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Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating Batman

At4w stan lees batman by mtc-studios-1024x453.jpg

Released
July 13, 2015
Running time
19:56
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Tagline
He is vengeance! He is the night! He is... gonna powerslam you through a table!
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Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. Time for another look at Stan Lee creating the DC Universe in his own image.

(A montage is shown of shots of the comic of Stan Lee's version of Superman)

Linkara (v/o): Last time, we saw his version of Superman, still a strange visitor from another planet, but instead of being the last son of Krypton, he was Slap Squat-Thrust, exercise fanatic to compete with his genetically-engineered peers who were all space cops. His girlfriend was killed to add unnecessary tragedy to his backstory, and he and a villain named Gorok were accidentally sent to Earth. There, Superman decided to fight crime in the hopes of making the government devote money to their space program. I'd say it made sense in context, but it was pretty loose thinking there, too.

Linkara: So let's dig into (holds up today's comic) "Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating Batman" and see how Stan tackles a darker character who already had a tragic backstory.

(AT4W title theme plays and the title card has "Untitled Self Portrait" by Will Arnett playing in the background. Cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)

Linkara (v/o): This one was actually the first of the series to be published. I just chose to go with Superman first, since, well, Superman can be thought of as the epitome of superheroics in all of its various tropes, so it's only natural to see Stan take on the archetype itself. Here, though, we have Batman, which broke away from many of those tropes while building on others. And I've got to say, the cover is a lot better than last time. It evokes the familiar tones of Batman while still giving it a different look. In this case, Batman has the overall shape of the Dark Knight, except, as we can see in the background, the face is considerably more bat-like than just the basic silhouette that Bruce usually goes for. The only thing I'll criticize is that building... Well, I think it's a building... that he's jumping off of. The hell is that? I'd say it's just something under construction, but I'm pretty sure you don't start putting drywall up against steel poles. Is that just a weird jungle gym?

Linkara: I mean, we all joke about Batman being a gigantic man-child, but I didn't think it was quite that literal.

Linkara (v/o): We open at a cemetery in the rain.

Narrator: The night is dark and starless...

Linkara: (as narrator) The TARDIS exploded and all stars went supernova at once.

Narrator: ...the pounding rain is cold.

Linkara: Just imagine Stan Lee creating... haikus.

Narrator: But the heart of Wayne Williams is colder still... for it beats with a silent, seething rage.

Linkara: (thinking, as Wayne) Why did I bring only one umbrella on this trip?

Linkara (v/o): If Wayne Williams is angry now, wait until that weeping angel finishes leaping out. Anyway, Wayne's father was a cop who was killed in the line of duty, and naturally, he and his mother are upset about that. That being said, all I can notice is that the word balloons are in rounded rectangles, which gives the effect that these people are actually robots. As they walk home, they talk about how the neighborhood has gone to hell with crime. They pass by a group of thugs beating up a guy, and the mother wants to intervene, but Wayne pulls her away so she doesn't end up being the target of their ire. The gangster is some guy named Handz, spelled with a Z.

BECAUSE POOR LITERACY... HAS ALSO BEEN RECREATED BY STAN LEE.

Linkara (v/o): The next day, Wayne goes to work at a convenience store, spotting Handz walking down the street with his girlfriend [Nita], and I'm pretty sure Handz is supposed to be a 1920s gangster. Or a very convincing Linkara cosplayer. In any event, a car drives by in an attempt to kill Handz, who ducks behind another car. Spotting that the girlfriend is frozen in fear and right in the line of fire, Wayne jumps out and gets her down. The shooters drive off, but Handz is a colossal dickhead.

Handz: Hey! Who said you could mess with my lady? No two-bit punk acts like a hero when I'm around!

Linkara: (as Handz) How dare you save my girlfriend's life! I wanted her bloody corpse to fall on top of me like a blanket!

Wayne: I--I just tried t' help...

Handz: Yeah? Try that again an' ya'll get what yer father got!

Linkara: Okay, making a note here: Anytime people fire bullets at you, let you and your date be riddled with them. Must have great recruitment posters for your gang: "Just let us die."

Linkara (v/o): Insulted by the remark about his father, Wayne tries to fight, but Handz shows off why he got his nickname, taking Wayne's fists and crushing his fingers. This goes on for another page or two, although what gets me is that Handz's jacket says "Hands and Feet" on it.

Linkara: Does that mean he'll do the same with his feet to your toes if you try to kick him?

