batman-and-robin-9

Here and in the comments, we got the shit ain’t no-one else got. Read on!

PAGE 1

PANEL 2

Amy: It serves plot, but Beryl’s aside, positioned between the macho matter-of-factness of Dick and Cyrils’ dialogue, is also a nice character moment showcasing her humanity and her romantic side. Kate’s last cry for help, her neutrino-comm (talk about radio ghosts!) repeating its message forever in the darkness, is a moving, poetic thought. Beryl Morrison.

Zom: Before we go any further I just want to add my voice to the chorus of people who have praised Cameron Stewart’s character acting. People often fail to notice that Morrison is one of the great character writers when he puts his mind to it, and Batman & Robin is a very character focussed book, but all that focus and all that ability wouldn’t amount to much if it weren’t for his collaborators in the art department, as was demonstrated under the flesh warping pen of Phillip Tan.

PAGE 2

PANEL 3

Amy: Another nice character moment from Beryl, this time with the side effect of bigging up the Batwoman title. By putting the admiring words ‘I heard she was well hard…’ in Beryl’s mouth, though, it feels as if Morrison’s commenting on Kate’s potential as a role model for girls, and particularly for her. Running into a fully formed superheroine prepared to brave death in order to beat the baddies would make quite an impact on a female sidekick operating in a man’s world. This is a good touch.

PAGE 3

PANEL 1

Amy: AND ANOTHER ONE! This time from Cyril. I love the idea of the young Squire being terrified by his American counterpart, savagely chewing his nails on the plane ride over to the Club of Heroes meeting, a sick feeling in his stomach. Between Cyril’s dialogue here, the craziness attendant on Dick Grayson’s arrival on the bat-scene, that ‘blitz of a boy’ quote and the Batman of Zur-en-arrh, Morrison’s captured something about the first Robin that I’m not sure because I don’t read their comics but I suspect other writers have missed, his singular uniqueness, the thing that marks him as the ur-sidekick – his unbridled teenage wildness. That’s was his weapon. That’s what made him special.

And potentially as scary as Batman.

It’s as though when things got really freaky and out there Batman, always prepared, answered with a weapon of his own, unleashing Robin on his foes.

I’ve got a schematic going: Dick was the child, Jason the teenager and Tim, who made tracked Batman down and made the conscious decision ahead of time to be Robin, is the grown up.

PANEL 2

Amy: And it seems Dick Grayson resented Cyril. These two panels unearth the original Club of Heroes’ story subplot that was never told! The tensions between the original members above mirrored by the tensions between sidekicks below!

PANEL 3

Amy: I know I should heroic-hype the shit out of Beryl’s nod to the Wordenshire rectory bells, but I won’t.

Not here.

I’m doing it somewhere else.

Man, there needs to be some post-morrison comics. It’s a damning indictment that DC’s stable never know what to do with his ideas.

PANEL 4

Amy: Batman’s detective skills are a nifty plot moving device, and Morrison seems to be really enjoying utilising them in service of same. This run’s full of it. Also, that Dick has in no time at all figured out not only that the clone isn’t Batman but also what his next move will be, and given that he’s been processing all this information whilst engaging in a life or death struggle with it, with all the emotional baggage and internal conflict that would entail, and being buried alive under a ton of rocks that’ve killed his comrade, marks his out as one of the coolest, quickest minds on the planet. A true superhero. Morrison multitasking again…..

PAGE 5

Amy: Damian’s as quick as Dick.

And, URRGH, it smells of bleach. When the clones were sterilised they used bloody Domestos… And that image in my mind – we’ll get on to some of this in a big way later – of rotting meat scrubbed clean with bleach is vile.

PAGES 6, 7 & 8

Amy: A brilliant sequence. I somehow imagined Damian and Alfred being far more frightened and passive than this. It’s good that other than a quick nod to victimhood at the end of the last issue they come out the gate fighting in this one.

Damian’s pulled off his father’s disappearing trick on more than one occasion. Could Dick do it at that age?

PANEL 1

Amy: For some reason this panel reminds me of the scene in the second part of What the Butler Saw where Bruce and AlfredLUMP discuss the false memories he’s been implanting, and although there’s no real connection there, there are certainly resonances. In fact the clone’s confused condition resonates nicely with Bruce’s disarrayed mind in #682 and #683 generally.

As an aside, I might have mentioned way back in the annocommentations for the What the Butler Saw that the story arc is an exploding of the inner workings of one of those Bruce-Wayne-conquers-all-with-the-force-of-his-indomitable-will stories, both showing and telling rather than simply leaving it up to the reader to fill in the gaps or just nod their head along with the idea that Batman is a psychic badass. So in that alone it’s cool. But I’ve just realised it’s also a mathematic proof that Bruce Wayne would’ve become a superhero anyway, regardless of whether or not his parents had died. I know there isn’t a panel where Universe B Bruce actually dons spandex, but I think he’s heading that way. His horror at the Joker’s crimes and the feeling that he’s destined for greater things, his self hatred (his sense of disappointment), the discovery of a dead superhero’s lair beneath Wayne Manor, the training session scene (that could be happening in either reality, and may be the bridge between them given that Universe B Bruce doesn’t return post partnering up) – all of these things are an indicator that Batman can’t be hemmed in, even when you teleport him to a world where he never existed.

Wow, What the Butler Saw is another one of those updated fifties’ stories again, isn’t it? (Not literally)

In true prismatic style, the clone is a useful device to unpick Bruce Wayne. I’m very taken with the idea implicit here that the violence in Bruce’s life has been a constant reworking of Joe Chill’s primal act of violence, and has therefore made the event impossible to process, impossible to let go.

PANELS 2,3,4 & 5

kapow1

Amy: This is just brilliant. Fucking fucking brilliant. The stuff about ‘Gunshots cracking in my skull. Day and night. Ka-pow! Pow! Blam!’ and the implication that the sixties’ show, under psychoanalysis, was revealing via parapraxis a darker truth, little Bruce Wayne constantly reliving his parents murder with every kick and punch. And of course this simpler, confused Zombie Batman would experience the memory in a hallucinogenic, primary, cartoonish and childlike way. It works on both levels. Talk about recontextualising and refusing disparate bat-elements! Genius. And then further to that the ‘Krakt!’, Morrison again, as he did with Batbane, admitting Knightfall to the unhallowed halls of bat-trauma, in second place sure, but nonetheless right up there.

The shattered psychic prism that is the bigtop triptych is superdense and allows Morrison to literalise lots of stuff sloshing around in Bruce’s mind. There’s the riddle of Catwoman – what is she to Bruce exactly? Friend? Foe? Lover? The inseparability of Robin and the Joker, both of them circus freaks, representing the crazy fast energies that have always been a feature of the batman adventure, and inverted lovers, one murdering the other, the Joker in some way replacing Jason, or at least infecting him, when he eventually returns. (as a side note has anyone noticed the way that bullet wound in the Joker’s head looks like a black cordite bindi – a third eye staring straight into Hell? The Swami of Sin….) After that we have Wurzel Baneage, and the terror of being helpless all over again, broken like a piece of straw on the knee of bloodmusclesweat, the raw physicality of your parents riddled with bullet holes, and again the zany lightning current reemerges in Zur-en-arrh, Batman’s attempt to  incorporate these wayward energies, to have them work for him, to *become* Robin. Is that figure there an aggregate of Jim Gordon, Alfred and Thomas Wayne? I suppose even though Bruce’s relationship with Alfred and Jim isn’t strictly paternalistic, seen from above the dynamic between them certainly resembles that of a wild, rebellious teenager and a solid dad figure. Shit, Jim means a lot to Bruce, doesn’t he? I never thought of it like that before. I saw them more as pals.

