Wednesday, 12 December 2012
Cringeworthy Comicbook Moments: The Mad Hatter's Villainous Scheme
From Robin: Year One
There have been a rash of disappearances of girls in their early teens around Gotham, police are looking but as yet there isn't really a pattern as such, thinking that at least some of them might be runaways. As such no warnings have been circulated amongst people beyond the standard Stranger Danger PSAs, but since this is Gotham some dangers are stranger than others.
As two classmates of the young Dick Grayson are about to find out...
Later that night Bruce and Dick duck out of a reception with the head of Rheelasia (an East Asian state in the DCU that has fufilled the function of numerous countries, most recently divided in half to serve as a reference to North and South Korea in the Young Justice TV show) to meet with Commissioner Gordon. With the disappearance of the above girl, the total number of missing kids has risen to eight and although it's possible that they might be runaways, he thought that Batman and Robin should check it out, just to be on the safeside.
They go and beat up the usual suspects, the gangsters and the like who might be into that kind of thing, but come up with no leads. The dynamic duo return to the Batcave to comb over what little they've been able to work out...
Yeah, that's right: the Mad Hatter has been kidnapping girls in their early teens off the street, dressing them as Alice (including dying their hair) and mindcontrolling them, all so he could sell them to a foreign head of state as sex slaves. With the possiblity that they might never have been found and just chalked up to being runaways, and are only really saved due to Tetch just happening to target the two girls from the first two pages (the blonde friend comes back to look for her friend and gets snatched as well, just as Dick was following her in secret).
Dick does manage to save the day, and with this supposedly being Tetch's first outing in this version of the DCU I guess the fact that the girls kept falling for his "free headphones!" thing wasn't yet a case of them not being particularly genre savvy about the city they lived in.
I would argue that the idea of a foreign head of state having people kidnapped from other countries for his own amusement was kind of racist... which it is... but Lee appears to be based partially on Kim Jong Il who did actually do this many, MANY times.
Lee manages to (smugly) escape prosecution by claiming he has diplomatic immunity and that Jim just doesn't have the authority to arrest visiting heads of state. Not sure about the second one, but yeah, I'm almost certain diplomatic immunity doesn't work that way.
1. both Tetch and the girls were found on the yacht Lee was staying on in Gotham Harbour, and Lee's assistant/henchman attacked Robin when he discovered that he had nine kidnapped teenage girls in the hold.
2. He admitted he was involved, without even claiming his assistant was doing it without his knowledge or conscent. Pretty sure that committing a federal crime on US soil and openly admitting it to the police isn't something that the US State Department is going to get slide...