Barbatos for those of you who haven’t wikied or summoned him already is a demonic badass, commanding legions of lesser fiends, a la the assassins in this issue. I like the bit about commanding animals – probably infernal animals like bats, eh? – and then there’s the stuff about his prophecying the past and future. That’s really interesting, given this latest arc’s, in fact Morrison’s run in general’s, focus on dynasty and destiny. Suddenly we have a new candidate for the devil in the detail, one that tempts me to revise my current opinion that Bruce is Hurt, without negating the theory I’ve held all along that the Ten Eyed Brotherhood’s magic drew down wrathful energies in order to heal and purify Bruce, magical operations rippling as they do across space and time.

But to be honest I think that idea was fairly bulletproof anyway.

I think my current theory has to be that Barbatos is either possessing the original Thomas Wayne or has struck a deal with him resulting in an extended lifespan, Thomas being ‘the piece [the missing painting] that doesn’t fit – there since the beginning’, and although this doesn’t qualify Barbatos as the genuine Devil, it does fit with what we’ve gleaned about demons from films and comics, that even the puniest of them will claim they’re the Ultimate Evil given half the chance.

SPOILERS. If the above is the case then it would also explain why Hurt/Thomas hates Bruce so much. We know that Mordecai-Bruce’s adventure turns sour and that in all likelihood it results in whatever bad shit happens to Thomas. So now we’ve got motivation, Thomas hunting Bruce through time to punish him for trapping him in that room with a bloody demon. At the moment I’m going with the possession theory actually – that’s why all the repetative name writing, the struggling for identity, eventually overcome by a massive BARBATOS.

So, does this mean Oberon is Bruce, his new identity, his costume, his very own protective bathearse, complete with red windscreen, carrying him safely through events until it’s time to dig himself up again? If this is the case I’m guessing El Penitente (Hurt), somewhat naively, doesn’t realise that Bruce-Oberon knows who the fuck he is (which he obviously does).

Aaaah, the speculation.

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