Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hero of the Week #11: Batman

Real Name: Bruce Wayne
First Appearance: Detective Comic #27 (May, 1939)
Group Affiliation: Justice League
Gaming Credentials: Batman (1986); Batman: The Caped Crusader (1988); Batman (1989)Batman (1990); Batman: Revenge of the Joker (1991); Batman Returns (1993); Batman: The Animated Series (1993); Adventures of Batman & Robin (1994); Justice League: Task Force (1995); Batman Forever (1996); Batman & Robin (1997); Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000); Batman: Gotham City Racer (2001); Batman: Vengeance (2001); Batman: Dark Tomorrow (2003); Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu (2004); Batman Begins (2005); Justice League Heroes (2006); Lego Batman (2008); Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe (2008); Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009); DC Universe Online (TBR)
Infinite Wars Cumulative Ranking: #1

Back in June "we" made current-comics Batman, Dick Grayson, the second HOTW.
Bruce Wayne might currently be MIA in the comics, (as a result of a run-in with Darkseid), but the release of Batman: Arkham Asylum demands recognition of one of the most enduring legacys in comics history -- the one true Batman!

As one of the most widely recognised superheroes in the world, you'd think Batman would've had a better record of representation in video games. Sure, he doesn't have the immediate lure of heat vision, leaping tall buildings, or hocking school buses at alien pro-wrestlers, but when it comes to the pantheon of superheroes, few are held in as high regard. With a library of must-read stories that include Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: The Long Halloween, and many more, the 1939 costumed detective has had one of the most impressive runs in the history of the medium! Throw in exploits in television and film, like Tim Burton's 1989 Batman; Christopher Nolan's contemporary updates, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight; the celebrated Animated Series of the nineties, and the sixties live-action show, if you're feeling generous; and you've got an empire that pretty much leaves only video games to conquer!

So, what is the Batman's secret to success over seven decades?
Arkham Asylum probably presents one of the best examples of exactly what that is!

By showing a wonderful ability to walk a fine line between the grim plausibility and urban reinvention of the recent Nolan films, and the more fantastic comic book images that have been the foundation of this media dynasty; Arkham Asylum is able to tap in to all things that make Batman great!

You've got grand visions of villains like Joker, Bane, Killer Croc, Scarecrow, and Harley Quinn, who all service a greater plot of story provided by animated series and comic book scribe, Paul Dini. Dini is joined by fellow cartoon collaborators, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, who reprise their roles as Batman and Joker respectively, further adding to the credibility of a game that never loses sight of the power fantasy aspects of playing as the Dark Knight. Often absent emphasis on the detective skills of Batman add to the brain/brawn formula of a DC hero often described as the absolute ultimate in human ability. Players have these incredible natural skills enhanced for them by in-game modes and tech-upgrades, whilst simultaneously combatting Arkham foes with the Dark Knight's martial arts expertise and penchant for urban warfare tactics of terror -- the "theatricality" lamented on by Batman Begins.

The iconic Arkham Asylum itself plays an integral role to the game, serving up a fixed landscape akin to Silent Hill, with it's grim and dim rusted facade and tortured hospital soul. It's a brilliant way of creating a Batman experience that doesn't rip over the expectations of a sprawling Gotham City encounter. Instead, it's a very personal, driven experience that's contained enough to allow for a constant monitor of story that coexists with action.

This truly is the Batman gamers and comic fans have been waiting to see!
With the Dark Knight out of action in the comics, it's the perfect way to get a Bruce Wayne Bat-fix, too! A real triumph for DC Comics, who've been slow to really capitalize on their powers in feature films and video games in contrast to Marvel's runaway successes. This might just be the turning point in the same way Batman Begins and The Dark Knight put them on top of movies!

Secret Wars on Infinite Earths: The Comic Book Fight Club is updated with varying consistency, promising a feature fight for every Friday on the calendar (even if sometimes they're late). The site acts as an information resource, discussion site, review blog, and a Kryptonian good time.

<< Hero of the Week 08/17: Aquaman       [Home]       Hero of the Week 08/03: Ryu >>

Originally posted: http://www.1up.com/do/blogEntry?bId=9001043

No comments: