Legends of the Dark Knight #37
Read it back in 1993 or 1994. Back in the early days of Cable, when Spike was TNN and they repeatedly showed movies like Bloodsport and HBO showed Beastmaster repeatedly. Obviously, this story stuck with me because it shared the same cheesy concept (illegal martial arts tournament) which I enjoyed there.
It's B level stuff, but it's enteratining. Mostly because it starts with Batman being punched in the face. Something that, with my knowledge of late 90s to 00's Batdickery, is quite satisfying. Heck, I think I like this story more in retrospect than it deserves.
I'm sure the book mentioned vigilantes, Batman, mostly in how they're supposed to be arrested, but that's besides the point.
I also want to point out that at this point, Mixed Martial Arts was on the rise, with the UFC a year away from being formed. Ya know, back inthe "Human cockfighting" days of the sport.
Batman gives them a chance on the raid and honors his word, by going up to the window. He talks about how the venue hosts this one really, really tough pit-fighter called "The Cossack". Gets up to the top and sees that the rookie and her partner are down for the count.
Batman, being batman, takes down those that remain.
She asks Batman to train her, and he accepts.
Cue Training Montage!
Well, um. Oops. He leaves her a contact line, but they don't see each other for a while as she gets sucked deeper and deeper into the underground fighting world. Batman does his usual therapy of beating up thugs on the street. He truly has the moral high ground here.
Then . . .
I just wanted to share the logo of this 'company'. It's just so . . . 90s!
Anyway, he arrives and she's getting her ass beat. Why? Well, THIS is the Cossack.
And it brings me to a major point that bugs me every time I see a story like this, with "Modern Gladiator" stories, the logistics of the place get to me. Terry Jones' documentary on Gladiators goes into major detail about the logistics and they're just absent from most writers use of this story.
Isn't it fun how they have weapons in this match when no other match had them.
That said, most gladiators who died did so on their 3rd of 5th match.
Oh, and most Gladiators were actually fat guys, so they could get cut and recover better. So much for the toned guys we see in modern movies--I'm sorry ladies. Their nicknames weren't "Anatomical Perfection" but "The Barley Eaters".
Not that the Games weren't death machines--they certainly were. They just didn't kill Gladiators--it was too expensive. Instead, they killed criminals, war captives and slaves. Mostly.
So yeah, every time I see this plot, it's gets me to think "They're doing it wrong, damnit!"
Anyway, back to the story.
Anyway, fight happens, she's about to get killed and in order to spare her (and buy time for the cops to raid the place) Batman enters himself as the contestant. Now, here's the kicker. HE gets his ass kicked. Pretty badly too. All that punching going on? Kossack's doin.
And then there's this panel.
Because the Berlin Wall only fell 3 years earlier. The specter of the Cold War loomed large (and only officially ended last year).
Anyway, he goes to finish off the Batman with the communist tools when Mercy gets her second wind and distracts the Cossack. Who then kills her.
Batman kind of looses it.
Second to last panel: Goofy face Batman.
He of course stops himself at only beating the murderous Cossack into unconsciousness, and then the cops arrive.
He gets home and finds her last message to him from earlier in the night (despite his multiple appearances, Batman can't be everywhere at once).
Ah, strained metaphor.
In retrospect, we may have found a reason why he really is hands off with the various Batgirls. He fucked up so badly this time that he doesn't want a repeat performance.
. . .
Nah, that doesn't explain his behavior nearly enough. But it's a nice idea at least.
But this wasn't my entry into modern comics fandom. No, that was a little book by Brian K. Vaughn titled Runaways. I may post that later in the week.