Friday, December 19, 2014

Detective Comics #37

Batman in The Case That Makes Him Look Like A Fascist Fearmonger!

This cover could have gone another way. Instead of "chaos" for Anarky, it could have said "Freedom." And instead of "order" for Batman, it could have said "Subjugation." Or maybe a shorter word that would fit on the cover better. Like maybe "control!" Rules are for people full of fear. They desperately need to know that other people are being told to behave. They have faith that everybody in society will follow the rules because they're all too fearful of the punishment of breaking the rules. Civilization is just a tottering Jenga tower of frightened children agreeing not to move too quickly because any sudden movement might cause the tower to topple. The problem with a civilization based on hugely thick law books is that it's all just illusion which restricts freedom. As we've seen anytime a sports team wins the big game (or loses the big game), chaos reigns supreme. At any moment, enough people can decide to stop following the rules, and your precious rules will no longer be there to keep you safe. I guess that's where Batman comes in!

Except we don't get Batman! What we really need is less faith and trust in laws, and more faith and trust in each other. That, my friends, is anarchy. And it's a lot more honest than people behaving correctly because they're afraid of being punished. Of course, in an anarchic environment, you might suddenly be severely punished by your neighbor's shotgun because they don't like the way you were masturbating in their garden. But at least nobody is constrained by lawmakers! Anarchy is worth it just to see all the lawyers lose their jobs! Although with lawyers out of work in a society where anything goes, they'll probably just become more dangerous than plague-ridden vermin.

So it's kind of a few dozen birds in one hand and a few dozen birds in the bush situation. But I have an answer that will satisfy both the people with a need for laws and me. Let me make the rules! Then we can all be happy. Or at least I can be happy. And that's the whole point, right? Everybody just wants the kind of freedom that allows them to feel safe and secure and feel free and happy. That's why so many assholes are currently defending torture.

Let me, in an example of anarchy, completely ditch the previous topic to talk about torture. Here's the problem with most people's arguments for torture. Their argument amounts to "If torture saves lives then we should torture." The problem is that word "if" because torture does not save lives. Torture results in people not wanting to feel any more pain telling the people causing the pain whatever they want to hear to get them to stop the pain. It's the reason the police get so many false confessions. Because extended interviews filled with psychological games is torture. But then, all those jerks that want order need to feel safe, so they convince themselves that torturing people reveals truth. Plus have you seen how well it works in television and movies?! The bad guy always tells the truth! And is always the bad guy! Because why would the good guy torture somebody who isn't the bad guy? That's ridiculous! That would never happen! America is God's country! Obviously they're not good if they're revealing things the torturer expected them to reveal. Why would a good person make up lies under those conditions? Torture works! Case closed!

This issue begins with Anarky sentencing Lester to death by immolation and/or a sudden landing after a long fall out of Wayne Tower. Whichever happens first.

Here's another reason why people love rules: to exploit and manipulate the masses! The people who make and enforce the laws generally think they're above those same sets of laws. As we've seen, every day for years and not just recently, as police officers constantly avoid indictment no matter how awful their behavior or what terrible atrocities they commit while in uniform. What District Attorney is going to ruin their career by pursing an indictment against law enforcement agents that the District Attorney needs to work with every single day? Remember, masses, the rules are there only to keep you in line. And we follow them even when we know that the politicians and the rich and the people within law enforcement and the judiciary shrug them off on a daily basis. Laws are not meant to protect us by creating a rich tapestry of order. They are meant to corral us and keep us complacent.

I don't know how you're supposed to follow instructions that tell you not to follow instructions. I'm confused!

The Mad Hatter gets his face kicked in by The Batman for threatening homeless people with a knife. It's interesting that Batman can threaten people for information but The Mad Hatter isn't allowed? Maybe it's because The Mad Hatter has a history of actually making good on his threats of death while Batman has never killed anybody*.

*At least nobody has ever died from the injuries inflicted on them by Batman while Batman was still in the vicinity of the victim. If they died later, it was either their own fault for not seeking adequate medical care, or the doctor's fault for not providing adequate medical care, or just the perp's own fault for engaging in activities that The Batman frowned upon. But Batman has never, technically, killed a person.

My guess is that The Mad Hatter is slightly outclassed here.

Batman throws The Mad Hatter into the frozen bay to remind The Mad Hatter of their last encounter when The Batman almost walked away from The Mad Hatter as he drowned. And even though Batman threw The Mad Hatter in the water that time, is it really Batman's fault if The Mad Hatter never learned to swim while unconscious? I don't think so. The Batman finds floating in the bay, or just disturbed by The Mad Hatter's flailing so they rise up before sinking again, or maybe they were on the ice and are now sinking in the panel that looks like they're floating, or perhaps they're just full of air, skulls! A new mystery has been discovered! Time to take off his Bat-Boots and put on his Detective-Shoes!

But first Alfred convinces him to put on his Billionaire-Slippers!

The problem with writers that want to tell gritty, action-oriented Batman stories is they often forget this part of Batman. Batman doesn't work without this stuff.

Meanwhile Bullock is working a non-case that involves the anarchy symbol being spray painted all over Gotham. He also has a "World's Greatest Detective" mug which is a special kind of awesome. Yip is hanging out with him because she's not sure if she's his partner or his friend or his future romantic disaster. She'd better be careful, though. I bet Harvey Bullock has a huge refrigerator.

What's with all the pissing references? I think they're made for each other!

The call comes in about Lester's Icarus impression (the myth! Not the drug! Well, maybe both!) so Bullock and Yip head out to investigate. At the scene, they find Batman investigating as well! They also find a computer loading some kind of program that, if you believe Batman (which Harvey doesn't), will cause Wayne Tower to blow up. Batman is pretty nonchalant about the whole thing because fuck Wayne Enterprises and their new government overlords, right?!

Before everybody can be evacuated or Batman can shut down the computer program, the building blows up. Okay, so it doesn't completely blow up. Parts of it blow up so that Wayne Tower turns into a gigantic scarlet letter.

I'm pretty sure this is the biggest clue Batman has ever found!

Detective Comics #37 Rating: +1 Ranking. Even if Manapul and Buccellato weren't writing an interesting story, the comic book would be worth reading for their art alone. My favorite thing about the current run of Detective Comics is that Francis and Brian are making Detective Bullock a central character. He could practically be the "chaos" figure on the front cover! The dichotomy between Bullock and Batman is just as interesting as the comparisons of Batman with all of his villains.

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