ratcreature: RatCreature as Batman (batman)
So crazy person that I am, I am kind of trying to write a first draft of a comic Batverse overview for [livejournal.com profile] crack_van, because the Batverse really deserves to be pimped. A lot. So while I'm valiantly struggling to come up with ways not to make the character backgrounds and storyline descriptions ridiculously long, and possibly with footnotes *facepalms* -- lots of footnotes explaining alternate versions, because I'm irrationally afraid to be kicked in the head by people reading it, whose favorite version of the pivotal character past moment is a different one -- I'm rereading bits and pieces, and I'm reminded all over again of why I love the characters so much.

For example young Bruce Wayne. I mean, he's one traumatized little kid, and copes with the loss of his parents in a scary way, but he is also just awesome. He makes the decision not to let something like his parents death happen to someone else ever again in night of the murder, and in a way it's really a thought that an eight year old would have, like, it's not an especially realistic goal or anything. It's not a grown up thought of helping victims of crime, or reducing crime, or saving as many lives as possible -- possible doesn't figure into it. He swears on the grave of his parents that it'll never happen again. But the dedication and drive the loss of his parents start within him, in a way I admire that, because it's not resigned but defiant even against impossible odds. And he keeps that goal, and his oath in mind even as an adolescent and adult, he never revises his goal into something achievable.

I think he's a great person for that. I mean, as far as my reactions to the death of close relatives like my mother or my grandparents go, it just resulted in me being depressed, and kind of fatalistic about death happening, it's not like I decided to dedicate my life to rid the world of cancer or anything. And okay violent death is of course different, but I never got the impression that it was about vengeance for Bruce, or about that particular mugger. I really admire how he takes his pain and transforms it into a force for something positive. Even though his way is probably not the "sanest" one to deal with death, after that night's events he is at least never passive or a victim again.

I mean, in many depictions of the murder and it's aftermath, you can see the moment he makes this decision, when his look turns from that of a scared kid, into the look of someone determined and scary, like this one from Year One, or in the one from the Zero Hour Batman issue, I linked to above. He is still afraid of course, but it doesn't paralyze him anymore. He faces his fear and uses it. I also truly envy his focus-- not exactly in that I would want to be that extreme myself, but-- it may be kind of scary, that he's so single-minded, yeah, but once he's certain of his goal he works to achieve it, and does so with all he has.

First he molds himself exactly into what he wants to be, both body and mind, then later he transforms his home into the perfect base for his mission, his company into the machinery to generate the technology and immense funds he needs, but he doesn't just fight as Batman, at the same time on the Bruce Wayne side of his war against crime he uses Wayne Enterprises to generate wealth and jobs for Gotham, is a philanthropist who gives money to charities, all to transform Gotham.

Um, I think, I don't really have a point, except that I adore the ingenuity of Bruce's whole setup.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Flash (flash)
...just not not right now. Ahem.

I've finished reading Dead Heat (Flash #108-111 and Impulse #10-11), and overall I enjoyed it a lot, not at least because I like stories with the speedforce playing a prominent role, however one thing bugged me: The way the speedsters talk about Johnny Quick's suicide made them sound like one of the more disturbing cults out there. I mean it's great for them that they're so sure of their afterlife, but still-- when Jay tells Jesse who mourns her father "Your father was a fine man... and, god, I'm going to miss him. But be glad for him, Jesse. After a lifetime of living in darkness, he finally saw a light that took him in and made him whole." (quoted from Flash #111) --it somehow bugs me. It's not only how content they seem to serenely seek out and embrace their death (joining with the field or not, they are still dead) when they feel their time has come, because the speedforce calls to them, which is vaguely disturbing to hear from people who are not terminally ill or in a lot of pain (which are the only circumstances I have encountered that sentiment), it's also that apparently to have their desired afterlife, they can't just wait for dying of old age in their sleep, they have to die through their form of ritualized suicide, by running as fast as they can, and then if they're lucky enough (or favored by the speedforce, or whatever), they can join with it. Which is what reminds me of some wacky cults who tell their members they have to kill themselves in some specific fashion to get into heaven.

I mean, I've been wondering whether in the aftermath (i.e. the funeral in Flash #112) the other speedsters told the assembled heroes that Johnny Quick didn't really die in the fight, but decided to join the speedforce because he "finally saw the light". It doesn't seem that way-- at the funeral Johnny's ex-wife Libby (the retired Liberty Bell) is grieving and fairly bitter, and blames it on the costumed adventuring that he's dead. It seems she assumes he died because of the fight. I assume the speedsters must have told her something about why they are so certain he's not going to reappear, because otherwise I have a hard time how anybody in the DCU would accept someone as dead without leaving a body behind this quickly, just because he apparently disappeared in a big boom of lightening.

