The long-awaited clash between cinema's greatest superheroes is about to be released! But never mind Civil War, what about Batman v Superman?
The movie I've been referring to as "Batman Five, Superman Nil" (because I'm HILARIOUS) opens next week and a twelve-year-old version of me is SUPER excited. Actual cynical grown-up me isn't quite so sure.
However cynical grown-up me did just read a book called Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice Cross Fire.
It's written by Michael Kogge (not that his name appears anywhere on the jacket) and is set some time between Man of Steel (a movie I did not like) and the upcoming Batman 5 Superman 0. And it is for children.
I read it for two reasons; one: I had some time to kill in work; two: to see if it gave any clues as to what to expect in the storyline of the movie. Below are all my findings.
First up I want to say that Kogge had a pretty tricky remit to fulfil. There must have been so many restrictions placed upon him that writing a coherent plot could not have been easy. For example as the World's Finest team meet each other for the first time in the movie itself this means that they can't meet in this story.
So Kogge has written a story with Batman and Superman in it where they do not encounter one another. At one point they are heroing about in different parts of a burning warehouse, blissfully unaware of the other's presence.
So now here are all the facts about the world of DC's superhero movie universe as presented in BvSDoJ: Cross Fire (may contain conjecture and idle speculation).
1: The Mayor of Metropolis is having a statue of Superman built.
In spite of all that destruction Superman is seen as a hero who saved the city. So that's nice.
2: Bruce Wayne was in "Wayne Tower" in Metropolis when it was destroyed during the battle with Zod.
This means that not only was there a Wayne Tower in Metropolis (itself slightly odd) but that Bruce has a more personal stake in stopping this from happening. Not that Batman ever had to make such things personal before. It seems hundreds of his employees were killed that day.
3: This world already has thematic crazy villains.
We are introduced to a former Wayne Tech employee called Dr Babrius Aesop who likes to regale anyone nearby with the animal fables of his namesake to make a point. He escapes from Arkham Asylum (so that also exists here) with the help of a bizarre-looking madman called Jackalope who has a face like a rabbit, long floppy ears and wears a headband with antlers. I couldn't be sure if he was an original creation of this book but a quick bit of research tells me was. I'm just going to put in a picture of the Basselope from Bloom County here.
We are also teased with the possibility of an A-list villain as Aesop hears "maniacal laughter" from one of the cells as he escapes and refers to the inmates as "lunatics and jokers".
4: Comic books exist here. Rory, the 12-year-old protagonist of the story, reads one called Robot Force. Superhero movies exist also. This could explain child Clark wearing a cape in Man of Steel. Maybe in this world Superman is actually copying fictional superheroes with his look?
5: Superman won't let himself be photographed. I assume this is to maintain the secret identity. But I don't know how he can manage this in today-times. He mustn't have his hypnotic disguise powers.
6: The battle in Metropolis caused a mass exodus from the city. Business owners fled as did criminals, apparently to Gotham. Which would presumably have made Batman's life harder, giving him another reason to dislike Supes.
7: Clark is working for the Daily Planet but only writing digital content.
He's not yet written anything worthy of the dead-tree press and in fact gets a story taken from him by Lois. I'm guessing he will get his first scoop in the movie itself.
8: There's a Gotham/Metropolis rivalry kind of like there is between Manchester and Liverpool. And the two cities are very close to each other.
9: Lex Luthor has an assistant referred to as Miss Graves. So that means....
Mercy, Lex's chauffeur-cum-bodyguard was a character created for Superman: The Animated Series and is criminally under-used. I hope this means we get to see her in the movies.
10: Batman has a utility belt and batarangs.
All right, we kind of assumed that, but it's nice to have it confirmed. The belt also contains infra-red goggles, lock picks, a smoke capsule, a rebreather and a knockout gas capsule.
11: Gotham has an abandoned gimbal factory from a company called Gotham Gimbals. I don't know what gimbals are but it's a fun word to say. Gimbals.
12: Alfred's middle name is Crane.
This was new to me. But apparently his full name in Batman comics is Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth. Movie Alfred may have dropped the Thaddeus.
So that's that. Everything to go in to BvSDoJ knowing. I doubt it helped.
There is also a sticker activity book out which told me three things.
1: Sticker activity books really are money for old rope.
2: Warners do at least seem keen on promoting a strong female hero to children which is something I wish Disney and Fox would do.
3: Lex could be running for president? Maybe?
I mean, they designed those stickers for a reason, right? And maybe someone is battling for Gotham. Whatever that may mean.
And with that he bursts a smoke capsule and vanishes into the night.