Cool.

And then Kathy Kane(/+Huntress), the Batman Clone emerging from the smashed glass, (still)born into a world of insanity and horror that will eventually destroy her.

The whole shattered womb/wombglass in shattered eyes/shattered bonesbodymind equation is extremely sickening generally: ‘Born Ded in splintrs of j-j-jagged glass!’ It’s just so disturbingly violent. It conjures in my mind an image of a baby bleeding out on a cracked mirror, or something akin to that (We’ve already mentioned the correlation between the child’s and zombie’s eye view of the sound effects (oh man, let’s back up a sec – you wanted the 60s TV show crossed with Lynch? You got it!), but of course another thing positioning Zombie-Bats as a child is his babyspeak). I’m not bringing this up solely to upset people, I’m just wondering if anyone else felt this bloody, raw energy haunting the edges of the page. It’s a brilliant example of horror operating within the narrow crawlspace of a mainstream comic, but via imagistic dialogue.

I’ve had weird nightmares where instead of dandruff people has large anadin pills in their hair, and the pearls/eyes mashup here reminds me of that. Yuck. Ever since the day I spat out a calcium deposit that’d been slowly pushing its way through the skin under my tongue for two years before that, I’ve found the idea of discovering a foreign object – and I do mean an object, something made of plastic, metal or glass, something manmade – growing somewhere on or in one’s body incredibly disturbing, and the pearls/eyes mashup is certainly pushing that button again, yesiree peeyyUUke a dee. Zombie-Bruce is so infected with the idea of Martha Wayne’s death, so entranced by the moment when time stopped and her freezeframed jewellry scattered across the air, that his eyes have become pearls! That’s just horrible, isn’t it?

PAGE 10

PANELS 4 & 5

Amy: Being that this clone is a Batman broken by his history, it makes sense that he should always adopt the negative position and resultingly his dialogue should reproduce the principle characters’ fears. If Damian’s afraid of anything it’s that he’s somehow tainted, that he’s the real faulty clone, and that not only will he be unable to live up to his father’s heritage, he’s actually a cancer feeding off it and ultimately destined to destroy it. Why else does he have so much to prove? Nice way, along with the obvious stuff that Zom points out, to propel him into the next arc, Batman vs Robin.

It’s a good thing, though, that his insecurities are completely wrongheaded, that he’s actually a mini-bruce, and that like his father he’s an existentialist. An existentialist holding a piece of sparking cable.

PAGE 11

PANEL 3

Amy: The four doors representing the four elements leading to the Lazarus Pit is another cute Morrisonian flourish. Spirit often crops up as the fifth element in occultism, and life is the function of all of them combined. Instant depth.

PANEL 4

Amy: I like that Kate’s so self-possessed she can decide not to lose it upon resurrection. Maybe she views that stuff as being for unprofessional, undisciplined civilians, perhaps for undisciplined, unruly men. Batwoman as badass example no. 2.

PAGE 12

PANEL 1

Zom: It makes me chuckle that Morrison killed Batwoman off so fast. It’s as if he couldn’t wait to clout her with a ten ton avalanche made of pure superhero. Yeah, yeah you can have your TDKesque rationalisations (her treatment by the army, the army connections, the military hardware, the wig, etc…) but you also get your Crime Bible and your were-people, and, in the hands of Grant, your superheroic death. Let’s face it, you’re nowhere on the Justice League scale of Heroic Endeavour if you haven’t come back from the dead at least once.

PAGE 13

PANEL 1

Amy: I have no idea what ‘Ice Cube’ is. Some sort of research lab obviously, but is it real or just in comics?

PANEL 4

Amy: The Knight and the Squire have whole narrative arcs, and in fact a grand narrative, built into them don’t they? The poverty…. Zom pointed out that being poor they’re superheroes for our recession blighted times. America – read american superheroes - can glamour it out, but Britain’s ugly bits are always on display. It would be nice if DC had a strongish UK line like Marvel had in the eighties and the Knight and Squire was one of its titles. The Knight and Squire’s return to glory arc could dovetail neatly with a global financial about turn, or at least our own, making it the popularist british comic EVAAAAH.

Doubt it would though. We’re probably all well and truly screwed.

PANEL 6

Amy: Batwoman seems incredibly spry for someone only just raised from the dead. It’s her Barbelith moment though, her self dissolved and then reintegrated by that boiling red sphere stuck in the ground. How did King Mob describe it, ‘Ego annihilation is followed by euphoric reintegration and an extended sense of understanding. There’s a surge of creative energy, all time is understood to be happening simultaneously…’? It’s not just that Kate’s tough as nails, but also that she was only just now at one with the time worm. No wonder she’s grinning from ear to ear and thousand yard staring at her hands. Where she’s been you have a billion billion hands and you can see across universes.

One little bat zombie’s no sweat after that.

Do you know what’s great about this shit? I’m not reading it into the scene. Morrison’s clearly winking at the long term fans. The most bonkers reading is REAL.

PAGE 14

Amy: I wonder if Grant will remember he blew up the Batmobile.

Oh, I see, it’s the one before the newest one. Sheesh, that one didn’t last long.

I think there was some confusion regarding better batmobiles.

Zom: The new blown-up Batmobile is also in evidence. Somehow I don’t think that’s Grant’s fault

PAGE 15

PANEL 1

Amy: Holy iterated bat-man, Alfred!

Zom: There’s something so enjoyable about seeing Alfred pick up a cricket bat to defend Damian against the onslaught of Zombie-Bats. This is where dependable manservant crosses over into hero territory. Batman doesn’t merely employ a butler, he employs a super butler, one who remains reliable when the going gets really fucking crazy. On another more important level it’s moving, the idea of an old man selflessly facing down hell to defend a little boy who hasn’t always been the easiest of charges (but then which little boys are?). Going back to what I said above about Alfred’s capacity for reliability, I suppose you could read Alfred’s actions as an endorsement of the idea that there is something virtuous about a manservant’s willingness to lay down his life for his master, but I’m happy to ignore that bothersome political dimension and focus on the people. For me this is about love, bravery and decency.

THE REST OF IT

It seems Zombie Batman’s inverted bat-mission rather than to in some way resurrect his parents by saving innocents’ lives is to destroy the orphaned child himself. Suicide, in other words- to turn the sun, or put another way, the world, off. Batman’s a light in the black bug city, one that should never go out.

Damian’s midair tut is priceless.

PAGES 16 & 17

Zom: Perhaps Batman vs Robin is at least in part motivated by Dick’s actions in this arc. Yes it seems as if Damian and Talia have something planned, but I can’t imagine that Dick’s role in the creation of Zombie Batman has helped bring Dick and Damian closer – quite the opposite. I don’t think I’d be too keen on being assualted by a superhuman, rotting corpse version of my father. I suspect I might think that the person responsible for that was not someone who I wanted as my friend. I might even think that that person should be punished, and I don’t have Damian’s temper, nor did I spend my formative years learning morality from the League of Assassins, nor am I ten years old. The there’s the thought that maybe batman shouldn’t be the sort of guy who sets off zombie rampages (thanks to his failure to plan properly – Dick operates “without a net” remember), a thought compounded by the fact that this dangerous bat-fraud isn’t satisfied with his last fuck up, now he wants to go on some mad and no doubt doomed to failure quest to find Damian’s real dad (who last anyone knew was vapourised by Darkseid) with no regard to how Damian might feel about it.

