Batman and Robin 666 #6

April 16th, 2009

This week, instead of the usual preamble, I thought we might go for a straight up ‘story so far’ blurb. Afterall, most of our regular readers will have made up their minds about this strip by now and nothing I can say or do will convince the skeptics, the haterz, or the just plain old don’t-give-a-shitters among you that they should read it. But there’s always newbies flooding into Mindless Ones who deserve a little context, even if they can’t be bothered to read what came before. Do bear in mind though, guys, that there’s an awful lot of stuff you won’t have a clear idea of, a lot of context you WILL miss, and a huge amount of panel description that might not make any sense if you opt to drop in at the top.

It’s four years after the events of Batman 666, and Batman, aided and abetted by a new Robin (a re-wired Dollatron: Damian Wayne’s best pal, supertank and portable batcomputer rolled into one), Ace the Batmobile (half bat-themed Godzilla, half mobile fortress with a detachable head that doubles up as a car) and the kind of technology one would more commonly find in an Ian M Banks novel find themselves battling a new breed of villain in a city teetering on the edge of madness. The Gotham of tomorrow is a fusion of all its previous incarnations: the playground, the gothic wonderland and the hardboiled urban sprawl. Half its population have floated away into it’s virtual reality suburb, Toytown, and a sizeable percentage of the DCU’s magical community have relocated to its outer fringes. Then there’s the influx of other even weirder immigrants from as near as the Plateau of Leng and as far away as 3,000000,00000,000000000 BC. Throw in the increased degeneration of the natural environment globally, just for good measure, and the city’s beginning to feel like a pressure cooker, where all the lunacy confined in bygone years to Arkham is spilling out.

Gotham’s certainly at the centre of something, it’s just that, as yet, nobody seems to have any idea what that might mean.

In the first story arc, Snake Charmer, the Sensei unleashed a reality virus programmed to destroy Toytown and cripple the city by plunging its users/inhabitants into an apocalyptic virtual world in which the new Batman never existed. This virtual assault threatened to fry the brains of Gotham’s online citizenry, until Batman and Robin managed to rewrite the virus’s programming from inside the virtual hell, turning it against its makers and preventing the Sensei and his wife, Agrat Bat Malhat, from detonating a nuke in the city’s docklands.

Why did the Sensei decide to show his hand after all this time? Nobody knows, but it’s clear he had a hidden agenda. The word on the street is: ‘apocalypse’.

Two weeks have elapsed since the Sensei was handed over to Gotham’s weirdest custodians, the Wonderlanders. Last issue we caught up with Robin enjoying some downtime bodyguard duty in a club with her friend Naomi Fox, daughter of Lucius Fox (CEO of Wayne Industries), and a new boytoy she picked up for the night, Judah Running Dog. Meanwhile Batman, keen to understand how the virus erased him from reality, paid a visit to his old friend Dr. Fate.

Just as our heroes were starting to relax disaster struck.

Most of Gotham’s citizens, unable to properly recollect what happened during the Sensei’s attack, dismissed the bizarre events as a glitch in Toytown’s functioning, but some did not. Gotham contains more than its fair share of super-intellects and one of them intends to use the information that Batman is Damian Wayne against him. To this end s/he contracts three assassins to work through a list of Damian’s friends, and although hir ultimate purpose is not yet clear, we’ve already seen some terrible consequences. Dr. Fate had his ass kicked into another dimension by one of the killer’s pets, a horrible human/monster hybrid known only as “Puppy”. The creature escaped to its mysterious mistress, Lady Matilda Dewitt, but not before leaving Batman stranded on the other side of the universe.

Robin? Well, suddenly her bodyguarding mission has become altogether more serious. The Black Rabbit has found Naomi Fox in the depths of the Engine Rooms nightclub…

And as for the third assassin: ?

But the dynamic duo always have a few tricks up their sleeves. It doesn’t pay to underestimate them. Afterall, Judah thought he was on a date, but Robin had other reasons for picking him out of the crowd, not all of them skin deep.

Now read on.

If you like.

PAGE 1

PANEL 1

thin, letterbox sized panel. Close up on the view outside as Batman peers out of Dr. Fate’s letterbox to get a clearer idea of where the planet-house has teleported itself to now. Unfortunately for him we appear to be in deepest, darkest outer space. Nebulaic clouds of gas, pink and green, drift through the endless black. The house seems to be caught in the orbit of a black planet which sinks below our field of vision, its rim tinged with cold, blue fire. It has only one moon, not unlike our own, which floats in the left hand corner of the frame. Moons positioned similarly will be a feature of every panel on this page and the text in the caption boxes should always draw the reader’s eyes to them.  Finally, as for Batman, all we can make out of the caped crusader is his thumb holding the flap open.

