Before the Fall: Happiness, the Future, and JLU Batman

Discussion in 'The DC Comics Animation Forum' started by Trevor Balena, Jun 10, 2006.

  1. Nightwing

    Nightwing WF Old Man

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    That's what I thought immediately after reading simply the paragraph title, "Romance." I think/feel that is the given. So maybe we would ammend that part of The WF Question's (that's you, TBalena. You're The Question of the WF now. lol) Batman Emotion Constitution to say something more like: he is as happy with his romantic life as he is capable of being.

    I would be a more impressive Nightwing fan if I could quote this all direct, but Nightwing's spotlight issue in the HUSH SERIES has two pages of pannels with Bruce's VO that sum up my feelings.

    He says that although the transition to Nightwing was hard for the both of them, Bruce knew all along that it was necessary, because he knew that Dick was always meant for the center ring.

    With that said I think they're pretty much patched up. Of course, something still may have happened in order to sustain the "No DG" factor we've seen in the DCAU after The New Batman/Superman Adventures.
     
  2. James

    James Administrator
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    I've always felt it was something fairly major that happened "near future". I think in Batman Beyond, there was maybe an underlying logical suggestion it would be something Barb/Bruce related. That would make sense considering the then transition from TNBA to BB. With nothing filling that gap, such a simple explanation seems the most likely.

    Personally I think it was something far bigger because Bruce and Barbara seems a fairly superficial thing for an adult to leave the city for, particularly for Barbara to refer to his stories in BB as being "bitter". I don't think it does NW justice.

    To me, it's more than living in Batman's shadow. FAR more. That doesn't really reach the depth of DCAU Nighwing. Let's face it, he's not the canon NW. By DCAU TNBA, he hasn't become his own man, he's become a vague shadow of his mentor; he hasn't split to become his own hero, he's a man who lives a more shallow existence to Wayne. TBNA paints a lonely man. His apartment is bare. There is no evidence of a social level and the emotion which made Dick Grayson so special seems to be virtually gone. Even when they work together there seems some form of animosity.

    I think what ever breaks their relationship it all goes back to Old Wounds. For that was when Dick goes on a tangent and ends up trying to define himself away from Batman only to come back LIKE Batman. I think something in that ideology of an emotional and honest boy like Dick Grayson, being forced into a lonely and slightly bitter existence akin to his guardian would be the key. The path doesn't feel natural and maybe the emotion buried deep that made Dick Grayson the man he should be, powder kegged in a situation which created a "near future" split.
     
  3. Trevor Balena

    Trevor Balena Active Member

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    This is why it's my opinion that he left for Bludhaven when he and Bruce were on (comparatively) good terms. You're right, it does the character a disservice to have him storm off to another city because someone stole his girl. Instead, I prefer to believe that Bruce endorsed Dick's move to Bludhaven as being the next logical step in his development. Maybe -- as happened in the comics -- Dick grows a lot through his solo adventures, making new friends, getting a new job (police officer?), etc. Maybe after a year of being away, Dick finally feels that he's grown enough as a person to include Barabara in his life again, and he comes back to Gotham to tell her how he feels... only to find her having an affair with Bruce. Wouldn't that make him pretty darn bitter?

    You're right here too. TNBA Nightwing was a somewhat tragic character because of the contradiction you're pointing out -- a contradiction that was not lost on the other characters, either (Tim called him on it at the beginning of "Old Wounds": "You sound just like Batman... The mask, the attitude..."). This is why, like I said above, I think that Dick and Bruce would agree that moving to Bludhaven would be good for him. Distance can do wonders for a relationship, and independence can do wonders for personal growth.

    What it boils down to is this: for every moment of tension between Bruce and Dick in TNBA, there was a moment that hinted at reconciliation. Now, what do we know happens? Dick moves to Bludhaven by "Grudge Match", isn't speaking to Bruce by Batman Beyond (presumably), and he's "got stories" about how bitter being around Batman makes you. So, as I see it, there are two main possibilities: either Dick left because he was no longer speaking to Bruce and he'd become bitter and angry, or he moved to Bludhaven then stopped speaking to Bruce and became bitter and angry. Now, which is it? Given the thesis of my essay (i.e. that everything was going great for Bruce during JLU), I choose the latter, and propose that it happened something like the way I outline above. How many men -- especially brooding, reclusive men like Batman -- could have a falling out with their son and still be perfectly (comparatively) cheerful at work? Probably very few. Given that it seems logical to infer that the Bruce/Barbara pairing would anger Dick, and we know something sets him off at some point -- isn't it also logical to take the path of least resistance, and hypothesize that said pairing is what actually sets him off?
     