Yeah, I can see how Damian might have a bone to pick with Dick.

Amy: yeah, that smug grin and all the quipping’s inappropriate to say the least. Is this the first time the comic’s positioned us on Damian’s as opposed to Dick’s side? I mean Dick really is coming off as thoughtless, lovestruck cock.

PAGE 18

PANEL 1

Amy: ‘Puh-puh-patch patch me up…’ Jesus, he really is a foul mockery of his source material…. More grotesque Bruce Wayne impersonations….

PANEL 4

Amy: And now with the infantile snivelling. It seems Kate’s been reduced to the same aggregate of which Helena and Kathy are already a part.

PAGE 19

PANEL 2

Amy: Damian’s as always prepared as anyone else in the cape and cowl. The grappling line’s a nice twist.

FIGHT!

This is a brilliant fight scene. Such a fantastic rhythm to it and the punches really connect.

Zom: I really can’t praise Cameron’s art enough here. Like Quitely, Stewart demonstrates the forgotten art of the choreographed fight. More please, comic industry.

PAGE 20

PANEL 1

Zom: Hah, the double-punch is back. Motifs like this help to foster a sense of familiarity and intimacy, because in order to spot them you have to be a committed reader. In some small way the device also works for me as a love letter to genre as a whole, with the double-punch standing in as a kind of visual catch phrase, not unlike “It’s clobbering time”, “Hulk smash”, “flame on!”, or “is it a bird?…”. In common with those verbal motifs it is closely allied to action scenes and the heroic moment and as such functions as a way of drawing attention to the centrality of those moments within the genre

I also like the way it insists on the unity of the two character’s doing the punching. Common cause and a deep bond is suggested that resonates nicely in a book called Batman & Robin, but it goes further than that, by bringing them together with this sort of pure iconography we move beyond mere characterisation or the extigencies of plot. I don’t think I’m being too woolly when I say that it evokes the magic word “team up” and all the superhero logic that that implies. Check out all the double-punches in Batman Brave and Bold, I suspect Morrison has.

PANEL 3

‘I’m wot u will b.’

Amy: So, this is where Dick fears his new role will lead, his own destruction. The cape and cowl are a heavy burden, wiith them comes the madness…and the Joker! The clone may be right. Nobody else but Bruce has the power to wear the mantle, etc: BRUCE WAYNE, RETURNETH!

PANEL 4

Amy: The clone smashing when he lands is nastier than any of the other options. He’s a bat-object not a batman.

PANEL 5

Amy
: ‘Who are all these terrible people and what on earth’s going on?’

Damian’s playing the game here. I’m not sure he would’ve done in the past. He’s slowly growing into his pixie boots.

PAGE 21

batman-digs-this-day

Amy: The little nod to Starfire’s nice. What’s going on with her and Dick? I loved that couple when I was a kid, the hot superpowered alien and the daredevil mortal boy. I keep on hoping she’ll show up. This is a bat-superhero book after all.

And damn I like to see Batman flirting with the girls, digging this day.

PAGE 22

Amy: Obviously the neutrino comm enabled Knight and Squire to track King Coal. It’s the kind of thing that in a movie you’d simply put down to the superheroes being magic, like Batman’s rooftop vanishing acts, but in this instance we’re in on the trick and it feels good.

arthurdaley

Zom: I should have seen that coming. Coal’s wife isn’t some sort of sinister monster lurking behind the scenes or rather she is but the key words here are “behind the scenes”. She’s Arthur Daley’s unseen but always felt “’er indoors”, reimagined through a slightly more horrifying lens. So we have Coal as the hen pecked husband, the Carry On-esque penance he pays for his cheeky comedy infidelities, and his dodgy (read: failed) business dealings. The usual low level sexist connotations of this British comedy convention are ameliorated just a little bit by the feeling that Coal’s version of Daley’s private demon is probably just that, genuinely demonic, and that the chap has good reason to be terrified of her. Yet another nice example of Morrison mining the British culture for this arc, and twisting things just enough to make them shriek.

PAGES 23 & 24

Amy: Aaaah, Damian’s telling Dick off now. How the roles have reversed! Nice dramatic pacing that, having Damian exhibit his strongest claim to maturity yet just before he throws himself into the next arc’s profoundly teenage act of anti-authoritarian aggression.

Zom: Is it just me or is “Pennyworth” starting to sound like a term of endearment? There’s a long history of writers portraying Bruce Wayne as brusque with Alfred so obviously it has echoes of that, but I think there’s good reason to feel that the ice may be thawing. Alfred helps Damian (another team up! Sorta) fight off Zombie Batman, bravely risking life and limb in the process – Alfred, lest we forget, isn’t a ninja – and by having Damian say “Pennyworth and I are lucky to be alive” Morrison ensures that we know that Damian noticed.

Amy: Dick’s little speech at the end while entirely self-justifying isn’t unconvincing. Bruce Wayne definitely isn’t just a ‘loved one’, he’s a world class superhero, and, yeah, sooner or later someone would have had to have tried to revive the clone. In a world where everyone’s died and been reborn at least once (as Zom points out, Batwoman makes the grade this ish) there really isn’t an option. World savers are Earth whatever’s most valuable resource. And Grant’s one to great pains in this book to stress that Batman is a role Dick’s playing: Dick can be a batman, but he can never be the Batman.

But there’s two things that get us really jazzed for Bruce’s return. To begin with there’s Dick’s faith in Bruce, his certainty that if a body was not forthcoming Bruce must be alive, which bestows upon him impossibly mythic status – sure he was facing down one of  if  not the most powerful being in the universe at the time he disappeared, but, y’know, WHATEVER; this is the goddaman Batman we’re talking about and that’s that.

Secondly, there’s the iconography of the empty suit.

That’s the real kicker. That’s the thing that had you all hot under the collar when you closed the book, even if you didn’t know it. That rotting corpse was always a warning sign, but more than that it was a symbol of the period in which Batman was dead, the period of mourning. Remove the corpse (indeed, this being a superhero book fight and destroy the corpse) and the Batsuit returns to a state of purity, cloaked in the shadows of mystery and legend….waiting.

‘All we have to do is find him.’

I wonder how long it’s going to take Dick to figure out he’s stranded in time. Pretty bloody fast I imagine.

92 Responses to “Batman and Robin #9 the annocommentations”

  1. amypoodle Says:

    Some of these annowhatevers are a bit scruffy. forgive.

  2. Papers Says:

    Yes! Lynch and the Sixties TV show! It’s only one page, but it gives us the Robin of Zur-en-arrh, which is sometimes called the White Lodge.

    I like that, in terms of the continuity scruffiness of the DCU, the fact that there was a Kathy “Batwoman” Kane and now a Kate “Batwoman” Kane are spotlighted while simultaneously ignored.

    Kind of like how the new Doctor Fate being Kent V. Nelson totally pisses me off in a vague, inexplicable way.

    And, yes, the conflict between Dick-Robin and Cyril-Squire is a great undercurrent to look back at the Black Glove with. I’m inclined to reread that storyline again because it’s a favourite.

    Thank you for all the commentary on Batwoman; it feels like she’s had a raw deal for a while, but I think she’s beginning to real gel as a character and could hypothetically carry us on into a new Golden Age, right? Only DC will say fuck that and forge ahead with Boredomsville. Dear DC: Post-Morrison Comics! Please!

