What’s going on with the stone age?

(This is all Amy’s thought-parade, except where otherwise stated)


What a beautiful page! The red storm of the final crisis recedes, giving way to the candyfloss horizon! You can feel the freshness in the air. The sea. Birth. New beginnings.

Is this panel a metaphor for the way Grant wants us to approach his mini-series? I for one have been all about the ‘Woah! Batcaveman a-go-go!’, but here the fantastical element, the spaceship full of magic stuff from another world, is earthed, grounded, just like the tone of the rest of the comic. This book might sound all sixties and weirdy, but Grant’s going to play it as straight as he can.


It’s kinda weird that the time capsule rocket should find its way to the exact same space/time-zone that Bruce was omega beamed to. Bit of a coincidence, eh? Also, is this the exact same spot where Anthrold Man met Metron? I’m assuming it is given that everyone keeps on referring to it as ‘holy ground’. Holy ground obviously meaning ‘synchronicity magnet’, given the amount of weird shit drawn here. Doubt it’ll ever be explained, but, hey ho!, magicky, magicky….

I wonder where this holy ground is – somewhere near Alfred’s potting shed?

The argument over whether or not the capsule’s made of sky is hilarious. The way Joker (?) insists on the point – ‘this is what blue it was when it fell…‘ – reminds me of some of the stupider arguments I’ve found myself in. I wonder if Morrison intends this as a parody of our current/perpetual state of ignorance. Probably.

Are the Deer People called same because of Anthro’s close encounter? Or is it just out of respect for their dinner?

God I love the colour of that sky.

Bobsy: (Fanwankwarning) So like whatever mechanism Metron’s chair uses, the time radiation or such, the path it took through bleedspace, is basically left behind as an echo, forever. So when the rocket is launched from the Final Fortress or whatever it was called, it follows the path of least resistance, going through the same hole in time that Metron had already made?

No, I’m not convinced either – what about all the millions of holes Metron will have left behind over the years? Maybe if that was the earliest point in Earth’s timeline that Metron had been to, the echo if it might be strongest… Whatever. Forget you, melon farmer.

I would guess ‘Deer People’ because of the antlers/Orion /hunter connection, and for the pun – ‘Dear People’, contrasting with Vandal’s Bloodmob.

And my bet’s on the nose of the rocket being in the exact same spot where the Batrocket now launches from, for symmetry’s sake.


‘They say when the shining ones come again it’s the all over.’

The shining ones: (new)gods, bombs, aliens, superheroes. Superman and co. at the end of this issue, heralding the change in EVERYTHING.

I imagine that Morrison is also keen to point out that even primitive man dealt in eschatology, which I like, but Grant, hey! the greenhouse effect is really happening and the oil will run out! I’m with Jackie, Grant. I’m with Jackie….

And now the Batcave and….

Zom: Aren’t the Shining Ones usually fairies? I know, a nice ambiguous, multipurpose term, but let’s not leave out the Sheeda, eh.


Beast recently responded to Zom’s less than enthusiastic response to this ish with a ‘But Bruce is back!’, and I’m with him. Sure, there isn’t that much going on with this one and Bruce’s adventure does sort of peter out fast + weird eclipse for no reason except the magickyness, but it’s a nice little installment basically, and so much of the thing’s power – and the book does have power – stems from Bruce’s, hardbitten, stubbly head (Grayson does NOT do stubble. Ever. Or hairy chests…).

Zom’s said that he doesn’t want Bruce back in the cape and cowl any time soon*, and in that I think he echoes the position of a great deal of fandom, and I understand why. As I said in our annocommentawesome post, there ‘s something great about Batman, a la Dick, as a team player, however now that Bruce Wayne the original survivor is back and, true to form, ploughing his lonely bat-furrow through time itself, I can’t help but feel impressed. This is some mythic shit, this hard bastard who can fight his way, alone, through any obstacle, any hardship. We normally take this stuff for granted – there’s Batman and his mission and everything – everyone – else is secondary, but now I feel refocused on the amazing, frightening mission he’s set himself.

