Twenty Percent Cooler

Chris Sims, senior writer of ComicsAlliance, co-writer of Down Set Fight and Subatomic Party Girls, and the Teen Tycoon of Rock

Here’s An Idea I Had About Batman 

So as you may already be aware, I like Batman a lot, which means I think about Batman all the time, and ever since I started writing comics, I’ve been thinking about what I would do if I could do a Batman story. That’s pretty common, right? I mean, surely everyone has a Batman pitch in their back pocket just in case it ever comes up. One of mine, the one that I think could actually work really well, was The Batman of the 30th Century.

The basic idea comes from two things: One, that the Legion of Superheroes is founded as a Superman spinoff, which means there’s a lot of Superman legacy stuff that shows up over the years, and there’s a lot of Flash stuff that shows up from XS, Impulse and the Tornado Twins, but there’s nothing in the Legion’s future that indicates a legacy for Batman. (There’s also nothing involving the Wonder Woman legacy, but, you know, that’s a discussion for another time.) And yet, if you skip ahead to the 853rd Century of DC One Million, the Batman legacy is definitely alive and well.

Second, and the reason it’s so weird that there’s no Batman tie-in for the Legion, is that there actually was a “Batman of the 30th Century.” His name’s Brane Taylor, and he appears in a one-shot story in 1954. It’s not all that obscure among people who read a lot of comics, and with creators’ love of tying things together, it seems mystifying to me that there was never a reintroduction of that character as part of the Legion’s future. Maybe it was the name? “Brane” is, to be honest, kind of awful. But it’s all there, and looking at it as a fan, it seemed natural that you could tie it together. The only thing that you’d really need would be to tweak Brane so that he’d fit in with the teenagers of the Legion, and when I saw (and bought the original art for) Cliff Chiang’s Gatchaman-inspired “Science Ninja Hero Batman,” it all seemed to fall into place. I really wanted it to have a strange feeling of the retrofuturism of the original Legion and its Silver Age roots along with Batman’s darker, more modern aesthetic (there’s a lot of the Morrison run in this, for instance).

So I thought about this for years, and I ended up mentioning it to J. Gonzo, the artist of La Mano Del Destino, and he really loved it and wanted to draw it, and came up with a few ideas his own along the way — Robin and Bat-Mite were his ideas, and I love ‘em. We ended up making a full pitch document with character designs and summaries that I think is really cool, but at the same time, I know that there’s a roughly zero percent chance that it will ever actually happen. So we showed it around to a few people, and now I’m sharing it with you. Enjoy!

ROBIN: Look, Batman! It’s one of those Shinkenger heroes from Japan!
BATMAN: Now Robin, you know better than to make assumptions. It could be one of the Samurai Rangers.
RED RANGER: Yeah, it’s me, Jayden.
ROBIN: Oh. Sorry for the confusion.
RED RANGER: It’s okay, it happens a lot.
BATMAN: What brings you to Gotham City?
RED RANGER: I was hoping I’d run into you, Batman! The other Samurai Rangers and I have been tracking down one of the evil Nighloks, and I was hoping to get some help from the World’s Greatest Detective! You haven’t seen him, have you?
BATMAN: What does this arch-villain look like?
RED RANGER: Average, I guess. That’s what makes him so hard to find. He’s about 200 feet tall, weighs 400, 450 tons. His head sort of looks like a squid made of metal?
ROBIN: Holy median! That’s average?
BATMAN: I can assure you we haven’t seen your quarry, but we’ll keep an eye out while we’re dealing with that hateful haberdasher, the Mad Hatter. Good luck, young man!

ROBIN: Look, Batman! It’s one of those Shinkenger heroes from Japan!

BATMAN: Now Robin, you know better than to make assumptions. It could be one of the Samurai Rangers.

RED RANGER: Yeah, it’s me, Jayden.

ROBIN: Oh. Sorry for the confusion.

RED RANGER: It’s okay, it happens a lot.

BATMAN: What brings you to Gotham City?

RED RANGER: I was hoping I’d run into you, Batman! The other Samurai Rangers and I have been tracking down one of the evil Nighloks, and I was hoping to get some help from the World’s Greatest Detective! You haven’t seen him, have you?

BATMAN: What does this arch-villain look like?

RED RANGER: Average, I guess. That’s what makes him so hard to find. He’s about 200 feet tall, weighs 400, 450 tons. His head sort of looks like a squid made of metal?

ROBIN: Holy median! That’s average?

BATMAN: I can assure you we haven’t seen your quarry, but we’ll keep an eye out while we’re dealing with that hateful haberdasher, the Mad Hatter. Good luck, young man!

PUNISHER: …
BATMAN: …
ROBIN: Uh…
PUNISHER: How about we just pretend we didn’t see each other?
BATMAN: Best to move on, old chum.
ROBIN: But aren’t you gonna —
BATMAN: I’m surprised at you, Robin! Respect for our military veterans is one of the most important aspects of our American way of life!
ROBIN: Gosh, Batman, you’re right!

PUNISHER: …

BATMAN: …

ROBIN: Uh…

PUNISHER: How about we just pretend we didn’t see each other?

BATMAN: Best to move on, old chum.

ROBIN: But aren’t you gonna —

BATMAN: I’m surprised at you, Robin! Respect for our military veterans is one of the most important aspects of our American way of life!

ROBIN: Gosh, Batman, you’re right!

