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The Unstoppable Gravy Express said on August 11th, 2011 at 9:07 am

When I saw the headline I wasn’t sure if this guy slays DURING the night, or if he in fact slays the night itself. (Dragon-slayer –> Night-slayer, you get the idea)

I doubt he has much street cred if that picture of him getting decked by frikkin Robin made the rounds, though.

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Bane also works due to how he mirrors Batman. I would love a Bane/Two-Face teamup that was completely about their parallels to Batman and required him to actually make the argument why his response was better.

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It’s interesting to see someone make my “Superman’s power level” argument with Batman instead of Superman. Like Batman, you know that when it comes down to a one on one battle, eventually Superman will win. So his most interesting villains are not folks like Mongul or Doomsday – his most interesting villains are folks like Lex Luthor, or Mxyzptlk, or the creepy version of the Toyman, or Brainiac, or Bizarro (in his childish reverse-thinking mode, rather than his brutish Hulk-lite mode, which is uninteresting). Because with Superman you know that when it comes down to the punching, Superman is going to win it. So if it’s all just about the “punching the bad guy down” then the story is boring and not worth telling (which is part of the reason why the last 30+ years of Superman stories have been so damn bad).

Superman’s “Bane” in this case is Darkseid – the guy who can believably beat Superman down in a fight and who has him pissing his pants and calling in an army of friends to help because, fuck, it’s Darkseid!

(And a big part of the reason the last 3 decades of Superman stories ignore the “if Superman can punch it, he wins” rule. It’s not a question of power level – it’s a question of narrative. And if your story is dependent on Superman not being strong enough to win a fight, then your story is bad and you need to re-think it. Superman can be tricked, he can be out-thought, he can be magicked, but if it comes down to brute force Superman is going to win and everyone knows it so your story is anti-climactic and boring – even if it isn’t brute force in the end that allows him to win everyone can tell that it’s a ‘cheat’ to have a character win over Superman by being More Super Than Superman. So don’t do it.)

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I was a Batman fan back in the day, haven’t followed the comics seriously in about a decade now. Has anyone done a story arc that was basically Bane vs Joker?

Given Joker’s attitude toward Batman, I can easily see him going after Bane because Batman is his nemesis dammit! Not yours!

Batman of course would be in the wonderful place of having to both capture them, and keep the two from killing each other while doing so. Zany hijinks ensue.

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Was it Bruce that called in the troops in Secret Six? I figured it was Oracle.

And, hell, Bane gets smarter. He beat Batman once by isolating him and wearing him out… So step one is killing his sidekicks, which not only will break him mentally, but also isolate him again. And he knows he can’t beat Bruce one on one again, it’ll never happen. So he gets Catman (a dude good enough to go toe to toe with Batman), Deadshot (a world class assasin), Jeanette (a banshee who took out Wonder Woman), King Shark (who beat Superboy into unconsciousness once), Scandal (the daughter of Vandal Savage), Knockout (a former fury of Apocalypse, who also once knocked Superboy out) and King Shark (he’s a motherfucking SHARK) to help him. Of course they called in everybody to help.

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My love of King Shark leads to me mentioning him twice, instead of poor Ragdoll. My bad.

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I’ve only read the Grant Morrison JLA story with Prometheus (is that his first appearance?) but he didn’t seem very Batmannish there. I mean, yeah, he’s a “planning and strategy” villain, but doesn’t he have crazy powers involving a pocket dimension and stuff? That doesn’t seem much like Night Slayer.

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“More Batman than Batman” should totally be Bane’s motto.

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I like that Bane is apparently* so awesome that he takes over the WHO’S WHO rundown of other characters.
*And I say “apparently” to sound jaded and sophisticated, when really, I agree with every word that’s been said on the subject with every inch of my fannish heart.

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@Prankster: Prometheus’ origin was explictly anti-Batman: His parents were Bonnie and Clyde style criminals, killed by cops infront of him during a robbery. He vowed as a child to destroy the forces of law and order.

And that Prometheus is the master planner (isolating the weakenesses in the JLA, planning how to defeat each of them in turn, like Batman has in the past). Of course, Prometheus CHEATS, which works for the anti-Batman, creating the helmet that can ‘download’ skills instead of learning them from the feet of masters, and finding the key to the pocket dimension, instead of creating the batcave.