How the fuck does he do it?

*But guys I’m afraid he will be. This book is about how Bruce Wayne has to be Batman. Nuff said.

Also, this book, Sprouse, his re-emergence, reminds us of just how sexy he is. Grayson is a girlygirl next door to Bruce. Just look at that guy! I fancy him.

I also really like the title, Shadow on Stone. At first glance it sounds a bit tossed off, but this is the primal stuff: the darkness, the cave, the concrete, the bats, the dark alleyways. Bat-shamanism.


Now it might just be me, but Bruce’s response to ‘Where’s your tribe at?’, ‘Wayrameye’, sounds a little like ‘Wayne Manor’ in Zur(ro) En Arh(kham) speak.

I know he’s saying ‘Where am I’, just to clear that up.

Zom: It’s just you!


It seems weird to me that Old Man, Man, etc. don’t have descriptive names like everyone else, but the online etymology dictionary makes sense of this by pinpointing the word root of ‘man’ as ‘one who has intelligence’, which would make sense given that Anthro is the DCU’s Prometheus, bringer of fire, inspiration and magick. Makes sense of the idea of Anthro as the first Man as well. I really hope Grant was being this clever when he wrote this.

The green in panel three leaves us in no doubt that this is a prehistoric Joker, but one who seems considerably less nasty than his latter-day counterpart. Is this how the Joker would be without all the insane, 21st century input, less schizoid because the meme current crawls here? Of course the Joker is as much one of Gotham’s guardian spirits as Batman, and in that sense his presence must always be felt in a batbook, and this iteration also ties in nicely with Grant’s and ‘primitive’ man’s ideas about mythic, cyclical time.

And the question is posed: is Surly some sort of proto-Bruce? And are Old Man, Man and Boy (Kor) his direct ancestors? If this was George Lucas or Geoff Johns we’d know for sure. Thank God it isn’t and we don’t.

Bobsy: The Surly/Serious line is like Morrison’s whole take on Dark Age comipolitics in one line. Surly thinks he’s just Serious. (Which, let’s note, he’s right to be. Hours later: all dead.)

If, as seems fair to assume, the initiation/hunting party are an early version of a superhero team (including Bruce there is six of them, with Anthro a good candidate for the missing/magical seventh), it’s weird that they seem to match up closest with the X-men, no? Either X-men team 1 or the 1980 reboot:

Giant – Beast
Man – Cyclops
Surly – Angel
Joker – Iceman
Boy – Marvel Girl (redheads innit?)


Giant – Colossus
Man – Cyclops
Surly – Wolverine
Joker – Nightcrawler
Boy – Storm/Kitty Pryde (bit of a reach, that last one, admittedly. If you smoosh Storm, Kitty and Jean into a single figure then it kind of works…)

I suppose you could make it work with the original Justice League (with that dick Jordan as Surly and Aquaman as Man, Canary as Boy etc.) but the fit definitely isn’t as smooth.

Someone stop me, there’s a danger I could do this all day.

And ‘Man’, for me, meant ‘Everyman’. People, the heart of the tribe, are just peopl. Some are huge (Giant – his size and colouring are so different, like he’s come from a different species of hominid altogether, one which is losing the evolutionary battle against the Bloodmob), some are grumpy, some are mad. But most, the most important ones, are normal men and women.

Zom: Old Man = Professor X. Those lists… I’m somewhere between wanting to tell you that you’re talking balls and the knowledge that this stuff might have something to it, as least as far as Grant’s intentions are concerned.



That’s right. Memory be damned – this is Batman.

Did he use Anthro’s flint knife to shave like in Dark Knight?

PAGES 8 & 9

I Like the way Metron symbol’s surrounded by the holy trinity of the DCU though. First there’s God, then there’s the Trinity, etc… And are those fleeing deer underneath?