I now want to know much of this stuff the speedsters share with their team mates, and what those team mates think of this. I mean I can't imagine that their views on this go over well with everybody.

Another thing I'm ambiguous about is that in Dead Heat we get to see Wally inside the field, which on one hand is cool to see, on the other hand I liked that it was left open and mysterious in Terminal Velocity, and in a way seeing it on page this time, made that less effective. However it's still a really cool sequence in Flash #111 (page 15, 16, 17/18, 19, 20), not at least because even though Wally is in (or at least only one step away from) nirvana-like bliss, he still has a sense of humor as he brings Savitar to join the other speedsters: "And the certainty that all those who have journeyed here before me take care of their own... however they must. So long Savitar. Learn to play well with others."
ratcreature: RatCreature as Flash (flash)
Last night I've read the Terminal Velocity arc and the issue after, dealing with its fallout, i.e. Flash #95-101, and when I went to bed I had this thought about how Flash's experience is in a lot of ways similar to Animal Man's (first) death and rebirth through the Red in the Flesh and Blood arc in Animal Man #51-56. Since then I looked at the Animal Man issues again, to write this entry -- it's been a while since I read them -- and it wasn't quite as parallel as my half asleep brain thought, mainly because Animal Man recognized his "power field" before his first death, also Buddy is less able to hold on to his previous personality, while Wally manages to push his new insights into his subconscious. But I still think their "near death experience" stories are similar in a lot of ways, because totally different superpowers work on a similar structure, which I find neat. Also I think it's interesting how differently they and their families deal with these things.

Now, it's not exactly uncommon that superheroes die only to come back, whether through magic, some cosmic entity, timeline anomalies, or whatever plot device is en vogue then, however I think that both Buddy's and Wally's experiences stand out. Not only because they both come back changed and actually remember things (while sometimes superheroes don't remember and don't change much, it's not that unusual that the death/resurrection plot is used to tweak or change the character's powers), but also because both do it by themselves -- through discovering a deeper connection to the source of their powers, i.e. the "Speedforce" for Wally, "The Red" (a.k.a Morphogenetic Field) for Buddy. Subsequently that "rebirth" and with it their new awareness of their respective "field" changes their powers, ends up being a spiritual experience for them (though some will get more extremist about it in the long run than others, I mean it's not like Flash has founded a Speedforce church -- I hope *g*), and also leads to tension in their relationship to their "normal" spouses who remained behind and didn't share that revelation. Even though for both their wish to stay with their loved ones longer, and to protect them, was their primary reason not to surrender to the field, but to cling to life and come back.

a more detailed look at this, cut for lengthy quotes about the Speedforce and The Red, and their nature )
ratcreature: RatCreature as Batman (batman)
The first post, and the second post of this series.

BTW, I should mention that in my notes and eventual comparisons my interest isn't really in establishing a consistent timeline, other sites, like the Unauthorized Chronology of the DC Universe do this much more thoroughly than I ever could, also with special attention paid to Batman and Nightwing. Of course I'll mention the timeline information that is given in an issue, but I won't try and make it all fit to find the "one true sequence of events" as it really happened in the fictional universe, or explore timeline and chronology problems at great length, though I might link to timeline problem analyses/conjectures other people did, in places where I find it interesting.

Anyway, in the last post I looked at Batman's origin story in Year One. Right after Year One (in the publishing order, not in the internal chronology), Batman #408 (Jun 1987) starts the series of stories with Dick retiring as Robin, and Jason taking on that role. I'll look closer at those aspects in the (projected) posts on Nightwing's origin. However, there is also information about Bruce and his past in "Did Robin Die Tonight?", i.e. Batman #408 (Jun 1987), and I'll comment on some Bruce characterization I found interesting, too:
lengthy notes on Batman #408, with quotes and links to scans )
ratcreature: RatCreature as Batman (batman)
The first post is here.

The first section on Batman (of which this post is the first part) covers stories/issues I'm aware of which deal containing information about Bruce Wayne/Batman's childhood, his years of training and travel, as well as key moments early in his vigilante career that formed the present day Batman. Like I explained earlier, I'll deal with key first encounters separately.

