Bat-Manga! Makes Batman Fun Again
I have a complicated history with Batman. If Pokemon is my eternal, pleasant love, Batman is the person I spend the night with and wake up with a tattoo of their face on my asscheek the next morning. My friends will tell me "Maybe you should slow down," only for Batman to tell them, "HEY. HE'S A GROWN-ASS MAN. HE CAN MAKE HIS OWN DECISIONS." And then when I'm trying to find a ride home, I discover that Batman has stolen my car and driven it into a tree. A few months later, I get a voicemail from Batman saying, "Hey. I'm in a better place now. I'm being directed by Christopher Nolan and it's going really well. Want to meet up?" And I do, and it's fun, and then boom -- my other asscheek has another Batman face on it and my wallet is gone.
Plus, despite how often they try to "reinvent" Batman, there's a solid chance that Batman has already been "reinvented" in the exact same way before. Whether it's "No, but like, you don't get it, this Batman is like, really dark" or "We're gonna take Batman in a new, more fun direction," we've seen it all a few times. Really, the only way to change Batman into something that people haven't seen is to do something absolutely nuts with him.
A manga that's very, very loosely based on the '60s Adam West series, you say?!? Why, that just. Might. Work.
The manga immediately sets its tone by showing Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson at a jewelry auction. They are bored out of their minds, so thankfully, the event is interrupted by bunch of skeletons with machine guns. Their leader is LORD DEATH MAN, who immediately announces "I AM LORD DEATH MAN," as is custom when your name is Lord Death Man. And Lord Death Man's power is that he can play dead really well. That's it. You'll think he's dead, and it's all a big bamboozle, because he's not dead. Batman, being the world's greatest detective and not a bear, only falls for this a few times.
The fact that he dressed like a skeleton AND pretended to be dead really made Batman question his whole reality.
In Bat-Manga!, there are no traditional classic Batman foes. Instead of the Penguin, you get Professor Gorilla, an evil, actual ape who wants to steal Batman's brain. And instead of the Joker, you get Doctor Faceless, who wants to steal YOUR FACE. As it turns out, you don't need to make Batman a grim protector or a jaunty do-gooder in order to freshen him up. You just need to make him sort of bad at his job and give him someone like Doctor Faceless to fight. Someone tell Warner Bros. I know they don't want to do any more reshoots on Justice League, but this is important.
Daniel has a podcast about Top 40 music and a Twitter.
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