Linkara (v/o): After his girlfriend begs him to let Wayne go, he finally relents, but the next day, a bunch of hooded goons come in with guns. They say out loud that Wayne gave them a tip to rob the place, which should be a clear indicator that they're lying, since why the hell would they be stupid enough to disguise their identities with masks, but then loudly announce that this guy was in on it? They also shoot the store owner in the arm for good measure, which apparently knocks him unconscious. I mean, I don't know, maybe it's trauma or something, but considering a second ago he was really pissed about Wayne, I find that hard to believe. To continue the setup, they knock Wayne unconscious and plant a gun in his hands. We're then shown a quick trial where the store owner rats on Wayne, and, well, the justice system being what it is, he's found guilty of armed robbery.

Narrator: As the saying goes, justice is blind. Sometimes--too blind.

Linkara: (as narrator) And that's how I would create Daredevil! (stops in abrupt confusion and looks away) Oh, wait...

Linkara (v/o): Weeks later, Wayne finds himself working at a sewing machine in the prison laundry, much to the mockery of his fellow inmates.

Inmate 1: Whatcha doin', Williams? Sewin' a dress fer yer prom?

Inmate 2: No way you wuz busted fer armed robbery... I'm bettin' they gotcha fer wearin' the wrong makeup.

Linkara: (as Wayne) Screw you, guys! I'm gonna be the best Deadpool cosplayer at Prison Con!

Linkara (v/o): Prison, of course, starts getting to him, and he tries to figure out a way to pass the time and keep his mind off Handz. As such, he decides to start counting bats that fly nearby.

Linkara: Ooh! Kryptonian Sesame Street can help with that!

Linkara (v/o): Thinking that they're hungry, he takes some crumbs from his dinner and sets them on the windowsill. A bat is attracted to them and flies in, Wayne befriending the thing over the weeks and months.

Wayne: (thinking) You're the best friend I've got.

Linkara: (as Wayne) I'm gonna sell you something cute to wear!

Wayne: (thinking) You're the only friend I've got... That's for sure.

Linkara: This is a weird remake of The Shawshank Redemption.

Linkara (v/o): After a quick scene with Handz, where we learn his girlfriend is sympathetic to Wayne, we see Wayne thinking about wanting to exercise in the yard. He helps save an older prisoner from Korgo, the bald guy earlier who had mocked him for his sewing machine skills. It results in him being beaten up.

Inmate: We better split, Korgo... before the guards come.

Linkara: (as Korgo) No sweat, I plan to swipe one of their flight harnesses later!

Linkara (v/o): The old guy, named Frederick Grant, thanks him for his help, encouraging him not only to build up his body, but also to develop his mind. He was a scientist who was put in prison for trying to destroy machinery in the factory he worked at that was polluting a river.

Linkara: Batman's wise mentor, the Lorax.

Linkara (v/o): Fred also encourages him to learn more about his bat pet. Later still, Wayne goes to the yard again to exercise, where some of the tougher prisoners help him out, since they like how he stood up to Korgo. Fortunately, unlike on Krypton, humanity has perfected the montage, wherein we see Wayne developing his muscles over the course of several months.

Narrator: Between weights and sewing machines, Wayne bonds with his adjacent cell mate...

Linkara: (as Wayne) Sorry, Fred, I won't have these pants hemmed until next week.

Linkara (v/o): Fred is eventually released from prison, and Wayne learns that his mother passed away.

Wayne: (thinking) She's... dead. M-My mom's dead...

Linkara: (as Wayne) I've been waiting years to say this: (melodramatically) "MY PARENTS ARE DEEEEAAAAAAD!!"

Wayne: (thinking) 'Cuz... there was no one there to take care of her.

Linkara: Yeah, she sure died quickly without you – several months after you were incarcerated.

Linkara (v/o): Realizing that she died before he could prove his innocence, he renews his vow to get vengeance on Handz. Meanwhile, we cut over to the Church of Eternal Empowerment and its minister, Harold P. Satan.

Narrator: From the outside it seems no different than the countless other churches that dot Los Angeles... but... looks can be deceiving!

Linkara: (as narrator) It has a severe mold problem in the walls!

Linkara (v/o): Also, most churches don't usually have stained glass windows depicting fiery hellbirds. Our robed villain proclaims they need to recruit more disciples, in particular those filled with hate and vengeance. We then cut back to the prison, where a hypnotized guard uses a computer to unlock all the cells.

Narrator: Suddenly... simultaneously... dozens of tumblers are disengaged...

Linkara: But how will we reblog things now?!

