Batman 1939 is a series of Batman fanfiction stories written by Stewart M, set in the early 1940s. Against the backdrop of the Second World War, the Dark Knight works at home in Gotham to clean up his city. In doing so, he finds himself pitted against foes more powerful and influential than any he's ever faced before.
The name of the series comes from the year that Batman was originally released, which in this continuity constitutes the year of his debut fighting crime. Having only been in the game for roughly a year or so, the series focuses on the relatively early days of Batman's career, and his conflicts with more threatening enemies than Gotham's typical street-crime fare.
The first story, The Dangers of Being Cold, deals with the mystery summarized above; when a team of corpse thieves suddenly escalate to committing murder, the trail is found to lead back to a military base, and Batman is forced to seek outside help to solve the case.
The sequel, Swimming in the Styx, picks up shortly after the events of the previous adventure and focuses on Batman attempting to dismantle organized crime in Gotham while weathering the interference of the Federal government and Wonder Woman.
A third story, A Very Special Batman Christmas, takes place on Christmas Eve of 1941. It follows Bruce's efforts to stop the mysterious Yuletide Thief and attend a Christmas Eve gathering with Julie Madison.
The fourth and latest story, Three's Company, takes place in 1941 and stars the three characters of Batman, Catwoman and Zatanna.
This work provides examples of:
- The '40s: Despite its name, Batman 1939 is set in this decade, amidst the world war between the Allied and Axis Powers. The main story of The Dangers of Being Cold has Batman investigate a US Army base while trying to investigate the true culprit(s) behind specific murders.
- Abnormal Ammo: Captain Steven Trevor is supplied by Slade Wilson with a two-shot derringer loaded with tungsten rounds. The implication is that he's to use it on Diana if she ever needs to be killed.
- Absence of Evidence: While investigating the remains of a building that had burned down for signs of arson, Batman is perplexed. He explains to Catwoman that there are none of the telltale signs that would indicate which room the fire originated in; it's as if a strong flame about six feet tall suddenly appeared out of thin air.
- Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: Underneath Gotham City is a labyrinth of sewers, passageways, and tunnels. Not even Batman has seen the entirety of it.
- Adaptational Wimp: Technically. Even though most of the major characters are extremely competent, they are generally less powerful than their "canon" counterparts.
- Batman, while still an incredibly skilled detective and combatant, is still in the early years of his crimefighting career. He can take on normal crooks easily, but fights with the likes of Wonder Woman and Slade Wilson end with him having serious injuries. Part of Swimming in the Styx examines Bruce's athletic abilities and, while he is still incredibly fit and able, he has not broken any of his personal records in a long time.
- Wonder Woman is an expert hunter and fighter with an array of skills, not to mention her superhuman strength, durability, and stamina; however, she can still be harmed by powerful weaponry (see Abnormal Ammo above).
- Ancient Tradition: The Brotherhood of the Shield, a group of honest Gotham City cops that has had many incarnations over the years. The current version was started by Sergeant Gordon and Detective Bullock.
- Black Boss Lady: Amanda Waller, which has to be one of the most astonishing achievements in the series given the fact that this is the early 40's. Multiple characters comment on this.
- Bold Inflation: Occasionally. Unlike the often random manner in which it's used in comic books, it usually (but not always) seems to be used here as a way to indicate emphasis or unusual voice tones.
- Celebrity Impersonator: In their first meeting, Amanda Waller suspects Batman to be a variant on this, using the Gotham myth of the Bat Man as cover for a foreign nation-state's espionage operation.
- Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: As in the Lynda Carter TV show, Wonder Woman can outfit herself in her costume in a matter of moments by spinning.
- The City Narrows: The Narrows, appropriately enough. The entire district is about fifty feet below sea level, due to it being part of a land reclamation project in the Gotham Bay. The entire district is cramped, filthy, mostly lawless, and the creaking of the Gotham Dike (the only thing preventing the residents from a sudden watery death) can always be heard.
- David Versus Goliath: Batman and Wonder Woman. Batman is thoroughly outclassed in more ways than one once the two of them enter into combat, and it's really only his mastery of stealth, range of equipment and Diana underestimating him that really comes together to make it a decent fight.
