No, this isn’t a Free Comic Inside article.

Batman: Gotham Adventures #3

DC Comics (August, 1998)

“Just Another Day”

WRITER: Ty Templeton

PENCILER: Rick Burchett

INKER: Terry Beatty

COLORIST: Lee Loughridge

LETTERER: Tim Harkins

EDITOR: Darren Vincenzo

A boy named Justin was once saved by Batman, and has now become obsessed with him to the point that he doesn’t want to play with the other kids. (On the plus side he doesn’t want to get involved in a fight between east and west side while his street is in the middle, so that’s a good thing.) One day at the bank with his mother, Scarecrow breaks in not just to rob the joint but to lead Batman into a trap, bringing a device that makes everyone near Batman, including Batman himself, crippling afraid of Batman. However, Justin’s obsession allows him to overcome the device and give his Grey Ghost costume to Batman, counteracting the fear device so Batman and Robin can defeat Scarecrow.

What they got right: On the surface it’s a tale of how a fanboy overcomes his induced fear to help his hero. And yes, Justin’s mom should have let him finish the episode and then go do his homework, or at least let him see how he got out of Red Claw’s trap. The boy makes up his own solution, which sounds about right. Maybe he has a future as a writer? It worked for me.

What they got wrong:But when you further analyze it there are some odd messages being sent. Yes, Justin is a fan-0bsessed and he’s not going to start stalking Batman or anything, but it’s still an unhealthy obsession. He doesn’t want to play baseball with the other kids because he’s only interested in Batman and playing with his Batman figures. His only interest is Batman and how he once met him, and it’s not a healthy attitude. Nothing that happens allows him to balance his Bat-fandom while having a well-adjusted life. If anything it rather condones his obsession to the point of all other pursuits. Sure, it keeps him out of a gang war and allows him to help Batman while showing not even an early hint of Scarecrow’s device working on him for even a second, but that’s the closest thing to being positive. And why is there a Batman cartoon in the Bruce Timm art style in a comic based on a Batman cartoon in the Bruce Timm style? Even if I accept a Batman series in the DCAU (and I can…I didn’t mind when did Batman ’66 it) maybe draw it so it doesn’t look like the real world. And poor Tim must hate how he’s depicted.

Recommendation: The story means well but some missteps keep it from being recommended. Hero worship is fine if regulated with a well-rounded life, but we don’t see that out of Justin by story’s end and I don’t think it sends the intended message.

 

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About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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