In answer to Dave U’s question as to how/why Bruce remembers these symbols, it’s because they’re the primal stuff, the totems. This ish is all about the preverbal fundamentals of the DCU and the batverse. The core.


White Fawn must be the special lady young Anthro rescued from Savage in Final Crisis one. She was well impressed obviously. I can’t remember, did he sling her over his shoulder? It would be cool if Kamandi was wearing the necklace. Does he? I don’t think he does, but it’d be cool.

As Dave U says, it’s probably a plot device.


A dialogue balloon’s covering it but Bruce is Neil Armstronging it here – the 21st century superhero staking out territory in the distant past with his super-flag.

The plausibility of the name Man of Bats is very satisfying. Bruce is heralded by a flowing torrent of bats, and that’s how he speaks. Nice.


Bruce springing into action here reminds me…: I and other’s have said it before, and I’ll say it again – Bruce is an existentialist. His whole solution is in the doing, his body, his mind are tools. That’s why he’s so unafraid, because he just acts, and that’s why he can survive anything, and why in some ways he’s perfectly suited to life as a caveman. At the core of Batman is this hardcore dude who gets shit done, unconcerned by all the other stuff we layer on top of that. That’s why playboy Bruce seems so shallow, because what’s underneath is so deep. Not in a beardy way, but in a fundamental way. I know Grant was intending to get this across and I think he succeeds.

It’s telling that the person Bruce rushes to defend is a child. The core’s still there, isn’t it?


Lovely, animated fight scene. Savage is badass.

Are we to assume the Deer People are totally dead after? Oh yeah, they were scalped….


Giant is a superhero, isn’t he? But Bruce….


…GO! GO!

I was practically clapping when he smashed Savage’s head into that rock.

So exciting! Bruce Wayne!!

Bobsy: Word, as people used to say. Bruce Wayne is the real deal, the best superhero of all, and he smashes face better than anyone ever will.

PAGES 16 & 17

Good job, Mr. Sprouse! We’re in Apocalypse Now territory here. Suddenly everything seems harsher, the stone harder, travelling into the sky. The skulls. This is where we’re reminded what century we’re in, a million years before houses, central heating and comfy sofas, somewhere utterly inhospitable and horrible and the cro-magnon’s response – being total shits – seems like the only logical one. Their brutality is just a continuation of the landscape they find themselves in, and suddenly caveman Batman doesn’t seem so kooky and sixties anymore. Truly is it said that he takes the hardboiled wherever he goes!

These’re grimy thrills. Gotham’s always been grimy.

It’s interesting that everything seems softer over with the Deer People. As we’ve already established, they’re the first moderns, all about the sofas.

Bobsy: Savage is terrifying. What I’ve never grasped about him, what is so utterly awful about the mere prospect of his existence, is that he is the supervillain who has already won, who won before the language you think in was even conceived. The horror of the everyday, everything wrong with the world, is down to him and his sadism. You know the bad people in the headlines? Vandal Savage. You know every tyrant, every sweatshop owner, every bastard headmaster, every dodgy banker, every wife-beater, every drunken high-street thug, every arrogant boss? All the sons of Vandal Savage.

PAGES 18 & 19

I reckon Grant’s into sexy Cro-magnon women. First there was Aurakles Frazettaing it up over in Seven Soldiers, and now Vandal Savage here…

Supervillains never change. Even at the dawn of time they’re still screwing up in the most basic way: DON’T ABANDON THE SUPERHERO TO THE DEATH TRAP!!!!


I do however like the idea that Savage puts his longevity down to strength and cunning. The idea that if you’re tough enough, if your clever enough, you can cheat death itself is a fantastic one.

PAGES 20 & 21

Oh, those dogs, the rain – so bleak!

PAGES 22 & 23

Bruce Wayne, tattered and bleeding after his first fight, the giant bat devouring him in his fever dream… These cave-criminals really will be ‘a superstitious cowardly lot’. Never have the words, stripped bare and wordclouded, rang so true.

