Recently, for whatever reason, I decided to go ahead and give Gotham Season 2 a watch. Regardless of my feelings on the show as a whole, the experience nevertheless left me in yet another mood to seek out more Riddler. As such, I set out to revisit some of my favorite fanfics, and so I bring to you Human Decency by crowsnest.
I finally saw the Batman v Superman movie yesterday, and well… I’ve seen better. A lot better. I honestly had no idea what to expect going in, because not only did I adamantly avoid spoilers, reviews online have been mixed. The movie has received both scathing reviews from critics as well as unending praise. As such, I tried to keep an open mind. I didn’t like Man of Steel all that much and have consistently hated just about every DC live-action movie in the past five years. I thought Man of Steel was too dark and muted, and it lost itself in the storytelling process. It had little to no characterization to speak of, and the climax ended up being an hour-long fistfight of two assholes punching each other through buildings while thousands of innocent bystanders died.
Even then, I wanted to like Batman v Superman as the next big superhero movie, because it’s paving the way for the Justice League’s entrance to the big screen. I didn’t. Almost none of the problems from Man of Steel were fixed, the characters are all still unlikable and unrelatable, the plot made no damn sense, the message was still over the top, and I came out of that theater feeling as though I had just wasted five dollars and a good fifteen hours of my life. Thankfully, I only wasted five dollars and two and a half hours of my life. But even that was still too much.
Gotham is one of those shows that I find very polarizing. For everything I love about the story, it does something else that I hate. I adore its take on Selena, but she threatened a false rape accusation. Gotham has done an amazing job with Penguin’s character, but it’s also fallen victim to fatphobia. The show has given us an autistic Riddler, and that’s awesome, but his character has been subjected to numerous clichés and stereotypes. Then of course, there’s Arkham Asylum, which is problematic in its own regard. It also hasn’t helped that the latest two episodes have been absolutely disgusting and gory. I didn’t need to see Fish Mooney, the show’s best character, gouge her own eye out.
Despite all its issues, though, Gotham could still easily have been a good show, but time after time, it’s failed to live up to its potential. The show lacks direction—any given episode has at least three plots—and unfortunately, James Gordon’s plotlines are completely removed from the other two. At this point, I swear he was added into the show just because the creators felt obligated to include him. Why he’s the main character, or why he even needs to be there, I don’t know. But what I do know is that right now, this problem is really wearing down on the show’s direction.
So, I had some free time yesterday, and instead of pursuing my normal Saturday afternoon GTL (Gym Tan Laundry), I ended up in front of the TV on Netflix. Netflix has this new feature called “Max”, wherein the most annoying voice I’ve ever heard (keeping in mind that I’m a huge fan of Fran Drescher) takes you through a TV game show-type experience in an attempt to guess what you’d like to watch. It gives itself a number of chances to make a good guess, based on the info you supply. It almost didn’t find me anything I wanted to watch, mostly because I had seen everything it suggested, not that it was off the mark. I think it was on the seventh guess that it suggested Batman: Year One. I gave it a try.
MadameAce: So this movie is okay. I like it. I certainly like it more than other movies for DC. But I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I thought I would. Maybe that’s because I built it up so much in my head before watching it that it couldn’t possibly live up to my expectations. Or maybe it’s because the conflict is the exact same conflict in the previous films, only with an even drearier tone. Or it might just be the fact that I couldn’t understand Bane’s character at all. Among other things, of course. And that’s Bane, not Bain, dear Rush.
Lady Geek Girl: I was actually fairly pleased, probably because I didn’t build the movie up in my head. So it actually went beyond my expectations. Here’s the thing, if you were expecting the movie to be just as good or better than The Dark Knight then you were probably disappointed. I was so worried about being disappointed that I ended up liking it instead. That’s not to say that this movie isn’t without flaws though, because there are probably more flaws in this movie than in Batman Begins or in The Dark Knight.
Sometimes comic books don’t do what I want them to do (see: DC Comics Reboot). Comics for the most part tend to be more concerned about the action that is occurring in the story than the relationships between the characters. There are notable exceptions of course, but for the most part comics are focused more on action and fighting. For those of you that long for some more character and relationship building I suggest you turn to your favorite fanfiction site.
I love all things Batman and I love the Bat Family. The dynamic in that family is fantastic, interesting, and multilayered, but because many of the characters in the Bat Family are emotionally stunted, and because comic writers aren’t often going to create a series simply to explore characters’ relationships, the dynamics of this family are often not explored.
Silver Spider wrote a series of one-shot fanfics that focus primarily on the relationships between Batman and the various Robins. The Choice of Family is the first in the series and begins in a hospital with Damian Wayne (Robin) and Tim Drake (Red Robin) watching over an injured Dick Grayson (Nightwing). As the story progresses the reader learns that Dick was injured in a gang altercation involving Jason Todd.
Jason, for those maybe less familiar with Batman, is a former Robin who was murdered by the Joker and later resurrected. Jason is the estranged son of the Bat Family, angry with his father and his siblings for not avenging his death by killing the Joker. The Jason Todd of the comics often struggles with his own anger toward his family, but occasionally the fact that he still cares about them is made known.
Silver Spider shows this amazingly well. In The Choice of Family, Jason feeling guilty, shows up at the hospital to check on Dick and even attempts to apologize for his actions, though he doesn’t take full responsibility for what happened at the time.
I might be a bit bias, but Jason’s journey throughout the series is arguably the most compelling. Jason begins by being angry and vengeful, blaming everybody but himself for his problems, but starting with Antidote for the Poison and climaxing in In Father’s Honor, Jason changes and grows. Jason becomes more mature and learns to turn to his family with his problems, which then allows him to begin to overcome his past and start on a better path.
As a Jason Todd fan girl this is kind of my wildest dream.
But perhaps the thing I like most about this series is that the familial relationships are stressed far more than in the comics.
In the Batman comics, the only one of Bruce’s children that calls him father is Damian, and the Robins never really refer to each other as brothers, but in Silver Spider’s series the Robins often refer to each other as brothers and refer to Bruce as their father.
Simply by using names like father and brother, Silver Spider takes the Bat Family to a whole new emotional level than the comics really have. It’s a nice and much needed change.
This is an amazing fanfic that I would highly recommend to anyone. For those interested in a good fanfic that doesn’t focus on pairings (though there are a few het pairings, they aren’t usually the main focus) and really deals with interesting canon relationships between the characters, Silver Spider’s The Choice of Family and it’s sequels are few you. Check it out!