Why I Hate Batman 1: The Saboteur

People assume that because you love comics, you love certain comics characters. I always found that a bit strange. After all, if you tell me you love movies, I’m not going to automatically assume you love Luke Skywalker and E.T. But I get it all the time…

“Whattaya like? Spider-Man? X-Men? Superman?”

Usually the answer is “if the story’s good, I like the story”.  I sidestep the question, rather than insult the questioner.

But if you go “Batman?”…well, hell no. I do not like Batman.


I’ve liked Batman comics, mind you. I’ve liked some of the movies. I’m sure there’s an action figure I like. The first animated series is on? Heck, I’ll watch. Got some bootleg Adam West action? Yes, please.

But Batman seems to intersect in my life in weird ways that just irk the heck out of me. It’s a strange anti-synchronicity that just lingers like an infection. When Batman- not the fictional character, but the concept, the business entity, the corporation (not to be confused with Grant Morrison’s new Batman Inc. comic- intersects with the real world, bad things happen.

Case in pont: The Saboteur, a video game I’m in love with right now.

The Saboteur is a sandbox game for the Playstation 3 and XBox 360. The game is set in Paris during the Nazi occupancy in World War II. You play Sean Devlin, an Irish race car driver who seeks revenge on a high-ranking Nazi for killing his friend. You can climb Parisian rooftops, blowing up sniper nests, propoganda speakers, and anti-aircraft installations. You can race in the countryside, or try to outrun German motorbikes in the street. You can even take in a sexy burlesque show (if you have the downloadable content, which came free in my copy of the game).

Unlike other sandbox games I’ve played, the optional missions actually play a part in the overall game. You get contraband for your accomplishments, which you use for weapons, ammunition, explosive, and other perks. And while you’re playing, jazz vocal music from such luminaries as Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald wafts through the air. The art in the game is gorgeous, and the color palette actually changes depending on whether or not you’ve freed an area from Nazi rule. It’s one of the best games I’ve ever played.

It’s also the last game released from its developer, Pandemic Studios. And this is why I hate Batman today.

According to numerous reports (including this Kotaku story), the parent company of Pandemic, EA, secured the rights to a tie-in game to the Batman: The Dark Knight movie. However, the rights would expire in eighteen months. Miscommunication led to a forced revamp of the project a few months in, and despite a scramble to finish on-time, a sellable game was never completed.  As a result, the company was eventually closed by EA during a round of cost-cutting.

So, because of Batman, I’ll never get to play The Saboteur 2. And that’s a damn shame.

Damn Batman.

Today’s links:

Bill Sienkiewicz breaks the silence about Big Numbers #3. Fantastic scoop by Pádraig Ó Méalóid.

Colleen Doran talks about the success of the Distant Soil webcomic. You ARE reading A Distant Soil, aren’t you?

Heidi McDonald talks about her struggles with the technology that powers one of the best blogs about comics today, The Beat.

Wired Magazine got every prediction right about 2010. At least they THINK they did…

Dueling Analogs perfectly sums up my feelings about most videogames. (But not The Saboteur, because that’s just awesome.)

Don’t be down about 2011, says Charles Stross.

Tom Spurgeon interviews the curator of the Comic Art Museum, Andrew Farago.

Finally, an interesting look at sales of Jamie Hernandez original art.

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