Batman reborn all over again.

There really is something supernatural about that one.

And, looka!, there’s Robin! Complete with bat-kohl mask.

Aaaargh! Don’t you just love the way it’s stupid -the batshield, everything! – but it makes total sense? It’s absolutely right that Kor should adopt the bat as a totem, but it’s also guilty comics’ dressing up at the same time! You’d still have trouble explaining it to your co workers though.

Bobsy: Note that Boy is the only Deer man with red hair (another cuckoo from the monkeys next door maybe). Note that the present day Man-of-Bats’ sidekick is a) similarly defined by his ‘son’ role; and b) known as Raven Red. ‘Robin’ is a latterday prettification of the original myth. The archetype comes from a carrion bird, like the ones who would have been looking forward to their share of the Bruce feast, beaks stained red. Robin is the kindly scavenger.

PAGES 23 & 24

There really is nothing to say about these pages. We all know how cool this is. Savage getting maced is awesome.

Actually, why isn’t Bruce wearing his mask and all the rest of it? What happened to that stuff? Did Darkseid’s omega beams strip him of his top and mask as well as bounce him across the centuries? Were they *sexy* omega beams?


Take that, Savage! Here, martial arts are as futuristic and hi-tech as anything in the utility belt. Savage wouldn’t have a chance even without the gadgets.

‘The Bat People are here!’

We now know, having read Return, that the raggedy bat sculpture in the secret Batcave isn’t infernal at all, but a totem revering the mighty ancestor, Man of Bats. See how the bat emerges from the remains of the deer, symbolising the day the bat tribe were born from the ashes of the deer people and the blood mob were vanquished, and all of this presided over by a black sun!

I love it that Batman founded civilisation as we know it.


More awesomeness, this time Scorpion get-over-here! style. Is that a Mona Lisa smirk on Bruce’s face?

PAGES 29, 30 & 31

I don’t really like that Bruce and Kor are running away here. This is the damp squib bit. Not really a fitting ride into the sunset for a guy who’s just changed history. But whatever.

I do love that impassive, unmoved, manlyman look on Bruce’s face as he’s swallowed up by the water however.

Good that we don’t see the time-jump. Proper who-was-that-man-of-mystery? stuff.


Vandal Savage duking it out with Anthro for the title of Oldest Guy on Earth! Where does he come from? Well, he doesn’t spring from the deer tribe, and if he’s a Cro-magnon, he’s a very pretty one. Here, he pretty much spells out that he’s not one actually. And I love this, the idea that Savage is the ultimate loner, his own tribe! With his shaggy locks, he’s man’s brutality to man, always hobbling off with his crutch at the end of his violent adventures, the eternal walking wounded.

And then he’s back, this time as King Herod or some such evil sod (but the crutch is always in the cupboard, waiting).

Cain, yeah, cool, but, it’s not just murder and killing, it’s the aftermath of the conflict too – the guy is war in microcosm. He embodies all of it.

This is probably where Vandal gets his hate on for superheroes too. If only Batman had been kinder – no DC 1000,000.


This page was a fantastic surprise. The Shining Ones are here, and the low angle and the shading even serve to make Booster Gold scary.

A friend of mine from work who, like may other non-comics people finds it hard to get his head around superheroes when they’re not gritty, decided Superman chasing Batman around in time was silly, and it got me thinking about how it’s not. It’s just fucking expedient. There’s no messing around in Morrison’s DCU. If Batman’s lost in prehistory there’s no fannying about, it’s just ‘Where’s the nearest time machine?’ We just take it for granted there’s one around! We don’t need a story arc to get us there, the bloody things are all over the shop. It’s normal. The place has a very different set-up to our earth, and, P—, you’re a good bloke, but just get over it. It’s no weirder than your christianity.

‘Alert the Justice League!’