Linkara (v/o): Naturally, this leads to a prison riot where they take the warden hostage. However, when Korgo says he's going to kill the warden, Wayne intervenes and saves his life. Fortunately, with his added bulk, he's able to hold off the prisoners until the cops return to regain order. Apparently, that's all you need to get out of prison, since a week later, Handz is reading in the paper how Wayne has been given a full pardon. However, since he's also "the only person who can finger them"... How exactly? He had no evidence back when the assault happened and even less evidence now. ...he swears to have Wayne killed. Wayne checks into a hotel and starts planning his next move. He alters his appearance, growing out a mustache and shaving his head...

Linkara: Yeah, it's something weird that was pointed out to me recently after the Punisher comics I reviewed. For some reason, black guys in comics are only allowed (holds up three fingers) three hairstyles: short, shaved, or afro. It's really kind of weird. But it does make me wish Batman had an afro.

Linkara (v/o): While thinking about ways to make money, he turns on the TV and watches a wrestling match featuring... Cthulhu?! I want to see what friggin' wrestling promotion features a pink Cthulhu-headed bastard fighting Zangief here!

(Cut to a wrestler played by Lewis promoted on SLW – Stan Lee Wrestling. He wears a leather vest with a skull and crossbones on it, a bandanna on his head and sunglasses. He growls as he faces the camera)

Wrestler: Bone Button is here to slam all the haters out there! (points to camera) I'm talkin' 'bout you, Cthulhu! I'm gonna put ya into the ultimate presser! In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreamin', 'cause I... LAID HIM... OUT! (growls)

(Cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): Dammit, Big Show, stop killing Cthulhu!

(Cut to a shot of Big Show)

Big Show: I'm havin' fun!

(Back to the comic again)

Linkara (v/o): Anyway, Wayne is unimpressed by the wrestlers and their outfits, but soon discovers that according to the announcer, they make a lot of money. He goes out to buy some fabric. I do love the idea of Batman in any incarnation going to a JoAnn Fabrics or something for material.

Linkara: (as Batman, wearing his mask and stroking chin) I'm looking for something in velvet.

Narrator: An hour later, or maybe 55 minutes... Why split hairs?

Linkara: Well, you were the one who brought it up, Stan.

Linkara (v/o): He spends a few days sewing nonstop and decides to head to the wrestling promotion.

Wayne: (thinking) I hope nobody else thought of the same gimmick before me.

Linkara: (as Wayne) I shall be (holds up fist) THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR!

Linkara (v/o): And thus, he walks into the gym, where they're practicing in full Batman regalia.

Gym owner: Batman, Shmatman. It takes more than a costume, mister...

Linkara: I don't know. From what little I do know about professional wrestling, that's apparently all that's required for some wrestlers.

Linkara (v/o): They put him in the ring with Steamroller to give him a test drive, but thanks to Batman's speed and strength, he's able to knock out Steamroller in less than ten seconds. As such, he's immediately signed on, and they start him wrestling.

Batman: (thinking) I'm stronger and faster than most of 'em... and there's somethin' else goin' for me... Everyone's scared of bats! So my costume throws 'em off.

(Cut again to Bone Button)

Bone Button: Ooh, Batman! Bone Button isn't scared of you! I'm gonna put you in the safety pin, Batman! You think I'm scared of you? I know what you're scared of, Batman, which is why I'M GONNA ROCK 'N' ROLL ALL NIGHT! (growls as he brings hands together in a wrestling move)

Linkara (v/o): Ooh, Aang's foray into wrestling was not the Avatars' best career move. In a short amount of time, Batman becomes the hottest wrestler around, even appearing in talk shows in full costume.

Talk show host: (to Batman) Why do you refuse to let the public know what you really look like?

Batman: How d'you know this isn't my real face?

Linkara: Wait, so Weekly World News was right about the Batboy story?

Linkara (v/o): He apparently becomes such a celebrity that he gets cereal and other food endorsements and amasses a lot of wealth.

Linkara: So all Superman had to do last time was become a professional wrestler? Actually, that would be cooler: (runs hand across face as though pondering a headline) "Professional Wrestler Fights For World Peace, Develops the Space Program".

(Cut to the Ultimate Warrior)

Ultimate Warrior: Load the spaceship with the rocket fuel! LOAD IT WITH THE WORST!

(Cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): And thus, after acquiring his own mansion, he decides it's finally time to go after Handz. However, before he does so, he also realizes that he's not sure what he'll do after he gets his revenge. So he seeks out Fred again... aaand busts through his skylight.

