December 4, 2021

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #317: The Idiot

Batman fought this...thing once. He defeated it in a stupid way.

You know, I’ve done some really obscure characters in this space over the years, but sometimes I just get someone stuck in my mental craw and I figure I have a column.  And sometimes I stop because, well, there’s like one halfway decent image of the character and I figure I shouldn’t bother.

But some characters strike me as so…something that I will go along with that anyway.  And that is why this week, I am covering the Idiot, a one-time Batman foe he probably shouldn’t have beaten but he did and we haven’t seen him since.

There was one good picture of him on Google Images.

The Idiot was the central antagonist in a four part story, jumping between the pages of Batman and Detective Comics from writer Peter Milligan and artist Norm Breyfogle.  Now, Milligan has done a bit of Vertigo writing, and his stuff tends to be a bit…weird, so at least this story fits into his general wheelhouse.

I found, like, two images of the Idiot and this was one of them. Draw your own conclusions.

Anyhoo, the story was called “The Idiot Root” and had Batman traveling to South America to deal with an entity, the Idiot, that was driving people literally insane.  Batman looked into it, and he dealt with a being who had no physical form and only Batman’s own iron will kept him from going at all insane.  How could Batman defeat an enemy he could only barely hold off and not much more?

I mean, the Idiot was the product of a scientist attempting to cure four different men with mental illnesses using a rare Amazonian plant called “the Idiot Root” that allowed the four to create a shared mental landscape as a means of finding a cure to their collective condition.  Instead it created Caesar Lopez, the Idiot, a being whose whole purpose was to drive other people insane by implanting bizarre ideas into their minds.

Therein lay one of the major problems with this storyline…you know, besides how Batman really wasn’t equipped to fight a being he literally couldn’t touch.  The ideas the Idiot implanted were too insane for either Milligan to put into words or for Breyfogle to draw aside from one that showed some Amazon natives paddling some old fashioned convertibles down a river.  So, really, it was hard to see the Idiot as much of a threat when he was so…vague.

So, how did Batman beat this guy?  Well, he did some research, found out Caesar had a fear of birds, and he let a flock of birds loose on the Idiot…and they pecked him into nothingness.  I didn’t understand how that worked when I read the story, and I don’t really understand how it works now, but it did.

That’s kinda dumb, isn’t it?  Just get some birds to, like, eat a guy?  Well, it happened, I remembered it, and now I got a column our of it, so the story did that much at least.


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