Batman And The Facts Of Life

The rap against superhero comics is often that they don’t understand women. But I was watching the otherwise quite good Batman: Year One with some blogger friends on Wednesday night, and we noticed something strange. The movie appears to have no idea of how long a typical pregnancy lasts. Jim Gordon’s wife is visibly pregnant when they move to Gotham in January, and doesn’t give birth until November. It’s not the absolute end of the world or anything, but it’s a weird thing to get wrong, and the kind of error that’s immediately jarring to women or to men old enough to know women who have gone through pregnancy. And because baby Jim is just a couple of weeks old when he’s dropped off a bridge (though of course Batman saves him), it’s even more anxiety-producing than I think might have been intended: I know I was doing all sorts of calculations about a Gwen Stacy-like fall on a kid whose skull hasn’t closed all the way up yet.

That aside, the short is quite good, particularly Brian Cranston as Gordon and Katee Sackhoff as Sarah Essen, his partner and, for a while, his lover. It would be fun to see Cranston apply the toughness he’s developed playing Walter White on Breaking Bad to a role where he’s nominally on the right side of the law. And if some subsequent Batman director wants to bring in Katee Sackhoff, who really should not be relegated to Lifetime series post Battlestar Galactica, for some sort of role in some sort of subsequent Batman universe, I think that’d be a fine choice. Nolan’s trilogy has been wonderful, but so male.