(The captions in this scene are actually being narrated by Judah, back in the nightclub)

CAP: CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF THE TRANSFORMATION DOESN’T REQUIRE A FULL MOON.

PANEL 2

low angle. And now we’re safe and sound back in the interior of the house with all its cosy 1970s’ style pretensions. The flap snaps back as Batman, half kneeling, scans the floor. A box of Shoggoth Munch lies amidst its scattered contents, another casualty of the Fate/Puppy war. The Shoggoth Munch itself is reminiscent of large, oily ‘gobstopper’ marbles (it’s made from genuine baby tears). Above Batman, again in the uppermost left hand corner of the panel (I don’t think I’ll bother giving that stage direction again), Dr Fate’s rice-ball light shade glows, moonlike, illuminating the scene.

CAP: DEPENDING ON YOUR POINT OF VIEW, THE GODDESS IS ALWAYS PRESENT.

CAP: YOU JUST HAVE TO SHIFT YOUR FOCUS.

PANEL 3

Batman picks up the Shoggoth Munch box and inspects it. We’re close on the image and text that runs down its side – the usual guff about ‘deliciousness’ and ‘nine out of ten Old Ones prefer Shoggoth Munch’ is prefaced by a bold image of a Shoggoth baying with pleasure in front of a large full moon having been presented with a scrummy bowl of his favourite snack.

CAP: I CAN SMELL THE MOUNTING DANGER. THE HACKLES ON MY NECK EXTEND AS THE AMBIENT PANIC LEVELS KICK UP.

CAP: WE HAVE SECONDS.

BATMAN: HHN.

PAGE 2

PANEL 1

Batman takes a couple of the clear, opalescent snacks (we’re still continuing with the moon motif…) and drops them in the pocket of his trenchcape as he heads towards the now just ajar doorway to the ‘servants quarters’. The darkness beyond curls into the room, a shadowy mass of grasping tentacles.

CAP: I CALL HER TO ME AND COCKTAIL STIRRERS ARE ENGULFED LIKE DROWNED RAFTS IN THE TREMBLING FROTH OF ABANDONED DRINKS.

CAP:URINALS OVERFLOW AND TIDALWAVE ACROSS THE MENSROOM FLOOR.

PANEL 2

He reaches for the doorhandle – a silver orb.

CAP: THERE ARE STORMS IN TEACUPS….

PANEL 3

…and dives headlong into the blackness.

CAP: AS I DRAG THE MOON FROM THE SKY..

PAGE 3

Full page. Alli, in the middle left of the frame, gestures urgently towards Naomi who’s hesitantly bending over to pet the black rabbit in the centre of the now fully cleared off dancefloor. Judah, having completed his transformation into a huge, grey werewolf, howls at a disco ball hanging from the nightclub’s ceiling, the light from which engulfs the action in a silky,  lunar light. But Judah is a werewolf with a difference: to begin with he’s got interesting fashion sense – part werewolf, part superhero. The goggles are still present, as is the wifebeater (whose wolf logo doubles as Judah’s chest insignia) and the shiny pants, wrapped like spandex clingfilm around his haunches and back legs. There’s something of the oriental dragon about this wolf too. In fact the dragonwolf thingy in Spirited Away is close to the look I want.

CAP: AND DEEP UNDER THE SIDEWALK.

ALLI: THE RABBIT!

TITLE: BATMAN AND ROBIN 666 – APOCALYPSE DES ANIMAUX

PAGE 4

I want to try a similar trick to the one at the beginning of Batman #4. Judah and Robin, large, at the bottom of the page, charge into the panels that tier down it. Judah is in the lower right hand corner pouncing like a snarling, furry knife towards the action, while Alli, stop motion transforming into Robin, flowing silks and all, runs up the left hand side of the page like it’s a wall and somersaults into the art direction for panel 2. Her dialogue should be the first thing the eye is drawn to.

ROBIN: (large) MOVE!

PANEL 1

Naomi and the rabbit, frozen. She has her hands to her mouth. The air around the animal is charged and glowing.

PANEL 2

Match on shot, but now Robin’s tumbling into the panel, her arms wrapped around the rabbit, shielding everyone from the explosion below her. The blast bleaches out her features and costume but fails to ignite either. The rabbit’s target, Naomi, is crumpled up, winded,  and clasped between Judah’s iron jaws. His trajectory will see him heading towards the ceiling…

PANEL 3

…through it and out into the street above. The giant wolfman comes bursting through the concrete, sending chunks of it flying and thundering down onto the oncoming traffic. Sleek, futuristic, fruit lozenge coloured bonnets are pummeled by hard rain. Naomi struggles to get free, terrified.

NAOMI: AAAIEEEEEE!

