Twenty years ago DC Comics brought out Digital Justice, in which a computerised Batman takes on a Joker virus. Or so Wikipedia tells me – I never read the book. The Tron-like set-up, and the promise of computerised art, just put me off. I’m no fan of video games so stories centred on such realms aren’t likely to grab me.
If the billionaires’ avatars are destroyed in the ‘game’ they pay the ultimate price. Which to this acquisitive lot isn’t death, it’s the loss of their fortunes. As luck and forward planning would have it, the game’s designer, Oracle, is on hand to run the rescue. She cybernetically suits up as an IT Batgirl – B-I.T.girl? – and saves the day, aided by a similarly souped-up Batman simulation.
With all the talk of ‘haptic interfaces’ and ‘mutation engines’ I haven’t the dongliest what’s going on but writer Grant Morrison makes it sound convincing. And thanks to artists Scott Clark and Dave Beatty, the scenes of Barbara and Bruce as computer chip chiropteras look splendid, while the simulated selves of the nervous Nabobs are typically dead-looking avatars.
But I just don’t care. Computerised rich people threatened by computerised criminals in a computerised world … it’s that extra remove from reality that stops me feeling anything. At one point a woman named Belle apparently turns into a dog (Sebastian?), but the point escapes me. Maybe if I bought into the Tron tropes, but I like Batman flesh and blood. My Batman is the most human of heroes, one rooted in the real world; has he learned nothing from the OMAC debacle?
I could try and make links between the mindscape here and Morrison’s encounter with aliens, as detailed in his Supergods memoir, but I’m eager to move onto a comic that’s perhaps a little less clever, but more human.