Jan
24th
2015

So! My objective with these critiques is to go through the entire story without saying the words 'good' or 'bad'. I am not going to talk about the story's quality at all! Instead I'm going to try to get inside the author's head and see if I can get at what I think they were thinking about. I'm going to treat these stories respectfully, as though they were classics and I was paying money to be in a class where I could talk about it.

So let's begin by doing exactly what I always dreamed of doing when I finally earned my English degree: Overanalyse a MLP/Batman crossover.

A Dark Knightmare

This is a story about Batman in a state of unprecedented vulnerability.

Batman has been in more danger, yes, but that has never made him vulnerable. Physical peril is not really an issue to Batman because Batman's chief weapons are willpower, intelligence and symbolism. But the threat that Equestria offers is invasive - it doesn't challenge his physicality but it works to sap his mental weapons. Really, the key issue here is that this isn't a threat to Batman - Batman is invincible - it's a threat to Bruce Wayne. It's such a threat to Bruce Wayne that when the narration starts calling him 'Batman' it feels like a lie.

Luna is the symbol of this invasive threat. She's in his head, in his past, in his dreams. She's always watching him and when she commands, he obeys. Batman talks about the peace breaking him but it's clear that Luna is breaking him - she's showing compassion, vigilance, and unquestionable authority. In a way she's what Batman's been trying to be all this time, and has been missing all this time - a parental figure.

The story then comes up to an interesting choice; Luna and Batman are both in danger, fighting together against a common evil. My expectation was going to be that this was going to lead to one of two things:

1) A reveal of Luna's own flaws and darknesses, showing that she is not the parental figure Batman is coming to trust and rely on. She is a person as well, as flawed and weak as he is.

2) An examination of Batman's trust issues with Luna, where he rejects her aid when he needs it most and suffers a terrible defeat for his isolation and arrogance.

Instead Batman asks Luna to leave, she does, and he overcomes the threat on his own - just as he always has. He successfully and instantly becomes Batman again, will and intelligence and symbolism undiminished. He fights using the tools he's always known, the weapons he had before he came to Equestria. And he wins. Equestria has taught him nothing. He might not have ever been for all he thinks about it the second after Luna vanishes.

This puzzled me a lot. I think that what the author is trying to say here, though, is that Batman isn't actually vulnerable at all. I think what he's saying is that Batman is the real person and that Bruce Wayne is the mask - and a weak, confused one at that. While Bruce Wayne dealing with his internal trauma, and fear of peace and the loss of his parents is interesting and all it'll never once for a second stop Batman from being Batman. This scene draws a sharp dividing line between all the turmoil Bruce Wayne has gone through and what Batman is capable of doing. When Bruce Wayne questions if he's still sharp or if Equestria has made him soft he's full of shit - Batman doesn't need Bruce, and Batman sure as hell doesn't need the practice.

When Luna does return to the story I've almost forgotten she was ever present. And although she returns in strength it feels more like a moment where Batman is aided by a fellow super-hero than by the powerful, watchful, invasive parental figure of the first part of the story. And that's where it ends - this is a work in progress.

I'm confused by this, deeply confused. The story sets up questions about parenthood and then doesn't answer them. It asks a lot of questions of Bruce Wayne and then tells us that he doesn't matter. It tells us Batman is weak and then has him triumph in every struggle alone. It's a story that feels more like a dream in the chapters where Batman is fully awake.

And for my own money, I think Batman is the least interesting part of any story involving Batman. Batman never feels like a person; Batman is a weapon created by Bruce Wayne to overcome his own limitations. This story, like so many before it, tells us that the weapon that is Batman is perfect - it does not need help, love or friendship. But it also tells us that Bruce Wayne can call on that weapon even in his darkest and most confused state, meaning that Bruce Wayne as a human being has all the importance and significance of Optimus Prime's truck form.

THE LIST:

Frequency

Ordinary World

Discord's First Very Faithful Student

My Muffin

Plus some given to me via PM/Gdocs.

Interested in having your story overthought? Post a link in the comments and I'll add it to the list!

Thanqol · 58 views · Edited 1d, 1h ago · Report

Latest Stories

  • E Rainbow Dash Digs Herself Into A Hole

    Rainbow Dash excavates a significant quantity of earth and stone in order to deliver comeuppance to Applejack.  · Thanqol
    3,551 words · 812 views  ·  103  ·  2
  • E Easy As Lying

    I am going to lie to you.  · Thanqol
    8,498 words · 3,061 views  ·  195  ·  5
  • E The Hound of Ponyville

    Mystery, humour, fashion and crime!  · Thanqol
    20,113 words · 598 views  ·  62  ·  1
  • E A Study In Rainbows

    Mystery, humour, fashion and crime!  · Thanqol
    18,629 words · 1,444 views  ·  179  ·  1
  • E Do Not Serve These Ponies

    Lyra intends to prove that humans exist no matter how many museums she has to destroy  · Thanqol
    21,083 words · 7,138 views  ·  649  ·  14
  • E The Old Stories

    There are stories which define us. Stories that inspire us. And there are stories that damn us.  · Thanqol
    9,277 words · 3,405 views  ·  393  ·  2
  • E Yours Truly

    Distance can drive us apart. It can also bring us closer together.  · Thanqol
    18,646 words · 25,443 views  ·  1,828  ·  30
  • E The Zecorax

    "Unless somepony like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."  · Thanqol
    3,237 words · 1,008 views  ·  72  ·  1
  • Viewing 38 - 42 of 42
#42 · 3w, 1d ago · · ·

Thank you very much for the watch! :twilightsmile:

#41 · 9w, 6d ago · · ·

>>1516134

I mean, I would love to continue writing, because I truly miss it; being able to take ideas from my head and build something from them is a great feeling for me.

I just got caught up in the "popularity race" on the site, and lost sight of why I started writing in the first place.

#40 · 10w, 21h ago · · ·

>>1515680 It's a pity that turned you off horse writing but like 90% of writing is weird psychological tricks to convince yourself to write anyway. My whole foray into spirituality is purely so I can keep my shit together when writing.

#39 · 10w, 1d ago · · ·

>>1468277

Sadly, a majority of writers on this site are merely here to see if they can make it onto the "top 50" list, which is quite sad. I personally would love to be a popular writer here, but I have realized (and have sort of made peace with) that I'll never achieve that goal, because I don't write the "deep" and "smart" stories that a majority of the site's users want to read.

I used to have fun with writing horsewords, until I became obsessed with wanting to be the next Pen Stroke, Gardez, Eakin, etc.  That's why I no longer read or write any pony fanfiction; I stick to reading my favorite published fiction because I'm not intimidated by those who write as a career.

#38 · 14w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

>>1467467

Write the stories that you want to read. Never write for fame, fortune, glory or praise. Those things will come automatically as you grow. Write for you, or your very close friends.

Every story I've written for the wrong reasons has been terrible. Keep your motives pure.

  • Viewing 38 - 42 of 42
Login or register to comment