Bizarro Back Issues: The Dubious Election Of President Batman (2009)
At long last, this year's Presidential Election is finally over, and if nothing else, that should make conversations with relatives over Thanksgiving dinner later this month a little more bearable. But before we finally bid farewell to talk of politics and campaigns for another four years, there's one last thought that I'd like to share.
Whether your candidate won or lost on Tuesday, I think we can all come together as a nation and agree on one thing: We'd be a lot better off under President Batman.Unfortunately, the Dark Knight opted not to run this year, presumably so that he could devote all of his time to waging a one-man war on crime, and also because it's awfully hard to hide the expenses that go along with a gigantic anti-crime basement and a car with a jet engine welded to the trunk when you're under pressure from the media to release your tax returns. We do, however, have a look at what his administration would be like, thanks to "President Batman" by Matt Wayne and Andy Suriano, from 2009's Batman: The Brave and the Bold #3.
With a cover date of May, this issue would've actually hit just after President Obama's first inauguration, and while Marvel dominated that event pretty effectively by having the President show up in Amazing Spider-Man #583 for a fist-bump, a story that promised Batman himself being sworn in is way more exciting for me. But here's the thing: That doesn't actually happen! It's one of those classically frustrating covers that depicts events that are only vaguely related to the story within.
So as much as I like this story, it's hard to revisit it without feeling that twinge of disappointment at not seeing Batman elected to the highest office in the land by an electorate that was just fed the heck up with riddle crimes and cat-themed museum robberies. That said, it does in fact feature Batman as the Caped Crusader In Chief, so at the very least, it's got that going for it.
So just how does he get there, if not through the will of the people and a strong anti-clown platform? Well, I guess it starts like a lot of political campaigns. With zombies.
One of the neat things about the BATB comic was that it followed the same structure as the show it was tied to, delivering a shorter mini-team-up in the first few pages before getting to the big story. In this case, it's Batman and Wonder Woman stopping Dr. Psycho from infecting the residents of Arkham Asylum with a virus that turns them into zombies. As it turns out, said virus doesn't actually exist, and the arch-criminals have just been hypnotized. This is a pretty convoluted plan for world domination, but I guess there's a reason they call that dude "Dr. Psycho" and not "Dr. Well Thought-Out And Rational."
Once that's done with, we get to the real action. Batman (with Green Arrow tagging along for completely superfluous backup) has been summoned to White House to investigate a ransom note that's been delivered, asking for a trillion dollars in exchange for the return of the President. The catch? The President is still there, safe and sound.
There can be only one explanation:
Mere words cannot express how much I love that panel. If that doesn't end up on a stamp in our lifetime, the Postal Service really needs to re-evaluate its priorities.
Anyway, with this inadvertent warning of impending doom, Batman and Green Arrow are forewarned and forearmed against any trouble, and rather than putting the President himself in danger, they decide that it's time for the old decoy routine:
And thus, President Batman. Or close enough to count.
At this point, we start to get a look at what it's like to be president in the DC Universe, or at least the kid-friendly simulacrum of The Brave and the Bold. As you might expect, it's a little different from the way it is here in the real world. Issues like health care have presumably already been dealt with, and instead his time is taken up with meeting foreign heads of state.
Like, extremely foreign.
Like, foreign to the planet Earth.
I want to go to there.
After cutting a promo and declaring that "Okarra is war on America!", the premier challenges President Batman to a wrestling match for the fate of the planet, and you can imagine how that goes. Batman drops the Premier in three panels, gets the one-two-three, and saves the planet. As usual.
From there, it's off to visit Congress...
... and that's actually exactly the way that it is in the real world.
After enough congressmen have been punched out that a bill can finally become a law -- the true meaning of democracy -- the unknown kidnapper finally makes his move, teleporting Batman and Green Arrow to his secret lair. Finally, we know who is behind this dastardly plot:
The Ultra-Humanite! And not only that, but this whole ransom thing is actually just a blind for his true plot, which is... well, doing what the Ultra-Humanite always does: Switching his brain into a new body. And obviously, having the Ultra-Humanite as president would be a lot worse than having Batman. I mean, there's no way that guy can make the Okarrian premier tap out to the Fujiwara armbar.
What he doesn't know is that he's actually just kidnapped Batman, and even after a bit of momentary peril where Batman's about to have his own brain replaced, he's soundly defeated, and the good guys manage to get the President back in time for a State Luau.
So there you go: Batman's tenure as the Secret President of the United States only lasts about four hours, but it's worth noting that in that time, he manages to do great things for our country. He defends the planet from threats both external and internal, and he even manages to fix Congress...
...Through the time-honored tradition of punching. That's something we can all believe in.