by guest writer Alan Kistler
SPECIAL INSIGHT: JLA DATA FILES
Here's a look at the JLA Watchtower database. We know all about Superman and Batman. but what do members like Green Lantern or Plastic Man know about them? What kind of records are kept on these two heroes? Hence, the JLA Files on Batman and Superman.
X-Ref.: Batman, Superboy, Supergirl, Steel
Gene-Type: extra-terrestrial native to the planet Krypton
Current Group Affiliations: Member of the JLA; occasional partner of The Batman; special deputy of the Metropolis Police Department.
When the planet of Krypton was destroyed by massive internal quakes, baby Kal-El was the only one to escape. Apparently, all Kryptonians were genetically bound to their planet but Kal's father Jor-El was able to cure his infant son so that he would survive. Young Kal-El later arrived on Earth. All he had with him was a suit that his parents had left in his space capsule.
Apparently, Kal-El was completely unaware of his alien heritage. Perhaps he was too young to remember his place of birth. Or perhaps something happened afterward to block out his memories of Krypton. If Kal-El knows the reason for sure, he hasn't shared it. Furthermore, what he did for the next few years growing up on Earth is unknown. When asked about it, he has never said anything more than "I traveled a lot."
As Kal-El spent more time on Earth, he found that radiation from its yellow sun was having a strange effect on his body. Over the next few years, he slowly began developing powers. Wishing to act clandestinely at first, Kal-El would secretly avert disasters and then leave before anyone could spot him.
At some point, Kal had decided to stay in Metropolis for a while. Soon after his arrival, the experimental space-plane Constitution was coming in for a test landing. But it collided with a civilian aircraft and began plummeting. Seeing no way to avoid being seen, Kal-El leaped into the sky and caught the plane in front of a shocked crowd of bystanders and reporters. Although he left immediately afterwards, reporter Lois Lane had already gotten a brief glimpse of his face.
The next morning, all the newspapers were howling about Kal-El's appearance. He had been the first superhuman seen in a many, many years, much less one with such fantastic strength. Different periodicals attempted to find a name for him. "The Caped Wonder." "The Metropolis Marvel." But Lois Lane was the one to truly christen Kal-El with her own headline, which read: "Space-Plane Saved By Mysterious Superman."
A few days later, Superman reappeared in Metropolis, now clad in the costume his Kryptonian parents had left for him years ago. He'd added a symbol, a stylized "S", in recognition of his new alias. He soon made much headway in Metropolis, fighting criminals seemingly without rest and quickly gaining the public's trust with his open nature and altruistic manner. With Superman back on the scene, many people began to reminisce of the powerful heroes who were in operation during the Golden Age. Oh, there had been adventurers in the past decade or so. Metamorpho, the Sea Devils, the original Green Arrow, the Metal Men. But none had been as powerful as Superman and none had led such obviously public careers, doing their utmost not only to protect the public but to befriend them as well. After all, Superman didn't wear a mask and didn't hide behind any sort of secret identity. He even gave an exclusive interview with a new reporter at the Daily Planet, a young man named Clark Kent, and the two would become good friends in the years to come.
It is significant to note that Superman did not tell Kent that he was an alien. This is because, as he's stated to certain Leaguers, Superman was not yet aware of his alien heritage. He believed he was a powerful mutant and much of the public believed this as well.
Soon afterwards, many other costumed champions began to emerge, either by chance timing or by Superman's inspiration. Many began to credit Kal-El as having ushered in a modern age of heroes.
Soon after the original Justice League of America was founded, the team offered Superman membership. He declined, saying that his activities in Metropolis kept him far too busy. However, he volunteered to be a reserve member and was willing to lend his aid whenever the League needed his extra muscle.
Superman continued in operation for the next several years, encountering many other heroes and defeating various villains and menaces. Off the record, he has stated his most common and most dangerous foe is wealthy business mogul Lex Luthor. Although there have been several instances where Luthor was alleged to have ties to criminal affairs, Superman and several of his close associates have gone to say that Luthor is in fact the head of several criminal operations, responsible for at least half the crime in Metropolis. Although enough proof has never been brought about to substantiate this claim, it should be noted that in recent months Luthor was seen by many Leaguers as the leader of the most recent incarnation of the Injustice Gang. However, aside from witness testimony, there exists nothing for the American Legal System to use for grounds of conviction.
Perhaps most unique about Superman is the relationship he's built with the Batman, one of the most mysterious and feared individuals on the planet. When they first met up, it was noted by several that the two seemed to have a strong dislike for each other, no doubt due to the differences in their methods. The most notable difference being that Superman is a very public figure whereas the Batman makes every effort to stay hidden from the media and the general public, so much so that there are still people who doubt his existence. However, over the years these two men have apparently gained some understanding of each other and nowadays they are known to be staunch allies, considered the "world's finest team" by many.