Issues/stories are listed in order of their first publishing date. The ones I haven't read (yet) are marked with a "*" (For those I linked to the sites I took the information from, the numbering of the resource sites is the one I used in the first post.):
a longish list )

Now a more in-depth look at these stories, starting with the central Year One storyline, which I'll also use as a "baseline" to compare other stories to, because it is at the core of modern Batman continuity. As is often pointed out [1] [3], Batman didn't get a "clean" break in his continuity during Crisis with a neat retelling like Superman, however Year One has a similar function, even if there was no full rewrite.

Year One, i.e. Batman #404-#407 (Feb - May 1987), gives us the following information (I won't summarize the whole plot about corruption and organized crime in Gotham, but just highlight some stuff, especially since I'll cover the early history of Batman, Dent and Gordon in a separate post. I guess everybody just a little interested in the comic version of Batman -- and who else would read detailed comparisons of information on his origins? -- will have already read Year One anyway):

notes on Bruce/Batman in Year One )
ratcreature: RatCreature as Batman (batman)
Batman continuity has been on my mind a lot lately. I've noticed that I have trouble to keep track of the different versions of key moments in the characters' history, mostly for Batman and Nightwing, because those two are the characters I'm most interested in, and consequently I read more (and more "conflicting") stories about them, but it happens with other characters too. So I decided to make notes of what versions I've read so far. Clearly this is a work in progress, but I thought others might be interested in my efforts at organization.

When I started to organize my knowledge of their origin stories, and to write a post on it, it soon became clear that it would be a very sprawling post, and it got worse and worse, and then I realized that the blogging options for me were either to wait a rather long time, where interesting posts would be scarce in my blog (even more so than usual), because my fannish time and energy meanwhile is going into the monster post, or to make it literally a work in progress, and post it as a series, which would spread the (hopefully) interesting content over a bit of time in my blog (and keep each part at manageable lengths for the readers too).

My first project is trying to piece together an overview of Batman's origin story, i.e. the details of his parents murder, what's known about his childhood, his years of training and travel, as well as key moments early in his vigilante career that formed the present day Batman. Within that, the first meetings between Batman and his enemies as well other superheroes and allies are a chapter of their own. I don't think it's practical to divide it much further, like to make separate sections for "pre-murder childhood," "Wayne murder," "pre-Batman training and travel" and "early career" because in many stories several or all of the above are touched upon, and to separate them would divide the notes on each story needlessly. However the first encounter stories are often separate, and in cases when they are not, like for much of the early history of Dent, Gordon and Batman, and the eventual origin of Two-Face, those are often co-origin stories for all the characters and are the main plot of the stories, so that treating them separately makes sense and is more practical than to mush that together with the often briefer references and flashbacks to his childhood and the like.

Second project will be Nightwing's history, details of his parents murder, the Robin I origin story, how he became Bruce's ward, and the origin of his Nightwing persona. Then at a later point maybe posts on other characters, like Batgirl I/Oracle and Robin III.

The method I've decided on for each of the sections is to first post a list of all stories/issues that I know of which contain relevant information or (re-)tell key events of that time. I'll list them in their publishing order and mark those which I haven't read yet with a "*". In that list I'll also briefly mention why the story is relevant (at least if it isn't self-evident from its title), and for those I haven't read I'll cite the website that referred to them, however my detailed notes only cover the comics I've read myself, and I'll just expand on them later. If those lists are missing important or even minor issues, I'd love to hear about those. I mean, right now I've only read a small portion of the available canon, and browsed a couple of websites, there's no chance these lists are complete.

In the detailed notes I'll mention in the later stories where they contradict the ones published earlier, but not vice versa, mostly for practical reasons, because otherwise the cross-referencing becomes a nightmare fast, and keeping track becomes much harder. Maybe I'll include "bi-directional" referencing in the final version, once I have all notes at hand.

Of tremendous help for staying on top of the continuity facts have been:
  1. The Continuity Pages for Batman

  2. The Unauthorized Chronology of the DC Universe

  3. The Dark Knight FAQs

  4. The Unoffical Guide to the DC Universe

In the places where I mention issues I haven't read yet, but have read about in those resources, I'll link to the specific site from which I have the information.

The second post, where I actually start to examine Batman's origin's will follow shortly.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Batman (batman)
Okay, I should be sleeping at way past three in the morning, however instead I've been wondering about Batman, secret identities, and personality splits, and how I've seen the relation and balance between the different aspects of Bruce/Batman's persona handled in the comics dealing with this. I blame it on reading JLA v3 #50-54 earlier today.

