(This post is to set-up the greatest debate the Internet has ever seen, coming out on Friday.)
Alright internet, we are settling this once and for all, because I was looking around and saw that some of you had an opinion different than mine, and that makes it wrong! It’s time to clean up this mess and set the record straight on the most important of topics: who is Batman’s greatest nemesis?
I thought the answer was obvious, so did my wife, but when we shared our very obvious answers with each other, they were different. She looked at me with wretched disbelief and I looked at her with abject horror. Everything we’d built our marriage upon was a lie! How….how could she not plainly see that I was right about Batman’s most obvious nemesis? A schism shattered through our social sphere that instant. Some folks took her side and others took mine. Shouting matches erupted in the grocery store. Someone drew on my windshield, in permanent marker, a portrait of the Riddler to tell me that I was wrong (the Riddler? Really? A guy with a question mark for a theme???? ¿Other than making sentences hard to read, is that really so bad?). Things started getting scary when a family that supported Bane went to pick up their kids at day-care to find that someone had changed their shirts to Joker shirts. Not even kids were safe from this, and that was the breaking point. We had to come to a peace about this or be destroyed. My friends all nominated me to do the necessary research because I was intelligent, smart, brilliant, a little bit redundant, and unbiased. Actually they picked me because I have a blog, which we all know are the most successful and speedy catalysts for change and social improvement.
So a couple of things need to be established, because not getting the words of the challenge will cause problems. “Who is Batman’s greatest nemesis?” We’re taking this one word at a time:
WHO – This must be a person. Injustice, mental psychosis, Tim Burton, Gotham’s underworld, the Comics Code Authority, rubber nipple suits, and different personal horrors dealing with dead parents are all things that Batman fights, but none of them are a WHO. These abstract nouns can’t answer this question.
IS – I figured that if Bill Clinton can argue what this word means, it needs to be addressed. Batman’s greatest nemesis is an ongoing thing, but Batman only lives in various texts. If you haven’t read or watched a specific instance of Batman, certain events haven’t happened for you, whereas your buddy who has already seen the specific Batman source has already had the events happen. Batman exists in a weird type of 6th dimensional reality where his timeline starts, stops, restarts, changes, jumps ahead, jumps back, and is a very odd mismatch. The word “is” is a difficult thing to really grasp. So despite many of the villains dying (sometimes repeatedly), they still are alive in other forms so they still exist. But we’re ruling out Dead Parents as a nemesis, because those parents are a “was” in nearly every iteration of Batman.
EITMLI5 – Batman Beyond, a Batman cartoon where Bruce Wayne is a nearly enfeebled old man, was created before the movie Batman Begins. Batman is a timeless thing where all events are happening at once. If you put all of the Batman resources on a library shelf, just imagine that all of them are happening now.
All this to say: I’m smart and I know some string theory and I want you to be impressed by that.
BATMAN’S – This word provides three clues. 1.) We’re looking for Batman’s nemesis, not our own personal favorite villain. I’d pick Harley Quinn as my favorite. She’s adorable, funny, mentally unstable, and wonderfully voice-acted. I doubt Batman would pick her as his top notch worst foe.
2.) What is Batman? Again, we’ve got this strange entity person that exists in many iterations at once. We’ve got to somehow smash all of these different Batmen into the same person despite their differences. For the sake of making it simple (I’m only writing 3 pages here), we’re smashing 7 different Batmen into one Batman. Those 7 Batmen are: Adam West, the Arkham Batman video games, the comic books, the first 4 awful Batmen movies, the various cartoon Batmen, The Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale Batmen movies, all of the really bad Batmen videos games before the Arkham series.
Now some of you are going to get all mad because the comics books have all been smashed into one source. You’re thinking something along the lines of “you can’t do that!” You’re welcome to think that, but you’re wrong. I just did it. I’m making things easier. Smashing 50+ different comic book identities into this equation makes it harder, and no one would read the mind-numbingly boring post that would result from recapping all of those comic books. Some folks got mad that I’ve smashed the terrible Tim Burton movies into the same category as the slightly less terrible Joel Schumacher movies. We’re just going to have to deal with it.
3.) We’re talking about Batman’s worst nemesis, not Bruce Wayne’s. The duality of Bruce Wayne/Batman is a big component of what makes this person interesting. Batman depends on a lot of Bruce Wayne’s inner demons. So even though Bruce Wayne might consider a nebulous idea like “Dead Parents” to be his worst nemesis, Batman’s existence depends on those dead parents.
GREATEST – This one is going to take some explaining. “Great” doesn’t mean the same thing to the same people. It could mean “the most threatening to Batman physically”, “most consistent”, “most detrimental to Batman’s ideal Gotham”, “most entertaining”, “most shocking”, “most attractive”, or a whole host of other subjective reasons as to what makes a ‘great’ villain. I’ll cover my definition in Friday’s post and explain why I chose that definition. Keep in mind, I’m going to try to use Batman’s criteria for what makes a ‘great’ nemesis.
NEMESIS – We’re looking for the most anti-Batman villain out there. This is who Batman considers to be his worst possible foe. Batman fights a lot of friends along the way like Superman, Catwoman, and the occasional side-kick gone rogue. Superman might be a terrible force of nature to reckon with, but he isn’t Batman’s nemesis. We’re looking for the baddest bad guy Batman knows.
So on Friday, I’m releasing my research into the subject. We’re looking at the top 3 contenders, and I’m going to grade them as fairly as I can. However, I want to say that unlike certain bloggers (like Matt Walsh), I’m okay with people disagreeing with me. I don’t narcissistically label my opinion to be “absolute truth”, and I’m open to being proven wrong. Much like other scientific papers, this scientific paper is open for peer review. I’m putting down the facts I find, I’m open to other folks doing the same. (This is for fun, after all.) So leave your own opinions in the comments section about who you think Batman’s greatest nemesis is, no matter how wrong you are! For those of you that don’t have a Word Press account and get this from Facebook, leave a comment there. I’ll transpose them all here once the comments stop. We’ll all have a great time.