DCAU #108: Anarky

IN THIS ONE... Anarky makes his animated-style debut.

CREDITS: Written by Alan Grant; art by Dev Madan and Rick Burchett.

REVIEW: Alan Grant brings his Anarky to the Batman Adventures and the DCAU, and while I'm happy to see characters migrate from the mainstream DCU to the DCAU even if it's not in animation, I do feel Grant could have written this story for the mainstream DCU directly with nary a change. And that's disappointing. Each universe should have its tone and flavor, but also feel free to play with the details. So though this is technically Anarky's first appearance, Robin is soon calling him by his real name as if it's a return engagement. Anarky spouts a lot of political and philosophical dialog, which doesn't quite feel all-ages either. The DCAU-ness of it perhaps resides in the non-lethal paint bombs he was going to use on Bruce Wayne and other billionaires, but we don't forget the real bomb he left with a weapons merchant, even if the story seems to.

The public reaction to Anarky is actually the more interesting aspect of the story. Some cheer him on, others are charmed by his "truth to power" approach, others still recognize him as a dangerous lunatic. There's a TV news director who only thinks of ratings while his crew beg him to pull the plug on the station's pirated antenna, and really should end up on Anarky's list some day.

And then there are the heroes. Bruce Wayne's defense of himself and the other rich men he associates with is in line with the show's odd glorification of big business, but these men at least seem to be, like him, driven to humanitarianism by personal tragedy (how likely is that, though?). His words fall on deaf ears, and anyway, they were in no real danger. Robin takes care of business, but is left with a bad taste in his mouth. He seems to think Anarky was right. It's not clear why, exactly. More of that manufactured conflict between Dick and Bruce? I don't see it, and it can't be followed up on in the context of this series, so... Pft.
IN THE MAINSTREAM COMICS: Alan Grant created Anarky for the comics with Norm Breyfogle in Detective Comics #608 (1989) and eventually graduated him to his own short-lived series. He was exactly as seen here. He would not appear in actual animation until Beware the Batman in 2013. It surely can't be a coincidence that in a Robin-centric story, the villain would use a 1-900 number to let people decide if a character should die, though this Robin is neither the target nor Jason Todd.

REREADABILITY: Medium - It's a good action story featuring a character we haven't yet seen in the DCAU, but I can't believe Robin's coda, nor does Alan Grant ADAPT his character enough.


LondonKdS said...

I thought the implication was that the bomb used at the beginning was only powerful enough to send its banner flying, not to injure anyone.

It may be an error introduced into the TPB, but the third millionaire threatened with Bruce seems to be differently named in his introduction and when Bruce defends him.

Also, it's not as bad as DC Rebirth, but maybe that has sensitised me - Anarky's costume here looks VERY suspiciously similar to V's in V For Vendetta.


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