Mazel tov, Batman: It's a boy

Posted: September 05, 2006

Batman is a father.

Indeed, the Dark Knight gets one of the shocks of his life at the end of "Batman" No. 656, when he comes face to face with his son, whose first words to him are, "Father. I imagined you taller."

While this revelation comes as a surprise to Bruce Wayne and numerous Bat-fans, writer Grant Morrison is simply following up on a nearly two-decades old story that has inexplicably been ignored until now.

Reprinted to coincide with the current story arc, "Batman: Son of the Demon" was released in 1987 and had Batman join forces with arch-enemy Ra's Al Ghul and his daughter Talia to stop a madman.

He ends up bedding Talia and later finds out she is carrying his child.

Ready to hang up his cowl to be a father, he is told that Talia lost the baby - a statement that is shown to be a lie on the last page.

That this has not been touched upon in nearly two decades of bat-tales is amazing. But this is one of Morrison's strengths as a writer. He has knowledge and an appreciation of Batman's history and plans on utilizing those various elements to keep the stories fresh.

Thus, readers can look forward to fun villains like the Spook - who has not been seen since the 1970s - rather than Penguin and Two-Face for the umpteenth time.

We get a sense of that in Morrison's first issue, No. 655, when an ex-cop dressed in a Batman suit shoots the Joker in the face, putting the overused villain out of commission for a while.

"The Joker was the last of them," says Commissioner Gordon to Batman. "Gotham's clean."

This allows Batman the opportunity to travel, face new challenges and let Bruce Wayne out more.

As Morrison has Alfred say in No. 655, "I hope you don't mind my saying so, sir, but . . . that growl in your voice - the one you used to have to practice before you went out as Batman . . . You're doing it ALL the time, sir."

This is Morrison's way of saying the Dark Knight has grown too dark and needs to lighten up.

Toss in Andy Kubert's awesome art and this is the start of what looks to be one heck of a run.

Jones on "Blade" battles

While the fights on "Blade: The Series" have improved dramatically since the pilot, star Kirk "Sticky" Jones says his greatest challenge was landing the role.

"The audition was a war," said Jones. "I basically had to fight every African-American dude in Hollywood for this part. I think almost everybody [tried out for it]."

But don't ask him if Blade could beat another vampire slayer by the name of Buffy.

"Who? Buffy? You have to be kidding me. That's not even any competition! I'd eat Buffy alive," he said. "Give me sombody better. Give me the Hulk at least!" *

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