In the grand tradition of our Rogue’s Reviews and inspired by Zak Sabbath’s Alphabetical Monster thing, his attempt at reviewing each and every entry in the D&D Monster Manual, I’ve decided to take on all the Bat-villains, starting with…



The knowledge that Alan Grant intended his creation to be a cipher for con-man Frank R Wallace’s crazy, neo-objectivist gibberish doesn’t help matters*, especially if like me you consider objectivism and its close cousin libertarianism to be more than a little obnoxious and juvenile, if not downright psychotic. That said Anarky fits a workable stereotype: a nerdy, precocious teen, who struggles with empathy and thinks that he has the answers to all the world’s problems. From Columbine to Buffy’s big bads, we’re used to seeing it deployed in the antagonist role, and the nerdy, know it all arsehole angle could work to lend Anarky more personality than he’s been blessed with in the past. It helps that we’ve been given the opportunity to see Batman play off a similarly conceived character in the form of Damian over the last few years in that we know it can work, but, while it raises questions of redundancy, I like the idea of a damianesque character off the leash; fans would loathe him, but maybe in a good way – he’s supposed to be a villain after all.

Another way to play up the teenager angle would be to work with another of Grant’s Anarky influences, 2000AD’s rebellious sky-surfer Marlon “Chopper” Shakespeare, bane of that other paragon of order, Judge Dredd. Chopper represented something not too far removed from libertarian fantasy, anti-authoritarianism as romantic, rebellion as duty, lawlessness as man’s natural state, the blue sky as our destination. Personally I can’t see much of Chopper in Grant’s portrayal of Anarky, but the link does make a degree of sense and could be built on. Chopper is every fist pumping cry of FREEDOM everywhere, and as such makes for a satisfyingly sympathetic anti-hero for authority figures like Dredd to butt heads with, Batman on the other hand wouldn’t be quite so fun to kick against given that he isn’t a. THE LAW and b. the face of a totalitarian state c. doesn’t shoot perps in the kneecaps.

Tim O’Neil made a decent fist of rehabilitating Anarky as philosophical bat-foil a few months back, and I’d agree that it could work. Batman, with all his wealth and privilege and status can all too easily be read as a representative of the status quo, a character who pro-actively protects existing power structures and inequities, yadda, yadda, etc… and a natural foe of a politically radical antagonist. The tension between the two characters could throw up some interesting stuff if done right. The difficulty with this way of doing things, and this probably has something do with why so few creators really play up the Batman-as-order angle so popular with certain sections of the fan community and the brothers Nolan**, is that by positioning the character so absolutely you risk limiting him in uncomfortable ways, and placing a burden on him that he would struggle to bear. V for Vendetta (another one of Alan Grant’s Anarky influences, as if you couldn’t guess) vs Batman might sound good on paper but efforts to tease social, political, ideological and ethical readings out of Batman could well hurt the character’s core appeal, even if the writer, and it would have to be a very good writer, did manage to make the job entertaining and interesting.

Let’s have a go… Ummm…maybe… Bruce Wayne on holiday at an exclusive destination which turns out to be one of Anarky’s secret utopian communities where no-one pays taxes because tax is theftnnnn… nope, I just can’t be arsed… like the idea of Batman on the beach, though. Heatstroke, mirages, sweaty kevlar, scantily clad henchpeople, shark repellent, submarines and island fortresses, hedonism and the suspension of life’s day to day rules, dying under the glare of the midday sun, there’s something in all that I reckon, makes me think of Scaramanga and his golden gun… got fuck all to do with Anarky though.

Mindless FAIL. Had to happen some time.

*Grant put together a suggested reading list to accompany his Anarky miniseries which included Who Lies Sleeping? (read the reader reviews for yucks), bizzaro nonsense in which it is claimed that the dinosaurs wiped themselves out with their own advanced technology

**It should probably be noted that their efforts at introducing grand philosophical themes amounted us being told that, yes, people really are terribly nice. Even baddies in jumpsuits. But not baddies who wear make-up. Never them

According to Wikipedia that’s all the As done. Piece of piss.

EDIT: I forgot Amygdala. He’ll crop up. Stay tuned

I’ll be back with the Bs some time over the next week. Ah, here they are…

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