Batman: What're you doing in a dump like this?

Fred: Ex-cons don't usually get high-paying jobs.

Linkara: (as Fred) Which is why you aren't paying for the window you just broke.

Linkara (v/o): After Wayne reveals himself, he tells his life story to Fred, asking him to be his confidante and scientific advisor, to supplement with science all the abilities of a bat: night vision, enhanced hearing, flight, and some Kevlar, just because, well, if nature had thought of bulletproof bats, I'm sure it would have been included in the blueprints. Back over to Handz, over the course of the story, we've seen that he's really a dick to his girlfriend, demanding that she marry him. Now he gives a one-hour ultimatum to either accept his proposal... or be killed.

Nita: You claim to love me... yet... you threaten me?

Handz: Yeah. You got that right.

Linkara: You know, dude, she's already living with you. Is the tax benefit from marriage really all that great?

Linkara (v/o): Batman chooses this night to fly into Handz's tower and attacks his guards.

Batman: You guys look tired... I figure you can use some shut-eye.

Linkara: (as Batman, wearing his mask) But first, (makes a hugging motion) GROUP HUG!

Linkara (v/o): Handz's goons, knowing about Batman's reputation in the ring, refuse to fight him, and forgetting about their guns, so Handz decides to take him on personally. However, Batman puts up a much better fight than last time. The goons, remember their guns finally, start shooting, but due to the Kevlar, it does nothing... despite them standing, like, five feet away. However, Handz is pissed now and tells them to stop shooting, since he wants to fight Batman on his own. Their fight goes outside, and Handz charges Batman, who kicks him over the edge of the building.

Dr. Cox (audio from Scrubs): And of course, my own personal favorite of all time, man falling off of a cliff: NNNNOOOOOOOOOOoooooooo...! (makes a splat sound)

Linkara (v/o): Handz's girlfriend, Nita, comes out and says that while she wanted to be freed from the gangster, she didn't want it to be through murder.

Nita: Whoever you really are, your mask doesn't give you the right to kill.

Batman: Nita... You don't understand...

Linkara: (as Batman) I'm a wrestler, and my parents are dead. That makes it okay!

Linkara (v/o): Batman thinks that she's got no job or a place to live, so she'll have Fred hire her as a secretary. And so, our comic ends with us cutting back to Damien Dahrk's Wacky Fun Time Review.

Dominic Darrk: Be warned... Another planet has unwittingly entered the game. He is known as--The Batman. But his power is nothing compared to mine.

Linkara: (holds up index finger) Ah! So Reverend Darrk is actually a pro wrestler.

Darrk: As easily as I have created his image.... with the merest shrug, I make it vanish!

Linkara: You have a remote control for your TV. (waves hand around) Whoop-dee-doo.

Linkara (v/o): And thus, he swears to destroy Batman, closing out the story.

Linkara: (holding up comic) This comic... is actually pretty damn good.

Linkara (v/o): Unlike "Superman", which felt like it didn't really have a focus or moral center, this version of Batman feels like a complete origin story and is focused from beginning to end. Characterization is strong here, and Wayne Williams is likeable and sympathetic, undergoing an arc and transformation from poor, weak teenager to rich, strong adult. It takes the same basic idea of a guy without powers striking fear into criminals with the appearance of a bat and rolls with it in a different way than Bruce Wayne's inherited wealth. Sure, he didn't train to be the best at everything, but he's still a competent fighter in his own right. My only complaints are pretty minor: first, that it stretches credibility a bit that he rises to so much fame and money through local wrestling gigs. The other thing is that I don't like is that he killed Handz. I know he couldn't really prove wrongdoing, but it seems like it'd be good for him to be the Lex Luthor to Wayne's Superman, always managing to stay out of the law's hands, but that just might be my own desire for non-killing superheroes.

Linkara: But yeah, check this one out! Next time, we'll see how Stan does with the Spirit of Truth. Given our last two, I'm guessing more rich and famous stuff.

(End credits roll)

Batfro.

Cthulu [sic] used to be one of the Tag-Team champions of the SLW, partnered with Yog-Sothoth until he retired.

(Stinger: Bone Button is back again)

Bone Button: My head hurts from doing this voice!

(He growls, then turns around to show off the skull-and-crossbones on his black vest while punching his hand into his fist before turning back to face the camera)

Bone Button: Longbox of the Damned: A Midsummer's Nightmare is still going on! You better be watching it, or I'll put you (folds hands together tightly) in the Button Press!

(end)

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