    Let one of them be KNIGHT AND SQUIRE.

  3. Neon Snake Says:

    “His certainty that if a body was not forthcoming Bruce must be alive, which bestows upon him impossibly mythic status”

    Hmmm…as in Dick recognising the “no body” trope?

  4. Neon Snake Says:

    Re. Kate: As well as giving her her first kill and resurrection (ergo making her a proper DC character), he’s also quite casually tied off most of her story arc from 52 – she’s now fulfilled the prophecy, has died at the hands of the Crime Bible lot, has risen again, and is free to go off and be a proper superheroine in her own right, free from prior encumberance. Backstory done and dusted now, new Batwoman a-go-go. Barbelith.

  5. Zom Says:

    Good points

  6. Botswana Beast Says:

    Did anyone else notice how explicitly like Niles Caulder vs. Beardhunter Dame-o vs. Mindless Batman was? It is about defeating grittiness/GM is old (50!!) and forgets what things he has already done.

  7. amypoodle Says:

    yes, right, it so IS about that.

    grant may have said it before but i think he may have to say it a few more times yet.

    as for batwoman’s arc wrapping, i thought as much, but it’s a liitle weird that rucka left it up to grant, isn’t it?

  8. jreag347 Says:

    Your comments on Damian’s and Alfred’s thawing relationship reminded me that future Damian in #666 named his cat Alfred. At the time I kinda just thought it was meant as a place-keeper companion, but perhaps they really do grow to be close.

  9. jamie jamie Says:

    Yes! Thankyou so much for these annotations! The feeling I got upon reading this issue was a feeling I’ve not had since reading certain issues of The Invisibles. Pure and utter joy. And inspiration. And exuberance! I read it again with your annocommentaries and almost wept. Hats off!!!

  10. amypoodle Says:

    for my part i’ve still yet to get over the soundeffects stuff. it’s just too clever. a solid gold morrison moment.

  11. RetroWarbird Says:

    Much easier to find Bruce once they factor in Tim, who already has the head start. (A “fan-favorite” is pegged to return in the last chapter of Batman vs. Robin).

    Dick comes off as brash. Like … if Bruce is “brusque”, Dick is “brash”. But admit it … he may not be as A-Game as Bruce, but he’s got bigger balls.

    The 60′s sound effects being used as psychological fodder? Man, I haven’t re-read this yet so I hadn’t picked up on it but that’s something, innit?

    The “pearls/eyes” thing actually reminded me personally of Gaiman’s “Coraline” (having just caught it on HBO). Since Grant just made a point of using Pearly King as a villain, and associated pearls with white buttons … all I could think of was the wicked hag in Coraline who wanted to sew buttons to her eyes. And hey! Neil Gaiman just did “Whatever Happened?” and Tim Burton? You don’t get much more involved with Batman than that! (In much the same way Eduardo Flamingo wound up being a Prince homage).

    Thanks for clarifying what I couldn’t pinpoint about the big top triptych. I couldn’t place it. I was drawing entirely different connections between Riddler and Catwoman – the fact that Batman takes it easy on them because they’re THIEVES rather than KILLERS. Those are games he mildly enjoys. But Bruce wanting to be more like Dick? Now that’s bloody genius. Like I said … Grayson has always been ballsier than Bruce.

    You mentioned “Damian has the “disappearing act” down, did Dick at that age?” – NO. Dick would’ve charged head-first, and pulled it off, and caused a distraction so big that Bruce could easily come in and clean up with no problems.

    Other than that? Morrison’s clearly as crazy about what Rucka has been doing with Batwoman as we all are – it’s nice to see writer admiration built into the characters. Beryl Morrison indeed!

    I dug the idea of Coal’s “missus” being an Unseen Character, too. Like Octopus in The Spirit, or Blofeld, or Sauron or Peggy Bundy’s mother, or Maris from Frasier (A show I think constantly about when I read Knight & Squire interacting).

  12. RetroWarbird Says:

    “Hmmm…as in Dick recognising the “no body” trope?”

    Why not? He clearly recognizes the “Super-Hero Team-Up” trope – and as a kid being read by kids in the days that trope was invented, I suppose he sees super-heroes exactly the same way we do.

    Dick probably coined the phrase “World’s Finest”.

  13. jreag347 Says:

    Did anyone else notice that once Damian ignites the gasoline and causes the explosion, Zombie Bats emerges and his speech bubbles seem like the ink is smeared or grainy? I thought it was a printing error at first, but its only his speech. Its a nice touch that as Zombie Bats deteriorates, so does his speech ala the ink.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    Three-Ring-Circus tryptych is also a sharp callback to the Three Ghosts of Batman, and their loose affiliation with the Three Great Traumas/Regrets of same.

    Joker 3rd-Eye was used to good symbolic effect in the last issue of Batman RIP, as I recall, in the temple after Thogal – Joker as evil otherworldly spirit, menacing but also warning Bruce Wayne, and even helping to ward other evil away.

    On Zombie Batman telling Dick he’ll die:
    Bear in mind that, in #666 (which is seeming less like a nightmare and more like the real bat-future), Damian says he made a deal with the Devil the night the Batman died – he doesn’t say anything about Bruce Wayne. Commissioner Barbara Gordon also says that her hatred of Damian is due to him being directly responsible for the death of a “friend” of hers, which sounds more like Dick than Bruce.

    Zombie Batman (who may or may not have specifically come home to kill Damian) also recalls the moment of 3rd-Man Batman telling Bruce to kill him to stop what’s coming – he may be regurgitating the mental detective-work of Bruce Wayne in figuring out that Damian is an integral part of the same very large conspiracy to kill Batman forever – in some twisted way hoping to put a stop to it all by removing the (unwitting) lynchpin of the Devil’s master plan. If Dr. Hurt (as Satan or Joe Chill Jr. or whoever) couldn’t tempt Bruce Wayne or Dick Grayson, he’ll start subbing in Batmen until he can find one to ruin the legacy forever.

  15. amypoodle Says:

    You know, I thought Zombie Batman’s warning might be a bonafide prediction, and last night I was thinking about the dead Batman in 666 but for some reason the connection didn’t come. Cheers for that. Shouldn’t have missed it.

    The Joker as evil spirit in RIP thing’s great. Nice one.

  16. Zom Says:

    As ever, the comments keep on giving the good stuff

  17. Teatime Brutality Says:

    Great stuff…especially the Kateolatry.
    I love that her superpower is just ‘consistently being Kate.’

    Nice catch of how Beryl’s line foregrounds Batwoman’s potenial as a role-model. Though ironically, my daughter prefers Beryl herself. Because SHE RODE A BIKE INSIDE A SHOP! That such things can happen.

    Oh, and I thought that Geordie cliches, marital infidelity and Morrisonian wordplay meant that Missus Coal was the DCU’s Cheryl Cole.

  18. The Beast Must Die Says:

    Yep me too. I’d wager that’s exactly the kind of pop-cultural zeitgeisting Morriosn likes.

  19. Duncan Says:

    Mm, particularly timely – synchrolicious – given the Geordie Venus (btw, re: last ish, the Newcastle accent is a lovely, >ick< mmmellifluous, charming and – yes – funny accent, but it is not Briatain’s comedy accent, which is either South Wales or Birmingham) has binned her playaway, cash-maddened horror hubby.