And just for the record, it is really annoying when characters make camp like this in my mind, the last time that happened had been with TS, and somehow Jim and Blair with their neat 65 episode canon, fairly normal personalities, and their small regular supporting cast have never been this much trouble. Not like Batman, Nightwing, and Gotham in general. They brought less gargoyle decor too. I mean, I assume fanfic writers learn to live with characters (and thoughts about characters) clamoring in their head, but I actually don't think much about the characters in most of the fandoms I'm interested in, except when I'm discussing them intentionally. They and their history don't pop up in my mind at inappropriate and inconvenient moments, or deprive me of sleep. I guess I can count myself lucky that it needs a high level of involvement and exposure for this to happen.

So, in this JLA story the superhero identities get split from their "cover" or human identities for those JLA members who have both, i.e. there are suddenly Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Plastic Man, Martian Manhunter and Flash, as well as Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, Kyle Rayner, Patrick O'Brian, John Jones and Wally West, while Wonder Woman and Aquaman remain whole.

And I found the way Batman's split was handled interesting, because it was different from the "usual" way the personality parts "separate" in Batman storylines. The split identity thing is a fairly common theme in Batman comics (at least in recent ones, I haven't read that many of earlier ones yet). The integrity and unity of the Bruce-Batman personality isn't very stable, despite or maybe even because his amazing mental abilities and discipline.

I mean, he can make the conscious decision to forget whole aspects of his self, like he did in Transference (in Gotham Knights #8-11), where he made himself "forget" that he was Batman to protect himself. Transference ended January 2001 (the cover date), when the JLA issue #50 is from February 2001. Obviously that's not a direct correspondence to the internal timeline, as the chronology relation between different series isn't easy to figure out, but his personality integrity sure took a lot of battering around that time. Not much later in Close Before Striking (Batman #588-590, running from April to June 2001) he overidentifies (to put it mildly) with his alter ego Matches Malone, foreshadowing his identity problems and then mental breakdown during the Bruce Wayne Murderer? storyline. In Gotham Knights #24 Bruce talks to "Batman", sees him, hears voices, and can't clearly remember all his actions. And at least if you consider the recent one-shot Batman: Ego to be in continuity, that hasn't been the first time Bruce sees Batman as a corporeal entity he can talk to. In Batman #600 during Bruce Wayne Murderer? he then declares "Bruce Wayne" to be the mask. Anyway, lots of complicated identity problems.

But all the identity splits I recall in the Batman comics have in common that, broadly, "Batman" is both the trauma and the coping mechanism, while Bruce Wayne is the "rest personality," whereas in the JLA story Bruce Wayne remains as a "normal" human with the trauma, but without the coping mechanism of "Batman" and the skills to channel his anger, whereas "Batman" has the (superhero) skills but not the drive of the (human) trauma.

I found this view of the different aspects of Bruce-Batman's persona interesting, because it draws a holistic picture of how the aspects are interdependent, and approaches the topic of the sometimes warring parts of him from a different angle than all the "split personality" stories that culminated in Bruce Wayne Murderer? Which I liked too, but ultimately I like that Batman and Bruce Wayne are parts of a whole, neither more "real" than the other, nor possible as separate, even if the "whole" in this case is rather complicated.

I'm not sure I'm expressing myself really well, but then you can't expect much from insomiac pre-dawn rambles. *g*
ratcreature: RatCreature as Batman (batman)
Now that the team on Robin changed I actually read the latest Robin issue instead of getting it for my "to read eventually pile" -- which btw is not meant as a comment on the quality of the previous team, I just haven't gotten around to them. My pile of comics to read is ever growing, not just with superhero stuff, I also still collect European comics and US indies after all, so for now those Robin issues are in good company with many others ranging from historical fiction comics about the Paris commune to funny animals comics.

Anyway, I used the change of teams as a jumping on point, and I figured that this would also be a good opportunity to do some background reading on the current Robin, a.k.a. Tim Drake. I had already read A Lonely Place of Dying, which introduced Tim, and now I read Rite of Passage, i.e. Detective Comics #618-#621 written by Alan Grant, pencils by Norm Breyfogle, inks by Steve Mitchell, in which Tim's mother dies, and his father ends up paralyzed and in a coma (apparently Jack Drake will get better eventually, at least I recall seeing him with his second wife in a Gotham Knights issue and he was neither paralyzed nor dead, but I don't know yet when/how that recovery happens).