PANEL 4

Close up on Robin breathing heavily and getting to her feet. Darkness all around.

DIALOGUE: (off panel) WELL, WELL, WELL. LOOK WHAT WE HAVE HERE…

PAGE 5

PANEL 1

Robin turns as Lady Matilda and her puppy emerge from the shadows of the now vacant nightclub.

LADY MATILDA:ROBIN REDBREAST.

(2): GOOD EVENING TO YOU LITTLE BIRD.

ROBIN: AND WHO ARE YOU?

PANEL 2

Matilda performs a dainty curtsy, gesturing to her pet who stares ahead blankly. Robin has her hands by her sides like a cowboy at high noon, ready to fight.

MATILDA: WHY, I’M LADY MATILDA DEWITT, DUCHESS OF LOST AGARTHA, JEWEL OF THE HIDDEN EMPIRE.

(2): AND THIS IS MY PUPPY.

PANEL 3

From above. They circle each other. Puppy flies upwards, alarmingly close to the camera, her paws reaching out of the panel to illustrate that she’s bounding out of the hole Judah made.

LADY MATILDA: FETCH!

PANEL 4

Low angle. On the ground now and Matilda’s pulling down some kind of visor attached to her bonnet – a cross between a Venetian half-mask and a fencing mask. Only her mouth shows through it; the eyes are as blank and saucerlike as Puppy’s. We suddenly notice her clothes are glinting metallically. Is that armour? Robin looks ready to go at it…..

Oh, one other thing: we can just make out the hole in the ceiling and Puppy’s hindleg scrabbling for a foothold.

LADY MATILDA: AND SHE’S OFF TO RIP YOUR FRIENDS TO PIECES!

ROBIN: LISTEN TO YOURSELF!

(2): SAVE THE SADISTIC POSTURING FOR SOMEONE WHO CARES, MATILDA. YOU WON’T IMPRESS ME WITH CLICHES.

(3): NOW…

PANEL 4

Robin rubs her fist into her palm, smiling dangerously in true FUCKYEAH! style.

ROBIN: DO YOU WANT A FIGHT OR NOT?

CAP: LET ME GO! WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?

PAGE 6

PANEL 1

Judah bounds over the traffic, crumpling roofs and shattering windows as he goes, Naomi still clamped between his jaws, one eye fixed on her. strangely she no longer seems afraid – quite the contrary – now she seems angry.

NAOMI FOX: NNNG! ONE MINUTE I’M FENDING OFF SNEERS FROM ALICE AND HER BOYTOY AND THE NEXT IT’S EXPLODING SYLVANIAN FAMILIES AND THE GODDAMN WOLFMAN!

(2): DO YOU PEOPLE HAVE ANY IDEA WHO I AM?

JUDAH: RWWRRWWRR?

PANEL 2

Naomi starts thumping his head and sobbing. Judah doesn’t look very happy.

NAOMI: DON’T EEEAAAAAAT MEEEEEEEEE!

PANEL 3

Judah swings Naomi onto his back. She clutches at his hair with one hand as she flies through the air like Legolas mounting that horse in Two Towers.

NAOMI: YIIIIII!!!

JUDAH: GRRRMFRW!!

PANEL 4

Cut back to the nightclub. Matilda smashes her fist into the ground causing a mini-earthquake. The shockwave sends Robin off balance and tumbling through the air.

PANEL 5

She pauses mid flight, upside down, like she’s about to perform a spinning bird kick. These kids, eh? Learning their moves from computer games…..

CAP: I SAID, I KNOW WHO YOU ARE, NAOMI.

PAGE 7

PANEL 1

She performs the kick, spearing Matilda into the bar.

CAP: IT TALKS!

CAP: SO IS THIS AN OFFICIAL KIDNAPPING? ARE YOU IN LEAGUE WITH THAT RABBIT CREATURE?

PANEL 2

And now we’re floating above Naomi riding Judah’s back. She’s grabbing onto his grey fur and holding on for dear life, makeup streaming down her face. Judah turns to talk to her. He looks annoyed.

JUDAH: FIRST OF ALL I’M NOT IN LEAGUE WITH THE RABBIT, I’M THE CAVALRY.

(2): SECONDLY, I DON’T EAT PEOPLE. THAT’S DISGUSTING.

(3): AND THIRDLY

PANEL 3

He bounds over a greyhound bus.

JUDAH: I AM JUDAH…

PANEL 4

They land. A cyclist, surprised by them, falls off his bike. Naomi struggles to keep her balance – a cowgirl riding the roughest steer at the rodeo.

JUDAH: AND I’M NOBODY’S BOYTOY.

NAOMI: WHAT?!?

