He’s just as Lost As You are in Fortnite Now

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Batman finds himself ambushed in a world even stranger than Gotham City.
Image: Reilly Brown, Nelson Faro DeCastro, and John Kalisz/DC Comics

Fortnite’s comic invasion left some people unknowing of the devastating global phenomenon of a black hole video game/metaculture about just what the appeal is for an apparently overwhelming world. Well, Batman is now among those, for very different reasons, but it is already doing some very interesting things by putting the Dark Knight into Fortnite.

Batman/Fortnite: Zero point number 1, by Christos Gage, Reilly Brown, Nelson Faro DeCastro, John Kalisz, and Andworld Design, is strangely but perhaps strangely suited for such a crossover. It’s not Batman the first time he tussled with Epic’s huge royal shooter. Batman and many of his Gotham friends and frenzies have already appeared in the game, including Joker and Harley Quinn, Catwoman, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman. Subjects like the Events of Avengers: Endgage’s collaboration with the game, without any specific story hooks.

Things are changing with Batman/Fortnite who – apart from the issue with theme skins to the game – wants to tell a story about what it actually means for these characters to fly into Fortnite’s melting pot. This, of course, is a brand-name smorgasbord of crossover weathering. And it’s not completely new; after all, Fortnite’s recent Marvel Comics season also included a tie-in comic revolving around Thor trying to save his fellow heroes from the cyclical cyclic destruction manic universe of Fortnite.

However, the first issue of Batman/Fortnite starts with a way of making a fascinating think-tank experience using the nature of Fortnite as a round-base game. So if Batman is robbed of all he believes to make him batman, from his reputation and history to his allies and even his own voice, then what is Batman, in the first place? Batman?

Batman and Fortnite #1 open just as many of the cultural popular collaborations of Fortnite recently have: a strange tear has in fact opened over the existence of our hero, Gotham City, of course. After watching Harley Quinn jump into it, Batman is forcefully shocked by an unseen assailant while attempting to investigate it. The result is very similar, whether intentional or otherwise. Now Batman is in the world of former chug jugs and combat busses, which is Fortnite.

Since the game is just growing out of a video game phenomenon—which can be as simple as that—into a hybrid metaverse of concerts, movies, Hollywood ads and brand crossings, some kind of background ephemeral has developed in Fortnite Lore. Essentially it is an attempt to square the circle with what it really means, textually, to have a round match in which Skywalker can parachute like Batman in the vicinity of Black Widow, flee a rampant Sarah Connor, and shotgun a walking banana in a tuxedo in front of paragliding out of a cliff.

Image: Reilly Brown, Nelson Faro DeCastro, John Kalisz, and Andworld Design/DC Comics

The reply we saw played out in crossroads such as the Marvel comic is the loss of memory. Heroes enter the world of Fortnite and are robbed of any understanding of who they are and where they are coming from—and then thrown into the warmth of a battle to survive, with a recollection that resets every time a round of Fortnite is over, whether a survivor stands or a mysterious storm surrounds the system of the Island of the game that closes in to destroy all that is at its disposal. On waking up in the world of Fortnite, Batman is facing a similar mentality, but an interesting twist: His initial reaction is not fighting, even in self defense, when he first meets someone, but rather trying to speak down with his opposite.

Batman could not, except. He was not only robbed of his sense of self by Fortnite’s plane of existence, but even his very own voice. And this is what creates an interesting problem of self-discovery, well, for our Dark Knight.

Image: Reilly Brown, Nelson Faro DeCastro, John Kalisz, and Andworld Design/DC Comics

Removed from all his knowledge and identity—the Batman person, the symbol of bullying and power, which is greater than life, that informs so much about Bruce’s way of dealing with problems in his home country—what follows for much of Batman /Fortnite #1 is an internal monologue. Since the World’s Most Detective must acclimatize himself to his new position quickly, he understands what a sense of his self he can find. For instance, he knows that his opponents and himself are trained fighters, otherwise a pickaxe assailant could not suddenly attack him. Piece by piece, while Bruce is wrestling through the absurdity, you see that even removed from its center, what Batman/Fortnite initially seems to suggest is Batman’s essence: his ability to constantly break down a situation and understand it, even though part of that situation is to pull the rug out completely from the bottom of himself.

However, then the problem provides a different answer to the question of what Batman defines. What if his mind wasn’t, the Batman is the World’s Greatest Detective?

What if his heart was?

Image: Reilly Brown, Nelson Faro DeCastro, John Kalisz, and Andworld Design/DC Comics

Batman finds himself intrigued by a character, above all, across a sea of bodies locked in war: a woman we know as Selina Kyle, Catwoman, but Bruce’s a strange yet attractive person. You are drawn together silently but explicitly in this struggle with every last male, woman, alien, fish or sensitive piece of fruit – although not knowing what you and yourselves are in and with yourselves. Bruce is, analytic as never before, as the coordination naturally synchronizes with him who this woman is — a friend, an ally, perhaps even a paramour. Even the internal dialog of Bruce changes.

He’s no longer the great detective for a moment. He reads as almost excited, hoping that the woman he knows is someone that he cares about and hoping that finding her will bring the victory and answer all his questions with victory. But it’s Fortnite, and victory is only a reset. This is something Bruce and Selina realize, even unaware of themselves, since the last two stand in the circles of Fortnite. Since they are both sacrificed to Fortnite, their last moment is a touchingly intimate one — a smile shared as Selina places her hand on his shoulder.

Image: Reilly Brown, Nelson Faro DeCastro, John Kalisz, and Andworld Design/DC Comics

Time tells what Batman/Fortnite will do, as Bruce inevitably begins to unite his real identity, to re-establish his odd, gamified reality. But when this idea is used to question what Batman defines at heart, the series already shows something much more intimate when stripped of his history and context. And certainly more interesting than you would expect from a brand crossover that would otherwise be cliché—one iconic estate riding on another, two contemporary artists passing through the evening.

In the past many artists tried to distill Batman’s essence. Maybe we should also give Fortnite the chance.