The ‘Batman of Bromley’ fights crime in south London whilst Iron Man and another Batman fight it out in a north London supermarket. Superheroes from Angle-grinder Man to the south London ‘Shadow’ are watching over our city. It all begs the question: Where the heck have they all come from?
While the answer to that may not be forthcoming, the perennial question: Who would win in a fight between Batman and Iron Man? was finally answered in a Tesco in Edmonton this week when Marvel’s millionaire crime fighter floored DC’s own caped crusader. The Dark Knight was trounced by Tony Stark’s metal Avenger after he was caught scrabbling around the checkout, stealing food from customers baskets. The ungainly grapple ended just as Spider-Man pounced to help return the purloined purchases, leaving Batman sprawled on the supermarket floor looking pretty sheepish. And just in case events didn’t already look like a comic fan's fever dream, Supergirl was spotted queuing at the fag counter.
Such super-tomfoolery follows recent reports of a ‘Batman of Bromley’ going one further by foiling a mugging. City worker Ken was cornered by swearing muggers on Martin’s Hill on 8 June, when a “a man about 6-feet-tall, dressed in black combat-style trousers and a tight muscle top, and wearing a black bandana mask, came running towards them.” The crime fighter apparently kicked the lead mugger to the floor then swung one mugger into another, pushing them into a 'prickly hedge'. The next day a report emerged of ‘a tall man with a covered face but a visible beard’ foiling a mugging near Lewisham DLR station and returning a snatched bag to the victim. Another witness claimed a sighting of a masked vigilante rescue a man from a beating in Penge:
“A tall geezer came running in wearing all black, with his face covered up as well. He grabbed one of [the assailants], attacking him, and put some kind of ninja lock on him. He pushed him while twisting this geezer's arm into the other fella. The geezer getting beaten up ran like a nutter, and with both the fellas on the floor the masked geezer scarpered quickly away himself."
So far none of these witnesses have wanted to give their full names to the press but one south London superhero did apparently contact News Shopper to insist he be known as ‘The Shadow’ rather than the ‘Bromley Batman’. The masked vigilante allegedly told the paper:
"I have helped quite a few people over the years in and around Bromley and south London. I tend to go out most evenings to keep an eye out for people who need help but that isn't to say that something happens every evening, thank god."
News Shopper does love a sensational story; see their coverage of the really non-deadly false widow spider as an example. And with no named witnesses and a suspicious anonymous quote from the ‘hero’, we do wonder if there's really a Bromley superhero, or whether this is a collection of pranks?
Perhaps a more credible champion of justice was 2003’s Angle-grinder Man who travelled London and Kent in his tight blue and gold costume, freeing cars that had been unfairly or illegally wheel-clamped. "I may not be able to single-handedly and totally cast off the repressive shackles of a corrupt government — but I can cut off your wheel clamps for you," he told the BBC.
Thank you, Angle-grinder Man! And if you ARE the Bromley Batman — or any other London superhero for that matter — you can always come forward and tell Londonist.