Realworlds: Batman
Christopher Golden &
Tom Sniegoski, writers,
Marshall Rogers, penciller,
John Cebollero, inker
(DC Comics, 2000)

DC Comics already has a hit out-of-continuity series on their hands with Elseworlds, which takes familiar characters and puts them in new places, times and circumstances. Now, DC is upping the ante with another series, Realworlds, which takes a look at the impact of superheroes on this world.

The first book in the series, Realworlds: Batman, gives us Charlie. He's 27 years old and is mentally handicapped, but he's also loyal, steadfast and dependable. And he's obsessed with the Batman of his childhood: the Adam West version of Batman from the popular '60s camp series. He dresses the part, his every task masks some secret mission against one of his foes, and he can usually be found going about his business while humming the "na-na na-na" Batman theme song.

When Charlie sees a childhood playmate -- his Robin in younger days -- gone bad, he knows only Batman can save her. But problems in the real world can't always be solved by a well-placed BIFF or POW, and the bad guys aren't always intimidated by a cape and cowl.

Then the Batman movie comes out and Charlie sees a whole new side to his beloved hero. Batman, he realizes, sometimes has to be mean to get the job done.

Realworlds: Batman is a touching story, filled with good characterizations and a basic assumption that people, given a chance, are good. It's a good foray into DC's new series, and it leaves me wanting more. Fortunately, several more Realworlds books are already in production.

[ by Tom Knapp ]

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