Trash Culture Literary Corner: Batman & Robin, Chapters 12-13

As if responding to my last post, Bruce does have a memory of playing hide-and-seek with Alfred, although it’s interrupted by the plot.

Remembering where he was, Bruce turned back to Alfred.  ‘I want to say…”  he began again. But before he could finish, he heard footfalls – someone running.  A moment later, Dick sprang into sight.  [*snicker*]  He spoke three words.  “Freeze has escaped.”

Batman and Robin find that Poison Ivy and Bane are helping Mr. Freeze clear out his old base.  Batman uncovers a secret passage in Freeze’s lair, which of course is hidden in a walk-in freezer.  The hidden latch is specifically in the form of…guess what…

Go on, guess.

Sesame Chicken.  

In the base’s hidden section, he finds the frozen body of Nora Fries.  Looking at the screens of the computer keeping her alive, he learns that she has McGregor’s Syndrome, the very same illness Alfred has. Truly lazy contrived scriptwriting Fate is on Batman’s side.

It isn’t long, though, until Batman and Robin are attacked by Bane and Poison Ivy. As the battle commences, they realize what Poison Ivy’s insidious power is:

“Buy why,” asked Batman, “would she help Freeze to escape?” “She’s definitely evil,” Robin observed.  His face took on sterner lines.  ‘you know, it’s weird, but for a while Ivy was all I could think about.  it was almost as if I loved her.  But then…” Batman grunted.  “I know.  The feeling just vanished…”

That’s right.  She has the sinister power of heterosexuality! At least this does set up a genuinely good line:

“Why,” Batman asked, dazed by her, “do all the gorgeous ones have to be homicidal maniacs?  Is it me?”

Of course, that gets followed up with…

“I’m a lover,” she said, “not a fighter.  That’s why every Poison Ivy action figure comes complete with…him.”  She pointed to Bane…

I want to give Michael Jan Friedman credit, but it really does seem like he’s just building on the movie’s presentation of Poison Ivy as a pretty worthless and non-threatening villain. Still, Poison Ivy does manage to at least brainwash Robin into rebelling against being Batman’s sidekick, something that to be fair Friedman does build up to a bit even if the movie doesn’t really. This leads to fisticuffs between the two crimefighters, allowing Poison Ivy, Bane, and Mr. Freeze to escape with Nora Fries and Mr. Freeze’s arsenal.

In the chaos, however, Poison Ivy pretty much literally pulls the plug on Nora Fries, making maybe her one major contribution to the plot.  Mr. Freeze believes Poison Ivy when she tells him that Batman killed Nora, even though Mr. Freeze earlier noticed Poison Ivy’s jealousy and attraction to him and had acknowledged and mocked Batman’s selfless heroism, because…oh who the hell knows? Let’s just get on with it. batmanandrobinnora

Back at Poison Ivy’s bathhouse headquarters, she plays on Mr. Freeze’s rage at Nora’s death to get him to agree to a plan of her own devising:  freeze Gotham City, then the world, and repopulate the world with mutant plants created from Venom. Mr. Freeze only insists on letting Batman witness the deep freeze of Gotham City while Poison Ivy seduces and takes out Robin. It doesn’t look like she’d have to work that hard, as the narration goes to stately Wayne Manor where Dick Grayson whines that Poison Ivy was about to surrender to him and he can reform her. Sadly Bruce doesn’t respond with, “Yeah, the sociopath whose entire modus operandi is obviously seducing and exploiting the emotions of her enemies, and who we’ve established can kill a guy by kissing him, is totally into you!” Yeah, Bruce, I think you’d be better off recruiting Batgirl and leaving Robin to his doom.


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