Damn right, now let’s get going.

Zom: Like the man says, this stuff ain’t for everyone, but Superman chasing Batman through time inarguably makes sense in context.


Bruce’s speech is normal here, which I believe confirms David U’s theory that it always was and we were hearing it from the cavepeople’s POV.


Cliffhanger monster.

Bobsy: Is this a time squid that got in with Bruce? The flipside of the Shining Ones…


Y’know there’s a Morrison batcomic pretty much every other week for the next few months, don’t you? Oftentimes EVERY week.

Zom’s minority mindless opinion and micro-review: Love Sprouse, love Morrison but I wasn’t that into this. I expected Morrison to update all those self-referential (read: fanservice) Elseworlds moments in a novel way, and I don’t think he did, which is a real shame because on the whole I can do without the Caveboy Wonder and the 20,000BC iteration of Martha Wayne’s pearl necklace. It’s also unfortunate that the DCU’s structural problems with racial diversity should manifest here as the evolution of human culture being given a leg up, monolith style, by a rich white guy from the bright white future. Snot Morrison’s fault that the DCU sandbox is built that way, but it’s a shame that this story taps so directly, if inadvertently, into those wider problems nonetheless.

Roll on issue #2, there’s still plenty of time for this miniseries to ignite my interest.

47 Responses to “Some very quick annocommentations for Return of Bruce Wayne”

  1. Sex Bicycle Says:

    Is it possible that Giant was Aurakles before the New Gods fucked around with him? He looks a bit like Aurakles did in the Mister Miracle parts of Seven Soldiers.

  2. Andrew Hickey Says:

    Given Morrison’s influenced by RA Wilson, it’s just as likely that the ‘shining ones’ means the Illuminati. More on this tonight/tomorrow at my blog I think…

  3. Zom Says:

    Yeah, like I say, it’s ambiguous, and obviously intentionally so.

    Is it possible that Giant was Aurakles before the New Gods fucked around with him?

    I would say a big en oh. Can you really imagine Morrison wasting his and our time going back and illustrating that? To what end? What sense would it make, anyway?. As pure fanwank? Well, Bobsy’s fanwank tolerance differs greatly to mine so perhaps you’ll get a more positive response from him.

  4. Zom Says:

    Fanwank is not the same as a genuine reading is not the same as speculation…

  5. Anonymous Says:

    aurakles was a cromagnon superhuman anyway.

  6. David Says:

    Also, this book, Sprouse, his re-emergence, reminds us of just how sexy he is. Grayson is a girlygirl next door to Bruce. Just look at that guy! I fancy him.

    Oh Yes! This issue didn’t really do it for me, but that pic of bristly ol’ Bruce striding out of his batcave is definitely the sex.

    More like that please.

  7. RetoWarbird Says:

    I’m hoping the fast pace evaporates next issue. It was a good fit for the Cavemen, Man, Boy, Savage, Lothar, the Hill-People … but that’s in place of linguistic drama. I don’t know why I’d think it wouldn’t, though … didn’t Morrison cite Hawthorne meets Solomon Kane as his Issue # 2 inspiration? Thank god … this will get verbose.

    Anyway, fun things I noticed: Giant speculates maybe Man of Bats isn’t a Shining One at all, maybe he’s from “across the sea”. Good guess, Giant. If there wasn’t the whole time travel explanation for how Bruce got there, he would just be an early Celt.

    And I think there’s a fair chance of Bruce Wayne “drowning by the light of the occultation” at the end of each of these episodes. Next issue? Dunked as a witch! Then? He walks the plank! And so on until we get to cement shoes and devil-piloted helicopter crashes.

    Meanwhile, I contrived more, but don’t feel like remembering it when my very name is a link to it.

  8. Tweets that mention Mindless Ones » Blog Archive » Some very quick annocommentations for Return of Bruce Wayne -- Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by David Al. David Al said: "Just look at that guy! I fancy him." The Mindless Ones on the Return of Bruce Wayne: [...]

