Hello again.

We start with more apologies (sorry Pillock).

Okay, to begin with, I reiterate: I finished scribbling down this and the next ish at least a couple of days BEFORE I read Final Crisis #7, so any similarities in theme and/or imagery are ACCIDENTAL.

I do not give a fuck for ripping off other writers. Morrison just seems to be ransacking my head at the moment.

OUT, DEMON !

Also: sure, I admit that this one’s pretty continuity heavy, but Damian does emerge from another continuity and I promise this’ll be the last time I bog the story down with it – there’s too much good shit going on in Nu-Gotham to bother with fusty old Brucey for more than a couple of issues. And, yeah, it is all a bit confusing, but this is the penultimate episode of the first arc and things are always supposed to get a little strange at this juncture. I’ll explain everything away next time I promise.

Well….. maybe.

So what have we got this time: bat-zombies, magic spells, more TNT and flying masonry than you can shake a stick it, Supermen Sans Frontieres, the Sensei’s winter retreat and zero fighting.

Something we’ll rectify with #4

PANEL 1

Last time we closed on zombie batmen and this time our opener’s just as strange. A row of kneeling men and women are taking some kind of bizzare benediction from a gnarled old hand – an ancient, ornate cup of fizzing, green liquid. An unholy communion. What shunts the image into the realm of the truly odd, however, is the fact that these men and women aren’t human. They are mixture of different alien species – perhaps with one predominant – and they appear to hail from all over the DC Universe. Each wears a plain red robe and supplicates himself on red sand.

CAP: THE SENSEI’S MARTIAN FORTRESS, ONE WEEK AGO.

VOICE OF MAN WITH GNARLED HAND (from off panel): NOTHING IS TRUE.

(2): EVERYTHING IS PERMITTED.

PANEL 2

Aerial shot. We’re now floating above the faithful. Someone paces on a dais in front of them – at this point we can only see his hands and his feet – as one by one they take a sip from the cup.

SAME VOICE: ALL OF YOU CAME HERE BY DIFFERENT ROADS.

(2): ALL OF THEM PAVED WITH ILLUSION AND SUFFERING.

PANEL 3

People begin to keel over on the floor.

VOICE: HOW MANY OF MY SERVANTS ARRIVE BLOODY FROM THE BATTLEFIELD, STARVING FOR WANT OF FOOD OR LACK OF LOVE?

PANEL 4

Close up on one of the aliens convulsing, twisted and contorted and frothing at the mouth.

VOICE: DRINK DEEP, FALLEN ANGEL, OF THE NECTAR OF HEAVEN.

(2): FOR IT IS THIS WORLD THAT IS HELL…..

PAGES 2 & 3

We pull out and get a full view of the hashishim’s gardens. It’s basically a torture chamber – the paving stones and gutters are slick with blood, people are nailed to walls writhing in agony, or hung upside down being drained – whatever vileness you can concoct. Black trees bearing strange red fruit stab their way out of the foundations and the courtyard is open to an alien sky. Two moons – one white and one red – bear witness to this horrible spectacle In fact the main colour theme here is red – orangey and brown brickwork, purple shadows, red light reflecting and glinting in Agrat’s eyes. The Sensei looks pitilessly down on his neophytes drugged up and rolling about in the dirt. Agrat towers and glowers at his side.

THE SENSEI: ….I GIVE YOU PARADISE.

PAGE 4

PANEL 1

The Sensei and his wife decide to leave the tripping would-be assassins to it, and head away from the carnage down some steps leading to the main compound. This is an ancient, crumbling mountain retreat – vaguely like a temple – it doesn’t matter that it’s on a another planet. It’s a generic environment.

THE SENSEI: IT’S EASIER NOW WE HAVE THE GRAFTING TECHNOLOGY. VISIONS OF THE CELESTIAL PALACE OFTEN PROVOKE THEM INTO FRENZIES OF SELF-MUTILATION IN AN ATTEMPT TO MAKE OF IT A MORE PERMANENT RESIDENCE.

AGRAT BAT MALHAT: AGONY IS AN EQUALLY EFFECTIVE DOORWAY.

(2): WE SHOULD DISPENSE WITH THE POTIONS AND SLICE OPEN THEIR HEADS THAT THEY MIGHT MORE EASILY GLIMPSE ITS JEWELED GARDENS.