  20. Teatime Brutality Says:

    Yeah, the news of their separation came out the day after BatRob #9

    So she obviously read it.

  21. Zom Says:

    We have the facts. All of them.

  22. Neon Snake Says:

    “as for batwoman’s arc wrapping, i thought as much, but it’s a liitle weird that rucka left it up to grant, isn’t it?”

    Yeah, I’d always assumed that Kate was Rucka’s pet character, and that all of her scenes in 52 were his. It is weird, and I’m guessing that it might just get ignored over in ‘Tec; I’ve not been regularly reading it, so I don’t know if the twice-named thing is still cropping up in any significant manner over there.

    Miss Coal/Cole – yes. Please.

  23. RetroWarbird Says:

    “… but it is not Briatain’s comedy accent, which is either South Wales or Birmingham) has binned her playaway, cash-maddened horror hubby.”

    Naturally Dai Laffyn must hail from Swansea.

    “as for batwoman’s arc wrapping, i thought as much, but it’s a liitle weird that rucka left it up to grant, isn’t it?”

    I doubt we’ve heard the end of the Crime Religion. Their “twice-named daughter” prophecy was just one dark prophecy in a Crime Bible FILLED with dark prophecies, from Judeo-Christian Satan to Jack Kirby Apokolips.

    I’d written a long, rambling, not-very-well-thought-out web-log about Joker’s role here in the battle between good and evil as “malicious, and wicked” like pagan trickster spirits, but separate and above the whole “Good/Evil” “Black/White” thing.

    Morrison has already associated Joker with some pre-Christian tricksters – Wisakedjak, the Cree Indian trickster god … and with the “third eye”, could amost be seen as the Hindu Krishna, who in Buddhist tradition served as something of a prince, a wise man, who had achieved an understanding of the universe, and was something of an endearing prankster. Not to mention the timeliness of 60′s Batman tropes coinciding with the 60′s Hare Krishna movement. Hey, they got The Beatles. Or even Kali, of Temple of Doom fame.

    And now? If my suspicions are true and Oberon Sexton is The Joker (and he’s either Joker or Bruce himself) then that’s yet another pagan mischievous spirit – Oberon, the king of faeries.

    Where are the Sheeda when you need them?

  24. Bucky Sinister Says:

    Brilliant job as always, gentlemen.

    One note on the Bat-Triptych: in the center, isn’t Bane mashed up with Scarecrow AND Azrael? Looks like Az’s throat-armor nonsense under the word balloon, anyway, and that would cram yet another alternate Batman into the mix.

    Something else I just noticed there: we don’t see the bigtop stripes in the background of that center image, but the hat echoes their lines to complete the motif. Not significant, I don’t think, but a really nice piece of artistic business from Cam Stewart.

  25. RetroWarbird Says:

    Forgive me for not having looked it up before … but I just took the time to look into the namesake, Old King Cole … Coel Hen, rooted in Welsh legend, Whose province was the North of Britain south of Hadrian’s Wall? (All the talk about his possibly being a Roman commander is just that, the usual clap-trap about “all the great leaders in Europe were really Romans! But did make me think of Charlie Caligula.)

    Not that Grant is the first to come up with this play on words – but plucking a Batman villain out of an 80′s newspaper political cartoon is still a strong concept. Political cartoons in newspapers are the very origins of comics.

  26. RetroWarbird Says:

    “One note on the Bat-Triptych: in the center, isn’t Bane mashed up with Scarecrow AND Azrael? Looks like Az’s throat-armor nonsense under the word balloon, anyway, and that would cram yet another alternate Batman into the mix.”

    Knightfall was a pretty effed up experience for Bruce – two of what Morrison has pegged as fears happened – 1st he was broken, easily, by a superior opponent. 2nd, yes indeed, an “impure” Batman came about because of it. A Batman who very nearly tainted the Batman name. (If it wasn’t for Tim Drake, Jean-Paul quite possibly would have.)

  27. Kyle W. Says:

    Spoiler for Detective:

    The Religion of Crime thinks that the other Kane sister died (of course, she didn’t, either).

  28. RetroWarbird Says:

    NOW of all times I remember my forgotten last point from my first post.

    Dick looking once more at the empty cowl is a nice bit of Grant playing well with others – this particular case being Peter Tomasi’s brief, highly underrated run at the end of Nightwing (With Don Kramer, also highly underrated) – particularly the last couple issues, post-R.I.P., where Dick kept staring into the empty blackness of the cowl (which itself picked up nicely on the last Dick scene in R.I.P., of him holding the discarded cowl).

  29. amypoodle Says:

    Yep, that’s Azrael alright. Just more grist to the Knightfall mill – most terrifying part of batcontinuity post batman’s origin.

  30. RetroWarbird Says:

    I believe Morrison covered just about everything integral to Batman – the “bullet points” of his 80 year continuity – in Last Rites. Although some stuff he handled elsewhere in more detail, and a lot of that stuff was the 50′s/60′s stuff that “should be a bullet point but everyone has ignored” – in particular, Club of Heroes and Robin Dies At Dawn.

    The only thing I’m surprised he didn’t acknowledge as a bullet point was the acid scarring loss of Harvey Dent. But that was early in the career and curing villains seemed more possible then.

  31. Shiny Jim Says:

    I’m not convinced that this is the last we’ve heard of Mrs. Coal…

  32. It Burns Says:

    “the last Dick scene in R.I.P.”

    Why have we not made any Dick Jokes on this site since Batrob began? I mean I didn’t even think of making any until I read this line and laughed.

    I know it’s not because we’re above it . . .

  33. RetroWarbird Says:

    DC has very smartly been using a lot of “Richards” and “Richies” when referring to Master Grayson. Tomasi actually started it back in Nightwing – consciously acknowledging that in this day and age, Richards tend to avoid Dicks.

  34. Zom Says:

    The tension between tradition – Dick Grayson – and our brave new world.

  35. revelshade Says:

    Great annotations/commentary. Weird that comic storytelling has become so dense and the history so convoluted that this kind of thing is rewarding (and sometimes absolutely necessary).
    One quibble. I can’t believe that out of 34 previous comments no one pointed out that Dick’s flirtatious comment about red-headed crimefighters is more likely a reference to Babs Gordon, not Starfire. They’ve had an on again off again thing since she was a Congresswoman and he was a summer intern in her office (Batman Family, late 70s).
    Starfire’s hair started out brown with a reddish tint. It’s gotten redder over the years but I would still call it auburn rather than red. More importantly, while she’s undoubtedly a superhero, would anyone call her a crimefighter? That title is usually reserved for unpowered or underpowered vigilantes who wear masks, go on patrol and beat up muggers and bank robbers, not aliens who blow up supervillains in broad daylight.

  36. Neon Snake Says:

    “Dick looking once more at the empty cowl is a nice bit of Grant playing well with others”

    A reasonably common complaint over on the DC Boards (at least in my memory) of the run up to and including RIP was that Morrison was ignoring everything being written around him at the time. I can’t really remember what the specifics were that he “should” have been acknowledging – Black Mask/White Shark as new crime boss, forfuckssakewhocares, and Dini’s run was too mediocre to even warrant mention.

    But, Batman and Robin seems to have very consciously played well with others – there’s been mention of “Bruce’s erratic behaviour”, which I guess to be a reference to whatever Tommy Elliot’s been up to, Kate Kane’s adventures in ‘tec, obvs, the cape’n'cowl reference to Tomasi, and the nod to Red Robin.
    It’s not something I look for, miss if it isn’t there, or even *want* to see, but it’s been noticeably there.