About four years after his debut, Superman made it public that he was not a mutated human, as many had believed, but in fact an alien from the planet Krypton. Although some were perturbed by this news, most made efforts not to let it tarnish the reputation of a man who had already proven himself to be a hero several times over. With this in mind, the general public grew to be more accepting of other heroes with alien ties, such as the Martian Manhunter.
A couple of years ago, Superman finally joined a re-formed Justice League America. But it wasn't long afterwards that the menace known as Doomsday arose. After a long battle, Superman apparently sacrificed his life to destroy the monster. A large funeral was held in Metropolis soon afterwards.
About a month after his death, Superman's body was stolen from his tomb by a Kryptonian android named the Eradicator. The Eradicator knew the Superman was not entirely dead, but temporarily trapped in a state between life and death. He placed Superman's body in a regeneration chamber that was hidden away in a secret Antartic fortress, which was later dubbed the "Fortress of Solitude" by Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen.
While Superman was being healed, the Eradicator assumed his identity and sought to replace him for the time being. This might have worked out, had not several others had the same idea. An engineer built himself a suit of armor and began waging war on crime in memory of Superman (this engineer would later adopt the alias "Steel"). Project Cadmus attempted to clone Superman, and the result was a super-powered teen who was later dubbed "Superboy." Finally, Hank Henshaw sought to tarnish Superman's reputation and masqueraded as the man of steel, rebuilt as a cyborg. Henshaw destroyed Coast City in California in his attempts to overthrow Earth, but was finally thwarted when the true Superman returned from his fortress.
Superman returned to his heroic career with a vengeance. One of his first public services was to rescue his best friend Clark Kent. During Doomsday's rampage, Clark had been trapped in the basement of a building by massive debris. He had only been able to barely survive through rations that were kept there, since the basement had once been intended as a fallout shelter. Thus, the world was overjoyed to see the return of two celebrities, Clark Kent and Superman.
Superman did not immediately rejoin the League. Several months later, the villainous Know Man sought to remake the Earth into a world of superhumans. Superman and the Batman quickly made efforts to gather some of their former allies and by the end of the adventure, the seven champions present decided to reform the JLA, with Superman as the unofficial leader.
Sometime after that, the sorcerer Tolos inadvertently caused Superman to morph into an energy being. Later on, Henshaw returned and actually split Superman's energy form into two different entities. This condition lasted until the Millenium Giants affair, when the two Superman sacrificed themselves to save the day and in the process re-formed into the original, Kryptonian man of tomorrow.
In recent months, Superman suffered a mental attack by the villain Dominus. These mental attacks corrupted Kal to the point that his wish to help the world became an obsession and he attempted world domination, seeing it as the only way to ensure the peace. The Justice League was forced to combat Superman and eventually the Man of Steel overcame Dominus's control. Superman then rejoined the League and is currently doing his best to win back the public's trust.
- Superhuman strength (approx. maximum lift of 85 tons)
- Flight (approx. top speed of half the speed of light)
- Heat-Vision: Superman can manifest a field of heat in certain objects within his line of sight. When he does this, his eyes glow red. With greater concentration he can discharge focused beams of infra-red radiation from his eyes.
- X-Ray Vision: this is a psionic-optic ability which allows Superman to see through most solid objects, thus earning the nickname of "X-Ray vision" (though it does not involve actual x-rays). Certain materials, such as lead, have a unique molecular structure so that they will appear opaque under X-Ray vision.
- Hyper-Keen Senses: Superman has superhuman levels of hearing and sight. His vision can shift from telescopic to microscopic. He can listen to people's heartbeats. He can also sense certain levels of the electro-magnetic spectrum, including microwaves and human brainwaves.
- Able to instantaneously induce sleep within himself. Superman's enhanced body system also allows him to be able to perform aptly with only two hours of sleep.
- Super-speed. Without using his flight abilities, Superman's highest speed is about Mach 2.
- Superman can hold his breath for about twenty minutes. If he is at ground zero (the weakest area in terms of radiation) of a small nuclear blast, he will survive, although he will be stunned and given a concussion as a result. Also, he will most likely be unconscious for about an hour or so. After which, he will be weakened from the strain on his system and will need at least a day and a half to completely recover.
Weapons & Paraphenalia: Superman carries no weapons. As a member of the JLA, he is equipped with a Justice League signal device and communicator. He also tends to carry a small oxygen tank for whenever he needs to be engaged in an outer space mission.
