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75 Greatest Friends and Foes of Batman: Allies #25-21

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In honor of the seventy-fifth anniversary of Batman, we’re doing four straight months of polls having to do with Batman. Future installments will deal with Batman creators and stories, but this month will be about Batman’s allies and his villains.

You all voted, now here are the results (40 bad guys, 35 good guys for a total of 75)! Here is a list of all the characters revealed so far. We continue with Allies #25-21…

Enjoy!

NOTE: There’s so many images in these pieces that I’ll be breaking them up over two pages.

25. Green Arrow

Batman has a special place in Green Arrow’s history. Not just the fact that early Green Arrow (he was created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp) was basically a knock-off of Batman (dude had an Arrow-Cave, people! An Arrow-Cave!) but that it was during a team-up with Batman in Brave and the Bold that the then new, now iconic look for Green Arrow debuted…

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That issue was a cool team-up exploring Oliver Queen’s problems with whether he could do more good as Oliver Queen than as Green Arrow (Batman in the issue also finds himself in a similar conflict when Bruce Wayne is temporarily named a U.S. Senator)…

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Plus, of course, we musn’t forget Green Arrow’s appearance in Dark Knight Returns…

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Also, I actually DID forget (must have been a mind-wipe) that Green Arrow was one of the Justice League members who voted to wipe Batman’s memories of them messing with Dr. Light’s brain during Identity Crisis, so that made their relationship strained for a time in the mid-2000s.

24. Bat-Mite

The people have spoken! The vast majority of you voted for him as an ally, so fair enough, I counted all his votes for the ally list. Bat-Mite was an annoying yet powerful imp who was a huge Batman fan and beginning in 1959 (in a story by Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff and George Paris) he would visit Batman and Robin and “help” them, which would invariably cause problems for them instead…

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23. Azrael (Jean-Paul Valley)

Let’s say that you had a hot dog cart. It is really popular and one of the best hot dog carts in the business. However, one day you get injured so you let some heroin addict you’ve been mentoring recently take over your hot dog cart while you recuperate (you had a former protege, but you didn’t want to bother him for whatever reason). While you’re out, though, your replacement tries to make your cart more effective and he adds new technological upgrades but he is also a bit of a dick. Overcharging people for drinks, not putting enough sauerkraut on the dogs, stuff like that. So you heal up and are prepared to take it back but he won’t give it up. You also forgot that the thing that drove him to doing heroin in the first place was running his family shawarma cart that he was forced to run even though he had no interest in it, so you probably really never should have forced him to take over your cart. As while you thought his cart experience was a benefit it was clearly a negative, since he’s obviously back to doing heroin. You wonder to yourself, “Why didn’t I just let my former protege watch the cart for me in the first place? My cart is pretty damn important to me, so why in the world would I trust this heroin addict with it? I thought that my nerdy after school teen worker would help watch him, but obviously that was a foolish idea as he’s just a teen! Who trusts a teenager with a heroin addict?” So you have it out with the guy and you drive him out and get your cart back. But you feel bad, as again, it should have been obvious that he was going to start doing heroin again with you not there to watch him and him specifically doing something that triggers his addiction. So because you feel bad, you set him up with his own independent cart. He’s awful at it and starts hanging out with some religious nutjobs and ruining his life. So even though you don’t trust him, you still feel bad and decide to set him up with a new cart, only this time working directly for you. And then he dies.

That’s what Batman’s relationship with Jean-Paul Valley was like (Azrael was created by Denny O’Neil and Joe Quesada).

Here’s Batman setting him up with his first food cart…

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And here’s Batman later trying to get him to work on a food cart for him personally…

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Go to the next page for #22-21!

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31 Comments

Cool! Voted for Az… I especially loved the relationship between Azrael and Oracle. There was always this flirtation that Azrael seemed a bit befuddled by and I found it sweet and innocent – something that Batman comics seem to sorely lack these days.

interesting to see batmite wind up on the list at all for even though he can be considered an ally he was really one of batmans more annoying characters more for adding some comedy relief to the bat books.

Your writeup of Azrael is a thing of beauty.

And yay! I totally voted for Bat-Mite. He’s helping! He’s helping you!

Superman McGee

April 25, 2014 at 7:57 am

Surprised that so many people consider Bat-Mite an ally rather than a villain.

Damn – I forgot Carrie Kelly. She probably should have taken about 5th place for me.

Still none of my votes have appeared. I take that as a sure sign that they’re all going to appear higher up.

Missed the vote deadline, but Carrie would’ve been my first to show up from my non-list. For the first Dark Knight series.

Interesting to see what order the rest of the Robins show up in, I voted for ‘em all, inc. Jason…always thought he caught a tough break.

Bill Williamson

April 25, 2014 at 8:42 am

Surely there were better Batman Beyond pages than that. I mean, Norm Breyfogle basically came back to DC to do Batman Beyond.

I can not quite figure out what Mr Cronin thinks about Knightfall and Knightquest….

“That was the last time Carrie Kelley ever appeared in comics”. I don’t know if that’s a joke, but she’s been appearing in the current Batman and Robin series…

I’m on pins and needles waiting to find out how high Batman Jones will place. Somewhere in the top five, surely.

