10 Animated Elseworlds we want to see
By Drew Mollo
5. Scar of the Bat: (W: Max Allan Collins/ A: Eduardo Barreto) Noted crime fiction writer Max Allan Collins composed an Elseworld that has more to do with history than it does DC comics. Narrated by famous Prohibition agent Elliot Ness, he tells the story of a masked vigilante who assisted Ness in taking down Al Capone during Prohibition in 1920s Chicago. Complete with moments you’d expect in gangster movies and practically no other DC characters appearing in the issue, this unique Elseworld simply stands out because without the mask, it’s a creative crime tragedy told by someone who stood against the very crime and corruption Batman would rise to resist.
4. Golden Age: (W: James Robinson/ A: Paul Smith) The Golden Age of Comics was an era where DC Comics heroes were not only combatting the evils of war abroad but also the evils within their own country. We return to that era where we see classic DC characters struggling not only with fallout from World War II but also the rise of McCarthyism in America. While they all transition into retirement, a sinister plot involving one of their own will require them to put aside their individual problems and join together as a team if they are to preserve their country and its future. James Robinson assembled a classic team of iconic DC characters with Paul Smith’s artwork to tell a story that is one part pulp mystery and one part American history about humanity and its struggle to adapt to change in the face of great tragedy.
3. Red Son: (W: Mark Millar/ A: Dave Johnson and Killian Plinkett) This story ponders a simple question: What if Superman’s vessel crash landed in Soviet Russia instead of on American soil? Superman grows up to become a symbol for everything the USSR represents and his presence creates a new arms race. Struggling with his position of power, his dreams for a utopia encounters resistance from Lex Luthor of the United States, the terrorist Batman and former allies Wonder Woman and Brainiac amongst other definitive DC characters. Millar spent years working on the intricate amalgamation of politics, history and references to Superman into a story that shows what vast difference a few hours in Earth’s rotation could mean for one of comic’s most iconic American heroes.
2. Red Rain: (W: Doug Moench/ A: Kelley Jones) Originally titled Batman & Dracula, Batman discovers vampires are responsible for terrorizing Gotham and is “converted” (a.k.a. turned into a vampire) to give him the strength necessary to stop them and their leader, the legendary Dracula. Later sequels will show the return of Batman as he is awakened from his slumber to battle foes aligned with the vampires continuing his transformation from Gotham’s protector to Gotham’s bogeyman. This horror movie Batman has shown up in other comics and animated series and would make for a fantastic adaptation full of shadows, blood and monsters.
*Special*. Honorable Mention: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? ( W: Neil Gaiman/ A: Andy Kubert) Now I know this last story isn’t technically an Elseworld but if we’ve learned anything from Neil Gaiman it’s that you can’t judge a story until it’s over. Taking place between the events of Batman RIP and Final Crisis, Batman is seen attending his own funeral where different characters tell stories about the famous Caped Crusader, ones that are so bizarre that Batman neither remembers or believes they’re true. The story itself is a reference to the classic Alan Moore story Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? which told the final story of Superman and this conclusion of Batman pays homage to the character and the artists that made him what he is today. Upon learning the moral of these stories is Batman’s persistence and perseverance even in the face of Death, Batman finally accepts his fate and says goodbye to his world in a manner that is both touching and symbolic. If anything else, the conversation Batman has with a famously haunting Gaiman character is something fans have wanted to see on any big screen for.