Abilities: Superman is a skilled leader and an accomplished diplomat. He is a better than average detective and holds general knowledge in various sciences.
Specific Weaknesses: As a native of Krypton, Superman is immediately weakened when he is brought into close contact with the radioactive ore known as kryptonite. For most organisms, this ore's level of radiation is too weak to affect them unless they are in constant contact with it for an extended period of a few months. On Kryptonians however, its debilitating effects are immediate and if it is not brought away from Superman within a period of twenty minutes he will die. If kryptonite is brought away from him he will slowly begin to recover, though this recovery may take as long as several hours to several days depending on how long the contact lasted. On Kryptonians, kryptonite radiation has no cumulative effect.
Lex Luthor once employed a kryptonite ring but then abandoned it when its effects were proving to be cancerous. Superman later entrusted the ring to The Batman. During the battle with Dominus, however, Batman discovered that someone had managed to replace his kryptonite with a synthetic copy. Who has the true kryptonite is unknown at this time.
X-Ref: Superman, Robin, Nightwing, The Outsiders
Current Group Affiliations: Member of the JLA; partner of Robin; occasional partner to Superman.
Very little is known about the Batman. When he first appeared several years ago, he was nothing more than a myth. Few criminals ever truly saw him and those that did all reported contradicting stories of either a man with wings or a giant vampiric creature. None were certain what his powers were of their nature, whether he was a metahuman, alien or demon.
Initially, the Batman came into much conflict with the Gotham City Police Department, which was quite corrupt at the time. Most of those on the force believed that the Batman was merely a crazed vigilante who used parlor tricks to scare people. But many of them were later known to change their opinions after actually meeting the man.
Superman was the first hero to encounter the Batman. The two were reported to dislike each other, though over the years they have seemingly grown a strange kinship. Nowadays, they are referred to as the "world's finest team" by many.
During the second Appellaxian invasion, all the heroes on Earth were brought together in an effort to save the planet. During this battle, it was noted with surprise by several other heroes that the mysterious Batman did not appear to have any powers at all but was, in fact, a brilliant tactician with some high-tech weaponry and a body of Olympic-level fitness.
The Batman later joined the Justice League of America, but still made it a point never to appear in public, even when the team went to press conferences. Thus, although the JLA did state that the Batman was a member, a small number of people questioned this fact. It began to be rumored that the police and the super-hero community in general had actually fabricated the Batman's existence to serve as a "bogey-man" story for criminals. At the time, no one took these rumors too seriously.
The Batman eventually left the League during an international crisis. When Baron Bedlam held the country of Markovia at bay, the JLA was asked not to interfere. Disgusted by this attitude, the Dark Knight left the team. Soon afterwards, a group known as the Outsiders emerged and it was rumored among the hero community and among several law enforcement divisions that this team was led by the Batman. These allegations proved to be true, but the Batman left the team later on, preferring to work on his own for a while.
This attitude of working alone is somewhat puzzling to others. Although the Batman has remained a mystery to the public, his partner Robin has not.
About three years after the debut of Superman, a young teenage vigilante calling himself Robin began to make some headlines in Gotham. That such a young man was capable of so much was surprising enough, but more surprising still was the fact that he claimed to be the Batman's protégé. This claim went unverified until one night, when a battle with the Penguin was caught by a security camera. Although not much was clear due to the low-quality of the footage, it was obviously apparent that the Batman and Robin had been working together against the criminal.
Strangely enough, this bit of footage was later confiscated by the government and has not been seen since. This has held true for several shots of Batman that have been briefly taken over the years. The only photographs that make it to the media seem to be those which are so heavily obscured by shadow that they can not be held as veritable proof.
Although the government refuses to comment on this, the Batman and a few others have their theories. The Batman himself has stated "The government considers me a potential threat, so much so that admitting my existence would be admitting it's vulnerable to one man. They can't allow that to be known, so they make efforts to conceal all evidence of me. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't."
Whether this theory is true or not is unknown. But to this day, the government refuses to comment at all on the Batman, even when he was a member of Justice League International. It hasn't been difficult for the government to do this either, since, as stated previously, the Batman always keeps to the shadows.
Over the years, the GCPD began to employ a spotlight that was emblazoned with the Batman's emblem. The mayor's office has said that this was to act as a psychological deterrent to criminals, reminding them that there was a mysterious bat-creature out there that wasn't as forgiving as the police. While this may be true, certain individuals have noted that this "bat-signal" seems to be activated always at times when the police are involved in very serious investigations, often ones that involve super-villains. It has thus been theorized that the bat-signal may in fact be a means of contacting the Batman, signaling that his help is needed by the police. The mayor's office has refused to comment on this theory.
