Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Batman Storyline Idea

Comic books have become an adult thing. It is a sad indictment of the infantilization of American men that they are the main audience for the comic book industry now and not 9-14 year old boys. Occasionally, the industry can turn out a good story that would be adult or serious, but the story-lines are designed for light reading and younger, simpler minds. This is why Ta-Nehisi, MacArthur Grant genius, being asked to write for the Black Panther series makes sense. In honor of such a Leftist sanctioned genius writing for a third tier title, why not craft a story-line for a top tier title that would be interesting and a bit adult.

Batman: On The Couch

We can work on the title. In the Batman universe, Bruce Wayne might be dead, but anyone who knows comics knows that death is temporary. This could help the reboot or comeback. This set up is Bruce Wayne gets in a scrape, and despite his wealth buying his way out of any whiff of jail time, as a first time offender in a fight, he gets court ordered psychiatric help for anger management. Wayne is annoyed by this, but the 10-12 issue arc explores Bruce Wayne's mind, how he compartmentalizes the Batman personality, the game he plays with the shrink to hide his identity, how his relationships with the rogues gallery of villains have taken on the role of friends and ultimately, Bruce Wayne changes a little bit but he is still Batman.

The issues can tackle specific villains. Batman/Bruce Wayne has been the most psych friendly character there is. He is a man who willed himself to fight crime after a horrible childhood trauma. He must use his mind as well as his strength to win. His villains are considered insane, yet are warped reflections of his heightened sense of right and wrong. Usually, a villain is only a mental competitor or a physical one. This is why Bane was so special that he was both an intellectual and physical threat to Batman. Batman's menagerie of villains is his social circle. Using this "on the couch" device, one could explore the psychology behind each villain and Batman/Bruce Wayne himself. Every issue has a 2 page section at the back labeled "Dr. So-And-So's Notes" with a mock up of psychiatric analysis and notes from the shrink about Bruce Wayne's revealed story.

In set up, each issue would have three storylines: A) Bruce Wayne and the Psychiatrist, B) Bruce explaining a past interaction with a villain/friend that digs into that relationship and C) Bruce fighting crime nightly with the therapy sessions having an effect on him.

Set Up Issue: Batman beats up some crook and sends him to jail. Crook will go to Arkham. He can laugh at them going back to the looney bin for evaluation. Bruce tapes up or whatever recovery stuff he needs to do and preps for a charity gala or ball he is hosting. At said ball, some other rich shit pushes him a bit. Wayne ends up slapping him around. He has Bruce Wayne arrested. Wayne gets court ordered therapy. The issue ends with the shrink asking "so where do you want to start?"

Example Issue 1: Bruce Wayne denies needing therapy and that it is a joke, but the shrink eventually gets him to engage. The psychiatrist pushes him on friends, and Bruce figures it out. Bruce can talk to the shrink about what he does and how he handles his anger by using the villains he fights. Here is how the series unfolds. Bruce tells a story with careful wording and readers end up following the parallel plotline in the issue of Bruce talking to the shrink and Batman interacting with the crook. This issue would involve a lower level villain like, The Scarecrow, as Bruce works the storytelling out to never reveal his secret identity.

Example Issue 2: Bruce Wayne explains his sophisticated friend Ozzy (The Penguin). Smart guy who loves to bird watch and has an ornithological focus. Tells a story of stopping his friend from going overboard one night, and relates how they both had rough childhoods. Ozzy just never got over his >cough cough< whatever Bruce. Random night time crime fighting has Batman busting some hoodlums and leaving them for capture.

Example Issue 3: Bruce can defend himself from accusations of suppressing anger and hiding his feelings by then bringing up how he is not a Harvey Dent (Two-Face). This issue can dig into how Bruce-Harvey were friends and Bruce donated to his campaigns, but the Batman/Villain interaction is Batman angry at Two-Face's complete inability to have any agency. Two-Face is forever stuck mentally in one setting. The random night time crime fighting can have Batman thinking something is starting and before swooping down to bust heads, let's the scene play out and it's just some drunks having difficulty getting into their own car. He alerts cops of the potential DUI. Cops act stunned.

This could go on for several issues of Bruce Wayne discussing things about his personality, his childhood, his "Bruce Wayne" life now. Each issue works in a villain. Easy to see how the Riddler would be an old friend who is smart but does the most annoying shit and has the most idiotic and convoluted schemes to make money when he should just apply himself as a chemist or engineer. DC could have this be a multiyear story arc, a miniseries or just a year's worth of stories in a row. There would be a few must have issues like Bruce discussing his parents' murder. I prefer the idea of making it a miniseries reboot, but if worked into the regular title, could be a multiyear storyline that is returned to every other issue.

Parents' Murder Issue: This is meat and potatoes for shrinks. The childhood trauma. Bruce Wayne could retell the story. While the shrink would expect the classic abandonment issues and sobbing breakdown by the patient, Bruce Wayne turns it around as something that forced him to grow, gave him purposes and created order in his life. The unexpected has to shock the shrink, and no matter how hard they push Bruce Wayne in one direction, he holds firm. The issue tracks a normal night in his Batman life that has clear purpose and order in keeping his city safe. It is his noblesse oblige that he discusses with the shrink, but his nocturnal guardian role that we see in action frames.

