Under the Red Hood Movie Review

undertheredhoodmovieWell, since I’m still awaiting the release of Justice League: War and am currently too lazy to start my Arkham Asylum reviews, I figured it was time to get around to talking about Under the Red Hood, which is probably my favorite comic book animated feature to date.

Under the Red Hood is a dark and twisted movie that’s really not afraid to show a more sinister side to the Batman mythos, and I mean that in the best way possible. It’s hard to do a movie about the second Robin, Jason Todd, without some mention of the macabre, and I doubt the story would be as powerful without it either. Jason’s drama comes from a dark place, so it makes perfect sense that a movie about him would be just as dark and violent; it’s wonderful that this story doesn’t shy away from that.

Spoilers for Under the Red Hood after the jump.

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Fanfiction Fridays: Enough

Probably the only upside to cancelled shows is that fanfiction attempts to fill in the holes they leave behind, and Young Justice had a lot of holes in it. Very obviously the show was designed to run for a least a few more seasons to explain everything and justify the numerous characters it introduced.

Also, his sideburns bother me.

Also, his sideburns bother me.

One such character was the Riddler; I was never sure how I felt about his introduction into the series. We first meet him while as an inmate at Belle Reeve, not Arkham, and instead of working on his own personal goals—like proving himself smarter than Batman—he’s an agent for the Light. I was a little underwhelmed by his character, and I felt as if the show should have done more with him, instead of having him be a random adversary for our heroes, especially since working with the Light never seemed to line up with his original goals in the comics. I just wanted something to justify his alliance with them.

Enough by FelineOverlord doesn’t set out to do that specifically, but it does give me some closure with his character, though admittedly not as much as I’d like.

The Riddler has enough, but breaking ties with the Light is nothing he can do on his own. YJ verse, based on a prompt fill by Higgystar on tumblr.

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Holy Movie Reviews Batman It’s The Dark Knight Rises

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.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Bruce Wayne aka Batman

Ah, Batman. If there was a prize for a character’s sexuality being questioned Batman would win every year. This after all was the character that inspired The Ambiguously Gay Duo.

Bruce Wayne aka Batman is well known as being a very typical archetype of the stoic brooding male figure. He’s a badass. He’s the GODDAMNED BATMAN! And maybe it’s because Batman is so cool that people are constantly asking questions about his sexuality.

The artists and writers were doing a decent job outing Batman themselves.

The first person to attempt to “out” Batman was Fredric Wertham, a psychiatrist who wrote a book called Seduction of the Innocent, and argued that Batman and Robin where homosexuals in a very homoerotic story and these stories were encouraging children to be gay… yeah. (He also accused Wonder Woman of being a lesbian, because a strong woman that doesn’t rely on a man for everything must be a lesbian. Obviously!)

This accusation caused trouble for DC Comics and the writers were quick to create Batgirl and Batwoman as love interests for Batman and Robin. Ironically, Batwoman would be later reintroduced as a lesbian.

Despite many people believing Batman is gay, the comic books show the exact opposite. Bruce Wayne is a notorious playboy with a long (extremely long) list of woman (civilian, superhero, and villain) as potential love interests. Of course many people point out that this could be Batman overcompensating for is homosexual urges. Furthermore, there is much speculation as to whether or not Bruce Wayne is actually a playboy or if he just pretends to be one. I think this reflected best in the recent Nolan films. In both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne has many women on his arm, but as far as the movies show, he never actually takes any of them home with him. He’s too busy being Batman to actually have sex and be a playboy.

In the comics, this is not usually the case. Bruce seems to have many relationships, but the women Bruce involves himself with usually don’t stick around, because he is unable to commit to them and still be Batman. This doesn’t stop Batman from getting his groove on though. He had a son, Damian Wayne, with Talia al Ghul, and Catwoman is often regarded as his one true love despite their often toxic relationship.

The writers for the Batman comics have all been questioned about Batman’s sexuality. Regardless of these numerous heterosexual relationships, here is what they had to say:

“The Comics Bulletin website posed the question ‘Is Batman Gay?’ to their staff and various comic book professionals. Writer Alan Grant has stated, ‘The Batman I wrote for 13 years isn’t gay. Denny O’Neil’s Batman, Marv Wolfman’s Batman, everybody’s Batman all the way back to Bob Kane… none of them wrote him as a gay character. Only Joel Schumacher might have had an opposing view.’ Writer Devin Grayson has commented, ‘It depends who you ask, doesn’t it? Since you’re asking me, I’ll say no, I don’t think he is… I certainly understand the gay readings, though.’ While Frank Miller has described the relationship between Batman and the Joker as a ‘homophobic nightmare,’ he views the character as sublimating his sexual urges into crime fighting, concluding, ‘He’d be much healthier if he were gay.’”

So is Batman gay? He certainly has many woman attached to him and the creator/writers don’t seem to think he is, but could he be?

Batman and Robin(s):

See okay, this is why I didn’t want to talk about this character. *Sigh* The relationship between Batman and Robin is the main reason people think Batman is gay. Everything involving Batman and homosexuality inevitably leads to Batman and Robin. I should say Robins, because there have been several and most have been romantically linked to Batman.