Yeah, I think that’s the joke. Sad though it may be. (Though really, being in Dark Knight Strikes Back isn’t really a glorious thing for anyone/thing).

But mainly I’m posting to say that this is the best description of Azrael I’ve ever read. It didn’t even need the last sentence before the picture intros.

A resounding yes to the beauty of the Azrael synopsis.
But what’s the issue with Carrie being in the current Bat-continuity?

Brian, you good sir, are a genius and a delight to behold with that Azrael right up! I won’t insult you for saying it is the best thing you have ever written but I hope you keep that paragraph somewhere handy and if you ever need a writing sample, you use that, as it is amazing! Thank you

In World’s Finest #169, Bat-Mite saved the day by tricking Mxyzptlk into say his own name backwards.

That’s the issue where Supergirl steals Superman’s powers and steals the Fortress of Solitude and Batgirl (in her third appearance!) empties out the Bat-Cave and Batman is left with only a beat-up Bat-Mobile!

It’s called “The Batgirl/Supergirl Plot” and has the cover where a weary Superman with a 5 o’clock shadow has trouble helping Batman change a flat on the Bat-Mobile (In the comic, the spare is flat, too!) while Supergirl and Batgirl hide behind a wooden fence and gloat. Ha ha!

This is from 1967. Not only is it after the start of the New Look, it’s also after the go-go checks era has ended.

(I wouldn’t be surprised if this story was considered non-canon the day after it was published.)

The write-up on Azrael was pretty damn funny. And I say that as someone who loves Knightfall and thought a lot of the Jean-Paul Batman stories were pretty cool. But just because I enjoyed it doesn’t mean that I didn’t notice that was kinda DUMB at times.

Bill Williamson

April 25, 2014 at 3:13 pm

While that Azrael synopsis was funny, I must admit that I quite enjoyed the KnightSaga. While, yes, I don’t see why Bruce didn’t just get Dick to fill-in for him, the fact that Jean Paul Valley filled in instead made for great drama. It’s the reason that KnightSaga was so much better than The Death of Superman, it was actually about Batman and who he is as a person.

I think the great editing skills and expertise of Denny O’Neil are why the Bat books managed to, for the most part, avoid the nineties curse that was plaguing most of comics at the time.

“The Batgirl/Supergirl Plot”
Never heard of that story before….that has to be a contender for “Strange but I love ya” series.

@Kendall

….that has to be a contender for “Strange but I love ya” series.

My synopsis barely even got started on how looney that story is. I suspect that Brian disqualified it from competition because it wouldn’t be fair to put it up against other comics.

“And then he dies.”

I flat-out lost it there.

And…sigh… I can take it. What’s going on with Carrie Kelly lately?

Carrie is just a “normal girl” in a supporting role in the Batman And… series (she was a friend of Damian’s and still doesn’t know what happened to him). So far we still don’t know what her future role is gonna be. They’re TEASING you that she’s gonna replace Damian as the new Robin, but it’s probably a red herring…

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m in the mood for hot dogs!

Azrael: Vendor of the Bat

The Green Arrow/Batman/Superman dynamic is officially under-rated.

Heck, I’d say the Batman-Green Arrow dynamic is under-rated by itself. GA started as blatant Batman knock-off and went down his own fat cat defaming path.

None of these other characters do much for me, but the Knightfall saga was worth it for your Azrael blurb.

Those Azrael pages just remind me that Batman really is a dick. I mean Azrael may have been an indefensible pile of crap, but Batman really is an asshole no matter how you look at it.

I’m jonesin’ for hot dogs AND heroin now. YUM!

But yes, that was indeed awesome. Thank you, sir!

Terry McGinnis is the first of mine to show from either list. Really like Batman of the Future. Best thing about it is the mentor/student relationship between Bruce and Terry.

I like the Green Arrow/Batman dynamic, but Arrow’ s part was the weakest but of TDKR in my eyes. I’d be interested if anyone can defend it.

Bill Williamson

April 26, 2014 at 12:28 pm

@ASD: Well, he did play such an important part.

More who were used for New Amalgam Comics:
-Green Arrow was mixed with Hawkeye to make Hawk Arrow, a member of the Justice Avengers.
-Azrael was mixed with Iron Man 2020 to make Iron Bat 2020, a clone created by Iron Bat’s nemesis Sunset (Bane/Sunset Bain), who later became a reserve of the JA.
-Terry McGinnis was mixed with Iron Man 2093 to make Andros “Andy” McGinnis, the Tomorrow Knight.

I would actually be very interested in reading this Hotdog Cart Man comic.

Sounds a lot better than whatever I’ve read of Knightfall.

While Bat-Mite might be a menace most of the time, he was an ally in his last appearance during Grant Morrison’s run.

I have a tremendous softspot for JP Valley, who was used and abused both by his authority figures and the writers who used him. The opening 25 issues of his ongoing are really good, and much of Roger Robinson’s run was worth reading. post No Man’s Land Denny was completely lost in terms of trying to tell a story. and the bat universe basically replaced him wholesale with a carbon copy in Cassandra Cain. I can’t believe she scored higher than he did on this list.

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