I think Morrison has been pretty upfront about him being the mirror image of Batman. And, in true Morrison fashion, Batman eventually outhinks him on two planes at once (planting a ringer Prometheus didn’t plan for AND the greatest Batman “gotcha” moment that I’ve ever seen).

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Prankster, Prometheus’s parents were killed by the police, so he swore vengeance on the forces of law and order, travelled the world training, and built cool justice-fighting technology. And then he found the cosmic key, but that’s really just a glorified teleporter.

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I would appreciate Bane more if he didn’t look like a professional wrestler. Sure, he beat Batman, but put an asterisk next to it, because… steroids.

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dangermouse said on August 11th, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Didn’t Prometheus p. much kick Batman’s ass, prior to getting taken down by, uh, Huntress or whoever it was?

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I have to agree with Snap Wilson, while Knightfall is a truly great Batman story, Bane has to lose points for being a luchador. I’m actually ok with the steroids for pretty much the same reason John 2.0 explains Prometheus’s helmet, an anti-Batman should cheat too.

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bunnyofdoom said on August 11th, 2011 at 4:24 pm

So, MGK, does this mean you are excited for DKR? Cause of bane being in it an all that?

How about Arkham City?

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American Hawkman said on August 11th, 2011 at 5:30 pm

I’m not sure LOSING points for being a luchador is how it works. :) Even there, Bane isn’t the first one to face Batman with the same goal, since we got a proto-Bane in the Hooded Hangman WAY back in the 70s. (It’s worth mentioning that the original take on Killer Croc was done from this perspective as well.)

I’m REALLY going to miss Gail Simone write Bane every month. It took me until writing this essay to realize Bane’s attraction to Scandal Savage was EXACTLY his take on Batman’s attraction to Talia, for instance…
And the idea that Bane could break Batman, but that he was just old hat to the Penguin was the best moment Pengy’s had since the 1980s.

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Bane beat an exhausted Batman, one who was to tired to be the best at everything

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Batman was exhausted because Bane deliberately set him up to fght his entire Rogues’ Gallery, one by one. They were his weapons, so they were part of Bane beating Batman. The fact that he didn’t beat him by getting in the boxing ring with regular time-outs and a referee to see fair play no more invalidates that than Batman’s use of fear, stealth and gadgets invalidates any of his victories.

And Batman would never have fought a guy like Bane “fair” if he had seen him coming. Batman cheats. So does the Anti-Batman.

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Oh ya, Bane is in no way unique as an Anti-Batman, but I think that MGK is right that he’s the best of the lot. American Hawkman I actually recently wrote an article on how the creation of Bane pretty much permanently damaged Killer Croc as a character. He went from being an (albiet not genius) criminal mastermind who could beat Batman one on one to a nearly mindless Lizard knockoff.

Now I’m thinking I’m going to have to track down some Secret Six backissues. Any particularly good arcs or should i just go back to the beginning?

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Dr. Creaux said on August 11th, 2011 at 7:36 pm

MGK,

You being a Riddler fan, have you read the “Dark Knight, Dark City” storyline? It’s probably the #1 best treatment of the Riddler I’ve come across.

Dr. Creaux

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Get them all (including the Villains United mini) EO. It’s really some of the best stuff to come out of DC in years.

I think Bane is the most comprehensive of the anti-Batmans, while others tend to mirror specific facets. The Wrath is an inversion of Batman’s missions. Prometheus is also an inversion of the mission, but moreso a dark reflection on the idea of Batman the tactician/planner/guy who something for every situation. Hush is sort of the mirror of Batman’s tragic past (of course Hush kind of sucks though.)

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You know a character’s in trouble when neither the blogger or the commenters spend more than a few token words about him so they can talk about somebody else.

I’ll say this about Night-Slayer though, going by the who’s who entry the most interesting things to me is his weird James Ellroy style pseudo-incestual obsession with his “sister” Nocturna and the fact in general outline of professional criminal in a tightfitting black suit who’s extremely loyal to one woman he bears a passing resemblance to the Diabolik school of Euro-comics villains/anti-heroes.

I always thought Batman could use a supervillain like that; Someone who really has no interest in dealing with Batman except only as far as Batman interferes with his plans for a big heist or some such. In a way he’d be like a harder-edged more serious version of a character like Batroc is to Captain America.