  4. James

    James Administrator
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    I think it could be catalyst for many things. To me he's a man who is trapped kettle of issues. As he matures, he dislikes what his guardian has become, but can't help but move in the same path. Difference is, unlike Bruce who was an isolated loner from his parents being shot, Dick comes across as a better adjusted person.. well as much as he can be. You have to be fairly weird to come up with the idea of Batman and vigilante justice within a moral context - Dick just latches on to this "kerazy".

    To me, Dick is a far more normal person who has been given an outlet which really was unsuitable for a nice guy like him. Dick - to me - is the normal guy who suffers an early tragedy; the type who doesn't go loco or bat-vigilante, that like the rest of us would have learned to cope. He's given a role which probably didn't suit him and he follows in the shadows of someone far more messed up than him.

    So I feel he - like many kids - mimics Batman's behaviour but isn't Bruce Wayne. So you have a powder keg of emotions which are fixated and kept in check like Bruce. He is a Batman with a dynamite of issues strapped to his back and I agree, the Babs and Bruce thing may have been the ignition paper to whole bigger issue.

    Let's face it, he never has never felt the love of the guardian as he wants. Like with all in Bruce's life, they have to compete with Batman and I don't think he ever recounciles this. In a way, Batman takes everything. It took Bruce from his graduation. He has issues with Bruce and finds he's been - in his eyes - replaced within a day with Barb. He leaves for a few years comes back and finds Batman has taken his identity - Robin - and handed it over to a punk; that in his absense Batman has a "family". A new Robin, and Batgirl. Almost as if with Dick gone Wayne Manor became a real home. And where is he? Iced out by his own Wayne like pride, living a Wayne like focused existence in an apartment with no signs of a life, looking in on the new "Bat team" which replaced him.

    You could see why he would need to re-establish himself. What's left in Gotham for him?

    Then I imagine the Barb/Bruce thing caused a divide of hurt. Not because of Barb's choice, but because again, it was something Bruce took from him. Everything Dick had, Bruce has reassigned or taken.

    I think that would be the start of the problems and that sort of relationship would only sour on the job... I think then something big happened. Who knows what. Could be Dick blamed Bruce for Tim's Joker experience. Could be that Dick blew up and did something dumb which Bruce couldn't forgive.

    But yes, the catalyst could very well be Barb.
     
  5. Trevor Balena

    Trevor Balena Active Member

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    I think you're right on the money.

    Comic Book Dick is a man who absorbed his lessons from a cold, seemingly heartless man, and made them work for him, on his terms. He's remarkably well-adjusted. Having discovered on his own just what kind of hero he wants to be, he's able to achieve a better sense of perspective on his relationship with Batman. I can't remember in which specific comic the conversation took place (was it the Robin issue which ended the "Prodigal" arc?), but Dick basically tells Bruce that he loves him like a father and appreciates everything he's done for him. He realizes that Bruce, not being the most open of people, gave Dick everything he was able to give; he let him into his life in every way, and taught him everything he knew, and it was in that way that he showed his love. "Those early years", Batman says in Infinite Crisis, "they were good for you, weren't they?" And Dick smiles and says, "The best."

    Now, DCAU Dick is a man who has yet to learn most of these lessons. But to try to (in a somewhat heavy-handed fashion) pull this back around to my original point -- because after all, analyzing Dick's character was never my intention -- Bruce's behaviour in JLU strikes me as that of a man who is happy with his personal life... inasmuch as Batman has a personal life. Batman may be cold, but he is smart, and a good judge of character. He would see what Dick is becoming and, like any father, would not want his son to be forced down a path that he doesn't want to be. Thus Batman in JLU, it seems to me, must be pleased with the decisions that Dick has made recently, and the only one we've seen evidence of is the move to Bludhaven. Hence my original point.

    Again, let me just reiterate: I'm happy to blather on about Nightwing, but keep in mind that I never intended to widen the scope of my original thesis this much, and so my thoughts on Dick's emotional state are less fully formed than those I have about Bruce.
     
  6. Zero X Marquis

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    um... he's not 40 (I know, I know, but it had to be said)

    Okay, I've actually read the whole thing now. I like it, but its too personal canonish to be effective.
     
  7. Sirkenz17

    Sirkenz17 where'd my avatar go?