  37. Zom Says:

    I thought it was a ref to Babs too, but forgot to say anything.

  38. amypoodle Says:

    i don’t think grant much cares if starfire started out a brunette though. i’m fairly cetain too, regardless of what crimefighter actually means, grant intended the redhead thing to encompass both babs and cory.

    intergalactic space baddies are just perps to the goddamn batman.

    ask darkseid.

  39. Neon Snake Says:

    I don’t think it’s inconceivable that it mean’t the bother of them; I’d assumed that’s what he mean’t by a “thing” for redheads plural, rather than he happened to have gone out with just one.

  40. Zom Says:

    Sounds about right to me

  41. RetroWarbird Says:

    I remember the complaints about Grant not giving any room for the other writers, too. Most of it revolved around altering Joker, thereby limiting what other writers could do with him, nevermind the fact Joker was presently appearing in Salvation Run, JLA, Countdown, and elsewhere.

    But it took every title shutting down prior to Battle for the Cowl for all the other Bat-writers to catch up to Morrison. And he played in the sandbox fine during Resurrection of Ra’s (admittedly his chapters were the best two – but this issue referenced one of the Robin issues).

    And Final Crisis, I don’t recall any character not coming in from a starting point that was closely representative of their current status quos. Arrow and Canary seemed to be honeymooning still. The JLA was the Meltzer version and their round-up of all those rogues that were marching? Clearly a direct response toward the villains’ mistreatment during Salvation Run.

    Grant just doesn’t get bogged down in noting and cataloging every character’s every move. That’s what their own writers are for.

    But I have noticed he’s dropping quite a few more namedrops in Batman and Robin than he had been.

  42. plok Says:

    Wow, bang-up stuff here — Christ that BLAM! POW! business!

    I think Morrison plays extremely well with others, of course, and am always baffled by people saying he doesn’t — I think he’s downright meticulous about it, actually. Maybe even the best?

    I mean he doesn’t even retcon, he just rephrases, changes the perspective slightly. People seem to think he’s trashing the place. It’s beyond me.

  43. plok Says:

    What I love here is the gradual creation of a Batman Family that makes sense to my brain — nicely cluttered with generational and geographical detail, yet not cramped, not coercive of fan-identification, not all clipped and chopped to make what happens in one book mesh with what happens in another, at the cost of it not seeming “real”. Everything’s a character moment that makes this person, then that person, slot into a relational structure and lend it more sense…all without changing anything It’s just like what happened in New X-Men only it’s better ’cause it’s Batman. I only wish I was fouteeen years old reading this.

  44. RetroWarbird Says:

    The fact that we have Batman, Robin, Batwoman, Batgirl, and the tertiary Oracle, Red Robin and Huntress right now is pretty cool. And unlike in the 60′s … these ones grew a little more organically, and really earned seats at the Batman Table.

    Who returns? Bat-Dick Bruce or Dig-This-Day Bruce? Does he throw a snit, tell everyone to get off his lawn and stick with the Batman/Robin formula or does he finally shut the hell up and acknowledge that some good folks have kept his mission alive and his seat warm for him?

  45. plok Says:

    And Knight and Squire!

    I wish I had more time with the new Batman and Robin, I really do. It’s so not-boring, it’s a shame not to get 18 issues out of it. That said, in the nonboring space of B+R I could appreciate either Bruce coming back. And I even really hate the Bat-Dick Bruce, but one can sort of sense how Morrison could spin up a classic 70s Bat-trope from that anti-climactic return…well, if anyone could fight their way back home through the centuries without being affected by it in the slightest, it’s Batman…but would the rest of the Batman Family stand for him not changing? This isn’t the Giffen League, where no one gets to argue with Bruce Wayne — Batwoman died and came back to life for this shit, Dick Grayson had to fight a creepy propheto-zombie of his guardian, there’s no way Morrison misses the potential of that situation.

    Man, that Empty Cowl thing, too…just dandy stuff.

    Forgive my babbling, Mindless, it’s just that I bought extra copies of B+R to give away to kids — I’m that dazzled.

  46. amypoodle Says:

    Well considering that the thogal ritual’s not done with bruce yet – see grant’s comments about it all being folded back in (as s right and proper) – I suspect it won’t be Dick-Bruce.

    Unless he’s become Hurt by that point. Hurt’s a dick.

  47. amypoodle Says:

    Isn’t it cute that batwoman’s already been through the whole death/rebirth process. in two issues. probably went straight to the time squid whereas ra’s i imagine hangs about in the lower end of the bsrdo.

  48. plok Says:

    YEAH!

    I should probably go out and get Batman: RIP now, shouldn’t I.

    Okay, on it.

    Amy, do a Batwoman 666, eh?

  49. Zom Says:

    He’s busy with other stuff that may or may not appear on this blog

  50. Anonymous Says:

    indeed.

    knight and squire stuff.

    i tell you what is nice, writing in english as opposed to american.

  51. Anonymous Says:

    that was me, amy.

  52. RetroWarbird Says:

    “i tell you what is nice, writing in english as opposed to american.”

    I’m American and even I appreciate that. Post-Webster Colonial dialect is just a cover for “We’d rather not think before we speak”.

    “Unless he’s become Hurt by that point. Hurt’s a dick.”

    Hurt could be the ultimate evolution of Bat-Dick! After all … looking back at Batman R.I.P. … can you not see similarities to Tower of Babel? Every weakness exploited … every contingency plan unearthed.

  53. Zom Says:

    Yes he could. Batman as the Devil would be a fine thing.

    It occurs to me that time travel shenanigans will feature heavily in the Hunt for Bruce Wayne, and it’s through such shenanigans that you could have your Bruce becomes evil but also gets to win and be good cake and eat it. Time travel can be deployed in all sorts of weird ways to explain all sort of contradictions. Now sayin’ that I think this will definitely happen. Just sayin’.

    I don’t think Amy is criticising American speech, or even tacitly suggesting that there is such a thing in the monolithic sense, just that as a Brit he finds it easier to write British idioms, etc…

  54. Zom Says:

    On the Thogal, where did Grant say that, Amy. Probably in some interview I haven’t read.

    I’d love to see a moment, perhaps in the last ish Grant writes, where we are explicitly told that the ritual is over.

  55. Neon Snake Says:

    Bruce as Hurt is ridiculously plausible, and something that occurred to me a little while ago. I mean, who doesn’t want to see just how good an EvilBruce would be? CloneBats (clearly modelled on Chistian Bale, even down to the speech) was, after all, awesome.

    So, yeah, something happens in one time zone or another to convince Bruce to turn to evil (or to commit evil thinking it’s for the greater good, or whatever). He’s got a spell as a puritan, apparently, which would fit nicely. And then he lands in 1970 or so, and sets the plan in motion, simultaneously explaining the similarity in appearance, the planning skillz, and Jet’s whole conversation about how it could all be Bruce.

  56. RetroWarbird Says:

    It could be two Bruces (or one Bruce who spends one time cycle evil but in which he lays the seeds for the next time cycle to fix the problem). For that matter, Ebeneezer Badde could have been Bruce.

