KAPOW! ZOK!! CRASH! WHAMM!!
Batman has been kicking some major ass for a few decades now. Even though I’m a die-hard Marvel fan, Batman is by far one of my favorite heroes. Heck, he is one of my favorite fictional characters PERIOD. DC has some strong characters but it always seems to go back to Batman. On the cusp of a revitalized DC cinematic universe and the new Justice League movie (Justice League Part One), you have to ask yourself:
Can DC do better than Batman?
Here’s a guy whose superpower is simply “resourcefulness”. He learned martial arts and is a bit of a ninja. He employs his knowledge of psychology to exploit enemy weaknesses. He’s arguably the greatest detective, second maybe to Sherlock Holmes (though that depends on which iteration of Batman we’re talking about). Oh, and he has cool gadgets that would make Iron Man blush. If you include the Batman show run from 1966 through 1968 (hey, it’s canon DAMMIT), his dance skills are undeniable as well – that Batusi, though!
FUN FACT: Growing up, Julie Newmar was totally my crush.. I still say she’s the most purrfect Catwoman ever.
Since 1939, Batman has been a compelling force in all facets of geek culture: video games, tabletop games, trading cards, comics, novels, TV, and the big screen. In my humble opinion, all of the Batman content is timeless and even the horribad stuff (say, Batman & Robin of 1997, where there was an entire competitive ice skating scene and lots of frollicking) is enjoyable to some extent. Heck, if you go back to the Sunsoft Batman games of the 80s/90s, they are still super-duper fun and hold up well in spite of the dated graphics – even if you’re not a retro hipster like me! Hmmm, I smell a future #RetroFriday theme…
The Batman universe is so massive that it’s spawned countless TV shows and animated series. Just to name a few, we have Batman (1996), Batman: The Animated Series (1992), The New Batman Adventures (1997), Batman Beyond (1999), The Batman (2004), and Birds of Prey (2002). Yeah, I went there on the last one and you know what? Birds of Prey had tons of potential, as cheesy as it was. We got to see what happens in a world where Batman finally gives up and others pick up the slack. Plus you get to meet his daughter, The Huntress, and an older Batgirl – AWESOME!
As huge as Batman is, he’s only a small part of the DC universe but it’s undeniable that he overshadows everything else. I mean, the recent slew of Batman games are still kicking ass, against all odds (you know, because licensed games tend to suck). Beyond the Arkham/Dark Knight themed video games of the Xbox 360/PS3 and Xbox One/PS4 generations, there are a slew of Batman-themed puzzle and arcade-style online casino games that are strangely sticky. It goes to show that we can’t get enough Batman! Now, if we can get a Batman-themed Texas Tea game, we’ll be set – that particular game has paid out quite well for me during my Vegas excursions.
Marvel vs. DC Cinematic Universe
So let’s talk about the DC universe as a whole. If you ask our fellow geeks, most might say that the DC is still lagging way behind Marvel. On the TV front, the combined efforts of The Flash, Supergirl, Arrow, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow have created a very believable world with compelling enemies and loosely-connected story lines. On the big screen, they’re not doing so hot.
DC has made it clear that they’re not interested in tying in their television series with their silver screen stuff. I think that is a smart decision as it gives them more creative freedom. Some fans would like to see the TV actors do large-scale productions but that may not work as well. For example, Steve Amell is great but he hasn’t done too hot in movies. Without the TV backdrop, however, DC needs to rely on their movie universe alone or risk losing people.
On the Marvel side, you have the Netflix shows like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and the most recent Iron Fist. Let’s just get this out of the way: Iron Fist is actually a really strong show but critics are slamming it because controversy and contrarian opinions garner attention. Anywho, all of these shows have fleshed out the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) nicely without getting in the way of each other too much.