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Batman and Lex Luthor stand face to face. Lex is in a white suit with purple shirt and pocket square.  “I take it you two know each other?” asks a woman in Batman #119 (2022). Image: Joshua Williamson, Jorge Molina, Adriano Di Benedetto/DC Comics

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Batman is so broke right now that Lex Luthor is offering him a handout

The rich kids are fightinnnnnnnnnng

Batman is going through reduced circumstances these days. Billionaire Bruce Wayne is now merely a millionaire, prompting a downsizing of his Batman operation. The cave and Wayne Manor have been shuttered in favor of a city brownstone and a series of “micro-caves” and caches hidden throughout Gotham’s sewer systems. And if he trashes the Batmobile these days, he’s got to fix it up himself.

But what does that mean for Batman’s only occasionally mentioned international operation, Batman Inc.? That’s the question that Joshua Williamson’s Batman run is asking. Are all the international vigilantes getting enough funding?

The answer is no, and Lex Luthor has immediately swept in to flex on Batman for having fallen to “regular” rich from hyper-rich.

What else is happening in the pages of our favorite comics? We’ll tell you. Welcome to Monday Funnies, Polygon’s weekly list of the books that our comics editor enjoyed this past week. It’s part society pages of superhero lives, part reading recommendations, part “look at this cool art.” There may be some spoilers. There may not be enough context. But there will be great comics. (And if you missed the last edition, read this.)


Batman #119

Lex Luthor adjusts his tie after Bruce Wayne throws him back into his seat, coughing. “Don’t get emotional on me,” the villain says. “With my help, my money, you can continue to be the very best Batman you can be,” in Batman #119 (2022). Image: Joshua Williamson, Jorge Molina, Adriano Di Benedetto/DC Comics

Several members of Batman Inc. appear to have been framed for murder, and Lex invited Bruce out to the most expensive dinner possible to offer to bankroll his efforts to exonerate them.

Everything about it is the smarmiest flex; Lex orders a priceless bottle of wine, pours himself a single glass, and dumps the rest out on the floor. He in no way tries to hide that he’s here to lock Bruce into an untenable situation. “Hey, have you fallen low enough that I can manipulate you into becoming depending on me? Just checking in, haha.”

You absolutely hate him and he’s not even doing any crimes. He’s offering to help fix a crime! It’s wonderful.

Inferno #4

Destiny explains how Doug Ramsey has just changed the whole game, reshaping the future of Krakoa in an instant, as Doug explains confidently why they won’t be able to kill him in Inferno #4 (2022). Image: Jonathan Hickman, Valerio Schiti, Stefano Caselli/Marvel Comics

There was a lot to say about Inferno, the final issue in Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men run, but if there’s something I love to see it’s comics creators with an obvious joyful bias towards underserved characters. Case in point: Hickman dropping the mic on X-Men by making Cipher the cleverest and most principled person on Krakoa. “It’s always a thing to be proud of, obeying the laws you make for others.” Sublime.

Detective Comics #1047

Middle-aged reporter Deb Donovan has a beer and a full diner breakfast as talks with Kate Kane in Detective Comics #1047 (2022). Image: Mariko Tamaki, Ivan Reis/DC Comics

It’s 2022, a woman is writing a core Batman title for the second time ever in history, it’s DC’s oldest title and namesake, and she’s doing a 12-issue weekly Bat-family miniseries about a new crack at jailing supervillains in Gotham City, Arkham Tower. That’s all impressive enough, but I think my favorite thing about Mariko Tamaki’s Detective Comics is the supporting cast of civilians she’s established over her year on the title, especially Deb Donovan, the plump, middle-aged, hard-drinking beat reporter who believes in a better Gotham City even though she knows it will always disappoint her.

X-Men #6

Captain Krakoa (actually Scott Summers/Cyclops in disguse) hovers above two bystanders pretty much exactly like Superman. “Who are you?” they ask in X-Men #6 (2022). Image: Gerry Duggan, Pepe Larraz/Marvel Comics

OK, so, we don’t have the full story on it yet, but it appears that between issues of X-Men, Cyclops died in a very public way — and since mutant resurrection is still a secret, that means he can’t just waltz back onto the very public X-Men team. So Krakoa’s Quiet Council is mandating that he take on a new flight-granting supersuit and superhero identity as ... Captain Krakoa.

He hates it. It’s hilarious. This Pepe Larraz costume is so dumb and perfect.

Shang-Chi #7

Shang-Chi’s mother descirbes her life as a defender of the alternate dimension of Ta Lo in Shang-Chi #7 (2022). Image: Gene Luen Yang, Dike Ruan/Marvel Comics

I am of the opinion that comics should be the primary driving force of creativity in superhero fiction. But I make an exception to that when it’s a case of comics creators borrowing from the stuff film adaptations have done to rehabilitate some of superhero fiction’s deepest flaws. Ta-Nehisi Coates finding a way to bring movie-inspired versions of Nakia, M’Baku and Killmonger into modern Marvel continuity, for example. And now, Gene Luen Yang and Dike Ruan incorporating Shang-Chi’s mother Jiang Li and the mythical dimension of Ta-Lo into the Marvel Comics canon.