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    I'm starting to think that now.
     
  8. HaagenDas

    HaagenDas Active Member

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    Curious as to people's thoughts on taking this discussion further though. How can Bruce's happiness level post Epilogue compare to his current level post Destroyer pre ROTJ? The man is almost on his death bed there but still remains the abrasive Bruce. Still, his heart still shows for Terry and others.

    I have always been fascinated by his character. As Waller said it, the world does need a Batman and always will. They are the unsung heroes who sacrifice their own happiness so we all may pursue it ourselves.
     
  9. TheGrayGhost

    TheGrayGhost Member

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    Ok. I was just about ready to post my epic counter-argument (two pages worth), but Windows decided to pull a fast one on me, and to make a long story short, I don't have it anymore. I'll probably start from scratch again and poster later in the week, but I have to say, as I've been reading the latest posts on this thread, the analysis of some posters are so far removed from mine that I don't think we'll be able to get much across. But we'll see...
     
  10. Vixen

    Vixen The Beauty w/the Beast Powers

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    Very well thought out essay. I, too, noticed that Bats seemed to he happier in JLU than in any incarnation we've seen him in. I agree about his 'job' & 'friends' making him happy. I even agree about "family"; even though I don't want to delve too deeply into his relationship w/Nightwing. As far as romance goes...well, maybe it's my personal dislike for the character, but I think that Batgirl is given waaay too much credit here. I know that we can read into anything we want to ( I believe fiction is open to any kind of assumption we want to make), but I don't really see any evidence where she's given any romantic ties to him (barring the scene in MOTB, which btw, was all from her end).

    Remembering The Old Maid's essay on said subject, Bruce pretty much blew her off (remember he told Rocky he "wasn't seeing anyone"). To make a long point short, by the merits of your essay (looking only at the facts as presented in JLU time, not BB time), Batgirl shouldn't at this point be even an honorable mention in his love life. I think Kathy Duquesne should get a little more credit (sure, she could've been a one night stand, a two weeks stand, or even six months stand; I'm sure you get the point). She's pretty much blown off by everyone. But you gotta give the girl some credit; she made Bats smile a whole lot more than I've ever seen him in any one episode or movie (not counting MOTP, since when he was w/Andrea that was before he became Bats ).

    Other than that :D , great essay.
     
  11. James

    James Administrator
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    The implied ties in BB are far greater than MOTB which was a slight nod to those references. Barbara acknowledges there was something - and implies it was something later (she left when she could see that he would never choose her over Batman). And Out Of The Past has her top of the pile in his grubby data store of lost loves (with a whole two pictures!!) and even a reference from Talia in an almost narrative rhetorical suggesting her really loved her.

    This isn't a fan tie, it's based on what we've been given. It's not much, but a damn sight more than any other relationship (barring Andrea - who didn't get a grubby data file!)

    Kathy we do have only reference and that's it. Until there is more evidence, her duration is speculative. Barbara's has a little more relevance since we don't just get an implied on screen flirtation/date, we get solid references to a relationship and how the characters felt about it. If we take on Barbara's comments in TOC, it implies this was later in the Batyears when she grew tired of the gig and fighting for attention. If we look at MOTB - set in JL season two - that's earlier. Whatever festered in MOTB probably grew a little later on, which leaves space for the Diana interest inbetween.

    Erm, no. You say he's not. TBalena has a very good case for him being forty. It all comes down to whether you take on screen data or go by Peanuts time. You subscribe to the latter - with good reason. TB has painted an accurate analysis based on dates within the show which makes him 40 plus. So again, that's a fair judgement. You can't say he isn't as much as he can say he is. TB's timeline does have merit even if it's not to your subjective taste. :)

    Isn't that what literature essays are - subjective analysis?
     
  12. Zero X Marquis

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    See, I agree that he should be in his forties, but the stance that he isn't is not subjective (the only thing that could be more official then them implicitly stating it would be explicitly) Apples and oranges I guess, I was just saying (and this is the problem with this article thing... I like it, but its too subjective, too personal canon...)
     
  13. Trevor Balena

    Trevor Balena Active Member

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    Okay, this is exactly the kind of tangential discussion that I was trying to avoid by putting that little disclaimer at the top of my article. I will say the following, then I hope we can get back to discussing the meat of my essay, and not quibling with its preimises:

    It's clear we disagree here. You prefer to take comments made by the creative team as gospel, whereas I prefer to take what is stated is the actual shows as gospel. Two perfectly valid viewpoints. And while it strikes me as somewhat strange that you take statements from interviews and message boards -- which by your own admission were implied -- as factual, wereas my taking the actual numbers from the episodes is somehow subjective, it's clear we're not going to convince each other of anything as far as this topic is concerned.