I really liked the psychological parts of the story, the insights into Tim's mind, and his relationship with Bruce/Batman -- the evil Voodoo priest plot parts, um, not so much. I liked how ambiguous and complicated Tim's feelings, especially about Batman and becoming Robin, are. It's 'survivor's guilt' in a way, but with a twist, because Tim wonders whether the death of his parents might be the necessary "rite of passage" he has to go through before he can finally become Robin (something which at least at the beginning he wants very much), just like it was with the other Robins. Of course when Tim voices this thought to Alfred at the end of #619, Alfred is rebukes that, and some part of Tim also knows that his desire to be Robin didn't cause his parents misfortune, but the feeling is still there. And at the end of #621 he wonders whether his association with Batman will suck him into "a lifetime in hell," thoughts that are mirrored by Bruce who is feeling guilty for not saving Tim's parents and feels like "The night-monster. The man who taints the lives of all around him." and fears that by allowing Tim to become Robin, he'd cause Tim to become like himself. Also I really like how the sequence in #621 (from page 18 to the first half of page 21) illustrates those feelings, especially the transition from Bruce giving comfort to Tim seeing him as threatening Batman, and then the POV shift to Batman's thoughts. And that even though the facial expressions of grief aren't drawn that great. Okay, so the bat-shadow effect isn't original, but IMO it works here. (If you haven't read them and want to take a look at those four pages, I've uploaded images of about 100k each, the smallest size where the text was still somewhat recognizable, for you to look at: p. 18, p. 19, p. 20, and p. 21.)

I look forward to read how those issues will be followed up in the Identity Crisis story line and the Robin mini-series, i.e. the issues which have been reprinted in the Robin: A Hero Reborn TPB (though I intend to get them as single issues if possible).

BTW, when I sometimes talk about specific pages or panels in my entries, do you (i.e. whoever reads this) like it when I put up scans of the pages and link to those? Or doesn't it matter and you skip checking out the images as a waste of bandwidth? Then I wouldn't bother in the future, but I thought that maybe sometimes it could be helpful.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Batman (batman)
I didn't do anything today except reading comics, reading fanfic, and watching some tv. I didn't even cook a meal.

Anyway, as I was reading some Batman comics (in the broader sense, my recent reading were some issues of Batgirl, Batman, Detective Comics, Catwoman, Robin, Birds of Prey, and parts of mini-series like Arkham Asylum: Living Hell and the recent Titans/Young Justice crossover) I noticed lots of stuff and started to think about blog entries I might write, but instead of doing that I gave in to inertia and rather read some more comics, with the result that I forgot most of the interesting things I wanted to say. However a few things stuck with me, in no particular order:

- Batgirl #28 illustrated for me why I often find Spoiler so annoying, yet still like the character in a way. I liked the interaction between Cassandra and Stephanie, especially the scene where Stephanie talks about her issues with her dad, how nobody could understand how it is with a supervillain for a father, and then she asks Cassandra about her dad and finds out that it's David Cain. Their conversation finishes like this:
Stephanie: You've been listening to me whine about having the Cluemaster for a dad, when your dad's like...the scariest killer on the planet?
Cassandra: Yeah.
Stephanie: When my dad was mad at me he'd lock me in the closet--what did yours do?
Cassandra: Shot me.
(They both break into laughter.)
Stephanie: Oh, man. I can't beat you at anything.

And that's really the point: Stephanie is all about her awful childhood and becoming a superhero because of her dad's crimes, but really compared to what some of the other characters went through, it's blown out of proportion. Which in a way is realistic, because she's a teenager, and teenage angst is all about being wildly out of proportion, still it can be annoying. But at least in her less self-involved moments Stephanie realizes this. And I liked how she and Cassandra bonded over this, and started to become friends, especially since this was a really hard time for Cassandra with Batman still on the run, and the whole Shiva thing just behind her. But then a short time later Stephanie turns up again, and says that she won't be around for training anymore. I'm not sure yet what to think about this, because I haven't read yet what happens in the Robin title at that time, so I don't know what the "some stuff's come up with... Tim. And other stuff." refers to. It can't be the Spoiler related storyline in BOP around that time, i. e. Black Canary helping Stephanie / Spoiler to deal with her dad, followed by a pronouncement from Black Canary that she won't train her. As I understood it, those events led Stephanie to ask Cassandra to train her in the first place. Anyway, just from this Stephanie doesn't come across as very sympathetic in the way she treats Cassandra.