(3): A PURER REFLECTION OF OUR TEACHING.

PANEL 2

The Sensei nodding in agreement with his wife.

THE SENSEI: ALL THINGS END IN BLOOD.

PANEL 3

From behind as they pass into the building. Two shrieking, martian kalis dance at either side of the doorway. The kind of doorway you might think twice about passing through.

THE SENSEI: AAAH, AGRAT.

(2): SOON GOD’S FORSAKEN, HIS DEMONS, WILL SET THE SKIES ALIGHT AND ONLY THE SANCTIFIED WILL RIDE THE DRAGON SMOKE TO THE KINGDOM.

PANEL 4

A close up on one of the neophytes clawing his eyes out.

CAP: ONLY THOSE WITH EYES TO SEE.

PANEL 5

The Sensei pushing open the double doors to his throne room, peering up at his wife and fantasising about rivers of blood.

THE SENSEI: THE TIME IS NEARLY AT HAND, BELOVED. APOCALYPSE.

(2): IT STARTS WITH GOTHAM.

PAGE 5

PANEL 1

The Sensei’s throne room is similar to the one last issue, at least in terms of layout, but the death gods and goddesses that litter it are Martian. Some appear like terrifying white martian monsters, while others are more reminiscent of something from the Cthulhu Mythos – weirdly angled or tentacled beasts from the universe’s outer rim. Perhaps there’s a black tripod trampling dead bodies. Maybe even an image of Darkseid? Whatever you like, really, only the room must be as ornate as the one we saw before. The Sensei isn’t only an expert on Terran thanatology… Before the steps leading to his throne, to one side, lies a batcape in a pentagram – or is it some kind of elaborate, abstracted map of an explosion? – stabbed through with a mini version of the scimitar that plagues every issue. The Sensei is gesturing to it, full of himself.

THE SENSEI

AND I WILL SHOW YOU HOW SIMPLE IT IS……

PANEL 2

Damian as a child (in his Robin outfit) in the centre of the frame, is stumbling across the wastegrounds of the city with zombie batman reaching for him from outside the panel border. He turns, anxiously, to check the distance between him and it. This is a classic chase-dream sequence.

THE SENSEI: (tail-less) …TO MURDER A UNIVERSE.

PANEL 3

Damian, asleep, tossing and turning under silken sheets in his father’s bed, moonlight pours in through the window. The shadows close ranks around him.

CAP: THE NIGHT OF MY FATHER’S DEATH THE BEAST HUNTED ME ACROSS HALF THE CITY.

DAMIAN: NO….. NO…. AWAY….

CAP: GUIDING ME TO ITS LAIR. ITS PLACE OF POWER

PANEL 4

Damian cowers at the intersection of a crossroads – one street leading off into a burned out, devastated city (the one we’ve been holidaying in) and the other to the gorgeous, pop-art urban explosion Gotham was before the bomb went off -  and The zombie Batman slavers over him. Note: when I say that Damian is scared, apart from the panels when he’s whispering at the zombie’s ear, in which case his expression is strangely blank, i mean scared out of his wits. This father from hell image is pretty much the most terrifying thing he can imagine. He should be totally infantilised, trembling like a leaf.

CAP: AND THERE, AT THE CROSSROADS, WE STRUCK OUR BARGAIN.

PAGE 6

PANEL 1

Closer on the creature’s hand on his brow, this issue’s second unholy benediction.

DAMIAN: B..BUT I REMEMBER THAT NIGHT. TH..THIS ISN’T HOW IT HAP…

ZOMBIE BATMAN: (overlapping Damian’s) HSSSSSSSS!

CAP: HE CLAIMED ME AS HIS OWN, PROMISING THIS WOULD SPARE THE CITY.

PANEL 2

And now we cut back to Damian whispering in its ear as it gazes balefully out the frame, but we’re still at the crossroads, not in the cave we were in last ish.

DAMIAN: AND SO YOU TOOK POSSESSION OF ME.

(2):YOUR ANGER, YOUR PAIN.

(3): YOUR GUILT.

PANEL 3

Damian putting on his Bat-costume. Somehow I want you to accentuate all the *demonic* bits: the horns, the slitted eyes, the wing… I mean the cape.

CAP: TEN YEARS AGO I MADE A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL.

