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JL: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS REVIEW

We review Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.

BATMAN OF ZUR-EN-ARRH

We take a look at the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh from Batman #113.

GREG RUCKA INTERVIEW

Gotham Knights Online - Interview with Greg Rucka.

BTS: MUSIC MEISTER

A behind the scenens look at The Music Meister.

REVIEW: SB: PE

We review Superman / Batman: Public Enemies.

J.H. WILLIAMS III INTERVIEW

Gotham Knights Online - Interview with J.H. Wiilams III

REVIEW - BATMAN: AA

We review the most eagarly anticipated game this year!

BATMAN CRIME JAZZ

Composers talk crime jazz for Batman

BATMAN OF ZUR-EN-ARRH - BATMAN #113 - THE BATMAN-SUPERMAN OF PLANET X!

Posted by jondoe297 Sunday, 21 February 2010

We were talking about the upcoming episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold titled "The Super-Batman of Planet X!" on podcast #23, when Gary highlighted the issue that this particular episode was based on Batman #113.

I decided to go back and read this issue and do a little essay based on some of the exposure Batman of Zur-En-Arrh has had over recent years, especially the main appearance in Batman #678-680, by Grant Morrison and Tony Daniel.

Now you need to take a step back when reading anything Golden Age because of the sensibility these issues were written with. Batman #113 was originally published in August 1958 and written by Ed Herron (or France Herron as he was also known as), and drawn by the legendary Dick Sprang. This was the third story to feature in this issue (straight after the hilarious story of Batman Meets Fatman), and continued a long stint in the Batman comics of placing Batman in outer-worldly adventures fighting aliens instead of criminal scum.

I don't want to compare this issue with the recent episode of Brave and the Bold to much because it was as we know based on this issue, which I'm going to admit I enjoyed thoroughly from start to finish. I don't know if its because I also enjoyed the episode so much as well and could hear Kevin Conroy's voice when I was reading Batman of Zur-En-Arrh, but I must give immense credit to James Tucker and Michael Jelenic for keeping so much of the original material and making it work so well for a modern audience.
The teaser image for this story just grabs your attention straight away, showing a flying Super-Batman flying towards a giant red Robot in a futuristic Gothtropolis (I have to point out that it isn't actually referred to as this city in the comics).

The issue actually starts of with Batman sneaking around in the dead of night, which made me laugh because for a modern audience this is what Batman actually does but we have to bear in mind Batman and Robin of the 40s and 50s were normally running around as the policeman's friend during the day! He checks in on a sleeping Robin and heads to skies in the Bat-plane.

We learn that Batman is running around in a slight daze not knowing where he is going. He is transported into to an unknown location but is welcomed to the Planet of Zur-En-Arrh by another Batman, stating it is a star system far from his own existence. Batman is confused by the appearance of this other worldly Batman who continues to explain that he has observed him by telescope over many years and was inspired by the Batman's actions on Earth (that's a bloody good telescope I have to say).

The Zur-En-Arrh Batman is a scientist called Tlano and has brought Earth Batman to his world to help with an impending invasion of an alien force.

What I loved about this issue was we're already on page 2 of the story and you know what's going on. Batman is shown Tlano's futuristic version of the Bat-Cave, also highlighting a very important plot element... the Bat-Radia. A small device that issues an electronic molecules that causes controlled disturbances in the atmosphere (science technobable, but its important later on). The next part of the issue focuses on Batman's super abilities, which has been caused by the same "DC" scientific explanation as Superman. He's become super strong, invulnerable to ray-guns and can fly.

How is this comparing the episode so far? Perfectly... The reason for Batman getting to Zur-En-Arrh is obviously different but getting transported in the dead of night just wouldn't have worked and the meeting between the pair is just superb, hearing Kevin Conroy explain about Gothtropolis, but the main feature of the episode was the mention of the Bat-Radia and then moving onto Batman's superpowers. This episode also keeps the original names but Tlano is the news reporter Clark Kent role instead.
Back to the issue we see Zur-En-Arrh come under attack by the oncoming alien invasion who surround some of the cities with tall rings of fire. Earth Batman goes up against the alien invasion, shattering some other fiery balls of nuclear energy. The aliens activate some sort of invisible device to escape Batman, who returns the Tlano's for help.

Here we see another fantastic moment, which is beautifully mimicked in the episode of the giant red robots. Batman races to stop this giant mechanised machines of doom, while Tlano's tries to figure out what the aliens are using to turn invisible. Another great moment with Batman flying around fighting the robots but they quickly get the upper hand when they turn invisible again. At this moment Tlano's figures out why his monitors and Bat-Radia kept going crazy when the aliens turned their invisible devices on. He races to Batman's rescue and activates the Bat-Radia disrupting the aliens invisibility. Here we see Batman strain metal through his hands to create strong wire that he lassos around the giant robots rounding them up (I was a little stunned at this point, because Batman has actually killed all the aliens driving the giant robots).

Batman saves the day and is quickly returned to Earth right at the moment he left the Bat-Plane (only a few seconds have passed). He does say it could be easily dismissed as a dream but Tlano's gave Batman the Bat-Radia before he left for his trophy room. Its an epic story told in only nine pages but if I was only ten years old again this would have been an adventure to remember.

The artwork is legendary by Dick Sprang and this is the first Ed Herron story I've read (I'd never heard of him until now). For me the main thing that's impressed me the most is how Warner Bros. have translated the idea of this issue into a full length episode. Now the story is very different because the villain of the episode is Rohtul, which is the Lex Luthor style super scientist. The robots are the main antagonistic which are beautifully copied as well but the supporting Tlanos cast just moves this episode into the Plato of greatness.

Now I can't finish this review off without talking about Batman of Zur-En-Arrh, who made his historic appearance in Batman: R.I.P. by Grant Morrison. I wasn't aware of this character until I saw some the reference Mr. Morrison used. The main thing that makes this design work so well was the reason Batman became Zur-En-Arrh, which revealed over the course of the story to be a back-up personality created after a hallucination Batman suffered when exposed to Professor Milo's gas, intended to take over for Bruce Wayne if he was ever psychologically attacked in such a manner as to render Batman out of action.

Zur-En-Arrh describing himself on one occasion as Batman without Bruce Wayne, the colourful costume expressing a greater confidence and demonstrating a greater willingness to torture and possibly kill his opponents.


I wasn't the biggest fan of this colorful Batman when he appeared in R.I.P. but I'm going to take a step back and look at the reasons why Grant Morrison chose to pick this moment from Batman's history. After seeing the recent episode of The Super-Batman of Planet X and reading the issue, I've got to say this has become one of my favorite moments in the Batman mythos. I highly recommend reading the Batman #113 and going back to Batman #678-680. Its a brilliant Batman universe merge of Golden and modern comics and the guys at Warner Bros. have done a all Batman fans proud with the newest rendition.

LISTEN TO THIS WEEKS PODCAST ONLINE COVERING NEWS, REVIEWS AND INTERVIEWS WITH GUESTS FROM ALL BATMAN INDUSTRIES!



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