|Guest post by John Donaldson|
This year’s San Diego Comic-Con has come and gone. You may have noticed that with Marvel scaling back its presence compared to its 2014 extravaganza, DC Comics had a golden opportunity to make a big splash with the first good look at its new cinematic universe.
While most fans were happy enough to get new peeks at the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, the overall impression was that the company missed out on a chance to do a lot more.
If you don’t want to read some fairly mild spoilers that are pretty much common knowledge by now, you’ve been warned.
DC has been going for broke with all of its properties lately in what smells like a desperate attempt to keep up with the surging popularity of their competitor. The publisher has already done a complete reboot of the majority of its most popular titles and is actively pursuing the gaming audience. This happened most recently through the release of a critically acclaimed console title, Batman: Arkham Knight.
That’s not all, though, as DC has made moves on a smaller scale, too. It collaborated with online gaming site InterCasino to create titles that cater to the growing population of casual gamers. The platform features a number of slots starring DC properties including the bigger names like Batman and Superman in addition to slightly off-the-radar characters like Green Lantern. In seeing all this, it’s starting to feel like DC is throwing everything it can against the wall and to find out what sticks (or, really, what works best).
If there was one question we could have asked at the Dawn of Justice panel, it would have been “Where do you see Batman in five years?”
The trailers and footage for the 2016 slugfest suggest an older, greying Bruce Wayne (played by Affleck) who will be going up against the murder-crazy Man of Steel (played by Henry Cavill). The heavy armor being sported by the aging Bat brings to mind Frank Miller’s alternate-universe take on the Caped Crusader in his seminal 1986 graphic novel, The Dark Knight Returns.
By combining elements of this story with the establishment of its new cinematic universe, DC is laying down a precedent for a version of Batman that will continue to exist in this universe. Will this mean that the rumored standalone Batman film will highlight Wayne’s exciting adventures with the AARP?
While we certainly appreciate that the latest iteration of Bats isn’t going to be yet another origin story, we still have a lot of questions. What exactly is Affleck and company going for with this film? Also, what are the implications it’s going to have on the larger DC universe?
Obviously, Batman isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, the character is simply too lucrative for that to happen. But Bruce Wayne is a different story. The comics have already provided the Caped Crusader with a radical overhaul and io9 confirmed that longtime Gotham police commissioner Jim Gordon is the one inside of the new high-tech Batsuit.
Additionally, Kotaku pointed out numerous similarities between the suit and the costume worn by brief Bat-substitute Jean-Paul Valley (aka Azrael) during the the “Knightfall” story arc of the 1990s that became affectionately known as “Azbats.”
It suspiciously feels as though DC is steeling itself for the long con where by 2020 we’ll have Batman running around in a full on mechanical exo-skeleton directed by Michael Bay with Megan Fox playing Lois Lane. Is that a world that you want to live in?
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is planned for a March 25, 2016 release date followed by Suicide Squad on Aug. 5 that same year.