CAP: I JUST NEVER UNDERSTOOD IT WAS YOU, FATHER.

PAGE 7

PANEL 1

The camera zooms down the left hand path, into the carnage. Figures in the middle distance.

CAP: AND NOW I’VE FAILED YOU.

CAP: AND GOTHAM IS DYING.

SPEECH BUBBLE: (tail-less – speaker off panel) MY GOD, OH MY GOD, WE SHOULD BE GRATEFUL BRUCE ISN’T ALIVE TO SEE THIS…

PANEL 2

We close in on the figures. Batwoman, in a huge bat-exoskeleton, is sifting through the wreckage of a building, searching for survivors – she’s visibly very shaken.  Robin is using the redbird to scan for life-signs . Dust snakes through the air.

BATWOMAN: AS IF WE DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH ON OUR PLATES WITH THE MONKEY PACKS AND A NEW DECORPOREALISED JOKER, THAT OLD BASTARD HAS TO GO AND SHOW UP.

ROBIN: EASY

(2): ONE THING AT A TIME, KATE. YOU’RE DIGGING IN THE RIGHT PLACE.

PANEL 3

The suit goes into autopilot while she covers her hands with her eyes, sobbing, unable to cope.

BATWOMAN: JUST WHEN WE WERE LOOKING THE OTHER WAY.

(2): HE ALWAYS COMES WHEN YOU’RE LOOKING THE OTHER WAY….

PANEL 4

Robin’s eyeing the onboard computer.

ROBIN: BRUCE PRESIDED OVER THIS KIND OF DEVASTATION TOO. REMEMBER THE SENSEI’S FIRST GO ROUND: PROJECT NO MAN’S LAND?

(2): RED BIRD’S READING LIFE SIGNS RIGHT BENEATH YOU. WE’RE DOING WHAT WE CAN.

PAGE 8

PANEL 1

Batwoman dries her eyes and nose as the exo-skeleton wrenches off a huge bit of rubble. The wreckage is blurry with heat haze where all the concrete has been compressed. Robin jumps out the Redbird to help any survivors.

BATWOMAN: SNNF.

(2): I GUESS YOU’RE RIGHT. WE DON’T DO TOO BADLY, DO WE?

ROBIN: YEAH, LOOK, I MEAN GOTHAM HASN”T HAD A DARK KNIGHT FOR TEN YEARS NOW, BUT THIS IS THE FIRST TIME WE’VE HAD TO DEAL WITH ANYTHING ON THIS SCALE.

PANEL 2

At last, a whole family, grubby, bleeding but very much alive, peers up at their rescuers from a mini crater in the ground. Batwoman clutches her head as she sends out the distress call.

ROBIN: WE DON’T DO TOO BADLY AT ALL.

BATWOMAN: (tail-less and fuzzy to indicate telepathy): JLA MINDLINK! WONDERWOMAN, WE’VE GOT INJURED CHILDREN DOWN HERE!

PANEL 3

The city from above. The rescue operation is in full swing. Superpeople streak through the sky, their purple, red and blue speedlines disecting the view. A floating transport, reminiscent of the jawa transport in Star Wars but airborne, bearing a giant insignia, JLARC, floats above the action, its red and green lights barely penetrating the dust clouds. Well, apart from the massive searchlight it beams into the city floor below it.

ANOTHER TELEPATHIC SPEECH BUBBLE: BATWOMAN, THIS IS ARC 1 RESPONDING. WE’RE RIGHT ON TOP OF YOU.

(2): BY THE ALLFATHER, HOW LONG IS IT GOING TO TAKE TO CLEAN UP THIS MESS?

Back on ground level, Batwoman is helping the family members out of the hole and to their feet while Robin soothes a baby. Alfred, still huge, arrives on the scene, baring more survivors. Some rest on his back, while others are slumped over his haunches. The transport kicks up soot and debris as it descends and its entrance hatch spirals open behind them.

ROBIN: LONG AS IT TAKES.

PANEL 4

Seconds later and the family are being ushered up the gangplank and on board by the ARC’s captain, Mr. Miracle, and the ship’s medical team (who incidently might be wearing Medicine Sans Frontieres T-shirts). Batwoman explains the situation to Miracle. Robin pats his cat.

