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Batman & Captain America is a 1996 Elseworlds one-shot crossover written and illustrated by John Byrne, with coloring by Patricia Mulvihill. Batman and Captain America team up to stop Red Skull and The Joker.


Tropes

  • The '40s: The story takes place during the height of World War II, with Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes reassigned from the battlefield to keep an eye on Bruce Wayne, whose connection to the Gotham Project makes him a potential security risk.
  • Cameo: Easy Company appears early in the comic, fighting alongside Captain America.
  • Canon Welding: The ending reveals that this story takes place in the same universe as Superman & Batman: Generations. Dick Grayson, having taken over as Batman, finds Cap in ice instead of the Avengers.
  • Combat Pragmatism: Bucky rolls his eyes at the Batmobile, saying it would be shredded like tissue paper on the battlefield. Batman agrees, and tells him it's specially built for urban settings — such as being able to drive at night with the headlights off.
  • Elseworld:
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    • Takes place in a separate universe of the main DC and Marvel Universe, mostly putting Batman in World War II when Comic-Book Time means that the war was irrelevant to Batman stories for decades by the point it was made. It's also part of the same universe as Superman & Batman: Generations.
    • Instead of The Manhattan Project, it's called "The Gotham Project".
  • Era-Specific Personality: Since this takes place in the 1940s, characterisation matches the comics of the time. Batman and Captain America are both optimistic and well-adjusted, and the Joker is a straightforward crime lord with a clown motif rather than a crazed serial killer.
    • Also since this takes place in the "Golden Age of Comics" during World War II, this Joker is also a patriotic American, unlike "Batman: A Death in the Family" when his 80's variant tries to be an ambassador with Iran thanks to Ayatollah Khomeini (and for a greater scheme his Golden Age Anti-Nazi counterpart would not be pleased about).
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Joker (in his "Golden Age" version) may be a lunatic, but he's an American lunatic. Learning that Red Skull is an actual Nazi and not just acting like one as part of a gimmick causes him to flip his lid, and he immediately turns against him.
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  • Evil vs. Evil: Of all people, the Joker helps save the day by fighting the Skull on top of the bomb inside the plane's cargo hold.
    Skull: You are nothing but a criminal clown while I was trained to be Germany's finest warrior!
    Joker: Yeah? Well, I always buy American myself!
  • Good Is Not Dumb: While both Batman and Captain America are idealistic, they don't underestimate their respective villains.
  • Historical In-Joke: "The Gotham Project" is a reference to The Manhattan Project.
  • Homage: Byrne wanted to make the crossover an homage to the idealistic Golden Age Of Comic Books.
  • Joker Immunity: Discussed. Neither Batman nor Captain America think the Joker perished — and this is after he blew up in a nuclear explosion — because it's the Joker, and the Joker always finds a way to get out unscathed.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Notably averted with Batman and Captain America - when they first meet, they immediately recognize each other, know they're both heroes, and go beat up Nazis together.
  • Meaningful Background Event: When Joker and Red Skull try to kill each other, the Red Skull's henchmen are shooting the Joker's in the back of the head, which is why the Joker has no support after they recover from their coughing fit.
  • Mutual Disadvantage: After the Joker turns on Red Skull, the two villains try to use their own weaponized toxins on each other to no effect. Since both Joker and Red Skull are immune to their own toxins and both Joker Venom and Red Skull's "dust of death" are remarkably similar, both characters are also immune to each other's toxins.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In the epilogue, Captain America is unfrozen in 1964, the same year he was revived in the real world.
    • JLA/Avengers would have Bats and Cap testing each other in hand-to-hand before quickly realizing fighting would be pointless.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Bruce Wayne is shown casually joking with one of the Wayne Foundation's employees.
  • No-Sell: The Joker and Red Skull try to kill each other with their respective poisons: Joker squirts Skull with his Joker gas while the Skull sprays Dust of Death in the Joker's face. Both of them have a bad coughing fit, but are otherwise unaffected. They surmise their poisons are too similar, and the Red Skull resorts to knocking the Joker out with a Tap on the Head.
  • Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: At one point, Steve overhears Bruce telling Dick he needs to "shed Private Rogers and keep his 'appointment' with the Joker", coming to the conclusion that his superiors' suspicions were correct and Bruce and Joker are working together. Of course, if he'd heard the entire conversation, he'd have known Bruce was talking about giving him the slip so he could "chase down the leads as they come up".

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