PANEL 5

They skid round a corner, sending some tourists scurrying out the way at a level crossing.

JUDAH: THOUGH HAVING SAID THAT….

(2): …YOU GO TO A CLUB, MEET A NICE GIRL, THINK YOU’VE HIT THE JACKPOT.

PAGE 8

PANEL 1

Robin has Matilda’s dog leash wrapped round her neck. Her attacker pulls her towards her, ready to slice her head off with a vicious karate chop.

CAP: ONLY TO FIND ALL SHE’S INTERESTED IN ARE YOUR SUPERPOWERS.

ROBIN: HHK.

CAP: WHAT? WELL, ASSUMING YOU ARE JUDAH, THAT WAS VERY NICE OF YOU, ABANDONING ALLIE LIKE THAT!

PANEL 2

Robin grabs the lead, choking…

CAP: I WOULDN’T WORRY ABOUT HER, NAOMI.

PANEL 3

…and swings Matilda into the glitterball faster than she can let go of it. Coloured glass explodes across the room.

CAP: I’M FAIRLY CERTAIN SHE CAN LOOK AFTER HERSELF.

PANEL 4

We’re somewhere else – somewhere dark. Batman, a jagged, cubist, 4D version of himself, is kneeling, holding out the Shoggoth Munch to a bizzare, octopoidal, batwinged monster. Weirdly, the monster bears a striking resemblance to great Cthulhu and appears to be carrying a crumpled Dr Fate in it’s arms. It’s tentacles curve, whorl and regress like fractal lightning, it’s mantle raised, consuming the tasty treats as they float from Batman’s open palms and into its beak, like teardrops travelling in reverse. The colour scheme is more vivid than usual. The pallete should glow. This needs to be a very strange, striking, hallucinatory panel. It doesn’t seek to explain itself, it just is.

PAGE 9

PANEL 1

Back to Naomi and Judah as they zoom along the sidewalk, kicking up dust and sweet wrappers.

NAOMI: BUT SHOULDN’T WE GO BACK FOR HER, THE COAST MUST BE CLEAR BY NOW?

JUDAH: I DON’T THINK YOU UNDERSTAND. SOMEONE’S TRYING TO KILL YOU.

(2): TURN AROUND.

PANEL 2

She turns, hair blowing in the wind. The camera swivels and reveals Puppy charging up the road after them, smashing a newspaper vendor’s stand to pieces, with a giant doubledecker bus sized Black Rabbit trailing behind him. It doesn’t hop so much as float: an urban blimp. It’s slow, but relentless. Because we have a clearer view of this rabbit – because it’s the blown up version – we can see what it’s composed of more clearly. It’s a blurry mass of pixels, like an image on the telly. Insubstantial – not entirely *there*. Traffic swerves wildly out the way. Pedestrians flee in all directions.

PANEL 3

Naomi’s face grey with terror, her hand covering her mouth.

NAOMI: (small) OH MY GOD.

PANEL 4

Naomi wraps her arms round Judah’s neck for protection, clearly in shock. Judah’s expression is hard and businesslike, his features set. He’s going to save this girl.

NAOMI: JUDAH, I…

(2): I..I’VE SEEN THE FILMS, WEREWOLVES FIT IN MY HEAD. MONSTERS I CAN UNDERSTAND.

PANEL 5

Puppy ploughs through a pram, expressionless.

TAILESS SPEECH BUBBLE: BUT WHAT IS THAT…THAT THING?

PAGE 10

PANEL 1

Side view. Puppy closes in on the fleeing pair, Naomi turns again, frantic.

JUDAH: I HAVE NO IDEA, BUT I’M NOT IN ANY HURRY TO FIND OUT.

(2): SO, NAOMI, YOU THINK YOU KNOW MONSTERS, EH?

(3): WELL….

PANEL 3

Close on Judah’s face. He’s smiling.

JUDAH: WHAT ABOUT SUPERMONSTERS?

PANEL 4

Naomi is taken out of herself for a second.

NAOMI: PARDO..

PANEL 5

The side view again. Puppy and the giant rabbit are left in the dust as Judah accelerates to the speed of sound, blasting out the panel in a wash of pink, grey and silver light.

SFX: BOOOOOOOOM

PAGE 11

PANEL 1

Puppy skids to a halt, ripping up the concrete, the rabbit lumbering up behind her.

PANEL 2

She sniffs the air with her long, pointy snout.

CAP: HHH… Y YOUR CHUMS WON’T GET FAR, ROBIN. IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW FAST THEY RUN. PUPPY CAN PICK OUT HER PREY’S SCENT AN OCEAN AWAY.

CAP: THE OTHER ONE, THE RABBIT, IS LIKE A GUIDED MISSILE, ONLY SELF AWARE.

