View Poll Results: What do the stakes need to be?

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8. You may not vote on this poll
  • Solving/Preventing a theft

    0 0%
  • Solving/Preventing a murder

    0 0%
  • Solving/Preventing multiple murders

    5 62.50%
  • City destruction/domination

    0 0%
  • World destruction/domination

    0 0%
  • Other - please describe

    3 37.50%
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  1. #1
    Astonishing Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Default What are the stakes in a good story - theft, murder, city domination, world?

    There are loads of old stories where Batman's trying to stop a villain from stealing something. They villain may well be absolutely willing to kill, but murder isn't their goal - money/theft is. Do you think that can still make a good story, or are the stakes too low?

    What about solving a single murder? He used to do a bit of that. Serial killer?

    Or does it need to be threats to the entire city or even world to be big enough to really engage you? I mean, the case-aspect of the story, not the personal stuff.

  2. #2
    Extraordinary Member Jackalope89's Avatar
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    Good writing. The stakes can be world shaking, or Condiment King staining some poor bystander's clothes with ketchup. What matters is how its written for me to enjoy. And decent artwork too.

  3. #3
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    I’m cheating a bit - I hit “other” and I’ll put down “A sufficiently challenging and clever conflict.”

    A good enough heist story he has to prevent, a good enough murder story, a good enough “war,” all of that can ultimately rise or fall depending on how challenging and clever the conflict is. Morrison having Batman deduce the world’s new heroes are actually White Martian infiltrators and spring a gasoline and fire based trap on them? Brilliant. BTAS having Batman deduce Riddler’s scam in his last main villain appearance where he pretended to go straight, expose himself do escape Riddler’s last trap for him? Brilliant. Batman having to deal with Hugo Strange creating a rabid cop vigilante and stop him while the body counts still comparatively low? Brilliant.

    Plenty of major world threatening stories have been unimpressive (I’m looking at you, DC New 52 Animated movies), and plenty of smaller scale stories have been pretty good.

    Ultimately, the key thing for me is how believably Batman feels challenged.
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  4. #4
    Astonishing Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by godisawesome View Post
    I’m cheating a bit - I hit “other” and I’ll put down “A sufficiently challenging and clever conflict.”

    A good enough heist story he has to prevent, a good enough murder story, a good enough “war,” all of that can ultimately rise or fall depending on how challenging and clever the conflict is.
    For me, it has to be a sufficiently believable one, though. It cannot be a BatGod level of detective/tactician/warrior. "More difficult" is only good up to a certain point, if you know what I mean? Him knowing or deducing things he could not reasonably know or being able to do things no human should. Though I guess if that's the case, it's not really clever.

  5. #5
    A Wearied Madness Vakanai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tzigone View Post
    I mean, the case-aspect of the story, not the personal stuff.
    Well that makes it difficult, if we can't answer "personal stakes" then...

    It's a toughie. With good writing pretty much any of these could be good.
    Year One - Batman fights the mob.
    The Long Halloween - Batman goes against a serial killer.
    The Man Who Laughs - Batman saves the city from being poisoned.
    Under the Red Hood - Batman fights a new crime lord, kinda.
    Hush - Someone targets Batman personally.

    I could go on, Prey, Monster Men, Mad Monk, The Dark Knight Returns, Gotham by Gaslight, Doom that Came to Gotham, White Knight, and so on, stories both in and out of continuity, but the point is when you list all the best stories, they really don't have a lot in common. Year One doesn't feature a single classic rogue, Long Halloween features almost all of them, Dark Knight Returns almost feels like a gritty noir Labors of Hercules, the Red Hood is a personal story. I mean The Killing Joke is low stakes to the city but high stakes to Batman with Babs crippled and Jim kidnapped. But all these different stories work, they're classics. The stakes aren't important, because there are good stories featuring just about every kind of stake.


    Except theft, I can't think of a classic story where a villain is just out to steal something - but I believe it could be done. A great detective vs master theif story, like Batman versus a Lupin type character, could be a great instant classic, just needs the right writer and artist to pull it off.

  6. #6
    Post Editing OCD Confuzzled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vakanai View Post
    Except theft, I can't think of a classic story where a villain is just out to steal something
    Selina's Big Score? It should be considered a classic if it isn't. Definitely one of the best Catwoman stories ever told.

