Friday, April 6, 2012

WORD OF THE DAY! 4/6/12.

immortality syndrome [im-awr-tal-i-tee-sin-drohm]
1. A pathological and universal theme of various media, in which an individual character, or characters, are practically untouchable, and/or come back from the dead periodically (they don't stay dead), and/or don't age/show signs of injury for long, and/or they are re-imagined or rebooted rather than deal with the convoluted revival.


Typical response to hero suffering from immortality syndrome, "Why won't you die?!" "What does it take to kill you?!" "How many times do I have to kill you?!" and "Why won't you stay dead!?"

Today's term of the day, immortality syndrome, is a fictional convention that I would like to show some examples of. It is present in all mediums, but no more so than in the medium of comic book characters. After all, the best selling comic of all time? The Death of Superman.

You can usually find copies of this for a buck.
It was an epic success in terms of comic sales, but an epic fail that typifies the kinds of stunts that nearly killed comics for good in the "Dark Age". The story that involved the death of the Man of Steel was a convoluted, coke-fueled, crazy mix of fan's wanting to see Superman fight the Hulk. The story that involved his revival? It involves a dozen fake or wannabe Superman, including a robot Superman, and then finally, a mullet-wearing Superman returned from the grave in a perdy black uniform to retake his place.

Superman's Braniac butlers love watching his nudity for hours. Just saying.
But today's subject is Superman's best friend, Batman. The problem with Batman, that makes him especially difficult to kill-off, is that he is so awesome, legendary, and cool, that no death feels quite big enough for Batman. Grant Morrison (one of the best writers in the business) gave it his best try when he offed Batman in Final Crisis.

Final Crisis is a story with an equally mixed balance of insanity and melodrama. There are some extremely high highs, some low lows, and a lot of WTFs to be had. But lets ignore the commendable attempt at Morrison to save a story that started out with the incredible 52 series and then was mutilated into a dumb, deaf, and limbless beast that eats poop in Countdown to Final Crisis, until, upon getting it, no matter what he did, there was no way to fix all the plot holes and destruction of character. We're here to talk about Batman.
It all begins with Batman having his memory erased of five minutes by his own friends. Batman discovered the deceit and, from that moment on, became more paranoid and withdrawn from his friends than ever. During 52 and Countdown, Bruce Wayne was almost off the radar, trying to deal with all of the insane things happening. In Final Crisis, Batman went deep into trying to uncover a secret alien invasion, planned by Darkseid, to basically murder everything that makes Earth good and rebuild it as "New Apokolips"

Apokolips, Darkseid's home planet, had been destroyed by The Piper and all of the New Gods were dead by the end of the story, including Darkseid. For those of you who don't know, Darkseid is basically the embodiment of evil amongst a race of immortal beings. His plan to conquer Earth basically involved himself and his minions possessing people, manipulating the right pawns, and activating the "Anti-Life Equation". This formula allows Darkseid to eliminate the free will of almost all people that experience it and create his new hellish empire on Earth.

Meanwhile, Batman tracked down the plot and tried to stop it. Unfortunately, his mistrust allowed him to get in a position where he was so deep undercover that, when caught, he was captured without anyone's knowledge. Darkseid's minions torture and interrogate Batman for months until, finally, Batman breaks free and completes his mission. He corners Darkseid, sitting in the possessed body of a cop, and awaiting Earth's fall. Batman does the unexpected, pulling a gun, with a literal "God Bullet" and shoots Darkseid.

There is an immediate and brutal retaliation...

Batman is killed by Darkseid's omega beams. Darkseid is mortally wounded and dies soon after. Batman's burned corpse is discovered by Superman who gives him a proper burial and swears to continue to fight for justice in his friend's absence.

Except for one problem. Batman didn't die. Well, at least not for long. He was, in fact, sent back in time, and has to time travel is way back to the present. During his death, we discover Batman had a son, as the result of a date rape from Raza Gul's daughter...yes, really. Oh, and did I mention the fact that, upon returning, Batman is just back in time for the DC reboot to try and create so many Batman comics that no one could possibly read them all. At least we got to see a pirate Batman.

"I am Justice... I am the Night... I am BATBEARD! "

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