YOTSUBA: Hey! Whatcha doin’ out there, Beltman?!
ROBIN: “Beltman?”
YOTSUBA: Yeah! Beltman’s got a big belt that he uses to fight bad guys, right?!
BATMAN: That is fairly accurate, young lady.
ROBIN: I get the feeling you’re not from Gotham City.
YOTSUBA: Nope! Yotsuba’s from over there.
ROBIN: Over there?
YOTSUBA: Yup!
BATMAN: Well, we hope you enjoy your stay over here! Come along, Robin — We’ve got to catch up with that pernicious Pagliacci, and I get the feeling that our next green-haired encounter won’t be so nice!
YOTSUBA: Bye, Beltman!

YOTSUBA: Hey! Whatcha doin’ out there, Beltman?!

ROBIN: “Beltman?”

YOTSUBA: Yeah! Beltman’s got a big belt that he uses to fight bad guys, right?!

BATMAN: That is fairly accurate, young lady.

ROBIN: I get the feeling you’re not from Gotham City.

YOTSUBA: Nope! Yotsuba’s from over there.

ROBIN: Over there?

YOTSUBA: Yup!

BATMAN: Well, we hope you enjoy your stay over here! Come along, Robin — We’ve got to catch up with that pernicious Pagliacci, and I get the feeling that our next green-haired encounter won’t be so nice!

YOTSUBA: Bye, Beltman!

ROBIN: Holy Headlock, Batman! It’s WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan! I’m a big fan, sir!
BRYAN: Thanks, Boy Wonder! When I came to Gotham City to check on that new exercise technique that could give me the edge in my WWE Championship match against John Cena, I didn’t know I’d be meeting the Dynamic Duo!
BATMAN: It’s for the best, citizen — that “exercise technique” turned out to be a plot by that felonious feline, Catwoman!
BRYAN: I thought it sounded too good to be true!
ROBIN: Things like that usually are!
BATMAN: That’s right, Old Chum. The only true way to improve oneself is through good old-fashioned hard work!
BRYAN: There’s only one thing I can say to that, Caped Crusader: YES! YES! YES!

ROBIN: Holy Headlock, Batman! It’s WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan! I’m a big fan, sir!

BRYAN: Thanks, Boy Wonder! When I came to Gotham City to check on that new exercise technique that could give me the edge in my WWE Championship match against John Cena, I didn’t know I’d be meeting the Dynamic Duo!

BATMAN: It’s for the best, citizen — that “exercise technique” turned out to be a plot by that felonious feline, Catwoman!

BRYAN: I thought it sounded too good to be true!

ROBIN: Things like that usually are!

BATMAN: That’s right, Old Chum. The only true way to improve oneself is through good old-fashioned hard work!

BRYAN: There’s only one thing I can say to that, Caped Crusader: YES! YES! YES!

JIMMY: Super duper! I thought I heard a Bat-Rope outside the window!
ROBIN: Jimmy! Gotham City’s a long way from Metropolis, isn’t it?
JIMMY: Sure is, Robin! I’m on special assignment from the Daily Planet, covering that Egyptian Cat Statue exhibit at the museum with my pal Clark!
BATMAN: Where is Mr. Kent? 
JIMMY: Oh, he had to run off for some reason. I wish he was a little more reliable, like Gotham’s millionaire philanthropist, Bruce Wayne!
ROBIN: Golly, Jimmy! You really aren’t from here! Most Gotham Citizens know that Mr. Wayne is often indisposed on fishing trips!
BATMAN: Best not to spread rumors, old chum. Come along! We can still catch up to that evil Egyptologist, King Tut!

JIMMY: Super duper! I thought I heard a Bat-Rope outside the window!

ROBIN: Jimmy! Gotham City’s a long way from Metropolis, isn’t it?

JIMMY: Sure is, Robin! I’m on special assignment from the Daily Planet, covering that Egyptian Cat Statue exhibit at the museum with my pal Clark!

BATMAN: Where is Mr. Kent?

JIMMY: Oh, he had to run off for some reason. I wish he was a little more reliable, like Gotham’s millionaire philanthropist, Bruce Wayne!

ROBIN: Golly, Jimmy! You really aren’t from here! Most Gotham Citizens know that Mr. Wayne is often indisposed on fishing trips!

BATMAN: Best not to spread rumors, old chum. Come along! We can still catch up to that evil Egyptologist, King Tut!

ROBIN: Holy Sentai, Batman! It’s that Japanese crime-fighter, Kamen Rider Fourze!
BATMAN: What brings you to Gotham City? On the trail of those diabolical Zodiarts?
FOURZE: Not this time, Batman! The Kamen Rider Club has taken a field trip to see how you Americans fight the forces of evil!
BATMAN: We’ll be happy to share some tips once we’ve collared that wicked waterfowl, the Penguin!
FOURZE: Glad to hear it! Hey, maybe we could work out an exchange program! I bet Robin would make lots of friends at Amanagowa High!
ROBIN: Gosh, Batman!

ROBIN: Holy Sentai, Batman! It’s that Japanese crime-fighter, Kamen Rider Fourze!

BATMAN: What brings you to Gotham City? On the trail of those diabolical Zodiarts?

FOURZE: Not this time, Batman! The Kamen Rider Club has taken a field trip to see how you Americans fight the forces of evil!

BATMAN: We’ll be happy to share some tips once we’ve collared that wicked waterfowl, the Penguin!

FOURZE: Glad to hear it! Hey, maybe we could work out an exchange program! I bet Robin would make lots of friends at Amanagowa High!

ROBIN: Gosh, Batman!

I suspect that Brave and the Bold for Nintendo DS might be the best game ever.

I suspect that Brave and the Bold for Nintendo DS might be the best game ever.