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Dennis Culver Puts Neglected Super-Heroes To Work as Members of ‘Batman, Inc’

If you haven’t been following Dennis Culver’s Sketchjournal, you’re missing out. Culver’s not only a phenomenal up-and-coming talent (you may have seen his work in JAM, the roller derby anthology from Oni Press), he also updates his blog every day with a “sketch” — which in his case is a finished, fully colored drawing. He’s done everything from old favorites to original characters to costume redesigns, and over the past few weeks, he’s been offering up awesome pieces of a theme: Batman, Inc.

But while he’s drawn the actual characters from the storyline — including Nightrunner, the Knight and Squire, and the members of the International Club of Heroes — he’s also gone beyond that, taking characters that are currently going unused in the DC Universe and recasting them as members of Batman’s global crime-fighting force.

It’s a fantastic concept and some truly great designs, and as someone with a love of both Batman and the depth of characters of the DC Universe that often go unused for years, I’m all about it. Check out the art and some commentary on why they’d be awesome after the jump!Steel, the Batman of Metropolis

John Henry Irons may have been recently killed off, but come on, this is comics. That’s never stopped anyone. Maybe after being killed twice as a member of the Superman family, he’s up for a change. Either way, as much as he was inspired by Superman to become a hero, the fact that he’s a dedicated man with no super-powers and the ability to create fantastic crime-fighting gadgets would make him a great fit for Batman’s organization. IF nothing else, a guy who made jet-boots and managed to technologically trick out a hammer (which is literally a heavy thing used to hit other things) would probably have a lot to talk about with a guy who built a flying car to chase down bank robbers.

Connor Hawke, the Batman of Star City

Let’s see here: Expert martial artist who took up crime-fighting after his father was murdered by criminals? That sounds pretty familiar, and considering that he hasn’t had much to do since the return of Ollie Queen as Green Arrow, it’s not like former Justice Leaguer Connor Hawke has a lot to do these days.

Wally West, the Batman of Keystone City

And speaking of characters that have been cooling their heels ever since their predecessors returned, we have Wally West, the former Flash. Now that he no longer has the pressure of living up to his Uncle Barry, maybe Wally’s looking for a new legacy to try out — and since he’s Dick Grayson’s best friend from back in their days as Teen Titans, he might just end up trying on a darker costume. After all, Batman, Inc. is all about the idea that Batman going global, so why not get the guy who actually can be everywhere at once?

The Acro-Bat, Batman of New York City

For those of you who haven’t spent a lot of time reading through obscure and sadly short-lived titles from the ’90s, the Acro-Bat was a super-hero identity used by the father of DEO operative Cameron Chase, of the series Chase. As much as I don’t personally care for the idea that there was a bat-themed super-hero in Gotham City before Batman, and as much as I think “Acro-Bat” is a name more suited for the Sega Genesis than for crime-fighting, I can’t deny that Culver’s redesign is all kinds of awesome.

Zauriel, the Batman of Los Angeles

Sure, the feathery wings of an angel might not strike the same sort of terror into the superstitious, cowardly hearts of criminals, but there are advantages to Zauriel acting as Batman’s West Coast associate. For any crooks who don’t immediately get back on the straight and narrow when confronted with incontrovertible proof of Heaven and Hell, there’s always that flaming sword to help them make the right decision.

Aztek, the Ultimate Batman of Vanity

Believe it or not, there was once a time when a comic co-created by Grant Morrison and Mark Millar was canceled without even a full year due to low sales. Despite that, Aztek, the Ultimate Man remains one of their best creations, and Batman, Inc would be the perfect place to bring him back. After all, while the Q Foundation that trained Aztek from birth to fight evil was eventually revealed to be bankrolled by Lex Luthor, there’s no reason that, as Culver suggests, it couldn’t come back as a company wholly owned by Bruce Wayne.

Captain Batarang, Batman of Sydney, Australia

There’s no joke I could write for this that would be better than the actual art. There is nothing about this that does not rule.

Bat Barda, Batman of Wherever She Wants

The DC Universe is currently suffering from a complete lack of the New Gods, and while there’s a good case to be made that Batman is already the post-Fourth World version of Orion (and if you don’t understand that sentence, there’s no way I can explain it to you in a timely fashion), it’d be nice to get the mega-rod-swingin’ Big Barda back in action to fight “techno-crime” on Apokolips and New Genesis.

For more of Culver’s fantastic work, check out his website, with new art every day!

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