I’m not too sure if Night-slayer here could be turned into that kind of character, but it wouldn’t hurt. At least it means he won’t be passed over to talk about Bane instead.

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Okay man, we have a few things to discuss:
1)Bane: YES! I completely agree, Bane is also one of my favourite villains, but Bruce fighting him in the cave while weakened, sick & nearly broken gave more props to Bruce rather than Bane who used Batman’s illness as a factor in his plan. & as for Bats HAS to ask for help against Bane… I think he showed in Legacy & No Man ‘s Land that he DOESN’T fear Bane. Batman (well written anyway) KNOWS he’s human & learns from his mistakes (yep, I also happen to love BatMAN not BatGOD)
2) Joker: Okay I’m appalled by the anti-Mr J feelings nowadays ! & NO he is not a plot device! He’s the consumate showman, every crime he plans for must a SHOW, a performance no one shall ever forget! the murders are means not the end!
there’s been a chuckload of good Joker stories that gave me an undying love for the character & it’s quite sad that they don’t give him the greatness Arcudi,Dini, Dixon & DeMatteis used to … & yes Morrison’s version stank more than a molokhiah left in the kitchen for 3 days…
3)will Harvey Dent be the next one in WHO’S WHO? Or will it be the blasted BEAST BOY!

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Why does everyone forget how sick Batman was when Bane set him up to go against all those other villains? It’s like everyone forgets just how important his ongoing illness was to the story. If Batman had been healthy, he could have gone through his entire rogues gallery and Bane, as he’s done several times since.

It’s actually entirely possible that Bane saved Batman’s life by breaking his back. The time Bruce spent not being Batman due to his injury allowed him to rest and recuperate, which was absolutely necessary for him at that time.

Bane should not be going after Batman anymore, either. One of the great things about Bane is that he is the rare villain who is smart enough to know that he can’t beat Batman. He found a way around that when Batman wasn’t expecting him, and was ill, and had no allies, and had recently lost one of his best friends, and a thousand other things that made Knightfall the one chance in a billion to actually take Batman down. But under normal circumstances? Bane is waaaaay too smart to want that fight.

And lastly, Knightfall was really not all that good. Bane’s a good villain, and the first part, with Batman fighting a lot of his major enemies in quick succession, is fun. But Azrael as Batman is everything wrong with the 90’s in one character, and the long-term fallout of an increased Bat-Family and, eventually, Batman being a more public figure, are terrible changes to the character.

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Farwell3d said on August 11th, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Saidi, I find it interesting you dismiss Morrison’s Joker, right after describing him exactly the way Morrison has written him.

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Brad Ellison said on August 12th, 2011 at 12:36 am

…Azrael as Batman is everything wrong with the 90′s in one character…

I’m pretty sure that was the whole point.

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Someone have a crush on Bane much?

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How can a discussion of anti-Batmen not bring up Killer Moth?

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Man, I love Night Slayer! He’s awesome

Uh, actually, sorry. I was thinking of Nightmaster. Shadowpact was pretty cool. And I think maybe Devil Slayer or something.

But man, Bane is awesome!

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Katzedecimal said on August 12th, 2011 at 9:07 am

If this post is about Bane, why does it have a picture of Night Slayer? :3

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I haven’t read the final issue of S6 yet but I loved the bonding between the guy who beat Batman (Bane) and the guy who desperately wishes he was Batman (Catman) in the penultimate issue.

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I’d say Prometheus (at least in his first, and best, appearance) is less an anti-Batman and more of a Batman stand-in. It’s like Grant Morrison wanted to tell a story about Batman taking down the entire Justice League (because he’s just that awesome!), but realized that actually having Batman doing so would be stupid and damaging to the series as a whole. So he made up a villain who basically had Batman’s motivations and abilities, and let him run.

While I never really liked the concept, at least it was better than Mark Waid’s attempt at the same “Batman beats all” story, “Tower of Babel”.