Dick Grayson, the first Robin who later becomes Nightwing, is the one most often tied to Batman. There are many comics that show Batman’s close relationship to the eldest Robin and of course some the hilarious early Batman comics don’t help. After all who could forget that famous shower fight scene.

I don't even have words for this scene...

Jason Todd, the second Robin who later becomes Red Hood, is also often romantically linked to Batman. Jason notably was very, very jealous of Batman’s relationship with Catwoman and even tried to break them up.

Thankfully, as far as I know, neither Tim Drake nor Damian Wayne have ever been romantically linked to Batman, nor has Steph Brown, the only canon female Robin. In fact none of the Bat Women have ever been romantically link to Batman in recent canon.

Now you might be looking at the above thinking, “Four tiny paragraphs talking about Batman and Robin(s)’s relationship when this is the pairing that started the gay rumors in the first place! What the hell?”

You are right in thinking that I’m dismissing these pairings. Why? Because it’s creepy, that’s why! And don’t go accusing me of homophobia or any of that nonsense. The Batman/Robin pairing is not homosexual. If this pairing really did exist, since Robin is a minor, it would be pedophilia. Even if you tell me that Batman and Robin will get together when Robin is all grown up it’s still creepy. It’s child grooming at best. Furthermore, Batman raised all of the Robins, giving their interactions a familial touch to them. Making any relationship between Batman and the Robins as creepy as Woody Allen marrying his adopted daughter.

Batman and the Joker:

Hahahahaaaa! Okay, seriously, seriously! Uh huh, so apparently some people think

Oh yes, clearly it's love. *eye roll*

Batman and the Joker are madly in love with each other. Well, maybe in your fanfic they are but I really doubt it—no, I know Batman has absolutely no interest in the Joker.

Now don’t get your panties all in a twist. That doesn’t mean the Joker isn’t interested in Batman, but we’re discussing Batman’s sexuality today. We’ll come back to the Joker’s another time.

Batman and Superman:

Now here’s a pairing that actually makes sense to me. While Clark Kent is very straight, he is not a minor or family member of Bruce Wayne’s, nor is he in fact a psychotic maniac. So I feel this is a step in the right direction for Batman.

Despite very few accusations about Superman’s sexuality, there is a surprising amount of evidence here. First, in the early comics, Batman and Superman got along extremely well, unlike in today’s comics, but while I don’t want to demean their friendship, the early Batman and Superman were about as close as two men could get and still be straight. So their relationship was teetering on the edge there.

Then there is the fact that Batman and Superman kind of raised Robin together, particularly Dick Grayson. There’s no denying that Superman is often in the lives of the Bat Family, but he seems to have made the greatest impression on Dick who took on the name Nightwing after he moved on from being Robin. Nightwing is the name of a great hero in a Kryptonian legend from Superman’s home world. Though this in no way indicates a relationship between Batman and Superman, their close friendship along with Superman’s connection with Dick certainly creates an interesting pseudo-family dynamic.

In later incarnations this extremely close friendship disappears in favor of a rivalry. Frank Miller was the first to realize that Superman’s strict code of ethics would in fact clash with Batman’s often morally grey ones. Admittedly though, Miller takes this rivalry too far, making the two characters out and out hate each other. In later comics this rivalry would remain, but eventually would fade away to become respect, and then friendship, though both Batman and Superman could still get on each others nerves at times.

Now Superman still seems to hang around the Bat Family a lot. Dick still takes on the name Nightwing, Tim Drake (the third Robin) is best friends with Superman’s son Conner Kent, and Batgirl and Supergirl are very close. Superman even gets along with Alfred! Superman worries for Batman a lot and usually becomes distraught when he dies. He even went so far as to verbally attack Dick Grayson in one comic for daring to become Batman after Bruce Wayne’s death, because it meant to Superman that his Batman was really dead.

So it seems that Superman just fits well into Batman’s life and cares about him a great deal. Batman seems to react the same way for Superman, often worrying about him, watching out for his friends and family, and freaking out if Superman dies or is injured.

There was so much speculation about these two that this happened:

Apollo and Midnighter exist in another universe, but while not Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne, they are meant to be the Batman and Superman figures in their universe—and they’re gay. They even marry and adopt a child together. Again this proves nothing about Batman and Superman’s relationship, but it’s enough to make the readers wonder.

In conclusion, I actually don’t think Batman’s gay. Straight or gay it doesn’t really matter because Batman is so emotionally stunted by the trauma of his parents’ death that he pushes everyone he cares about away. Something that is often lamented about by the Robins, Superman, Catwoman, and literally everyone else who knows him. So again, I do think based on the comic’s canon that he is straight, but should a writer choose to write Batman as a gay character, well, I don’t think it would be difficult.

Fanfiction Fridays: The Choice of Family (And It’s Sequels) by Silver Spider

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’s fanfiction, The Choice of Family and its subsequent sequels, fills this gap in the comics to explore the familial relationships in the Bat Family.

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!