While I’ll always be a Marvel guy first and foremost, one of the things I’ve always felt Batman does better than any other comic book character is explore the depths and nature of evil. Every superhero has villains…but Batman dances with the darkness in a way that’s expressly his own. So, in honor of Suicide Squad‘s release this weekend, I wanted to do a few posts about the nature of evil and how it’s presented in Batman’s villains. However, I don’t want to start with something I’ve written. Rather, what will come in my next few posts will build heavily on articles I’ve already read. These pieces will help frame the arguments I’ll be making in the posts to come but, more importantly, they’re brilliantly written analyses in their own right, speaking elegantly about evil. Before I can talk about and understand the Batman and the evil he faces, I first want to look at what others have said about evil, informing my own opinion.
So, I’ll encourage you to click on these links and read the articles. I know it seems like I’m giving you homework instead of a post but they are brilliant! I promise! I’ll be standing on the shoulders of their insights in my next few posts and I didn’t want to be guilty of an intellectual plagiarism here. Also, they make their arguments with far more depth and elegance than I would in a quick summary.
First, Kalie uses the horror genre to discusses the vital importance of making a distinction (and how rarely we do so) between the mentally ill and the truly evil using M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit and Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. These are two of my favorite posts of hers and this is a particularly important point with Batman, who’s foes are always housed in Arkham Asylum.
Second, Jeff has a wonderful post about Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side and the rise of Darth Vader. He looks, with uncomfortable clarity, at the scene from Revenge Of The Sith in the Jedi Temple where Vader encounters the Jedi younglings and asks what we should expect of evil. I love these posts and I’d love for you to take a moment to read them and wrestle with the insights they offer in regard to the nature of evil.
(Also, there’s more (original content) Batman stuff coming tomorrow! Woo hoo!)