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Recent praise for Netflix's 'Sweet Tooth' is positive and receptive, but perhaps no one is more delighted by the show than the creator of the comics.
Writer James Tynion IV boarded the flagship Batman title with issue 86 in early 2020. He is no stranger to writing Batman, however, as he has written a number of issues for the 2014 series Batman Eternal, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the 2016 series Detective Comics. Ever since his first issue on the title, Tynion IV has introduced new characters in a variety of issues since #86, all while still playing around with the pre-established, old characters as well.
Through a big event from issues 95-100( coined The Joker War) and through the issues that followed it, Tynion IV and artist Jorge Jimenez managed to create more and more characters bolstered up with all unique designs. However, not all of the characters’s motivations and developments can match up to their cool designs. With that being said, let’s look at five new characters in the main Batman comic ranked from the least to most interesting.
Ghost-Maker’s first appearance was in Batman #100, the conclusion issue to The Joker War event. His full, real name has not been revealed yet, but he knew Bruce Wayne when he was a teenager and also trained with several of Batman’s mentors around the world. Ghost-Maker goes to Gotham after The Joker War to take the place of Batman as Gotham’s protector as he believes Bruce is not handling Gotham’s criminals correctly.
Ghost-Maker has a bit of an interesting backstory, but there is not nearly enough character development for him. There is no real advancement for him or his own story, even with his own short story now at the end of the Batman book that started in issue #107. His relationship with Bruce is also a bit underdeveloped as well in that there is no clear indication in how far back their history goes and why exactly they have managed to come back together twenty years later.
Bao Pham is a vigilante who created the Clownhunter persona after his parents were murdered by Joker in The Joker War. Pham was a big fan of Batman before his parents were murdered, and after he killed three goons that Joker sent to kill him directly, he realized that he idolized Batman too much and began to think that Batman does not take good enough care of the citizens of Gotham, and that Batman failed his parents. His weapon of choice consists of a bat with a Batarang stuck through the top of it which he uses primarily on Joker goons.
Clownhunter has more depth than some of the other new characters in the book, but he is unfortunately a forgettable character whose motivations mirror a lot of other established Batman villains. There is potential for him to eventually be a standout if he sticks around long enough to make more of a lasting impact.
3. Simon Saint
Simon Saint is a very recent character introduced in the Infinite Frontier #0issue Batman #106, which ushered in a new era for the Batman book. Saint is the CEO of Saint Industries as was the man who first proposed the creation of the authoritarian pseudo-police force, the Magistrate, and the officers, the Peacekeepers, who were introduced in the ‘Future State’ event. He is a cunning, intelligent man whose presence has already been felt in the DC Universe. He has crossed into the solo Catwoman book already and will likely be featured in other books as well, considering his plans for the Peacekeepers and the Magistrate as a whole.
Besides his CEO role and the implications of what the Magistrate will be doing, Saint has not been seen too heavily, but rather heard more, as his actions and ideologies are already reverberating throughout Gotham City and beyond.
2. Miracle Molly
The newest character introduced, Miracle Molly is a neo-futuristic, pseudo-anarchist who deals in various criminal activities in the aftermath of The Joker War. The most striking thing about Molly is her design. She has shades of lime and neon green, pink, purple and blue on her clothes with bright green hair, green cheetah print pants and two different neon-colored eyes. Thankfully, she also has more depth than some of the rest of these new characters. Her motivations are sound in that she believes the people of Gotham deserve safety and the uber-rich of Gotham should be the ones to provide that safety. She does not match-up to Batman from a physical standpoint, but rather in an intelligent way, which is infinitely more interesting.
Punchline was one of the first new characters introduced as was immediatley marketed as Joker’s new girlfriend and a replacement for Joker’s now-ex, Harley Quinn. She is neither of these things, but instead a fanatical, maniacal right-hand man to Joker’s craziness. She is much more brutal and violent than Harley Quinn as well, simply being touted as a villain rather than an anti-hero that Quinn has been pushed into recently. Punchline is more than just a Joker clone, utilizing her fanatical mindset to carry out violent acts against citizens, while separating herself from the Joker in terms of her crazy actions when it is needed. Her own brand of aggravated violence will keep her relevant for years to come, if it isn’t the cosplayers who will do it by replicating her unique costume.