PANEL 3

Closer on the rabbit. It waits, silently. Almost cute. In its eyes we can see some kind of red computer readout. It says ‘ARMED’.

CAP: IT… IT WON’T STOP.

CAP: I MEAN, REALLY, A WEREWOLF! HH.. IT’S SO… OLD FASHIONED.

PANEL 4

We’re back in the, now trashed, nightclub. Matilda peels herself from the floor as Robin does likewise from the sea of smashed bottles behind the bar. Both of them look like they were hit by a tank, but they weren’t, they were hit by each other. Matilda’s helmet-mask is shattered, her pretty face peering out. There’s a hole in the bar itself where Robin was punched through it.

ROBIN: (wearily) I’VE HAD PLENTY OF TIME TO GET TO KNOW EVERY INCH OF JUDAH TONIGHT AND WHILE MUMMY WAS ALL HAIR AND FANGS, DADDY WAS PURE JUSTICE LEAGUE.

(2): AND WHAT EXACTLY ARE YOU MADE OF <GASP!>?

LADY MATILDA: (just as wearily) IMPREGNIUM AND TITANIUM ALLOYS.

(2): DADDY’S MONEY.

PANEL 5

Match on previous shot, but now Matilda’s got Robin by the scruff of the neck, her fist raised, her teeth gritted, moving between panels in superspeed.

(3): (solid) GOOD BREEDING.

PAGE 12

PANEL 1

Robin places her little and index fingers in her mouth and emits the dog whistle she performed in issue 1. The same red, 3d notes, only this time taking up the entire background. Matilda is blasted away from her, her dress-armour peeling and fraying, everything blurred by the rush of wind and noise.

PANEL 2

We’re tucked down an alleyway with Naomi and Judah. Naomi’s flat against a wall, cowering, while Judah, now raised up onto his hind legs, has one long claw-finger to his lips: ‘shhhhh!’

CAP: YOUR SKIN MIGHT BE LACED WITH LIQUID DIAMOND, DUCHESS, BUT I BET YOU CAN’T MAKE THE SAME CLAIM FOR YOUR INTERNAL ORGANS.

PANEL 3

We peer round the corner with him. The street is empty except for a few bums roasting chestnuts. All clear.

PANEL 4

Judah beckons to Naomi who cautiously makes her way towards him.

CAP: WE’RE EVENLY MATCHED IN A TUSSLE, I’LL GIVE YOU THAT.

CAP: THAT’S ASSUMING YOU CAN WALK IN A STRAIGHT LINE, HOWEVER, AND I’VE JUST LAIN WASTE TO YOUR INNER EAR.

PANEL 5

They both stagger round the corner, Judah pretty much carrying Naomi.

CAP: MATILDA?

CAP: WH.. WHY ARE YOU LAUGHING?

PAGE 13

PANEL 1

Lady Matilda in close up, crouched over a pool of her own vomit and laughing to herself.

LADY MATILDA: WHY?

(2): STUPID LITTLE BIRD. I’VE ALREADY TOLD YOU. THEY CAN’T ESCAPE.

PANEL 2

This panel should be a match on panel 3 of page 12, but now the winos are dead and bleeding on the ground, their flaming roasting bin overturned, it’s contents scattered across the street. Puppy is standing just inches from Judah and Naomi, staring up at them as dead-eyed as ever, and even though this is the rear view, we can see from their posture that they’re stunned – rabbits caught in the headlights. The Rabbit itelf is lumbering round the corner at the end of the street, a vast, landlocked dirigible.

PANEL 3

Matilda turns to Robin, triumph in her eyes.

LADY MATILDA: PUPPY’S FOUND THEM!

PANEL 4

Robin stares down at Matilda, concerned and uncertain.

PANEL 5

She makes her decision.

CAP: YOU’RE COMING WITH ME.

PAGE 14

PANEL 1

Chaos. Puppy leaps at Judah’s throat who blasts at her with what looks like heat-vision. Naomi retreats into the alleyway, again, pinned to the wall. As if responding to the horror of the scene, the architecture at the end of the alley contorts and twists into infinity. Everything is distorted and strange.

PANEL 2

The shot flips sideways  – the geometry of the scene’s gone haywire, totally Escher. Judah struggles with Puppy on what used to be the pavement but now appears to be a wall. The creature threatens to stab him in the face with her snout. Naomi clambers along the brickwork, insect-like, in an attempt to escape deeper into the deranged alley, which, in the distance, begins to kaleidoscope.

PANEL 3

We’re now level with Naomi, who, oddly, has appeared to pancake: a two dimensional illustration of a horrified teenager screaming as the kaleidoscoping alleyway detonates, stone by stone, into a black void.

PANEL 4

Three thin panels side by side.