Soon before Batman had joined the Outsiders, it was reported that Robin was now leading the newly-formed New Teen Titans. A few months later, he was rarely seen in Gotham at all. And then, he disappeared from the spotlight entirely. What happened to him remains a mystery.
It is interesting to note that a few months after the original Robin vanished, a new vigilante calling himself Nightwing appeared with the Titans. At first, no one thought much of this new vigilante's appearance, but some have overheard certain conversations where Nightwing mentioned to his teammates that he was a student of the Batman. Is Nightwing the original Robin, under a new identity? Or did the Batman have, in fact, several proteges? Neither Nightwing nor Batman will confirm or deny either theory. They admit that the Dark Knight did indeed train Nightwing but how this came about and why is a secret.
Soon after he left the Outsiders, the Batman once again joined forces with all of Earth's adventurers during the Crisis. It is interesting to note that before the Crisis even truly began, the Batman had a vision of Barry Allen, the second Flash, dying to save Earth. This vision later came true when Allen sacrificed himself to save the universe. Exactly why Batman of all people had this vision is unknown. A few believe it is proof that he has misled his teammates and he in fact does wield magical powers of some sort. When questioned, the Batman has refused to comment.
Soon after the Crisis, Darkseid used smear campaigns on Earth to discolor the reputations of the super-heroes. One of these campaigns helped to spread and enforce the then unpopular belief that the Batman didn't exist at all and was merely an urban myth. Although he helped his fellow heroes restore their reputations, the Batman made no real effort to publicly challenge the questions of his existence.
Just after his, the Batman helped reform a new Justice League, which he led. This new incarnation of the League maintained a low profile and rarely commented to the press on their actions. A few months later, when it became Justice League International, Batman turned over leadership to Martian Manhunter and made efforts to avoid the new spotlight and publicity that would be concentrated on the team. Later on, he left, staying on only as a reserve advisor.
Soon after he'd joined the JLI, the Batman was said to have employed a second, younger Robin. This boy wore the same costume and employed the same methods, though many have commented that he was far more bitter and reckless than the original Robin. After several months, this second Robin vanished from the public eye. Rumors began to fly that he was dead, killed by one of the Gotham's many criminals. But after several months, Robin reappeared, sporting a new, darker costume and now employing a bo staff. Where he was during those intervening months is unknown.
A few years later, the villain known as Bane released most of the inmates from Arkham Asylum, just outside of Gotham City. The Batman spent all of his efforts to track down and recapture the inmates, most of whom were enemies of his. At one point, he must have faced Bane and this is where the details get especially sketchy. After a week of tracking down inmates and even freeing the mayor from the grips of the Joker, the Batman was seen being hurled off a rooftop ledge by Bane himself, who proclaimed that he had broken the Dark Knight.
Several eye-witnesses saw the Batman crash onto the ground, looking like death warmed over. Some even took photographs, but these pictures were later confiscated under mysterious circumstances. According to police, an ambulance arrived moments later and retrieved the Batman, saying it was bound for the nearest hospital. But no hospitals had sent out any ambulances and the Batman and his mysterious aides vanished that night.
Two nights later, rumors began flying that the Batman was back, uninjured. And several days later, the Batman was said to have confronted Bane for a re-match. But according to circumstances, he now wore armor and used more violent methods. After Bane was taken in by the police, the Batman was said to have continued using this new armor and brand of justice.
A couple of months later, unconfirmed reports came in of two Batmen doing battle in Gotham, one wearing the current armor and one wearing the old uniform worn before the original defeat by Bane. Furthermore, some have contested that they overheard these two Batmen fighting over who was the true Batman. How this battle ended is not truly known. It is known that the next night, there was only one Batman reported, and he was wearing the pre-armor uniform.
What this battle of two Batmen meant is still a mystery. Did the Batman have a successor who came into play after the original defeat by Bane? Or was there a change in hands even before that? Or is it possible, as the DEO claims, that there is no one Batman but rather an entire team of "bat-people" who operate in synch?
Whatever the answer, the Batman hasn't deigned to comment on the matter.
Sometime later, the villain called Know Man transformed humanity into a race of superhumans, leaving Earth's heroes and villains powerless and amnesiac in the process. The Batman and Superman were the first to re-awaken from their sleep-like states and together they worked to gather their forces. The Batman selected other heroes whom he trusted most and believed were the most capable to help them. These heroes were: Wonder Woman (Diana Prince), Martian Manhunter, Aquaman and The Flash (Wally West). Upon gathering these others, the last of the Green Lanterns (known to his friends as "Kyle") ended up joining the group as well. Together, these seven defeated Know Man and restored the Earth to its proper state. After the adventure, the Batman suggested that the seven of them work together more regularly. The latest Justice League had recently disbanded and so these seven reformed as the new JLA. The Batman has remained with the team since then, proving himself invaluable with his tactical genius and brilliant deductive abilities.