- Destroy the Evidence: Arturo Bertinelli attempts to do this with the evidence of his crimes that Batman presents him with. After waiting for him to exert the effort to do so, Batman informs him that they were copies.
- Determinator: Batman keeps fighting in both stories despite injuries that would incapacitate most human beings.
- Disposable Vagrant: The mindset of the conspirators during The Dangers of Being Cold. Who would ever notice or care if any such people went missing?
- Fake Static: Batman pulls this over a radio transmission during The Dangers of Being Cold to try and get information from another unit.
- Flashback Nightmare: Bruce has them so frequently that he dreads going to sleep, and has only a handful of methods by which he can avoid them.
- Game-Breaking Injury: Most noticeably in Batman's second-fight with Lt. Wilson, where the former's right hand has multiple fractures and a sprained wrist.
- Identification by Dental Records: Subverted. Given the date of the setting, even a US Government federal task force are unable to get anything from a couple of fake teeth.
- Improvised Armour: During the second encounter between Batman and Lieutenant Wilson, in order to close distance and disarm the latter of his firearm.
- Locked in a Freezer: Batman and Catwoman find themselves locked in the Hazard Containment vault. Batman finally forces the door open by weakening it with acid and then punching through the steel.
- The Mafia: The Four Families of Gotham - the Falcone's, the Maroni's, the Nobilio's, and the Bertinelli's.
- Master of Disguise: Bruce, being able to disguise himself as an elderly Italian mobster to get information from Arturo's wife.
- Mistaken for Spies: Batman and Catwoman, by Amanda Waller and her men. In the latter's defence, it was a very reasonable guess.
- Mythology Gag:
- After Catwoman sees Batman's beige Ford hardtop in The Dangers of Being Cold, they have this exchange:
- Shortly after, Catwoman finds some of Batman's contingency plans hidden within the car. One of them is titled "Mind-controlled Flightless Birds Fire Rockets at Major Civic Buildings".
- Selina Kyle and her friend live in the Newmar-Harlow Building, which was built by a man named Benedict Kitt. The building is within jogging distance of Pfeiffer's Wharf.
- Fort Morrison.
- One of the files that Batman and Catwoman look through in Fort Morrison mentions Peña Dura.
- Necessarily Evil: Amanda Waller claims her actions are this, on account of the threat posed by the Axis Powers and socialism.
- Nightmare Sequence: After her fight with Batman in Swimming in the Styx, Diana dreams about hunting game in a forest, only for it to morph into a nightmare wherein she's being attacked by a giant bat.
- Noodle Incident: Selina's friend Maven insists that Ottowa never happened.
- One-Handed Zweihänder: Wonder Woman casually picks up and tests out a Zweihander with a single-handed grip at an Antiques store. The shopkeeper is a little unnerved.
- Properly Paranoid: Amanda Waller, in her investigative review to her superiors, notes that the Bat Man's hair is probably black based on the small amount of stubble she was able to see, but that she wouldn't put it past him to dye it as a precaution.
- Ransacked Room: The subtle variant. Diana and Steve Trevor's rooms are searched by Waller's agents while in a meeting with a politician and Amanda herself. They find Diana's weapons and her trophies from her fight with Batman, helping them to try to track down Gotham's vigilante.
- Recruiting the Criminal: Batman is reluctantly forced to hire Catwoman to help him infiltrate the Fort Morrison military base.
- Shout-Out: Many throughout the series.
- One of Gotham's districts is the Innsmouth Commercial District and the Army has a file detailing strange events taking place at what might be the same location.
- There is another Army file, which mentions "The storage of antiquities from the excavations of Dr. H.W. Jones, Jr."
- And another file titled "The Alien".Catwoman: Maybe it's a bird.
Batman: Or a plane.
- Truth in Television: Operation Underworld was a real thing and the American government really did collaborate with organized crime during World War II.
- Weapon Specialization: As an Amazon, Diana's usual armaments are swords, spears and (especially) bows. Though she's still incredibly skilled and a supernatural physical powerhouse, her knowledge of unarmed martial arts is much less comprehensive.