By now the coffee bean of news has percolated through the interweb so y’all will be aware that Superman 2 will feature Batman, probably in some sort of face-off-then-team-up-against-a-common-foe storyline.
Some of you may have met said news with weary resignation. Of course ‘they’ did, even though it’s probably advisable to keep ideas under wraps at least until one has explored the feasibility of actually making them work. And it’ll tie into the Justice League movie too no doubt.
Because Kal-El does journalism (it’s a make-believe world in which journalists can still make a living) and Batman is the world’s greatest detective. So they can pool their resources and find the one who runs really, really fast, the camp one with the green jewellery and the one without a Y chromosome.
Conventional wisdom has it that in a fight betwixt the grumpy one and the underpanted one, the winner would be the one who gets the drop – if Batman can prepare and choose the venue he might well best Superman because he’s a) more intelligent and b) he fights dirty.
But otherwise…it’s over Bats.
Of course in movie terms they’ll have to end on some kind of draw in case they upset fans of either franchise. Like in the Avengers.
Rather than get into the ‘merits’ of the mooted sequel, here’s my pitch for it:
“You know, I just hold her and think ‘I made this; I! Made! This!”
“Yeah, babe, you, a fifth of rum and that guy you met when your husband was out of town on business. Am I right? World’s greatest detective, of course I am.”
Superman sighed – Batman always got this way after a successful patrol. “I’m sorry, ma’am, my friend didn’t mean to cause any offence. May I say she’s a beautiful little baby girl.”
She sniffed and turned back to her friend. The superheroes joined the line for coffee. Batman seemed to fumble with his utility belt, ‘every time,’ thought Superman. He said “Couldn’t we just wait in line this one time like responsible citizens?”
Batman pulled a face beneath his mask. He nodded to Superman but threw down a small smoke bomb anyway.
By the time the smoke had cleared Batman was smirking at the front of the line. He ordered a black coffee for himself and asked Superman what he wanted. The question was redundant, for Kal-El was a creature of routine and habit. “May I have a regular cup of joe, which is good enough for the good citizens, and therefore myself, and in keeping with my socially conscious roots in the 1930s. With a little milk but no sugar, please? Sugar gives you cavities.” Superman liked his little homilies; he felt they put others at ease.
Batman reached into his utility belt to pay – Superman had nowhere to keep change. On the rare occasions he did have money it was always refused, even though he insisted.
“Sorry, I haven’t quite got enough. But y’know, we keep your streets clear of garbage, so…” he trailed off. Superman felt a stab of annoyance. This happened every single night – Bruce was easily the most tight-fisted person he’d ever met.
They took their customary booth by the window – after Batman had used a taser on the couple already sitting there. Superman had tried to intervene but he knew that if he did Batman would sulk. And he was unbearable when he was moody.
“Tell me, Batman, why do you have to be such an A-hole all the time?”
“It’s more fun to be an asshole. You should try it some time.”
Batman took a long swig of his coffee. He pulled a face – being billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne on his time off meant that he had developed a taste for finer coffee grounds.
“So that Lois is a tight piece, you hit that yet? Man I’d love me a slice of that action.”
“That’s a very derogatory way to speak about women, Batman. And no. Lois understands that she’s too fragile for me to risk it. Besides, we’re unmarried.”
“You’re such a fu…” Batman was interrupted by a coughing fit (‘he should speak less when in costume,’ thought Superman). Wordlessly Superman passed him a throat lozenge from the packet he kept in his boot.
“Thanks.” The heroes sipped their coffee in silence. Superman was impressed – this was a great cup of coffee, and they were always so consistent with it too. He smiled with an easy homespun charm at the waitress toting a refill jug. She immediately came over and filled his cup. “Why thank you ma’am.” He said. She turned to Batman who grimaced at her.
Some unruly teenagers wandered in. ‘It’s far too late for them to be in here,’ thought Superman ‘they should be at home in bed – young people need their rest.’ He looked back at Batman but Batman wasn’t there.
Superman looked back up to see Batman with the crowd of teenagers. He flirted with the girls and made like he was playing nice. Suddenly without warning the smile fell away – the boys were in for a beating, which took a few seconds.
Batman sauntered back. “Man I hate kids. Goddam Robin always whining in my ear.” He affected a whining, effeminate tone, “Batman why can’t I have a car, why can’t I go out alone, why won’t you let me bring any girls home? Little bastard never shuts up. Of course there’s that other one, whatshername. I tell you Superman – when she’s 18…”
Superman shook his head sadly – Batman had gone easy on the kids tonight. For once. Even so, they’d done nothing wrong – they were just in high spirits. But they’d had that argument too many times before: it was one of the reasons that Batman always kept kryptonite studs encased in lead in his utility belt. Just in case – flip a switch and bye-bye Superman.
They finished their coffee and left. Batman said “I gotta’ use the can – don’t worry about the tip: I’ll deal.”
Superman thanked the proprietor and the waitress profusely for their service. He stood outside in the fresh city air. Batman wouldn’t leave a tip, he knew that much. ‘Just get through it, Kal-El,’ he told himself, ‘Just say goodnight, then you don’t have to see him until the next patrol.’
It was the only way he could keep calm.
“Here’s a tip – next time make better coffee – I got enough explosives here to level this entire block,” Batman shouted on his way out. He turned to Superman “By the way, Kal, you’ll hear about it at work, but I thought I’d give you advance notice. I bought the Planet. Things are gonna’ be a little different – don’t worry, your 401K is safe, but maybe we’ll need to streamline. Anyway, we’re gonna be work buddies for a time while I work out who to fire.”
Superman felt his fists begin to bunch of their own accord.
“Oh, and the Ritz down there is a complete rip, so I’m gonna’ need a place to stay. I was thinking we could be roomies.” Batman put his arm around Superman’s shoulder, “I’m gonna’ teach you how to live – the casino, get some cigars, maybe some hookers. Then after we can arrest them for solicitation – the looks on their faces when you do that. Gets me every time.”
Superman made a decision.
“It’s go time.”
In the end it took no time at all. And as Superman looked down at the pathetic, bleeding strip on the ground he thought ‘he’s right – it is better to be an asshole.’