Although the JLA has made references to the fact that Batman is on the team, there are still a small number who don't believe this since the Dark Knight has never appeared alongside the team at press conferences. However, as stated previously, only a small number of people actually question the Batman's existence. Polls show that over 80% of the general public do believe he exists, they merely debate on his nature. Few believe the rumors that he is in fact a highly trained human who relies on nothing more than wits and physical prowess.
Last year, an internet rumor began to circulate that the Batman's state of the art technology was provided for him by wealthy Gotham socialite Bruce Wayne. Bruce Wayne denied these rumors and most have paid no attention to this rumor. It's considered highly unlikely that a person as solitary and grim as the Batman would ever force himself to rely on such a public figure, much less one with such a dubious reputation of being a bored playboy.
Several months ago, a massive Earthquake hit Gotham and eventually congress ruled that the city was to be deigned a No Man's Land. Now living in a city that has been cut-off from the rest of the world, the Batman has been less active in actually operating with the League, preferring to spend more of his time in Gotham and serving the JLA as an advisor.
The League has also taken an interest in Gotham's new state. Although government laws prohibit Leaguers from entering the city, they have been allowed to protect the borders from villains and terrorists who wish to dominate the weakened city and use it as a foothold into America. The Batman has expressed his appreciation for the JLA bending the regulations in this way to aid his home. How long until he can resume full active status with the League is unknown, though during the recent Day of Judgment crisis he was actively on the battlefield, ready to lay down his life to save the planet.
It is interesting to note that even among his teammates the Batman has been careful to keep his secrets. He built his own teleport booth (how he did so is unknown) and access to his personal booth is known only to him and Superman. Also, although all the Leaguers subjected themselves to DNA scans for security reasons, Batman later encrypted his own DNA code so that no outside force could analyze it.
But despite his preference for secrecy, the Batman has proven himself a hero several times over and has shown that should the need arise he will be willing to sacrifice himself for his teammates and for the greater good.
Weapons & Paraphernalia:
The Batman carries a small cache of weapons and forensics equipment in his utility belt. These include: grappling hook, batarangs, flares, concussion grenades, smoke bombs, gas bombs, re-breather. On occasion, he has been known to bring extra items for special missions.
The Batman's cowl is equipped with starlight night-vision lenses. It also houses a miniature radio which acts as both a communicator and a police scanner. Batman's belt also houses a standard JLA signal-device and communicator.
The Batman employs a device somewhere on his person that uses sound-masking technology to nullify the sound of his own heartbeat. Thus, it is more difficult for those with heightened senses to hear his approach.
The Batman's costume is made of a Kevlar/Nomex weave. The cape is triple-weaved Kevlar and has weighted tips at the scalloped points. These weights can be used as weapons against tougher opponents.
The Batman has a variety of vehicles at his disposal, including the "Batmobile" and the "Batplane", as they've been christened by his peers.
The Batman is a brilliant criminologist and a tactical genius. He has been trained in virtually every known martial art and is a master of judo and kenpo, in particular. He is familiar with several cultures and languages, both ancient and modern. He is a skilled swordsman and archer, having received some tutelage from Oliver Queen himself. The Batman is skilled in various sciences, including engineering, medicine, mechanics and electronics.
Through much personal training, the Batman possesses nearly full "total recall", a skill sometimes referred to as "photographic memory." This talent allows him to instantly recall anything that he's seen, heard or read.
The Batman is well-versed in various cultures, mythologies, religions, and dialects.
The Batman is skilled in lip-reading, disguise, voice-throwing, mimicry, hypnosis, acting and stage magic. He is an expert escape artist and lock pick, surpassed only by Mister Miracle.
The Batman is an Olympic level athlete who engages in intensive regular exercise. He is an accomplished weightlifter and gymnast. He has trained his body so that he may hold his breath for a maximum of three minutes and fifteen seconds.
The Batman is trained in the arts of ninjitsu and is thus able to often hide and seemingly vanish into shadows. He is also very skilled at sneaking up on his opponent undetected. What's more, this training has heightened his senses to above-average condition. Thus, he is almost always aware of a person's presence nearby and he can even recognize certain herbs and poisons from a single smell or taste.
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All scanned artwork is DC Comics.
This article is © 1999 by Mark Gillins.
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