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Thursday, January 09, 2020 

James Tynion depicts Joker knowing Bruce Wayne's secret ID as Batman

Polygon's gushing over upcoming comics for this year, and that includes a "reveal" the Joker's known Bruce Wayne is Batman for possibly a long time. The propaganda piece begins with:
2019 was an eventful year for superheroes. The X-Men made their own country on a sentient island, villains reigned supreme over the DC Universe, Venom duked it out with Carnage, and the Doomsday Clock finally counted down. 2020 is shaping up to be just as big.
I find the part fawning over a supervillain event particularly distasteful. And what's so eventful about a year built on crossovers like War of the Realms? Now about the Batman topic:
Tynion hasn’t said much about what he has in store for the future of Batman, only that the book will have a horror tone and consist of three major arcs. However, the final issue of Tom King’s run did offer a bloody three page tease of one major upcoming event. The Joker knows Batman’s secret identity, and — inspired by Superman’s reveal of his secret identity — he’s finally going to do something with that knowledge.

The idea that the Joker knows that Batman is Bruce Wayne is a dangling plot thread from all the way back in 2013, at the close of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Death of the Family arc. That story revealed that the Joker has known the true identity of Batman from very early in his criminal career, but simply didn’t care about it.

“He was incapable of even broaching the subject of Bruce Wayne,” Bruce tells Alfred at the story’s conclusion, “It would ruin his fun.”

It seems like that’s changed, but why and what happens next remain very much to be seen.
Considering this has what to do with Bendis' machinations, that's why it'd be ill-advised to find out where this is headed. With hacks like these on the writing, no chance this'll come even miles of Frank Miller's Daredevil story from the mid-80s where Karen Page, who'd become a drug addict, foolishly gave away Matt Murdock's secret ID to the Kingpin's minions.

The puff piece also brings up the Fantastic Four's connections with Jonathan Hickman's X-Men on the fictional island of Krakoa, through their son, Franklin:
The Fantastic Four have always represented “family,” and in one of the very first scenes in House of X/Powers of X, Cyclops made a precisely targeted strike on that notion, when he told the Four: “Please, greet your son for me, and tell him that when he’s ready … he has family on Krakoa waiting for him.”

There are many mutants who have yet to make the pilgrimage to Krakoa, but there’s only one whose choice lies at such a nexus of superhero politics. The oldest child of superheroes Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman, Franklin isn’t just a mutant — he’s a reality warper with no upper limit on his power. (He’s also destined to be the last living sentient being in the universe, but that’s just to say: His potential is a big deal in the Marvel Comics Universe.)

And we’ll be finding out just exactly how Franklin fits into the new mutant utopia in the four-issue miniseries X-Men/Fantastic Four, written by Chip Zdarsky and drawn by Terry Dodson. “It’s time for Franklin Richards to come home,” says the official tease for the issue, but it’s clear that it won’t happen without some conflict.
Next thing you know, other mutants like Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and any belonging to Alpha Flight will land on the isle to make reservations for residency to boot. If any or all mutants from different books are to suddenly take up residence on the same isle as the X-Men, doesn't that diminish their uniqueness and significance? Next in this article is what comes next for none other than Superman:
Superman may have revealed his secret identity to the world in December, and we haven’t had a chance to see how that reveal impacts the world until this year. But it seems certain that we will, in upcoming issues of Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and a special one-shot anthology issue, Superman: Heroes.

Written by Superman architect Brian Michael Bendis, Greg Rucka, Matt Fraction, and Jody Houser, with art from Kevin Maguire, Steve Lieber, Mike Perkins, and more, the book promises to explore “what the identity of Clark Kent meant to those close to him-and what their relationship to Superman will be in the future.”

I hope it explores what happens to a Clark Kent and Lois Lane’s careers when it is revealed that the beat that made them famous was secretly “me” and “my husband,” respectively. And while most of the Justice League seemed pretty supportive of Superman’s decision, Wonder Woman seemed to take the news quite icily. What objection could the wielder of the Lasso of Truth have to Superman deciding to live without secrets?
Now isn't that odd, considering WW's secret ID as Diana Prince was abandoned post-Crisis, that's certainly peculiar. But, what really matters is that this is all overseen by some of the worst writers in DC's employ. Next is an event book from Marvel called Outlawed, whose cast includes the Muslim Ms. Marvel:
Marvel’s first big world shaking event of 2020 is Outlawed, a story in which the American government puts an age minimum on superpowered vigilantes. In other words: No more teenage superheroes.