PANEL 1

From behind Naomi as two red lights appear in the darkness.

PANEL 2

We pull back. Puppy prepares to tear out Judah’s throat, a flapping paper parody of a fight. The lights get closer, bathing the weird scene in their glow.

PANEL 3

Naomi shielding her eyes.

PAGE 15

PANEL 1

The Batmobile floats in the air in the centre of the reconstructed alleyway above a stunned, but thankfully 3D Naomi, its red headlight eyes dimmed but slanted evilly, its mouth snarling. From its cockpit Batman surveys the scene around him, unamused, with Dr Fate slumped in the seat next door. Curiously the green aspect of his rainbow body’s glowing less vibrantly than before.

PANEL 2

From inside the cockpit and behind Batman. He stares down at Puppy, who, her meal interrupted, looks up, meeting his gaze. Her teeth and maw are bloody. Judah lies unconscious on the floor beneath her, a chunk taken out of his arm.

PANEL 3

Reverse shot, but still inside the cockpit. Batman grasps Ace’s joystick. He looks sizeably pissed off.

BATMAN: BLOODY CREATURE.

PAGE 16

PANEL 1

Puppy gets ready to pounce.

PANEL 2

Large panel freezeframe on Puppy leaping for Ace’s cockpit but pinned to the air by strafing pink laserfire from his eyes. The light ricochets off in all directions, leaving Puppy unharmed but exactly where Ace wants her. The Batmobile’s muzzle has unfolded into a sea of blue tentacles, beneath which a gaping beak shrieks, ready to devour the stunned dog-girl. Naomi turns away, horrified, clasping her ears, hunched and gawping.

PANEL 3

The tentacles fold back into Ace’s face as he swallows Puppy.

ACE: ULP!

PAGE 17

PANEL 1

Back in the cockpit a weary, wounded Dr. Fate turns to Batman, who grins broadly.

DR. FATE: (wearily) YOU…YOU’LL HAVE TO..TO DIG HER OUT OF HIS INNARDS YOU KNOW… SHE…SHE MIGHT DISAGREE WITH  HIM.

BATMAN: DON’T TRY TO SPEAK. THAT MONSTER NEARLY TORE OUT YOUR ANAHATA CHAKRA AND YOU’RE STILL SUFFERING FROM THE ONTOLOGICAL BENDS AFTER SCALING DOWN INTO 3D.

BATMAN: BUT NOW YOU MENTION IT, ACE’S TRIP TO CTHULHU KENNELS DOES COME WITH SOME INTERESTING SIDE-EFFECTS…

PANEL 2

Judah gets to his feet somewhat uncertainly. In the background Ace’s Cockpit has slid open and Batman’s jumping out, his trenchcape red in the dim red light. Naomi looks like she’s in shock.

JUDAH: (weary) OURRGH…. BATMAN…

(2): WHAT HAPPENED TO ITS FRIEND..? THE RABBIT….

BATMAN: THE ALLEYWAY WAS ROTATED THROUGH THE FOURTH DIMENSION AND SET DOWN IN ANOTHER PART OF THE CITY.

PANEL 3

He places his arms around Naomi, holding her as she sobs into his chest. His well rehearsed superhero expression nearly cracking under the emotional strain. It starts to rain.

BATMAN: YOU’RE SAFE NOW.

BATMAN: THE MONSTERS HAVE GONE.

PANEL 4

Match on shot. Batman looks up, startled, as someone addresses him from off panel.

VOICE: NO!

PANEL 5

A bruised and bloody Robin comes floating round the corner of the alley, steadying herself on the wall, Matilda slumped over her shoulder.

ROBIN: NO… I .. IT’S ALL OVER THE POLICE BAND.

(2): THIS…VICIOUS LITTLE….BITCH… HER… HER MENAGERIE… WERE A DISTRACTION

(3): THREE ASSASSINS…

PAGE 18

PANEL 1

She falls into Judah’s arms. Batman and the rest look stunned.

ROBIN: TOONTOWN… WAYNE CORP SURVEILLANCE…  SEE IT ALL.

(2): (plummeting down) I’M SORRRAAAHhh….

NAOMI: WHAT?

(2): JUDAH…?

PANEL 2

Close up on Batman’s face hardening.

NAOMI: (off panel) WHAT DID SHE MEAN, WAYNE CORP?

(2): JUDAH… MY DAD…..

(3) OH MY GOD, JUDAHMY DAD!

PANEL 3

Closer on his face, his mouth clenched with rage. Everything begins to hum with an inner light. White behind the eyes and the teeth in his mouth.

BATMAN: COMPUTER.

(2): JACK ME IN.