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@ Farwell3d: what I saw in Morrison’s Joker, or shall I say Seriouser , is that he’s not fun & way too predictable (especially the RIP one),he does not have anything human about him & seems apparently “awesome” because of that retarded “change of personna ” Bull (in Arkham Asylum, it was a THEORY & Joker does have a distinct personna:an egotistic, selfish,attention seeking, hot-tempered, vengeful, manipulative,murderous, fun-loving & narcissistic bastard) I’m not a believer in force of nature Joker, the guy that apparently can speak without lips ,has poisonous blood (superpowered now?) & no sense of class (what the hell was he wearing? UNFORGIVABLE! If there’s one constant that the Joker is careful about, it’s the costume! he’d never appear in public disguised as a drunken medecine student !THE CLASS is all, boyo!). I think the exact moment I dismissed that version was when he cut his tongue off… that was dumb, not terrifying, just DUMB! Carnage would do that ( mostly because his symbiote would sew it up) since his schtick is to entertain us with the “murderous hedonism is truth ” jazz ( & he does it quite well must I add, always loved kid Kassady…) but Joker is not a gratuitous masochist or about being mwahaha I’m EXTREME scary! He must be funny first & then the joke ends in many different ways whether harmless or ruining someone’s life!
The Nicholson & Hamill versions are the REALLY frightening & definitive takes since when you look at that smile & those cunning eyes, you don’t know what will happen, or what he’s thinking or his mind’s state at the moment, BUT the exact effect must be laughter & thinking at the same time “God, that was monstruous!”
The other authors that I cited succeeded in fulfilling those tasks

PS: HEY now! the 3 parts of Knightfall were quite a great ride!
I love Azbats! Srsly that kid served his purpose quite well as a replacement then as a rival to Bruce for the title of “Sole Vigilante allowed to dress as a flying mammal in black kevlar to protect Gotham”

PS II: in arabic, a bat is called wattwatt, don’t think you can scare many criminals with the translated title ,can you?

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I hope whoever’s writing the new Red Hood series (Scott Lobdell) remembers that the original Nocturna once adopted Jason Todd. That series doesn’t appear to have much else going for it, so let’s turn it into a DCU version of Game of Thrones.

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“Night-Slayer” is the best black metal band that never was.

I have an odd affection for the Night-Slayer/Nocturna storyline because it’s just so weird compared to what came before and after it. Really, it was a crazy little story arc.

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MonkeyWithTypewriter said on August 12th, 2011 at 6:00 pm

You know there was a follow-up Wrath story, right? I like Bane too, but my Bat-favorites are Croc and Clayface (I have a thing for shapeshifters).

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Pantsless Pete said on August 12th, 2011 at 9:29 pm

@JoshR

There was a brief Joker Vs Bane conflict in that earthquake storyline they had a while back. It basically had the Joker doing Joker shennanigans and then finding out that Bane, on the whole, just isn’t going to play along and will just get to the punching.

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To bring it back to Night Slayer for just a moment, am I the only one who thinks that he looks a little like Jesus in that maskless shot? Not sure how that fits with anything else, just want to make sure I’m not crazy.

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American Hawkman said on August 12th, 2011 at 10:25 pm

“I always thought Batman could use a supervillain like that; Someone who really has no interest in dealing with Batman except only as far as Batman interferes with his plans for a big heist or some such. In a way he’d be like a harder-edged more serious version of a character like Batroc is to Captain America.”

Batman HAS this villain, and he’s the Penguin. The problem is, nobody has REMEMBERED that this is the Penguin’s deal since John Ostrander, other than Gail Simone.

In fairness to the Night-Slayer, his creepiness and the weird obsession with Nocturna makes him a pretty good one-off villain. His whole stalker vibe gives him some uniqueness, which his too-plain costume and weird name doesn’t, at least.

I’d love to read that “Bane destroyed Killer Croc’s character development” essay. I’d probably disagree since Croc got his awesomeness tossed years before Bane showed up, but his Kaiser Soze bit in the Secret Origins issue with the Floronic Man makes me still hope that someone will decide it’d be more fun to bring back the pre-CRISIS Croc someday…

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Heh, I love that the “Powers & Weapons” section paints Night-Slayer as a ‘proficient / above average’ fighter, but the picture next to it is him being punched out by Robin.

Doesn’t matter who you are – being beaten up by the kid sidekick is never a good look.

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I’m ok with Robin beating up a merely “proficient / above average” fighter. I mean if he can’t do that, he’s really screwed. Still embarrassing to be beat up by a sidekick though.