BATWOMAN: WE’VE GOT TO SPEED IT UP. THE SENSEI LEFT NO TRAIL TO FOLLOW AND GOTHAM COULD BE JUST THE FIRST WAVE OF ATTACK.

MIRACLE: DON’T WORRY, WE’LL SOON HAVE EVERYONE OUT .

(2): THERE’S  20 SUPERSPEEDSTERS ON IT.

PAGE 9

PANEL 1

From inside the doorway. Robin helps a staggering old lady into the transport, still cradling the baby.

ROBIN: TWO MILLION PEOPLE RESCUED IN JUST 13 HOURS ACCORDING TO THE BAT-COMPUTER.

PANEL 2

Alfred strides up the gangplank after him, much to Mr. Miracle’s amazement.

MR. MIRACLE: (small, to himself): WHEN DID THE CAT GET SO BIG?

PANEL 3

Down at the crossroads, Damian, still in his creepy bat-costume, stares at the ARC taking off. His ghoulish companion waits silently.

DAMIAN: BUT WE DEACTIVATED THE BOMB. DOES THIS HAPPEN AFTERWARDS?

(2): WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?

PANEL 4

The zombie turns to him.

ZOMBIE BATMAN: (large, jagged font and raggedy speech bubble) MUY ZSSERVANTZ.

(2): THE GIRL I HAVE ALREADY CLAIMED. THE CHILDREN WERE ALWAYS MORE….RESISTANT.

DAMIAN: WH..WHAT DO YOU MEAN?

PAGE 10

PANEL 1

The zombie draws closer, its rictus grin inches from Damian’s face.

ZOMBIE BATMAN: BUT YOU…BOY

(2): YOU’VE BEEN MINE SINCE THE DAY YOU WERE BORN.

PANEL 2

The zombie clenches his fist and Damian falls apart like smashed crockery. The expression on his frozen, splintering face is one of sheer horror.

PANEL 3

The zombie picks up what remains of Damian’s shattered head – it’s like some kind of groteqsue, porcelain opera mask.

ZOMBIE BATMAN: HERE… BREATHE THE LASSZT OF YOUR STORY INTO ME.

PAGE 11

PANEL 1

He puts the tattered remnants of its mouth to his ear.

ZOMBIE BATMAN: AND REMEMBER.

Panels two, three and four will probably work best as three tall, shallow panels, side by side, trisecting the page. I want the feeling of fast, busy, intense memory flashes, like in a film.

PANEL 2

Bruce Wayne undergoing  the ritual karma cleaning peformed by the Ten-eyed Men. All four of them are driving swords into his heart. He bellows into the wind.

PANEL 3

Hands are plunged into his wound and his mouth. The Ten Eyed Men are searching for something.

PANEL 4

The demons are extracted: a battered and broken Damian (as Robin), a blow torch, a tiny Bane and a gun.

PANEL 5

Damian slithers away, like a rattlesnake, into the desert night.

PAGE 12

The panel layout is the same as on the previous page.

PANEL 1

We pull out. The desert is revealed as the sand running through a cracked hourglass.

ZOMBIE BATMAN: (tail-less and raggedy as usual) THE TEN EYED BROTHERHOOD’S MAGIC IS OLD AND POWERFUL. THEY EXTRACTED ALL THE BAD KARMA.

(2): BUT SOMETHING HAPPENED TO TIME.

Again, panels two, three and four are side by side.

PANEL 2

Bruce being stamped on by Bane-bat.

ZOMBIE BATMAN: (still tail-less) AND ALL THE NIGHTMARES CAME SLITHERING BACK TO THEIR MAKER.

(2): …THE BRUTE.

PANEL 3

We never did get to see the first ghost – or gunbats as I always call him – really unload into anyone other than the joker. Well here we do. Here he’s blowing one of the Joker’s henchmen away. This is Batman killing someone – I want it to be almost sickening to watch.

ZOMBIE BATMAN: THE GUN…

PANEL 4

Demonbats, the third ghost, impaled on one of Gotham’s spires. His body is blazing, the reds and yellows bleeding into the sky.

ZOMBIE BATMAN: GOTHAM BURNING.

PANEL 5

Damian receiving a vicious blow from a crowbar clenched in a purple-gloved fist.

ZOMBIE BATMAN: THE BRUTALISED AND BLOODIED SON.