Sex Life Issue: This would be a fun one as the shrink could pester him about his bachelor life and lack of family. Shrink could even cite how Bruce seems to have no steady female presence or long term relationship in his life. This could start with Bruce saying, "There is one woman who..." and we get the Catwoman issue. Bruce could work in the on again-off again nature of modern relationships some people struggle with into how they interact with one another in the world of crime. With today's tastes, could work in the subtext of discipline and S&M themes. Could be lots of fun.

Joker Issue: There would have to be a Joker issue. The fun to this is setting up a best friend for Bruce Wayne. The Joker would be an exaggeration of Bruce Wayne's best abilities. "He just always pushes too far... we drifted apart, but he shows up and I still meet up with him." Aren't they similar though in their no superpowers but brains, focus and will? They never really have proper relationships and work best alone. Joker is the perfect foil as he is a man obsessed with chaos and watching the world burn while Batman is for order and security.
Final Issue: Bruce Wayne would have to end his therapy. The issue could have it affecting his crime fighting earlier where someone slips away, and knows he must stop the shrink sessions. The issue could end with him aware that his crime fighting is not based in anger but in the knowledge that he must enforce order with strength and certainty in his motivations.

DC has no continuity and is always rebooting things. This could be a way to reboot Batman if needed in the future. It's pop psychology in comic book form, but are we not a psych-obsessed culture? We pop pills often to feel good. We have turned rehab and therapy into a new religion. In days of yore, there was the public confession and good works and prayer in the Church. Now when busted for bad behavior, people publicly admit an addiction and then seek rehab and therapy. One comes out healed, but this is just as deep as someone seeking forgiveness in church and saying they are saved after. The demons stay the same inside us, so the healing process should as well. We just changed the titles: priest -> psychiatrist, penance -> rehab program, icons and medallions of saints -> sobriety tokens.

Think of the comic book reading audience. It is an adult audience. How many of them would identify with Bruce Wayne being on the couch in a situation he is annoyed by, but ultimately, has to use to help get through a temporary obstacle? Everything now is a disorder and we constantly psychoanalyze the smallest things. Give these adults stuck reading "books" designed for children a character going through something they have endured as well. The lucky few might even get the meta joke being played on them.


Robert Rediger said...

You're right that everything now is a disorder but you're incorrect to imply that the language used is inaccurate.

The terminology of therapy allows us to conceptualise and so effectively deal with toxic individuals just as the language of Christianity once allowed us to.

The power of these conceptual frameworks may often have been misused but it is essential for us to have a way to categorise toxic individuals nonetheless.

Otherwise those who thrive off emotional turbulence will always win because they will exhaust every normal, well-adjusted person; the therapeutic framework therefore allows the non-toxic to quickly recognise the toxic and cooperate to shun them.

In turn, this may actually push the toxic individual to seek out some sort of healing.

Groups who ignore such a powerful tool of communication and organisation such as this do so at their own peril. They will not only be weak to toxic individuals outside of the group buy they will be tarred by those they end up giving sanctuary to.

Furthermore, in light of the very ominous and certain to break public mental health crisis in the West, any group ignoring this terminology will miss out on a once in a lifetime chance to capture the public mood.

Anonymous said...

Comic books are jewish propaganda.

Robert Rediger said...

You're a moron.

Dystopia Max said...

The Batman: Arkham games are pretty much variations on this storyline, though in this case the female psychiatrist (Harley Quinn) fell for the Joker specifically, because the Joker was a master at turning around therapeutic terminology:

The other three games also all have evil psychiatrists as either primary or secondary antagonists, and tend to be foils for other villains.

Therapy is generally like the old morality except, if anything, less morally objective, and more vulnerable to its conceptual frameworks being hijacked. Terminology that isn't grounded in common sense or experience is weaker for understanding, not stronger. That and they're likely to have more patience than most. "Toxic" is a far less descriptive and far more abusable term than 'possessed,' 'embittered', 'opportunistic', 'self-serving', or even 'Cartmanesque.' And 'healing' gives far more nonspecific wiggle room than words like 'disavowal' or 'repentance.'

Another avenue of exploration: priests were traditionally recruited from youngest sons, who tend to be more socially adept by family and social design, whereas psychiatry tends to recruit from eldest sons or only children, or others more likely to be ambitious, demanding, Jewish, and thus possessing psychological issues that tend to stay unexamined or avoided due to the previous three categories.

Robert Rediger said...

That's a very perceptive and interesting comment. I agree with every word of it.

Robert Rediger said...

The crucial problem with using the old morality now however, and where the language of therapy becomes very useful, is that you can still use it to describe politically protected groups acting in the way people always, through social experience, expected current-day politically protected groups to act.