Welcome back to Strange Times & Places, where today we’re looking at a cyberpunk superhero tale created with the absolute best digital artwork 1990 had to offer: Batman: Digital Justice.
How’s It Different?
Being a tale set in a possible future, this would be classified as an Imaginary Story. Somewhat unusually for a Bat-Future, no descendants of the Wayne family are present. Instead, it is the grandson of Commissioner James Gordon who takes up the mantle, with Batman having apparently died childless.
What’s The Story?
In the Gotham City of the 21st century, the police are aided by weaponized robots called Servo Drones. Sgt. Jim Gordon, grandson of Gotham’s legendary police commissioner, becomes suspicious that these drones may have been tampered with when they begin killing “perpetrators” based on flimsy invocations of self-defense programming with little to no evidence left of who those perps were. This will lead him to a conspiracy tied deeply into Gotham City’s government, one that will require justice from outside the law to take down – one that will require a new Batman!
Best of Differences
- Gordon finds an original, comparatively low-tech batsuit with his grandfather’s personal effects, complete with a note from Bruce Wayne explaining the gift. It’s nice to see that Bruce Wayne and James Gordon remained friends until the end.
- Gata, an already vaguely cat-themed musician, takes up the identity of Catwoman when Batman’s resurgence steals her some of her headlines.
- The Joker Virus has taken control of a computer-controlled Gotham City over the slow course of many years, his influence mounting alongside the city’s reliance on technology. A bit more orderly than Mistah J’s usual M.O., which actually sets the digital version apart from his predecessor.
- Robin his a hover skateboard punk, which is just so delightfully of its time. He reminds me a little bit of Y.T. from Snow Crash (which this OGN actually predates).
Worst of Differences
- Gata is revealed in the last few pages to be a clone of the corrupt mayor, who never met the mayor but who the mayor looked at like a daughter. This genuinely seems like it was an excuse to reuse a character model, since both are little more than peripheral characters up to that point.
- The title, as well as some of the design work, are reminiscent of the more ridiculous sublines from the Kenner/Hasbro Batman toylines of the 90s. In fact, the concept of a Joker Virus would be reused for the Batman Beyond: Cyberlink line – which also gave the world Search Engine Batman.
- One of the reporters is blatantly modeled on Max Headroom, which is distracting if you’re a huge fan of that show (like I am).
Come Back Next Week for a Brand New Installment of Scripting Errors!