Monday, August 15, 2011


One area where I think DC has a leg up over the Drewniverse is in its backing off of this being an actual reboot on their part. This allows them some degree of mealy-mouthed spin which leads to some characters being rebooted entirely, while others are barely touched, their histories intact yet weirdly compacted. I don't think this will make for a solid continuity going forward, but hey, if a reboot brings in the bucks, why would they want to build their castles on anything but sand? The reboot can be an annual event like the CrossOver Calamities of Marvel with the added benefit that it doesn't require a whole lot of in-story justification behind it.

Truly, the Age of the Infinite Reboot is upon us. It will be an age of chaos and change. This is not a bad thing, mind you, we do need our shake-ups to keep things from stagnating. I wonder, though, how long until things begin to follow the Marvel approach of The Truth being what people see on the big screen, not what's happened in the comics for the past umpteen generations. I spent a good amount of time this weekend watching Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes above the plaintive wails of my teething son and noticed that the Robert Downey Jr version of Tony Stark is already starting to crystallize. With no Justice League cartoons or other DCAU shows in production right now, comic versions of DC characters may be losing headway to their silver screen'd counterparts. It's all in flux.

So speaking of flux, let's look at the Batwoman. She's been up in the air for some time, having been wiped away by editorial fiat and Infinite Crisis then reinvented to controversy. Hell, even the status of her comic's publication has been in flux for a few years, issues seeming to come out based on the strength of J.H. Williams' covers more than anything.

Let's keep that flux and confusion going with the Batwoman of the Drewniverse. That is to say, our Batwoman is not Batwoman. She's Hourman. But does that matter? There seems to be a need, both in the setting and in our comicbook shops, for there to be a Batwoman. So when a caped and cowled figure shows up in Gotham City soon after Batgirl's retirement, the media is quick to say, "Ah! There she is! It's not Batgirl any more, it's Batwoman!"

Of course, that's completely incorrect. Barbara Gordon is off trying to decide if she wants to be a space cowboy with the rest of the Lantern Corps. Chandra Chaturvedi did not come to Gotham City to become the new Batwoman. Hell, she had been calling herself Garuda as she stalked the night in her native Mumbai, seeking the criminals that caused the destruction of her laboratory and the death of her coworkers. Still, you can get a lot more done in Gotham with a bat-prefix than without, so it did not take much to let the name stick.

Anyways, let's dial it back a bit. Dr. Chandra Chaturvedi worked for the second largest pharmaceutical company in all of India. She was a hotshot researcher on whose shoulders her company's hopes of becoming number one rested. When she developed a new drug, a miracle drug, if you will, that seemed to increase the user's physical stamina to peak human potential, she was all set for fame, fortune, and maybe even a Nobel Prize. Imagine a drug you could give to a patient in recovery that would speed healing, one you could give to firefighters or rescue workers (and yes, even soldiers) that would give them the edge they need to get in and out of dangerous situations in one piece. Sounds great, right? Sure, you can only use it at for an hour or so before it flushed itself from your system and sure, you had to wait at least another hour before taking another done lest the toxins build up and cause you harm, but an hour of power is better than none, right?

Totally right. Unfortunately, it turned out that there already was a super-drug out on the market - a little serum dubbed 'Venom' and the folks that controlled its production and distribution were not exactly thrilled at having a widely released competitor. Turns out the chemical composition of the two products was pretty similar. Hrm. Strange, that.

So her lab is attacked, her coworkers killed, and Chandra resorts to taking her own drug in order to escape. Big explosions cover up the fact that the raiders stole research and patent information and everyone assumes Dr. Chaturvedi died in the "terrorist attack" as well. After escaping and finding her own home ransacked, Chandra returns to her company's HQ to try to figure out what the hell is going on, only to see several of the same men who attacked the lab hanging around HQ like they belong there.

That night, Chandra returned to HQ with the help of her remaining supply of her miracle drug. Breaking into the lab, she discovered that her research was being funneled to the makers of a drug codenamed VENOM and that it was they who demanded that her research be shut down. At that moment, Garuda was born, named after the mythological winged enemy of venomous snakes everywhere as Chandra swore vengeance on those who not only killed innocent people, but stole her research and perverted it for their own gain.

Eventually, the trail lead to Gotham City where coincidence and an over-active tabloid media renamed Garuda as Batwoman. By the time we hit Issue #1 of Batwoman (#44/52), Chandra has moved on from Gotham and is temporarily set up in Opal City on the trail of one of the button men of the criminal organization she's been fighting. While she has amassed a good amount of crimefighting gear over the years (Bruce Wayne is generous with his resources and seeing how he has no use for armor cut for a female at the moment...), she still needs lab access to make more Miraclo. Currently, she's set up at a clinic run by one Dr. Beth Chapel, exchanging time spent helping others in return for lab access. Beth also serves as nice sounding board to let Chandra get her backstory out.

And gee, I wonder what will happen to Dr. Chapel when Copperhead decides to go from hunted to hunter?

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