    (On American speech … I intend “not thinking before speaking” in the nicest sense. Not that my compatriots all just spit out loudmouthed garbage by any means. It just seems like nobody even makes an attempt at wordplay or turn-of-phrase or even falling back on familiar, fun idioms. There’s no style or flourish. So the British idioms are nice to read. Bad enough texting and social networking is killing the English language …)

  57. Zom Says:

    Not killing, changing. Whether they’re changing in a way that you like is another question but I wouldn’t be too quick to judge. Language is vast and a difficult thing to assess, add to that the fact that it’s changing all the time and it becomes almost impossibly so. Personally I see the kids talking in ways which are about as interesting and as complicated as they were when I was a yoot (at 34 I’m well past it).

    Re Evil Bats, was chatting about this over at Funnybook Babylon the other week, post David U’s inspired bit of Hurt-Bats speculation and came to the conclusion that whatever happens Bruce has to be able to walk away squeaky clean. He can’t have the innocent blood that Hurt spilled on his hands when the curtain closes otherwise he just won’t feel like Batman. Time travel nonsense of some form or other could be the answer.

    What’s particularly appealing to me about the Hurt-Bats idea is that it brings back my favourite bit of RIP theorising: that the villain behind the scenes was actually Batman, and that the whole thing was an effort to build a better Caped Crusader. The obvious problem was that people were getting hurt and killed and that Batman wouldn’t sanction that kind of thing, but Hurt-Bats gets around all that because Hurt-Bats is totally for real evil sauce. Bringing Thogal back into the mix sidesteps the fact that Hurt isn’t likely to be trying to improve on the Batman formula by contextualising his actions within the magic of the ritual. In that analysis Hurt is simply an important element of the spell set in motion by Bruce Wayne.

    So when all’s said and done Batman is the guy responsible for all this shit but in a cleverer way than I initially theorised.

    What I want to happen anyway…

  58. jreag347 Says:

    Hurt being Batman in some way would certainly deliver on the promise that Hurt’s identity would be the biggest reveal in 70 yrs of Batman comics. Lets be honest, Hurt being the devil, whether literally or metaphorically, certainly didn’t blow many people’s minds.

  59. amypoodle Says:

    For those who haven’t read it, just so we don’t have to bother reprising it here, GO READ DAVID UZEMERI’S EXCELLENT FUNNYBOOK BABYLON ARTICLE ON WHY BATMAN IS THE DEVIL/DR HURT.

    READ!

    Oh, and, yes, I’m sure Zom’s absolutely right. Batman draws down Hurt via teh magicks in order to recreate himself but isn’t directly responsible for his actions.

    Or is he?

    Ethics get sticky in the fourth dimension.

    Another thing: I reread the ‘throwing thogal back into the mix’ interview again just the other day. It’s real. I’m a Grant nerd, I don’t get this stuff wrong. Can’t remember the link though. I think it was the CBR Return of Bruce Wayne one. I’m sure you (Zom) didn’t read it because of the spoilers.

  60. Zom Says:

    Poodle, please cease with the capitals and start with the links.

    Like so.

  61. Neon Snake Says:

    Cheers for link.

    Sold.

    Well, at least, I’m sold that that’s the way it *should* pan out. I guess it probably won’t.

  62. RetroWarbird Says:

    Yes. That article was a thing of beauty. I’ve been eager for Dave’s thoughts on issue numbers eight and nine.

    It was stuck in my head all along that it could be a “devil in the mirror” situation (Aquaman, my hero of choice, has done it already) but his in-depth really, really made things dawn on me. Not least of all some very vague comments about Springheeled Jack and what it would mean if Bruce is Hurt therefore is Springheel.

  63. Zom Says:

    The Knight’s arch enemy should be his own guy if you ask me

  64. amypoodle Says:

    Oh yes.

    It’s funny all the pessimism around the Hurt/Batman thing. I think it probably WILL be pan out like that. This is Morrison we’re talking about, the guy that brought you we-are-the-lloigor, look up! and episodes of the invisibles so psychedelic you got a soapy LSD taste in your mouth – why shouldn’t the solution to the central mystery of his entire Batman run be just as crazy and satisfying? Not only that, but the evidence is very compelling indeed. I mean, the comic’s been practically slapping us in the face with the answer.

  65. amypoodle Says:

    Oh, and now he’s found a way to make it PLAUSIBLE.

  66. It Burns Says:

    Mindless! I’m sorrythis is unrelated but I knew not where to turn!

    David Lapham’s new book, Sparta U.S.A. is out, I don’t think y’all goner wanna miss it!

  67. Figserello Says:

    I’d love to see a moment, perhaps in the last ish Grant writes, where we are explicitly told that the ritual is over.

    Ah Zom.

    Haven’t you read the Invisibles?

    Initiation never ends…

    (Forgive me my Simpson’s comicbook guy moment)

  68. Zom Says:

    Ah, but that scene would pack an enormous dramatic punch.

    (Surprisingly I haven’t read much of the Invisibles. If your brother was accused by Grant Morrison of channeling his thoughts you probably wouldn’t have either)

    Sparta USA is on the Mindless radar, Burns, don’t you worry.

  69. bobsy Says:

    Have you seen that there is a new book on The Invisibles coming out this week? I think Tim Callahan is involved in the foreword or something. It seems that the author came to the series after the event, which is weird. I can’t imagine it working unless you were living through it as it came out, you know?

    I think it’s been written by the same chap who’s put up the trailer for that Morrion documentary – pretty sure the URL is http://www.grantmorrisonmovie.com or similar. If you decide to watch the trailer, you might need pliers to uncurl your toes at the end: it is a little cringeworthy. But yes, of course, I’ll watch it when it comes out, and probably enjoy the pants off it.

  70. Zom Says:

    The whole living through it thing is why I’ve never really bothered with it post its initial publication.

    If that Morrison movie is anything like the Alan Moore one I reckon I’ll give it a miss. Mindless Ones might be a bit of a Morrison fansite but I’m not interested in seeing the chap hagiographied and some of his more outre proclamations uncritically endorsed. I love much of his work and I like to enthuse about it, but that’s as far as I’m willing to go.

  71. The Beast Must Die Says:

    That’s because you haven’t met the 5D squids like we have.

    Just realised that the there was a real thematic link of New British myth-making from the three comics I bought last week. Batman/Jack Staff/Captain Swing (the new Ellis steampunk thingy based upon a reworking of Springheeled Jack)

    Made me feel proper patriotic-like.

  72. Jesse Says:

    I think that bat-hurt theory is really, really quite powerful and could be right. but to be honest? It would kind of disappoint me.

    Was Hurt doing it to make a better Batman? Then why the killing?

    Was Hurt doing it because he’s turned genuinely evil? Doesn’t that mean Batman was ultimately defeated? Corrupted, destroyed by the omega sanction?

    The biggest problem is that I think the interpretation of the devil is wrong. THE devil (especially in the story) tries to corrupt people, to make them DO evil. THE (goddamn) Batman tries to stop people from doing bad. In a cosmological sense, they are capable of doing similar things, but thats certainly not how Hurt was portrayed in this story.

    And to be honest? I’d grown to quite like the devil Hurt. Which I realize isn’t exactly the most popular, but I think its cool.

  73. RetroWarbird Says:

    “The Knight’s arch enemy should be his own guy if you ask me”

    There’s always the chance that Percival got his very own “danse macabre” and Springheeled Jack was invited by the Black Glove to be the “master of ceremonies”, much the same way Joker was. (Springheel even shares a potential first name with Joker, the Jack-of-All-Crimes turned Jester … the crown-prince turned clown-prince)

    But the similarities between classic depictions of Jack and Batman – or even Thomas Wayne’s Halloween bat-costume … downright eerie.