PAGE 13

PANEL 1

Damian’s remains tumble into the zombie’s, now vast, ear cavity, unable to resist the singularity’s pull any longer.

ZOMBIE BATMAN: LITTLE FIGMENT…. YOUR LIFE WAS A LIE.

(2): AND NOW YOU HAVE RETURNED TO ME.

PANEL 2

Damian’s *face* explodes like a clay-pigeon struck by a bullet. Some of the shards and dust particles form vague outlines of bats as they disperse into the darkness.

CAP: HE’S GONE.

CAP: FOREVER, MY LOVE?

PANEL 3

The Sensei is where we left him in the first issue, eyes closed, sensing the departure of Damian’s soul. Agrat look’s down at him questioningly.

Weirdly, all the blood and bodyparts have disappeared.

THE SENSEI: LIKE AN ARROW STRAIGHT TO HELL.

(2): IN THE END IT TOOK NOTHING TO BANISH IT. I SIMPLY WHISPERED ONE OF THE NAMES OF GOD IN GOTHAM’S EAR.

AGRAT: AND WHAT WAS THAT, BELOVED?

PANEL 4

Small Panel. Close up on his mouth. Rotten teeth don’t even begin to describe it.

THE SENSEI: GOD IS ONE.

(2): THE FLUTTERING SHADE COULD NOT WITHSTAND ITS LIGHT.

PAGE 14

PANEL 1

He looks out across the harbour at the city. Everything seems normal. Gotham’s still standing.

THE SENSEI: AH.

AGRAT: WHAT DO YOU SEE?

PANEL 2

Match on previous shot, but this time we switch into a Toytown colour scheme. Everything becomes flatter and more electric, but that’s not what’s interesting about this image. Apart from the Sensei and his consort, the whole city appears to be riddled with snakes, like maggots, burrowing through the scenery – the jetty, the river, the buildings on the far side. The sky. It’s as though the world’s being eaten. Important: like the snake last ish, these guys are, if you look very closely, composed out of comic panels, but only panels from the first issue, however.

THE SENSEI: DEATH.

PANEL 3

We pull back over the water as the sensei departs, still in Toytown. Assassins file out of the shadows to follow him. And at the far corner of the frame, the snakes wheel into the air, forming a structure. We can’t make out what it is yet.

THE SENSEI: THIS IS IT.

(2): COME, AGRAT! COME, MY ASSASSINS!

PANEL 4

We pull back into the sky even further. Nothing is left of the Sensei and his followers but snakes and shadows.

And we can see that the snakes rising out of the river are forming a writhing scimitar.

THE SENSEI: WE HAVE A CITY TO KILL.

TITLE: SNAKES AND SHADOWS.

PAGE 15

PANEL 1

We zoom in on one of the snakes. We can make out images in the plates that form it.

PANEL 2

Deeper still. Is that the JLArc taking off?

PANEL 3

We cut back to the slain city just as an enormous tectonic aftershock begins to rip through everything….. Or is this the REAL earthquake? The ARC in the air barely escapes being crushed by a falling skyscraper.

SFX: KRRRROOOOOOOOOOOOOOM

PANEL 4

And now we’re inside the ARC. It’s essentially an enormous people carrier. The ARCs were never designed to hold this many people, however. Hundreds of Gotham’s citizens are packed in like sardines on the lower level. People are panicking and screaming as the transport lurches. We’re looking down on the action with Batwoman on the balcony trying to calm the terrified masses. Robin’s beside her, rather alarmed at something his wrist-watch is telling him. In the distance we can make out the bridge, manned by Mr. Miracle. Dr. Fate floats above the crowd….

CROWD: YAIEEEEEEE!

CROWD: GOD SAVE US!

BATWOMAN: IF EVERYONE WILL REMAIN SEATED, IT’S ONLY AN AFTERSHOCK!

DR. FATE: I’M CASTING SPELLS OF CALMING……

PAGE 16

PANEL 1

Robin is charging across the balcony to the bridge. Pink smoke dappled with rainbows pours out of Fate’s aura and into the crowd. People look more docile, cow-like.

ROBIN: MIRACLE, MORE ALTITUDE, NOW!

DR. FATE: (small, to himself):  THESE ARE ONLY RIPPLES. IT HAPPENED SOMEWHERE ELSE….