PANEL 4

Match on previous shot. Batman shifts into his batvatar. The white of his eyes, maw and creaselines bleeding out like a beam from a  maglight. His fangs the same dead negative black as his face. This is the virtual werebat he wears when he means business, and we’re going for the transformation now, not solely because we need to illustrate that we’re entering Toytown but also because it allows us to underline Batman’s fear and rage, so this needs to be a bit scary.

PAGE 19

PANEL 1

The camera turns upside down. We can now see that *Batman* is hanging from a long halogen light and looking out across a room, like bat hanging from a tree. Everything apart from Batman shares a similar fuzziness to the rabbit we saw earlier, just to make it clear we’re watching surveillance footage.

OFF PANEL DIALOGUE: ….AND GENTLEMEN THAT NEARLY CONCLUDES MY PRESENTATION.

PANEL 2

The camera pulls out so we can see the boardroom from issue 5, only this time the room’s full of people in sharp suits sat around the glass table facing us, with Lucius Fox at the far end. We still can’t see who’s addressing them. Batman’s perched in the centre of the room. It’s night, and the glass walls allow us a breathtaking view of the city. Let’s see some of the same architecture we saw in the first arc, but perhaps also the turrets of  enchanted castles in the downtown area, holo ads projected into the skyline depicting dream homes in Atlantis, or on Mars, a beautiful Indian woman offering the city a lex-cola and, and this is the only essential, a black skyscraper emitting a purple light. You can play all these details out over the course of this scene if you like. It doesn’t really matter.

OFF PANEL VOICE: BUT BEFORE I OPEN THE FLOOR, PERHAPS YOU REQUIRE A PRACTICAL DEMONSTRATION OF THE KIND OF PROBLEMS THAT MIGHT ARISE AS A RESULT OF OUR NEGLIGENT ATTITUDE TOWARDS WAYNETECH SECURITY.

PANEL 3

Reverse shot. Ms Toyama is rounding up her presentation for the dept heads and the members of the board. A holoscreen at the head of the table depicts one of the red snakes from the first story arc. Toyama gestures towards it in a teacherly fashion. She has a large leather case in front of her, on the table by the display.

MS TOYAMA: TWO WEEKS AGO, GOTHAM CAME UNDER ATTACK FROM ONE OF BATMAN’S MOST DANGEROUS SUPERVILLAINS.

(2): WHAT YOU SEE HERE IS THE AVATAR EMPLOYED BY THE SENSEI’S VIRUS. A VIRUS THAT BROUGHT THE ENTIRE CITY TO A STANDSTILL.

PANEL 4

She looks out at her audience, slowly opening her bag.

MS TOYAMA: THE HORRIBLE TRUTH IS THAT ALL OUR LIVES – THE LIVES OF OUR CHILDREN – WERE JEOPARDISED BY BATMAN’S ONE MAN WAR ON THE GLOBAL UNDERWORLD.

PAGE 20

PANEL 1

Lucius Fox stands up, surprised and angry, pointing at his employee.

LUCIUS FOX: NOW WAIT ONE MINUTE MS TOYAMA…

MS TOYAMA: IF YOU WOULD ALLOW ME TO FINISH, MR FOX.

PANEL 2

She clasps her head.

MS TOYAMA: AS I WAS SAYING, WE WERE ALL PLACED IN TERRIBLE DANGER BY THE SENSEI’S BATTLE WITH BATMAN.

(2): IN PARTICULAR THE EMPLOYEES OF WAYNE INDUSTRIES.

PANEL 3

From behind. She takes her head off. The board members stare, dumbfounded. Batman, knowing there’s nothing he can do, watches silently.

MS TOYAMA: MORE DANGER THAN YOU MIGHT IMAGINE.

PANEL 4

From the front again. Toyama’s face is frozen – a malfunctioning machine. The voice comes from the bag now, picking up from where she left off.

VOICE: (electronic) AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THIS EVENT, CERTAIN INFORMATION HAS COME TO LIGHT.

(2): HIGHLY SENSITIVE INFORMATION.

PANEL 5

Toyama’s headless body takes the AT-ST driver action figure head we saw last issue out of her bag. It looks as blank and dead as her own. The mouth doesn’t move when it talks, as though we’re listening to a recording or a transmission. Everyone’s freaking out.

HEAD: INFORMATION THAT OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF MINUTES WILL RESULT IN THE DEATHS OF EVERYONE IN THIS ROOM.

PAGE 21

PANEL 1

Batman, insubstantial, a ghost, between his employees and the assassin, trying to shield them with his wings as Toyama affixes the head to her body. Lucius Fox stands in front of some of the female staff, his actions echoing Batman’s, and, inevitably, equally ineffectual.

BATMAN: (huge and desperate) ACTION FIGURE! NO!

