Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Make that a bat-stalker cap!

One of my regular YouTube visits is the series "Epic Rap Battles of History," so you can imagine my delight to find Sherlock Holmes putting in an appearance this week. Sherlock's relationship with Batman goes back for decades, the Caped Crusader even being a student of Holmes at one point, but this is definitely the first time they have gone deerstalker-to-cowl in a rap showdown.

The bouts of "Epic Rap Battles of History" are never conclusive, with "Who won?" being the video-ending announcement of each episode, but it does raise the question: Sherlock Holmes versus Batman . . . who would win?

Well, for starters, any encounter between Sherlock and the Batman has to start one way, and one way only: Sherlock Holmes is called upon to find out who the masked vigilante is that is wreaking lawless violence upon Gotham City. Batman has no motivation to look Sherlock up . . . he's a law-abiding citizen of a foreign land. So the initial encounter, prep time, etc., has to go to Holmes.

And you know Sherlock Holmes . . . his first encounter with Batman would be in Wayne Manor, where he'd go to have a little conversation with Bruce Wayne. Not accusing, not on that first trip, just some fact-finding and a little verbal jousting. Confirming his suspicions.

At that point, it goes one of two ways.

Outcome #1: Sherlock Holmes confronts the Batman. Setting up some ruse to draw the Batman out at night, Sherlock announces to Bats that he knows he's Bruce Wayne, then runs down the evidence that conclusively proves it. Of course, during the investigation, Holmes has decided that Gotham City needs the Batman, and with Watson in full agreement, lets Batman know that he and Watson are sworn to secrecy and returning to London.

Outcome #2: Sherlock Holmes confronts Bruce Wayne. Catching Bruce Wayne at some daylight event, Sherlock reveals Wayne's batty alter-ego and presents his evidence to a crowd of reporters, police, and civic leaders. Commissioner Gordon is on hand to take Wayne into custody, and the tale goes on from there.

Sherlock Holmes beats Batman every time. I'm not saying Batman isn't a smart guy. I'm not saying he doesn't have massive resources in a straight-up fight. But here's the thing:

Sherlock Holmes has the complete advantage in a run-in with Batman. Batman has a secret to hide. Sherlock Holmes's greatest skill is unravelling secrets. While Batman has to spend all that time preparing for physical encounters with foes -- gator-men, maniacs, and sci-fi steroid abusers, Holmes gets to walk the daylight world, looking at things, talking to people, and further developing his skills at just one thing: detection.

Batman doesn't kill people. Batman doesn't beat people up just for snooping around Bruce Wayne. He really has no defense against Sherlock Holmes. And no reason for offense against Holmes, either.

But gut feeling on "Epic Rap Battles of History," despite the ending "Who won?" is always that the last person to rap won the battle. In the case of this week's video, it was Sherlock Holmes.

Which makes complete sense.

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