PANEL 2

Miracle swivels in his chair. The view outside the cockpit window is completely obscured.

MR. MIRACLE.: I KNOW, I’VE JUST PATCHED INTO YOUR BAT-COMPUTER. THE SENSEI STABBED AT THE HEART OF THE EAST COAST FAULTLINE RUNNING UNDERNEATH GOTHAM.

(2): WE’VE GOT TEN MINUTES UNTIL THE WHOLE CITY GOES UNDER.

PANEL 3

Robin’s now by his side as he takes the horse by the reigns and drags the ARC up into the sky. I like the idea that he’s straining with some kind of steering device – makes it more dramatic.

ROBIN: DON’T TELL THE PUBLIC.

MIRACLE: I’M TAKING HER UP.

PANEL 4

Outside now and the repulser jets have been engaged, incinerating the dusty air below them. Buildings fall like dominoes.

MR. MIRACLE: (tail-less)  REPULSERS ENGAGED!

(2): HAVE WE GOT EVERYBODY OUT?

PAGE 17

PANEL 1

From high above Gotham, we can make out the golden, silver and purple speed-blurs of the superspeedsters mentioned earlier.

SPEECH BUBBLE: (telepathic, tail-less) THIS IS FLASH INDIGO. ALL SURVIVORS ACCOUNTED FOR.

SPEECH BUBBLE: (telepathic, tail-less) WE’RE EVACUATING EVERYONE TO THE RENDEZVOUS POINT OUTSIDE STATE LINES.

PANEL 2

Ground level, as a purple speed blur rips past the camera. In the background, if we’re paying attention, we’ve got front row tickets to Wayne Manor collapsing. Maybe there’s a sign, seeing as it’s been a museum for some time now.

PANEL 3

The Batcave falls to pieces. A massive stalagtite takes out the dinousaur. The penny crushes the old bat-computer.

MR MIRACLE: (telepathic, tail-less) MIRACLE RECEIVING.

MR MIRACLE: (telepathic, tail-less) GOOD JOB. BUT WHY DO I HAVE THE FEELING SOMEONE’S STILL TRAPPED?

PANEL 4

Batwoman comforts Robin who’s slumped to the floor, his head in his hands.

ROBIN: I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S ALL GONE.

(2): YOU WERE RIGHT, KATY. HE WOULD NEVER HAVE ALLOWED THIS TO HAPPEN. OUR HOME….

(3): …ALL OF IT….

PAGE 18

PANEL 1

She has her arm round him, her mask off. He turns to her, tears in his eyes, smiling ruefully….

ROBIN: SOME DYNAMIC DUO WE TURNED OUT TO BE.

SPEECH BUBBLE: (from off panel) UH…. MR ROBIN?

PANEL 2

Robin turns. A young child and his mother are adressing him. Dr Fate is floating and mumbling above the crowd in the background, holding his temples, in classic telepathic distress call mode.

MOTHER: UM. I KNOW IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD AND ALL, BUT I THINK THERE’S SOMETHING YOU SHOULD SEE.

PANEL 3

The little boy gestures out the window as Robin composes himself and gets to his feet.

MOTHER: WE WERE WONDERING….

PANEL 4

They stare out the window, flabbergasted, at an impossible, incredible sight. The old Bat-signal is blasting into the clouds from the smoke, soot and dust covered city below.

MOTHER: ….WHO TURNED THAT ON.

CAP: SO WHAT HAPPENED NEXT, MISS?

PAGE 19

PANEL 1

The channel changes.

We appear to be in a the centre of a woodland glade in Toytown. Ace the batmobile lies dreaming, curled around Alice Dodgeson, the new Robin, who rests on him like a pillow. She’s reading from a massive, musty old story book with a Batman logo on the cover to a group of what seem to be elves, sprites, teddies, fairies and other mythological creatures. They appear to be in state of some agitation – the story must be very exciting. Robin peers over the huge tome at them making a fuss. I suppose the nearest analogue I can find for this image would be the cover of Doom Patrol (I can’t remember the number) that features Crazy Jane, dressed like a witch, doing a similar thing. One subtle difference, though: Jane didn’t have a snake curled around one of her arms.

TEDDY: HOW DID BATMAN GET OUT OF BEING DESTROYED FOREVER?