This has drawn many comparisons to Marvel’s famous Civil War event, which revolved around a governmental ban on unregistered superheroes and a divide in the superhero community on whether to embrace it or defy it. But if Outlawed is a similar idea, it’s got a twist that makes a lot of editorial sense — the past decade has been a great one for the popularity of the company’s teen heroes — and has strong topical resonance.

“There’s been a lot of debate lately about the role of the youth in our society — whether they should partake in activism, how much their voices should be valued, whether they’re old and learned enough to have a say in their future, and what responsibility the older generations have to keep them safe,” Marvel editor Alanna Smith told the AV Club when Outlawed was announced. “When you boil it down, Outlawed is about the conflict that arises when widespread decisions that affect an entire generation are made by people outside that generation, while ignoring the input of people who will have to live with those decisions.”
So now we have to be struck with the idiocy of a story attacking the concept of teen crimefighters in fiction - which could include Power Pack - we also have to contend with a likely attack on the Trump administration. As though Civil War wasn't bad enough. Worst, obviously, is that this should occur in an event book, that, though a one-shot in itself, still appears planned to affect the rest of their line. But since they decided to bring it up, how about a story critical of how today's youth are being indoctrinated with too much leftist ideology? I'm sure that never occurred to them, nor are they interested. Up next is Tom King's Batman/Catwoman miniseries:
As you may have read earlier in this article, it’s going to be a year of new beginnings for Batman — but it’s also going to be a year with an extended ending. Tom King’s run on the main Batman title was originally intended to run for a solid 100 issues, before the writer announced that he would step away after issue #85.

We’re still getting the ending King wanted to put on the page, just in the form of a 12-issue miniseries called Batman/Catwoman, about the eponymous lovebirds. In Batman #85, Bruce and Selina agreed to stick together forever, but not make it more formal. (A failed attempt at a wedding in 2018 brought on the epiphany.)

King and his Heroes in Crisis collaborator Clay Mann have a storm brewing for them though, in the form of Andrea Beaumont, aka The Phantasm. Beaumont has never appeared in main DC Universe continuity before, despite her starring role in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, one of the best regarded Batman movies ever made.

If her comics origin mirrors her movie one, she’ll be an old flame of Bruce Wayne’s turned deadly vigilante, which could spell all kinds of messy complications for the Bat and the Cat.
So what's this we have here - another character adapted from the 90s Batman cartoons, much like Harley Quinn and Renee Montoya, and decidedly not for the better, seeing how superfluous the emphasis became in the years after they were introduced to the DCU proper, what with HQ boosted to series star regardless of her villainy, and RM abruptly turned into a lesbian by Greg Rucka in Gotham Central, despite not being depicted that way before. And now, one of comicdom's most insufferably cynical writers rejoins with the same artist who drew Heroes in Crisis, to produce what's unlikely at this point to be regarded as the best Batman tale of the year. Last on the list of upcoming books is Empyre:
One of the more intriguing revelations to come out of Marvel’s Incoming special was that a war with the Kree and the Skrulls is coming. Marvel’s heroes have fought many battles against both space empires over the years, but this one is different.

The two races have finally found peace between themselves, under the rule of King Dorrek VIII, the secret son of Princess Anelle of the Skrulls, and Mar-Vell, the Kree war hero. But you might know him better as Teddy Altman, aka Hulkling, member of the Young Avengers and fiancee of Billy Kaplan, aka Wiccan.

And Teddy’s first action as king was to rally the combined Skrull and Kree armies against a new enemy, which is apparently the Earth itself. Why would he do that, when his fiancee and all his friends live on Earth? Why does the threat seem to be… deadly trees?

We’ll get our answers in Marvel’s second crossover event of 2020, Empyre, in which the Avengers and the Fantastic Four will face off against the Kree and the Skrulls.
Better if we avoid this miniseries, we won't, and save ourselves a lot of aggravation and frustration. If memory serves Hulkling was created to serve as a LGBT quota filler when Young Avengers began over a decade ago. But what's eyebrow raising is that this story actually acknowledges there was once a male Captain Marvel who preceded the real Ms. Marvel! In contrast to a disastrous miniseries from nearly 2 years ago written to cash in on the Capt. Marvel movie, which changed Carol Danvers' background to far more Kree than human.

