A strange creature is attacking Gotham's supervillains in Batman: Reptilian, and now it's up to the Dark Knight to try and save some of his worst enemies and-- yeah, yeah, yeah, we've seen this exact same plot before. It's not really breaking new ground like, say, No Man's Land. If you got this, then: neeeeeeeeeeerd, and we should hang out sometimes.

Published under the DC Black Label (which focuses on more "mature" takes on superheroes and is named so because it makes you want to drink over how "mature" now means "cynical and gory"), what sets Reptilian apart is 1) The breathtakingly beautiful art by Liam Sharp, and 2) The comic claiming that Batman doesn't really care about saving Gotham and that all he does, from his vigilante work to his supposed philanthropy as Bruce Wayne, is just a sham meant to maintain the status quo and continue giving Bruce an excuse to wear his underwear over his pants. This is now part of the official Batman canon and, like The Rock announcing that he will punch you in the pebbles, we were kinda expecting it but does it still hurt.

DC Comics

We've heard this argument over and over for decades now. "Bruce could do so much more to help Gotham by donating his money to charities and programs that would fix the conditions that birth his villains in the first place." First of all: Shut. Second: The hell. The third instruction is left as an exercise for you.

Pick whatever non-comic Batman medium, from the '90s animated series to Nolan's trilogy. Did a lack of city services create the Joker? Poison Ivy? Mr. Freeze? Scarecrow? Penguin? Ra's al Ghul? Bane? Nope. They were always going to become criminals because of their private agendas that have nothing to do with poverty. MAYBE you can make the case that Batman inspired some of them to do crime in costumes, but that's it. Then … could an injection of a few million ccs of dollarine into Gotham's veins help reduce the number of goons and thugs willing to work for these people? Probably not cause Bruce Wayne has long been acting as if he was Parthia and Gotham was Marcus Licinius Crassus. Again, if you got this, let's hang out sometimes.

DC Comics

Canonically, Bruce Wayne does so much for the city; it's insane. Through the Thomas Wayne Foundation and the Martha Wayne Foundation, he funds cutting-edge medical research and free clinics around the city, where even criminals are welcomed. He gives away free college tuition to literally every employee of Wayne Enterprises, the biggest employer in the city. Janitor, receptionist, the people taking swabs for Bruce's STD tests (hey, he's got to maintain that playboy public persona somehow), it doesn't matter what your job is: If you work for Bruce, you're going to college for free. What else? Wayne Construction built a free railway system in Gotham. Wayne Foods operates a chain of food banks throughout the city. Bruce has also built schools, daycare centers, and orphanages, and if you still want to work for The Riddler after all that, that's 100% on you.

DC Comics

And even then, Batman wants to help you. In the comics, he literally hands out Wayne Enterprises business cards to criminals he believes can be reformed. Yes, it's weird that he hasn't been outed yet because of it. And, yes, it IS a fantasy that a billionaire would use so much of his own money on projects that actually work and help people, but that is the magic of superhero comics. They aren't fantasies about people with powers. They are beautiful fantasies about people with powers being good. And Batman is a good guy, so why do writers keep pretending like he's not? Who the hell wrote Reptilian?

Oh. Garth Ennis… The author of The Boys, where a Batman/Iron Man stand-in rapes a chinchilla to death. You know, I take it all back. Thank you, Mr. Ennis for going so easy on Batman in Reptilian. I know you could've done so much more to him …

Follow Cezary on Twitter.

Top Image: DC Comics

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