ELF: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE OTHER GOTHAM, MISS ROBIN?

SPRITE: DID THE SENSEI REALLY KILL OUR UNIVERSE? I DON’T REMEMBER THAT, NO I DON’T!

ROBIN: EVERYONE, EVERYONE…..

PANEL 2

The creature’s ears are blown back by Robin finally losing it.

SPRITE: AND WHAT ABOU

ROBIN: (very large, overlapping the sprite’s dialogue)) QUIIIIIIET!

PANEL 3

Silence. Everyone looks up at her like naughty school kids, thoroughly chastened.

PAGE 20

PANEL 1

Robin tells them off like a School Maam. Ace’s eye flicks open lazily, momentarily awakened from his slumber.

ROBIN: AT TIMES LIKE THIS I FIND IT HARD TO BELIEVE AT LEAST HALF A DOZEN OF YOU WEAR FIFTY YEAR OLD SKIN-SUITS BACK ON THE SURFACE!

(2): ALL IN GOOD TIME.

PANEL 2

She peers back into the book. It appears to be a comic.

ROBIN: NOW WHERE WAS I?

(2): OH YES.

ROBIN: SO AFTER THE SENSEI EXPLODED HIS SOUL BOMB AND DESTROYED THE TULPA’S TENACIOUS LITTLE DREAMWORLD, BATMAN WAS AT LAST REABSORBED WITHIN THE MEMORY OF HIS FATHER, LEAVING THE REVISED TIMELINE UNPROTECTED….

PANEL 3

Close up on her face looking very grave.

ROBIN: YOU SEE, IT WASN’T JUST GOTHAM.

The next few panels are like the images from a child’s picture-book, running alongside each other. Robin’s dialogue becomes old fashioned looking text beneath the images.

PANEL 4

A ‘Welcome to the Big Apple’ sign hangs irradiated and cracked outside a scorched city.

ROBIN: WITH HIS ARCH-ENEMY REMOVED FROM PLAY THE SENSEI’S SWATHE OF DEATH SPREAD LIKE A CONTAGION ACROSS THE WORLD.

PANEL 5

The JLA watchtower explodes.

ROBIN: AND OUT.

PANEL 6

A mushroom cloud takes out the Rannian capital city. Adam Strange is turned into a black, calcified skeleton by the blast.

ROBIN: EVENTUALLY INFECTING NEARBY WORLDS AND VULNERABLE STAR SYSTEMS.

(2): NOWHERE WAS SAFE FROM HIM.

PAGE 21

PANEL 1

A Planet disperses into the void.

ROBIN: THE OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAINS HAD BEGUN TO TAKE HIS WAR ON LIFE SERIOUSLY.

PANEL 2

Robin’s fingers clutch at the book that WE are reading, round about where our fingers should be at either side of the page.

This panel is a simplified reimagining of a panel from the last issue: Damian and his father bound to the ghost train.

ROBIN: AND THE BATMAN WE KNOW WAS REDUCED TO NOTHING MORE THAN AN ABBERATION.

(2): LIKE…? OKAY, YOU GEEKS WATCH BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, RIGHT? LIKE BUFFY’S SISTER, DAWN, HE EMERGED AS A GLITCH IN THE CONTINUITY.

PANEL 3

The camera closes in on his face, looking even more cartoony, as though we’re zooming in on an image in a book.

ROBIN: BUT THAT’S THE THING ABOUT DAWN.

PANEL 4

Closer still. And suddenly his face has real physicality, like he’s emerging from the page. His eyes flick open.

ROBIN: SHE DECIDED SHE WAS REAL.

BATMAN: WAIT A MINUTE…..

PAGE 22

PANEL 1

Back to the Toytown. Robin addresses her audience. She has their rapt attention.

ROBIN: (normal speech now) OKAY THEN. EVERYONE. DO YOU REMEMBER HOW IT WENT?

PANEL 2

Mid shot of Robin looking down on the throng. Her hands slightly parted as though she’s about to bring them together.

ROBIN: AFTER ME…..

PANEL 3

Back in the alternate Gotham, the only building left standing – the GCPD – rises like a black tombstone into the sky.

The Bat-signal continues to blaze.

ROBIN: CLAP YOUR HANDS IF YOU BELIEVE IN BAT-FAIRIES.