ACTION FIGURE: I’M AFRAID YOUR SECURITY SYSTEMS APPEAR TO HAVE CAUGHT A COLD, MR. FOX.

PANEL 2

Massive guns – plasticy like a Star Wars figures – unfold out of her forearms as she addresses some business men trying to escape through the boardroom door.

ACTION FIGURE: THERE’S NO POINT TRYING TO ESCAPE, I’M AFRAID. THE DOOR IS LOCKED.

SCREAMING: AIIEEEEEE!

SCREAMING: SAVE US!

PANEL 3

Match on the shot of the action figure blowing away the family from last issue, but this time it’s not a cartoon.

PANEL 4

From behind. Action Figure pummels the room with bullets. Glass, metal, flesh and masonry explode on impact. This needs to be totally horrific. Carnage. Blood everywhere. Batman folds one of his wings like Batfink, instinctively trying to block the bullets from hitting Lucius.

BATMAN: LUCIUS!

PAGE 22

PANEL 1

Lucius takes a round, collapsing.

ACTION FIGURE: THERE NOW.

PANEL 2

The boardroom is destroyed. There’s barely any distinction  between inside and outside anymore. Action Figure, the only one standing apart from Batman (who I don’t want in this shot) stares at the floor, his waxwork face shadowy and dark. Guns smoking.

ACTION FIGURE: I BELIEVE I’VE MADE THE CASE FOR MORE STRINGENT DATA PROTECTION.

PANEL 3

He faces Batman who has his wings curled around him like Dracula’s cape, and speaks to him directly.

ACTION FIGURE: ANY QUESTIONS, BATMAN?

PANEL 4

The image winks down into a green dot like a TV shutting off.

END OF PART 2


10 Responses to “Batman and Robin 666 #6”

  1. amypoodle Says:

    Sorry if anyone read this when we put it up earlier on. It was the unedited version and it was getting in the way of Terminus so we had to take it down. Everything’s better now.

    In fact that version was totally shite. I urge anyone who’s so inclined to read the overhaul.

  2. Zom Says:

    Especially keen on the werewolf dragging the moon from the sky, and the way it resonates across the scene with Batman in the dark dimension. Magic is often so poorly done in comics.

    Also, Action Figure just works, doesn’t he? He just feels like the real deal.

  3. amypoodle Says:

    He pretty much arrived fully formed, yeah. Origin and all. But so did Lady Matilda and Puppy. I knew who they were right away too. It’s shocking how easily Nu Gotham’s been sliding into place.

    There are less *zany* ideas per second in this episode because it’s an out and out action issue, but, yeah, there’s still plenty of things in there that I like – that surprised me when I thought of them.

    I hope that somwhere amidst all the chaos people are starting to get a sense of who these people are. It’s bloody hard juggling this strip’s kineticism with the more subtle elements of storytelling, like convincing character studies. We actually get more of that next time around.

  4. Zom Says:

    I think it’s pretty clearly an action orientated issue

    Just remember what I said about no more last minute saves! Also, you might want to limit the amount of batmobile orientated saves…

  5. amypoodle Says:

    I have zero last minute or batmobile saves in the pipeline at the moment.

    Hey, at least I don’t do endless rounds of talking heads.

  6. Neon Snake Says:

    Is it bad of me that I’m waiting for the trade on these?

  7. amypoodle Says:

    Does that mean you haven’t read them yet? Yes, that’s bad.

    Otherwise it’s quite understandable, given that DC’s output is so bloody boring. I saw a preview for that new Power Girl comic the other day and I couldn’t believe how unimaginative and dull it was. I don’t claim to be the best script writer in the world, but with a bit of polishing I’m convinced I could be streets ahead of that stuff. Actually, what really grates, is that I probably already am.

    And you are.

    And Zom is.

    And….

    Pretty much everyone I know online and off, including those people who’ve never gone near a funnybook in their lives, now I come to think about it.

    I just don’t understand how these people get hired.

    Grumble.

  8. Neon Snake Says:

    I haven’t read them, I’m afraid. I keep meaning to, but y’know, I want to be able to sit down with a bottle of wine and take my time. Weak excuse, I know.

    And yes, the general output of DC is toss. What’s worse, is that there isn’t necessarily anything specifically wrong with it…it’s just mediocre and doesn’t seem to be aspiring to anything more. Like, I dunno, Detective Comics, say, for the last couple of years.

    And it’s being fucking lapped up like it’s the second coming, which means we’re only going to get more of it.

    Grumble.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Maybe you should read it after I’ve finished the second story arc.

    It’s the start of where I really wanted to go with this. My baddies. My goodies.The cast starts to extend….

  10. amypoodle Says:

    Oh, that was me BTW.

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