Comics Reviews

DC Revealed the Worst Batman’s Weirdest Hatred Is Not the Joker

Traveling to the world of the Zoo Crew in Justice League Incarnate #3, Flashpoint Batman can’t stand the cheery world of cartoony animals.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Justice League Incarnate #3, now on sale

Justice League Incarnate has been a multiversal roller-coaster ride, creating a Justice League that pulls members from all manner of different continuities. These include the universe of Flashpoint, with the Thomas Wayne Batman being the Caped Crusader of the team. Much as he was in that story, this universe’s Batman is darker than ever, which makes him incredibly uncomfortable in one universe in particular.

Traveling to the world of Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew in Justice League Incarnate #3, Flashpoint Batman can’t stand the cheery world of cartoony animals. He continually makes this clear, much to the eventual chagrin of the mangy menagerie. Here’s a closer look at just who these lovable animals are, and why such a grim character like Flashpoint Batman absolutely hates their bestial guts.

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Who Are Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew?

Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew Header

Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew debuted in a special insert within The New Teen Titans #16. Eventually, they were spun off into their own series, which, though it lasted for less than two years, was something of a darling among long-time fans and collectors. The series, as its name might suggest, is based within a world full of anthropomorphic animals, many of whom become superheroes and defend their world against animalistic evildoers. They gain their gifts after a mysterious meteor shower, bequeathing them with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal mutts.

The leader is the eponymous Captain Carrot, who, with his vast strength, invulnerability and other powers, functions essentially as the Superman of his world. Other members include Rubberduck (a sort of Plastic Man stand-in), as well as Yankee Poodle and Pig-Iron. Their villains would typically be more original, although some of them, such as Amazoo and Feline Faust, were based off of existing DC bad guys.

Though they exist in their own universe, the Zoo Crew have been staples of DC for years in various ways. One is that they tend to show up in some form or fashion during mega-crossovers, though these are typically winks at the readers and never huge roles. Their wider influence outside of this may be on the character Stargirl. Geoff Johns, the creator of Stargirl, is apparently a big Zoo Crew fan, a trait that he gave to the character. Apparently a fictional franchise in the DC Universe, the Zoo Crew and Yankee Poodle especially inspired Stargirl’s costume.

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Why Does Flashpoint Batman Hate the Zoo Crew?

In the third issue of Justice League Incarnate, Flashpoint Batman finds himself in the world of the Zoo Crew. Recast in a cartoony art style, the grungy, grim and gritty Thomas Wayne is completely at odds in this world. This makes him stand out more when he violently takes out Feline Faust, noting via profanity that he hates magic. The Zoo Crew applaud Batman and can’t thank him enough, but he’s continually disgusted and annoyed with the happy and childish universe.

Eventually, Flashpoint Batman is taken away from this world by Avery Ho, a speedster who is the Flash of China. Before leaving, he notes that anywhere else would be an improvement, which clearly surprises and insults the Zoo Crew. This could all just be a giant gag reflecting how, as one of the darkest versions of Batman, Flashpoint Batman has absolutely no time for what he sees as silly and dumb animals “playing” superhero. Then again, given the looming multiversal threat and the general tragedy of his own life, it does somewhat make sense.

In his universe, Thomas Wayne and his wife saw their son Bruce killed by a criminal in an alley, with Martha eventually becoming the Joker after losing her sanity from the event. Seeing his son die and his wife become a twisted criminal clearly had a horrendous effect on Flashpoint Batman, which likely wasn’t made better when he came to the mainstream DC Universe and saw how its Bruce Wayne failed to give Damian Wayne the childhood that Thomas should’ve given his Bruce. With all of this in mind, it’s understandable why he would scoff at an entire world where laughable “threats” are dealt with via kiddy cartoon animals. It could also be a reference to the fact that when the Zoo Crew got their own short-lived flop of a comic book, dark and gritty comics were becoming all the rage. Whatever the reasoning may be, it’s obvious that while the Zoo Crew may be big time heroes on their Earth, in the red eyes of the Flashpoint Batman, they’re nothing but a bad barnyard joke.

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