- I got the story that first introduces Giz and Mouse and how they became a couple (it's a subplot in Catwoman Vol. 2 #28-30, but I mainly got them for Giz and Mouse, whom I like a lot ever since reading Hunt For Oracle), and I wasn't disappointed, they continue to be my favorite minor characters, though they aren't quite as cool back then as they are in their more recent appearances. Still great though, and they have bigger roles there, which is a definite plus. And I really want to find some complete minor character issue index for those two, so that I can track down every issue with them and indulge in fangirl-like squeeing at Mouse, Giz and his squirrel Goober some more.

- I wish I would trust DC continuity more, but when the Joker appeared in the current Hush storyline in Batman (in #613 and #614) my first reaction was to worry how (and even if) they'd explain his sudden escape from the Slab, which after all recently got transported to Antarctica. I mean, recently they changed things in a way that the Joker's escape is a big deal, it can't be done in a simple "The Joker broke out of Arkham tonight." fashion anymore, and in the current Detective Comics storyline, Dead Reckoning, the Joker is still at the Slab. Of course Detective Comics and Batman stories aren't exactly simultaneous outside of crossovers, but still roughly at the same time, so I assume that Hush takes place after Dead Reckoning, and I really hope that Hush will give an explanation for the Joker's escape, after all it's not yet finished, and I truly enjoy the storytelling in both titles right now, though a bit more in Batman.

- The backup story in Detective Comics #776-780 is near the top of the list of the most awful and stupid stuff I've seen recently.

- I like the Montoya storyline about her being involuntarily outed at the PD that started in the two newest Gotham Central issues #6 and #7, though I'm apprehensive about its potential to turn into a very cliched story.

- The current Nightwing storyline is much more interesting and character driven than its advertisement as "Nightwing vs. Deathstroke" made me fear initially.

- I thought the art in Gotham Knights #41 truly sucked, because the style didn't fit the series at all. The inconsequential story wasn't much better, and the only explanation I can come up with for why they would postpone the resolution of the Alfred cliffhanger from Gotham Knights #40 for this is that the current regular artist team needed a break or something.

- The current art in Batgirl is much worse than in previous issues, I hope they'll change teams soon, because I'm starting to like the character, but I won't spend money regularly on something with art like that. Also Superboy is annoying, though I guess he's supposed to be.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Batman (batman)
While I was supposed to fall asleep, yet didn't (normally not something I have a problem with, I'm definitely not an insomniac person) I thought about Nightwing and how he moves in three dimensions most of the time, even outside of fight scenes and such, and how at least some of the comics (as everything in comic canon it varies a bit) suggest that his mood is reflected in his movements, sort of a three dimensional and very agile sort of pacing. Like in Gotham Knights #26 (a part of Bruce Wayne: Murderer?) we see him walking on the top edges of Barbara's furniture, and later Tim (in the conversation they have while fighting some random bad guys when Dick has asked him to come for a walk) says something like "Don't you ever walk on the ground?" to which Dick replies "Not if I can help it."

Right now I don't remember any other specific examples where Dick's movements reflect his mood so directly, though that he has fun doing acrobatics, and uses every opportunity to move in interesting and non-standard ways is established more or less constantly. It's something I like a lot about the character.

Nightwing's moves (Dick's too, he also does this outside his superhero persona) are cool to look at, compared to example Superman's who, though he can fly (and thus potentially move easier in three dimensions), just mostly either floats or flies in a more or less straight line, precisely because he doesn't have to jump, somersault, or leap to get anywhere, so he doesn't have to move in this interesting, eye-candy way. And of course if you go with the Smallville version Clark was afraid of heights (I have no idea if this appears in the comics), so while he obviously got over this enough to fly around regularly as Superman, it's not surprising that he's not really comfortable above ground and doesn't take advantage of three dimensional movement except in an "elevator" kind of way. And okay, obviously Superman can always just super-speed, also he doesn't even need to dodge enemies, bullets or anything else, so he can afford to remain rather static, where the non-invulnerable superheroes can't.

Anyway, I think their different attitudes could also show up in interesting ways in Nightwing/Superman slash, especially if you go with the remnants of acrophobia for Clark, who in that case might show the same kind of exasperation with Dick as Tim in that regard. I mean, Tim clearly can move above ground quite well too (though not as proficient as Nightwing), he just seems to prefer to do such acrobatics only when necessary, and doesn't have Dick's preference for heights and precarious balance, either.

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