The Return of Kite-Man in Tom King’s Batman

Kite Man is a bit of a joke character. Or rather, he was. He first appeared in Batman #133 back in 1960, and was created by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang. Charles “Chuck” Brown is a man who armed himself with kite weapons to commit crimes.

He flies with a big kite strapped to himself, uses a barrage of kites to overwhelm his enemies  and has fought Batman, Robin, Hawkman, and Hawkgirl on different occasions.

He generally gets beaten by Batman using his own kites.  Decades later, after very little use, in Infinite Crisis, the Joker reported that Kiteman was thrown off Wayne Tower without his kite by Deathstroke, after he refused to join the new Secret Society of Super Villains. Brown survived but was later captured. To say that he is a low level villain in the DC Universe would be to have talked to highly of him.

That was before Tom King‘s Batman run. Picked on because of his mediocre nature and now drawn to resemble Charlie Brown more than ever, Charles Brown uses the catchphrase, “Kite Man, hell yeah!”, a reference to his son, Charles Brown Jr.’s reaction to the first time he tried flying a kite.

 

Used as one of a list of throwaway villains, rotating through in the same order throughout the series, suddenly he jumped from but part to the main event. It was revealed that he was a divorced father, became an alcoholic and began a life of criminal activities, eventually being recruited by the Joker to design the Jokermobile. During The War of Jokes and Riddles, he becomes encircled by Batman, who commands him to get the Joker’s phone number and, later, to meet him.

 

Shortly after, the Riddler kidnaps Charles, wanting to know about his future meeting with the Joker. After being freed, he is kidnapped again, this time by the Joker, who tells him about his encounters with Batman and the Riddler.

He is then forced to serve as a suicide bomber by the Joker to kill Batman, but realizes that the bomb is fake. Charles Brown Jr., his son, is poisoned by the Riddler and subsequently dies. Wanting to get revenge on the Riddler, Charles Brown creates the persona of Kite Man to join the Joker’s side.

After Batman joins the Riddler’s side on the war he starts to defeat every villain on Joker’s side, leaving Kite Man for last. When Kite Man is captured he tells Batman and the Riddler about Joker’s last secret hideout on a building and provides them and all the villains on Riddler’s side kites so they can infiltrate it.

After breaking inside, Riddler and his villains turn against Batman, who tells Kite Man to activate the jet-propelled inverse parachutes in their packs, making the villains ascend to be captured by Alfred Pennyworth in the Bat-Blimp.

After a scuffle, the Riddler then reveals that the creation of Kite Man, and his own defeat at Kite Man’s hands, was part of an unsuccessful plan to solve the Joker’s depression and make him laugh again.

He wasn’t exactly a bad-ass. But Kite-Man was a thing. Still ridiculous, but a thing. And it looks like Tom King hasn’t forgotten, either in his Batman conclusion of in the Batman/Catwoman series to follow.

That’s all we need, Tom King, that’s all we need.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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