Now since the subject of Outlawed came up, I took a look at the AV Club article Polygon linked to above, as I'd missed it the first time, and it says:
The life of a teenaged superhero is never easy, but it’s about to get a lot harder for the young vigilantes of the Marvel Universe. March’s Outlawed one-shot introduces a new status quo that has the government cracking down on superheroes under the age of 21, and these events will have repercussions across the publisher’s entire line. Written by Eve L. Ewing with art by Kim Jacinto, colorist Espen Grundetjern, and letterer Clayton Cowles, Outlawed sees the country rocked by a tragedy involving the Champions that compels politicians to take drastic actions. The set-up is reminiscent of 2006’s Civil War, which similarly began with a tragedy surrounding a young superhero team leading to federal restrictions on superheroes.
Well this certainly confirms C.B. Cebulski has no intention of learning from his predecessors' mistakes, the story's one-shot status notwithstanding. If it's planned to affect their entire output, then it doesn't improve on their previous atrocities doing the same. It's just a more cunning attempt to make it look as though they're avoiding a serious crossover-load, even though they have yet another, Empyre, planned for later this year. While at the same time continuing to churn out the same liberal politics as before.
“To me, this story isn’t just about young people being in conflict with the government, but much bigger questions about what we ask of young people, how they’re expected to be independent sometimes and subservient other times,” says Ewing. “Every era of history brings new challenges, and young people today are coming of age in the era of mass shootings, the era of the climate crisis—things that in some ways are unprecedented in history. Yet we often don’t recognize their wisdom and their insights. It’s like we get above a certain age and lose all empathy. I just wanted to explore that tension, and them being superheroes really ups the stakes because they’re literally out there saving lives every day, but aren’t seen as full people or full citizens. And, at the same time, maybe the law is a good idea? Maybe it really is for everyone’s protection? It’s intentionally kind of morally ambiguous.”
Knowing what these people are like, I doubt this'll be morally ambiguous in political terms, though on the surface, that's their strategy, to make it look like they're not taking a stand. But here's where it really gets ludicrous:
“I feel really grateful that the editorial team saw how much I enjoy writing adolescent characters and decided to give me this opportunity,” says Ewing. “I used to teach middle school, and as a teenager myself I was really angsty and dramatic but also, I think, had a lot of genuine emotional and intellectual perspectives, as all young people do. So I’ve tried to bring those experiences to bear in the way I wrote Ironheart, and the way I wrote Spider-Man and the Unstoppable Wasp when they paid a visit to the Ironheart world, and with Marvel Team-Up I got to really explore questions about what it means to be an adolescent because in that story, not only was I writing Ms. Marvel, but Kamala and Peter Parker actually switched bodies. So Peter had to remember what it was like to be a teenager. In a sense, I’ve kind of been in his shoes, putting myself in the head of a 15- or 16-year-old and trying to make sense of what it’s like in there, with real respect and care. So I’m excited to keep flexing that muscle.”
Hmm, fascinating she doesn't mention Peter had to figure out what it's like to be a girl! Was this Ewing's metaphor for transgender ideology? How revolting indeed. She didn't make sense of it so much as she did make an embarrassment.
“We’re bringing the next generation of heroes to the forefront in a major way and swinging for the fences in terms of story, stakes and scale,” says Smith. “Outlawed introduces an ongoing status quo that will be reflected in books across the line—almost every active character who’s under 21 (and even a few who are older) will be affected by the decisions made in Outlawed, and they won’t all agree on whether the new world order is good or bad. But there are real, serious consequences now for those who go against the ruling passed down in Outlawed, and it’ll interfere with their lives in a way they’ve never experienced, leading to some really interesting stories.”
Coming from such boring ideologues, those experienced with Marvel's horrendous conduct know better than to think it'll lead to anything interesting. If there's any single-issue special to be avoided, this would have to be it. We're a long way past the time Marvel and DC published compelling specials in the 80s and 90s, and Outlawed is no improvement. If the above says something, they could easily be attacking the whole concept of teen crimefighters in fiction, in another example of people who can't put aside reality and enjoy fiction when they see it.

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" If the above says something, they could easily be attacking the whole concept of teen crimefighters in fiction, in another example of people who can't put aside reality and enjoy fiction when they see it."

Not really attacking it; after all, she specializes in writing comic books about teen heroines. She is contrasting the way teens feel - that they want to play a role in the world and take a stand - with adults who want to infantilize and protect them from their own mistakes and not allow them to take adult risks. It sounds like she is siding with the teens. There are heroic teens in reality who stand out over the adults around them - just look at this year's Time Man of the Year.

I see the war on secret identities continues. There was a recent episode of Power Rangers Beast Morphers that was about that particular Ranger team having secret identities being a good thing, which seems to run opposite from how "grown-up" media is discussing them.

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