And American Hawkman, ask and you shall receive: http://www.entertainedorganizer.com/2011/08/monday-makeover-killer-croc.html

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I’m not convinced by the “Bane is the best because he beat Batman” argument. Batman was beaten because DC thought it would be a good stunt to have Bruce Wayne out of commission for about a year. In terms of sales and publicity I guess they were right. But it was Denny O’Neil who really “beat” Batman, and Bane was just the means to an end.

If they had decided to do “Knightfall” in 1983 Killer Croc could have whaled on Batman, and he has more interesting wrinkles to his character to boot.

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Night-Slayer knocked Batman unconscious, captured him, stole his costume and ran around pretending to be Batman for a while. That has to be worth a percentage point or two.

The whole “Batman can only be defeated under really extreme, weird circumstances” thing drives me nuts because I can remember stories where Cat-Man gassed him and captured him or where somebody beat Batman by hitting him in the head with a wooden chair.

It’s a good thing his cowl is a bulletproof, steel-reinforced helmet now, because the chair thing used to happen a lot. It was like wooden chairs were his version of kryptonite.

People who bought into the whole Grant Morrison/Mark Waid/Wizard Last Man Standing approach to Batman would be really disappointed by Batman comics from the early Eighties. Back then, he could plausibly lose once in a while to guys like Night-Slayer and Richard Dragon would have totally kicked his butt in a fair fight.

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TheAmazingHanna said on August 14th, 2011 at 7:09 pm

See, the really interesting thing about Batman is that most of his powers are metafictional.

By this I mean that there are so many unwritten rules about what you can or cannot do in a Batman story that some of these are more powerful than many heroes’ actual superpowers. Forget utility belts – the writer’s bible is, in effect, his powerset. Apart from that, he is pretty much a blank slate. He is a man who possesses whatever gadgets the plot requires, ill-defined but formidable fighting skills, and can be as smart as necessary to finish his mission by the last panel.

The best Batman stories are, of course, the once in which they throw said document out the window.

The exact same thing goes for Batman villains, or, at least, the great ones.

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@ Brian T.

Richard Dragon would have kicked ANYONE’S butt in a fair fight.

Good luck finding a fair fight in a modern comic.

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@TheAmazingHanna:

I agree completely.

Half the stuff Batman does now has more to do with things Grant Morrison said in Wizard back in the Nineties than anything they actually established in the comics.

That whole writer’s bible thing annoys the crap out of me.

“With time to prepare, Batman can beat anybody… unless that would make it too hard to stretch out the arc for six issues, or he’s going after one of his more popular villains, or he’s fighting somebody who might be better than him at a certain style of martial arts” makes no sense at all if you think about for a few minutes.

If Batman can somehow defeat Captain Marvel, he should be able to take out Clayface or Mister Freeze without almost getting killed.

And if he can do half the stuff he does in JLA comics and big crossovers, then I can’t exactly get too worried because he’s fighting a ninja who might be better at joint lock attacks than him.

It’s more like, “A ninja? Really? Can’t he just throw a tranquilizer dart at him or something? Why is Batman sort of fighting fair this time?”

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I freaking love Prometheus. Am I nobody?
Yeah, he hasn’t been all that good since the “PROFESSOR STEPHEN HAWKING!” moment, but his JLA appearances? Gold. Plus, I love his outfit. Lots of Batman inspirations, but with just enough goolies that it looks unique.
I honestly think he should be a top-tier threat, but Cry for Justice was just completely the wrong way to go about it. Prometheus knows every hero’s weaknesses and can take just about any martial artist in existence, but he is NOT invulnerable, and if you catch him off-guard, or fight him out of his terms, he’s pretty much screwed. When his “kill the Justice League” plan stopped working, he pretty much spiralled downward until he was facing down half the League in front of everyone and promptly got his ass whooped by Catwoman.

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[…] one guy that Batman was afraid of. MightyGodKing did a pretty brilliant summation of his character here, so I won’t recap that. Instead, I’ll just say that the GrimDarkification of this […]

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[…] one guy that Batman was afraid of. MightyGodKing did a pretty brilliant summation of his character here, so I won’t recap that. Instead, I’ll just say that the GrimDarkification of this […]

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