    But if you have actual disagreements with the points I've made in my essay (which, with the possible exception of the Nightwing stuff, doesn't seem to me to be particularly subjective), I'd be happy to discuss them with you. That's why we're all here, right?
     
  14. Zero X Marquis

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    Either than your Family portion (which I haven't read your timeline) everything else seems right on.

    Its just that by reading it, it appears that you believe that ROTJ occurs after JLU. I'm not saying this isn't the case, (I'm actually with you on that (if it is the position your taking) as I doubt Bruce would be so happy with that experience in tow), but there's not enough to say that it is.

    You want this essay to be more effective? - Cover all your bases. Most of your material is objective (like 95 percent) based off empirical evidence... but the points that you take your own subjective spin, especially those that I know you know are a bit controvserial, should have been defended by presenting the opposite view(s) (his age, his relationship with his family) and how despite the changes, you can provide evidence for your overall article (doesn't have to be foolproof, just enough) assuming the other to be true. Explain to me how Bats remained happy given that its possible that the events of ROTJ occured during JL/JLUs run... or even prior. And the differences, if any, ten years in aging would make, and how even if they were these cases, your article as a whole is still effective at getting at (It would take like a sentence or two as your article either than that is solid)

    In doing this, you also provide yourself with some shelter from comments like "Well Batman Beyond is optional continuity as its only a possible future"
    Say what you want about the way things are presented in the shows, but without actually appealing the producers (something you really shouldn't do because then you'd be selective, which would make any argument you come up with based on that such an appeal circular, and well, void,) there's nothing in the earlier shows to show that its (Batman Beyond) a definate future. You could appeal to producers if you didn't completely disregard what they said about his age. (you don't have to hold it as true, just say how your article would survive assuming it was true)

    Don't get me wrong... I like your article. But those 2 things, family and the age, are distracting; they take away from the overall effectiveness. You could just cut them out as they really aren't needed (your showing convergent support for your argument, n'est pas?), but then your argument would suffer because the family issues do provide something...

    In the end though, who really cares what I think. You wrote a good piece, and I'm just one person that sees problems where others don't. And there in lies the problem with writing something with a subjective spin: It can be graded subjectively.
     
  15. Ion

    Ion Member

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    This thread makes me want a Near Apocalypse of 09 DTV. Probably will never happen. I'm amazed that they never had an ep. of BB with Dick Grayson/Nightwing making some sort of appearance. It would have been the greatest thing to ever happen in the DCAU.
     
  16. Trevor Balena

    Trevor Balena Active Member

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    Well, at the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, several of the producers have stated that the flashback does take place after JLU. I actually have no trouble accepting producers' comments as factual unless they contradict something presented in the episodes (as is the case with the "Peanuts time" thing, but let's not get into that again). I don't call that being "selective", I call it prioritizing sources. The text itself trumps everything else, but when the text is vague, I welcome outside information.

    Basically, there's no evidence that the flashback already happened, and quite a bit (Batman's attitude, the lack of a limp, mentions of Joker) that says is hasn't yet, so I think it makes more sense to go with the latter.

    I dunno. I can remember way back in high school English courses, when my first impulse was to do just as you're suggesting. I'm an open-minded guy, so I usually try to look at all sides of an issue. But my teachers would always say, "You're trying to make an argument with this essay, and no one wins an argument by conceding points to the other side. The people who disagree with you will want to tear your essay to pieces; the last thing you want to do is give them fodder."

    The purpose of message boards like this is for debate. When I'm starting a new thread, it's not my job to "cover all the bases"; it's my job to present an interesting idea as best I can, then let others run with it.
     
  17. Zero X Marquis

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    Well, you're English teacher doesn't know what s/he is talking about. The most effective arguments anticipate the oppositions main counters, and provide evidence for why the counter itself is faulty; granted you can't anticipate everything, you can anticipate most things. Sometimes you can even provide the opposition with everything they need to defeat you... but you know that there's something fundamentally wrong with it all, so when they come to depend on it, you light the match and let them burn (building a Straw Man opponent, not the most ethical of things to do, but highly effective).

    Edit: I understand your last point, but you wrote more of an article then a post...
     
