentionally kill anyone, Leatherwing is a big fan of killing and in fact kills the Laughing Man.
"THIS IS SO MUCH EASIER!"
It could have easily been The Good, the Bat and the Ugly, but they so dearly wanted something nonsensical.
Ah, the cowboy phase. The Blue, the Grey and the Bat delivers us to the dog days of the Civil War. The North and South battle a war of attrition, with both sides tiring and neither gaining the upper hand. President Lincoln learns of a rich gold deposit in the unclaimed Nevada territory. That gold could reinvigorate the Southern cause; Lincoln must stop it. So he calls in his most flamboyant secret agent, Colonel Bruce Wayne.
"You should give up the stovepipe hat. It makes you look ridiculous."
Wayne fights for the Union both as a military man and as Batman. Remember how Bruce Wayne came by the identity of the Bat after a dark, tortured night of the soul lead to an epiphany? This Bruce Wayne just thought dressing like a bat would be funny. Even Lincoln points out Batman's costume is a bit over the top, and he was a Frankenstein.
All the same, a guy's gotta have a costume. The Batsuit is uniquely designed to protect Batman while allowing him to use stealth and the cover of darkness as his weapon. Which makes Batman's black leather suit an intriguing choice for fighting crime in the middle of the flat, sun-bleached, blistering desert.
"Do you think they've spotted us?"
To keep his identity secret, Bruce masquerades as the winner of a "Most Punchable Face" contest.
"Hey, I'm shitty Zorro, it's nice to meet you."
He rides to Nevada with a fetching young woman and her aunt, who no one wants to point out looks like a cross-dressing Teddy Roosevelt.
In Nevada, Bruce meets up with Redbird (Robin), a Native American who speaks broken English. Redbird's actually half Native American (his mother was white), so there's no reason for him not to speak regular English except the contractual obligation of every Native American character in media to speak bad English and finish every sentence with "boss."
Bruce teams up with Wild Bill Hickok and Mark Twain because something something something, history is whatever we want it to be.
And horse anatomy is whatever the artists want it to be.
Then the not-at-all-surprising twists start piling up. The fetching young woman turns out to be working for the South, a bunch of French soldiers arrive to get the gold and everyone expecting a Batman comic gets bored and leaves. But things don't go really off the rails until someone shoots and kills Batman's horse, at which point he Loses. His. Shit.
And that's ... how Batman won the Civil War?
Wow. This actually would have made a much better history textbook.
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For more astonishingly bad comic ideas, check out Batman: The WTF Adventures and The 20 Most Ridiculous Batman Comics Ever Released.