  74. amypoodle Says:

    I think some of your points have already been addressed in the posts above. It doesn’t matter so much what Hurt’s motivation is, but rather that he is a function of the operation the ten-eyed men have performed/are performing. He hurts in order to heal, but not necessarily on purpose if you know what I mean.

    Whether or not that Bruce set teh heavy magicks in motion makes him somehow culpable for all the deaths is a matter open to debate, but what I’m sure of is that at some point the goddamn Batman we know and love…err separates, Quantum Leap style, from his malfunctioning bat-suit and goes his separate way through the time stream.

    As for interpretations of the Devil, there are many. In some he’s a tempter, in others a punisher, and actually he plays both roles in RIP (or at least nods to them). And anyway, what about the interpretation of the Devil that has bat wings and pointy horns and has been around since the dawn of time?

    There really isn’t anything disappointing about the Hurt/Devil theory. Given the amount of evidence in its favour it being the answer would be disappointing’s exact opposite, both narratively and thematically.

  75. amypoodle Says:

    The above addressed to Jesse of course.

    Warbird, I think Zom’s point is that it would weaken Knight and Squire’s mythology to have Jack and Hurt be one and the same, and that’s something Morrison knows better than to do.

  76. amypoodle Says:

    To Jesse again – the Ten Eyed Men cut out Bruce’s demons. This is comics. The demon has been literalised. God, yonks ago on Barbelith I postulated that the Three Ghosts were exactly the same thing, but I gave up on the idea. But with Hurt it makes much, much more sense.

    Hurt is not only the Devil, he’s Bruce’s very own, personal Devil.

  77. Jesse Says:

    To Amypoodle:

    this is comics, and I have no problem with the far flung interpretations of all these things :-) frankly, the wilder the better. I love that we can have discussions like this.

    And maybe when/if it plays out like this, I’ll see some of these holes patched up, but right now it just seems like kind of a leaky ship.

    The Return of Bruce Wayne can’t get here fast enough! (The comic, that is; I’m doing quite alright with B&R as is.)

  78. amypoodle Says:

    I just don’t really understand what the holes are though.

    I too love having discussions like this.

  79. RetroWarbird Says:

    I like seeing Knight & Squire have their own sort of “alcove” in the mythology, but overall they’re part of Batman’s story, not the other way around. They imitated Batman, and so did everyone else Morrison has worked with, either imitating him or imitating Joker (who as Red Hood … imitated him, just on the other side of the law). But I agree … I can’t complain if Springheel turns out to be his own man, because I welcome more characters rather than less. (Membership in the Club of Villains would be cool, though)

    “Hurt is not only the Devil, he’s Bruce’s very own, personal Devil.”

    I don’t think any of it contradicts anything (Including thoughts that somehow Hurt is a time-altered Bruce), but this sums up how I feel about it perfectly. Bruce’s “demons” were cut out in the ritual. Where did they go? Could they have occupied one of the bodies left behind by Darkseid’s Omega Effect?

    They manifested. And more than that – we’ve seen pure evidence of it. We’ve seen Hurt’s true form clinging to Bat-Mite like a jealous green-eyed, five-fingered monster. And what is Bat-Mite? He’s a 5th Dimensional representation of Batman’s deepest thoughts and imagination, therefore one would assume that a dark version of Bruce has an equivalent.

    So the hole in everything? How does it end? Does Bruce Wayne need his demons? When the ritual ends, will he embrace them? But after his trials, he’ll have overcome them?

    It’s rather like that episode of Trek, where Kirk gets split in two by the transporter, one good, one bad, and realizes that he needs his dark side back (Or later, in Star Trek V, when he won’t allow his demons to be exorcised – he needs his demons.)

  80. amypoodle Says:

    as far as i understand it it’s slightly confused as to whether the original squire, percy sheldrake’s crimefighting career was inspired solely by batman. the current, retconned, origin story is that percy was trained by the shining knight.

    Anyway, it’s much more fun and the characters much more interesting if they and their surrounding cast are allowed their own integrity. I genuinely think Morrison would balk at the idea that Knight and Squire are simply flat iterations owing everything, including their most fearsome rogues, to their – contested – bat-source material. And if he wouldn’t I definitely would.

  81. Zom Says:

    Re Knight and Squire, it’s not more characters that I want it’s integrity. I want the Knight and Squire to be toys that can be played with outside of the Bat-sphere, I want storytelling options kept open, and I think having the guy who’s been framed as their arch enemy turn out to be some form of Bat-baddie would make that very difficult for reasons which I think are self evident.

    I recognise that I’m operating from a position of prejudice. The Brit in me wants more for those plucky guys. Bat-analogues deserve more than your average analogue!

  82. RetroWarbird Says:

    I can see that and respect it. We East Coast USers already have our Batman and Robin, after all.

    To Morrison’s credit, even if Knight and Squire started as would-be Batman followers, I think it’s clear he sees more potential in them than being doomed to being “the British Batman and Robin”. The fact of the matter is, while Batman is something of a knight himself … Knight and Squire have a ridiculously broad concept that has dozens of its own themes to be explored beyond just Knightcycles and a British rogues gallery.

    Knights have their own set of tropes that I’d love to see Cyril and Beryl tackle. The Quest. (Batman already had his in The Demon’s Quest). The Dragon. A round-table situation. A code of honor. A maiden. Armor upgrades.

  83. Zom Says:

    Yup, all that sounds great

  84. Papers Says:

    Crap, why isn’t Cyril sending Beryl to be tutored at an all-girls school that happens to house Dame Ystina the Good and her beloved horse Vanguard? To be watched over by Ali-Ka-Zoom? Marry two versions of the Knight & Squire myth!

    Why *aren’t* they rushing off on quests?

  85. Zom Says:

    Personally I’d hold off a bit on all the chivalry and Arthurian stuff. It should be in there, but I wouldn’t plonk it in the centre of their mythos. There’s too much fun to be had elsewhere and, well… it’s a bit hackneyed.

  86. Papers Says:

    Oh, definitely, but I was more thinking in terms of the Squire’s equivalent of the Teen Titans. It’d be a sideline to her and the Knight busting heads.

  87. Zom Says:

    Oh yes, very good

  88. amypoodle Says:

    That’s a great one Papers. I miht nick that idea, along with a few of the villains thrown up here.

  89. RetroWarbird Says:

    By all means, I await you guys’ next installment of Annocommentations for Batman and Robin # 10.

    But I’ve launched into an insane amount of research myself for this latest issue, hopefully some of which whets your appetites:

    http://retrowarbird.blogspot.com/2010/03/haunting-we-will-go-haunting-of-wayne.html

  90. RetroWarbird Says:

    Eagerly await your Batman and Robin # 10 annocommentations. Just spent four hours in “Morrison Mode” for your perusal. Hopefully it whets some appetites for discussion:

    http://retrowarbird.blogspot.com/2010/03/haunting-we-will-go-haunting-of-wayne.html

  91. Zom Says:

    We eagerly await B&R! Won’t be picking up the bugger until after today’s work slog, 7.5 hours from now, and I won’t get to read it until my son goes to bed, another 2 hours later. That’s ten hours of not looking at spoilers on the Internet.

    And there you are tempting me with your siren links!

  92. RetroWarbird Says:

    Ah, I’m worse than Doctor Hurt, then, ensnaring patient souls with overwrought spoilers.

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