  7. #7
    A Wearied Madness Vakanai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Confuzzled View Post
    Selina's Big Score? It should be considered a classic if it isn't. Definitely one of the best Catwoman stories ever told.
    I'll have to add that to my wishlist. Thanks for the recommendation.

  8. #8
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Whatever the stakes need to be to fit the story the authors are trying to tell, then it is in the execution.

  9. #9
    Astonishing Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    Whatever the stakes need to be to fit the story the authors are trying to tell, then it is in the execution.
    Maybe I'm not being clear enough - the idea is if there's a new story being released, not in the regular title you are already reading, what sort of synopsis of the crime/challenge does it take to make you interested enough to buy it? Of those stories you have read - what's the liklihood/percentages of stories with each set of stakes be to engage your or make it to your favorite stories list?

  10. #10
    Astonishing Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    Specifically about Batman, if he's alone... since he's a dark knight detective in a long series, my preference would be him, solving cases with a sprinkle of fighting, like a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories some cases can be big or small, it doesn't matter, as long as the case is good. Of course, this will be very difficult with only one or two writers, so this is when we benefit on having multiple.

    Once we add other branded characters, whether it's any of the Batman family or any of the rogues' gallery since they're all branded by now, it's a case by case basis on how much I know them, what are they known for, do I enjoy their stories, and what have I read that I want to see more or less.
    Last edited by Restingvoice; 03-28-2020 at 10:50 AM.

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member Pohzee's Avatar
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    City domination is the cheesiest, dumbest option here. Too big in scope for solid B-list stories but laughably small for big league players. And just hard to imagine the end game of that. So of course that's what every story is about now.
    It's the Dynamic Duo! Batman and Robin!... and Red Robin and Red Hood and Nightwing and Batwoman and Batgirl and Orphan and Spoiler and Bluebird and Lark and Gotham Girl and Talon and Batwing and Huntress and Azreal and Flamebird and Batcow?

    Since when could just anybody do what we trained to do? It makes it all dumb instead of special. Like it doesn't matter anymore.
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  12. #12
    Post Editing OCD Confuzzled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pohzee View Post
    City domination is the cheesiest, dumbest option here. Too big in scope for solid B-list stories but laughably small for big league players. And just hard to imagine the end game of that. So of course that's what every story is about now.
    It's been the theme in every single live action Batman solo film so far, so it's not hard to see why comic writers keep going to that well, probably hoping their storyline inspires the next Bat-film.

    If Matt Reeves' The Batman is a more faithful retelling of The Long Halloween, then hopefully it serves as a refreshing change of pace for both Batman live action and comics.

  13. #13
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    As much as I loved the Nolan movies (and I did. Well, at least the last two), one thing that always bugged me about them was it was always the entire city at stake. There can be smaller stakes that can be every bit of compelling, IMHO.
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  14. #14
    Extraordinary Member Jackalope89's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tzigone View Post
    Maybe I'm not being clear enough - the idea is if there's a new story being released, not in the regular title you are already reading, what sort of synopsis of the crime/challenge does it take to make you interested enough to buy it? Of those stories you have read - what's the liklihood/percentages of stories with each set of stakes be to engage your or make it to your favorite stories list?
    For me; the stakes are only a small part of it. Its all in the execution.

  15. #15
    Astonishing Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackalope89 View Post
    For me; the stakes are only a small part of it. Its all in the execution.
    Okay. I guess the original question simply doesn't apply to you. So, to veer off on a tangent, you can't know the execution until after you've read it - what stakes are enough to gain your interest before you've read it? Your top 10 Batman stories, what were the stakes? If you were to break down stories you liked with each set of stakes, what percentage would be in each category? If you don't favor or dislike a particular type of story, that's fine - I'm just trying to get a vibe from those that do.

    City domination is the cheesiest, dumbest option here. Too big in scope for solid B-list stories but laughably small for big league players. And just hard to imagine the end game of that. So of course that's what every story is about now.
    For me, they just don't make sense, no matter how well-wrought or what explanations are given. If the city's in danger and the world isn't, there's no good reason all the other available heroes (in a world this big) don't come in and help. Hell, it's a really hard sell for me that other parts of the government don't. I just can't get past that roadblock. Other things inherent in the premise of the characters (aliens who fly, etc.) don't bother me. But when it doesn't make sense within the fiction, it's no dice for me.

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