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Anarky was created by Alan Grant not simply to introduce anarchist philosophy to the DC universe, but also to create a conflict in the reader. Ideally, the reader should want to cheer Anarky on, even though he is the bad guy against the capitalist, corporate vigilante Batman. If well written, Anarky can do what any superhero can do — deliver great dialogue, beat up the bad guy, save the day, and keep us entertained while doing so. However, at their best, the writers should aim to inspire in the reader a heroic sense that oppressive circumstances can be resisted.


Here are some examples of Anarky doing that. They may not be as incredible as being faster than a speeding bullet, or being more powerful than a locomotive, but they serve their purpose.

  • Giving courage to those who have lost everything to fight back: Detective Comics No.609, "Anarky in Gotham" (part two) (1989)
    • When a group of homeless men find their slum community, "Cardboard City", taken over by a bank and demolished to create a new banking headquarters, they aren't given any compensation or a new place to live. Each is simply left to stew in misery on the sidewalk next to the dirt lot they once called home. That is until Anarky rouses them with a speech, reminding them they still have dignity. The men break into the construction grounds and run riot, destroying the bank's new home as the bank had destroyed theirs. They're so confident, they don't even stop when Batman shows up, and courageously fight Batman in Anarky's defense.

  • Revealing the truth behind CEO corruption, and getting the public to agree with him against Bruce Wayne: The Batman Adventures No.31, "Anarky" (1995)
    • When Anarky takes several business men hostage and broadcasts a show trial of their corruption, each man defends himself on the basis that he did nothing illegal. No dice there. Anarky points out that while they aren't technically criminal, they certainly are ethically the bad guys. Even with Bruce Wayne as their appointed defender, nothing Bruce says can polish the men's reputation for the public, who are shown to be increasingly on Anarky's side. So when Anarky puts the fate of each man in the hands of the public, sets computer-controlled bombs before them, and asks the public to call a phone number for guilty to activate the explosions, we can expect that he has crossed the Moral Event Horizon. But not so fast. Anarky still has his own ethical standards, and the bombs are revealed to have been duds. The whole show trial was intended to raise public consciousness, and while extremist, was never a truly dangerous scenario.

  • Taking responsibility and saving those he put in danger: Batman: The Shadow of the Bat No. 40, "Anarky" (part two) (1995)
    • When Anarky mistakenly funds a terrorist when he thought he was donating to a propagandist for social change, Anarky, a civilian detective named Joe Patatoe, and Batman, are each captured and strapped to a blip rigged to explode over the city of Gotham. With Batman knocked out entirely, Anarky manages to free himself and then Joe. Given the situation, there's no way to disable the bomb, or escape without abandoning Batman or and Gotham to its fate. Anarky takes responsibility for the events, turns to Joe and apologizes, then says they have to steer the blimp out to sea. They stay aboard just long enough to save the city, before Anarky cuts Joe and Batman loose. He, however, is tangled in the rigging rope, and dies alone having saved everyone. Until he is revealed to have survived in Anarky No.1 two years later.


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