NEXT ISSUE: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS!

11 Responses to “Your weekly comic strip – Batman 666 #3”

  1. Kyle W. Says:

    Please let that be a foreshadowing of Bat-Mite.

  2. Zom Says:

    Don’t you worry. I’ve only seen a bit of Amy’s plans but by fuck you haven’t seen this shit before

    Batman is coming back. Oh yes!

  3. Bucky Sinister Says:

    Very nice third chapter. Things got seriously weird this time out, and that’s a good thing. I got a bit confused about the multiple Robins, but I think having artwork attached would make the switches more clear.

    And I didn’t think you got tied up in the continuity too much, either. Considering that this whole thing is developing a very specific plot element from a very specific run, I don’t think it was out of line. And I don’t think the “bat-demons” sequence was so specific that a new reader would have trouble following it. If I came into this “future Batman” comic cold, I might even think it was some future history thing you’d made up, rather than a reference to an existing story. Batman went through a ritual that exorcised his demons, but they came crawling back. Okay. All you need to know.

    (On that bit, by the by: nice one. That was my reading on Dr. Hurt, but I hadn’t made the leap to Hurt’s replacement Batmen.)

    Nice work with the future Justice League stuff, too. I like the JLArcs in particular.

    My one complaint: the Buffy reference at the end. That was a bit too on-the-nose, I think. It took me out of the story and made this feel like fan-fic for the first time. And I know that’s technically what it is, but… these scripts are better than that. Hope you don’t mind the constructive criticism from somebody you don’t freaking know.

    Overall, though… Overwhelmingly… This is great stuff. And, once again, I’d buy it. I’d buy it and be happy I spent the money.

  4. Danoot Says:

    The buffy thing threw me but it only threw me because of the tense of ‘watch’, where I’d expect ‘saw’ ‘have seen’ or ‘have watched’, or ‘know’, maybe. It seemed to imply that it was actively being shown, but also for the first time.

    Otherwise! I am really loving these, and would also pay real money for them (not the internet dollars I use for most comics) if given the chance.

  5. Danoot Says:

    side note, have you changed the way commenting works?
    it doesn’t seem to recognise that I’m a logged in WP user at the moment (no dashboards bar at the top, either).

  6. Matthieu G. Says:

    The whole sequence with Robin and the furies seemed to me like a commentary on the average comic geek. They complain they don’t get it all the first time. They wanna know RIGHT NOW how the whole thing will end. (I may be stating the obvious, since she ACTUALLY call them geeks.) So the Buffy reference didn’t threw me off because it seemed to me that Robin was using geekspeak in order to explain the thing in a way they would understand.

    And that was excellent, as always. I can’t believe you’r not getting paid for writing this stuff !

  7. Zom Says:

    According to Amy it was intended as Robin attempting to speak with the geeks in their very own language (not in a condescending way, necessarily), but I too have reservations about the reference

  8. amypoodle Says:

    I was looking for a way to make the reality rewrite really clear. If you’re familiar with Buffy, it does, I think.

    Also I’ve already referenced the fact that people enjoy late nineties/early zeroes retro in 2015 – it’s the cycle of fashion. In fact, post-modernity is an underlying theme throughout all of this – culture and the past signified and expressed games, etc….. It’s the end of the world and here we are with our toybox.

  9. Bucky Sinister Says:

    Fair enough. I’d argue that you could have made the rewrite clear without the reference, but you did establish a basis for it. And I did like the “decided she was real” line.

    Sorry for being so critical. I’m acting like you’re workshopping this thing, and I doubt that’s your intent at all.

  10. Zom Says:

    No, I think critical is fine.

    Personally I’d get rid of that line and find another way to do it

  11. plok Says:

    I was surprised not to find that the Buffy reference was inserted mainly to do something punny with the word “dawn”…explicitly drawing in the missing lines that Whedon left out.

    And, I mostly took it as a direct address to the comics-reading public. Did Buffy really air in Gotham City or Metropolis? Surely not, eh? The fifty-year-old skins line, yeah, I thought that one was pitched outward, to us. A not-unjustifiable device, even if it pushes at the edges a little. A coin flip, I’d say.

    I love the clip of this thing, it is really moving along, getting through a lot of stuff very briskly. Hooray!

Leave a Reply