  18. maxnugget

    maxnugget Avenger of evil and ignorance

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    When considering the comments and opinions of the author as it relates to their art (in any medium), some people like to consider the author's insights to be an additional "canon" to art. Some are willing to go so far as to consider an author's views even when those views contradict the art. And others consider the author's opinions and interpretations of his work to be no more significant than those of the audience.

    In many cases this makes sense. Often an artist creates a work that is clearly more clever or deeper in meaning than the artist set out to make it, where the audience gets more out of it than the author intended or specified. This is one of the great things about art. Brilliant as TimmCo is, for instance, we've all seen some wonderful essays on this forum that, sometimes even by b.t.'s own admission, delve deeper into the text than the show's creators had originally pondered when creating the episodes. Arguably this thread may even be one of those cases.

    On the other hand, with some works of art, the artist really "owns" the world (think Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings") and their knowledge of the imaginary world they created, which often exceeds what they've actually spelled out in the text, is considered to hold some special significance that makes it superior to, say, what Fanboy #68 or Colleague #34 imagined to fill in the gaps with.

    Many works of art are intentionally kept ambiguous to promote multiple interpretations. Often in these cases, the artist does in fact have a preferred interpretation that comes out in an interview or commentary, and yet by leaving the actual text open-ended the artist is encouraging you to disagree with him.

    My point is, what you make of the artist's views on the subject depend on your opinion of the artist and your preference in how you like to interpret art. Personally, I consider what b.t. says canon, except in rare instances where I don't like what he says, in which cases I stick with however I want to interpret it. And TimmCo has I think been wise in leaving certain elements open to speculation, welcoming debates like the one going on in this thread. :)
     
  19. HaagenDas

    HaagenDas Active Member

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    good post max
     
  20. Casey Mack

    Casey Mack Active Member

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    The rise and fall of Batman in the DCAU!

    Ive come to the conclusion based on watching Justice League unlimited Batman, and other modern day versionw of Batman. That Justice Legaue Batman is James bond is tights, with Admam west controlling his mind. IN BTAS Batman is dedicated to protecting gotham, he is dark but not nuts and knows where to the draw the line with other costumed heroes. This Batman knows when hes batman, and not some one liner machine who never loses a fight [not even to gods].

    He becomes even more darker and complex in the New Batman adventures, and his darker suit reflects all that. Now then theirs Justice League Batman, he was still dark and kept his teammates at a distance, but was around to help them if needed. He didn't stay for lunch with green Lantern, or talk to Hawkgirl about her relationship problems, or bring superman birthday presents at his fortress:lol: . Justice League Batman was a perfect blend of his old days, and his new days as a "part-timer" with the League. Then we have the James Bond/Adam west Batman we had to watch parade himself around in a mockery of BTAS. Justice league unlimted Batman was a uber joker compared to his youngerself.

    He did campy and unblievable things, lunch with GL,and relationship talk with Hawkgirl in the justice Legue unlimted elevator:sad: . Not to mention spending more time attending the "Flash Museum" opening then being in Gotham. It was really sad to see Batman go from a a complex character, to a in-human bafoon in a grey batsuit. He time traveled and began dodging weird traps in pyramids, and fighting supervillians in open daylight. Dodging Darkseids omega-effect[who ever wrote that should be shot] and all the other really in-human things Batman did while in his James Bond Mode. It almost like the producers and writers took away his human limits, and made him into some kind of swash bukler who always has the best lines, but no longer is a deep character. The JLU Batman is basically The Adam west version [complete with the grey costume] and mixed with sean connerys James bond coolness. So much style Btas had, but yet i got the feeling he was just so uber on the show to draw more ratings[actually im pretty sure it was more playing favorites].

    Though im also glad how intelligent they made superman in the last few seasons:lol: . "Lets make him angry and punch things, and his crappy dialogue and uninteresting characteristics will not matter". I can only assume that what the producers said in their meetings, because if you watch christopher reeve as superman, and then watch superman on justice League..its pretty clear which one you would rather want saving the world. Superman could stand up to anyone, but oddly always let uber Batman get in his face and make him look like child:eek: . Anyway these are all my thoughts, and does not reflect anyone else but me. I liked Justice League, but i felt Batman/adam west was just a mockery of himself in some episodes. An superman like everyone knows never inspired anyone on the show, but he loved to punch things[especially 10 year olds in grown up bodies] though:lol: . I would like to here other peoples thoughts on the subject, and im happy to hear what you guys think.:)
     

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