FEATURED IMAGE VIA DC COMICS
By the first episode, it’s quite easy to tell WandaVision is in a lane of its own. (Or, if you’re a MCU fanatic like me, you’ve noticed that since the trailer.) The obvious reasons are quite clear, Disney Plus’ latest hit show is an ultimate mind trip. With the breathing room that accompanies a television show, fans are able to get to the new Wanda and Vision better; while being greeted with elements of comedic relief plus dark moments.
While I devoured the first two episodes last Friday, truthfully the scenes that left me with goosebumps and my mouth agape wasn’t some crazy action sequence. In fact quite the opposite; they were the chillingly eerie, and simple enough that had I blinked I would’ve missed it. Allow me to explain- and to convince you- that I’m not under (Wanda’s) mind control. Spoilers ahead!
Aside from Infinity War, and along with Endgame, pick any superhero movie from the last decade and a reoccurring feature will be an epic battle that will be won by the end of the movie. No matter how high stakes, how tough the villain or how many people lost along the way, by the sequel our heroes are back to their normal selves. While that makes for a great pace for these huge franchises, it doesn’t allow these characters (plus their fans) to sit with the grief and trauma inflicted upon them.
That’s what make WandaVision superb. The biggest battle in this show isn’t against some alien or intelligent robot but, instead, we watch Wanda fight to hold onto the perfect world she has created and, ultimately, fight back the waves of grief and sadness awaiting her in reality.
Perhaps my favorite and most chilling moment is the end of episode two. A mysterious man in a beekeeper suit crawls out of the sewer and glares intensely at Wanda; she doesn’t raise her hands in her signature style. Instead she quietly says “No” dismissing the threat; the scene rewinds to the moments before she and Vision went outside. Wanda’s refusal to let go of the world she’s created with Vision showcases not only the scope of her powers, but her reluctance to return to a world without Vision. Each episode jumps forward a decade letting the couple parody iconic sitcoms from that era. White picket fence, big house with a lawn and yes a laugh track; it’s so delightfully meta.
When red flags pop up (and they do that often) whether it’s a red helicopter or a mysterious voice calling her name, Wanda pushes onward because the show must go on. Wanda’s need for security prohibits her from acknowledging something is amiss. As the episodes progress she’s able to check off milestones she never gotten to act out with Vision in the movies… magically creating wedding rings, getting pregnant and eventually childbirth.
So far, the villain in WandaVision is Wanda’s suffocating grief. It would’ve been much safer for the MCU to utilize Wanda as an agent as vengeance in another action blockbuster (very similar to Age of Ultron); but Marvel went out on a limb to explore the psyche of a woman attempting to cope with loss. Honestly, I’m so glad they did.
One of my favorite moments is when a mysterious voice from the radio asks Wanda “Who’s doing this to you, Wanda?” in episode two. Shock splashed across her face, as if she’s been caught red handed. To see this duo struggle with normalcy, control, and frankly their sanity is utter perfection. To see Wanda smile through the flamboyant jokes, and yes the laugh track, it hurts even more knowing the pain behind her smile. This world is her shield.
Ignoring painful memories and seeing only what she wants to see isn’t a trait only founded in heroes. Compartmentalizing and mourning missed opportunities is what makes us human. It’s what makes this relatable.
Yes, this isn’t a traditional superhero story. WandaVision is a beautiful and dark tale showcasing Wanda’s plight with her emotional health. Marvel’s decision to highlight Wanda’s ongoing battle against her grief is a revolutionary step correcting one of the MCU’s biggest flaws.
Image via The Indian Express
The Umbrella Academy is about to have their hands full in the upcoming third season with the Sparrow Academy officially coming to town.