  9. David Uzumeri Says:

    You’re not alone, Amy. I thought he said “Wayne Manor” at first too before I started repeating it out loud.

  10. amypoodle Says:

    actually, on first reading it did come across as ‘wayne manor’, and then i did a bobsy on it.

  11. amypoodle Says:

    and, yeah dave, i think the sexiness was the best and most important thing. after i’d annocommentated that entry i almost left the rest of it. i mean, c’mon, what the fuck else was there to say?

  12. The Satrap Says:

    I haven’t read the issue yet, so I only have these, RetoWarbird and David’s annotations to go by. Feel free to give me a big clip behind the big ears if I end up spouting more nonsense than usual and/or what follows is too childishly obvious to write down.

    This is all a summoning ritual gone slightly wrong, no? It is safe to assume that old, infirm Anthro is aware of Savage’s plans, so he tries to invoke one of Metron’s pals to aid his tribe, using the New God’s runes/schematics of a Mother Box (Miracle Machine, whatever). Since this is a world made of text and dots of colour, the difference between a machine and its blueprint is moot, magic and science are the same thing in the end (that old Morrisonian chestnut) and the cargo-cult trick works. The only problem is that, rather than summoning a “Shining One”, it’s the Dark Knight who shows up. Bruce would seem to acknowledge this by leaving Superman’s cape at Anthro’s final resting place (“sorry, buddy, it’s the big blue lug you were asking for”).

    This would all be a pretty blatant form of commentary on the difficulties of always having to pull off old tricks in serial superhero comics.

    In the light of this, Anthro’s presence in “Final Crisis” would make more sense. Rather than just seeding the future with the New God’s little Aleph, with cave paintings and shit, he would be responsible for making time fold upon itself right at the beginning of everything. Time paradoxes are about the timeline becoming self-reflective, i.e. self-aware, alive, free. Such are the good tidings that Grimnir never tires of bringing to his faithful readers.

    The presence of the rocketship from “Final Crisis” just hammers home the point: the synopsis of the DCU’s history and its final statement, issued at the moment of its greatest tribulation, becomes the very first of its wondrous artifacts, a piece of what’s “up in the sky” that gets buried in the mud.

    The “holy ground” would owe its holiness to the simple fact that it’s where Anthro feels the need to work his moyo. He “thinks of something, and makes it so”, to paraphrase that dude from Final Crisis.

    But things are bound to get out of whack if it’s Bats who leaves his indelible imprint throughout the history of the DCU. If the Batman/Shadow/Spider archetype were the be-all and end-all of superheroics, the result would be a succession of ever more degenerate, violent vigilantes like the Red Hood. That’s why the JLA is in this: Morrison doesn’t get tired of repeating that Batman may be cooler but Superman is ultimately bigger, that Bats needs the garish happy-go-lucky amateurs around him just as much as he needs a Robin.

    And, of course, the embodiment of all that’s wrong about the premise of Batman and its infectious influence, an aristocratic sadist and father to psychotic capes, is (will be) Hurt. No wonder that his return heralds a JLA-level crisis.

    (It’s all fascism, fascism I tell you!)

    Random, slightly off-topic digression, re: Hurt and his cruel experiments. There must be dozens of blog posts out there talking about the relationship of Morrison’s Batman to Miller’s, but one of the most obvious influences on Baldy’s run seems to be the “Kingdom of the Blind” story in “Marshal Law” by Mssrs. Mills and O’Neill. Which was fucking great, in the very particular way that ML stories can be great.

  13. RetroWarbird Says:

    Is summoning a God for aid the same thing as flipping on the Bat-Signal? (Does Gordon summon one nightly?) What about summoning Demons? Your summons thought intrigues me. I mean, what’s in that “thing from the skies”? A Bat-Signal. (And a Cape, and a Newspaper).

    The context does seem to work. After all, shortly thereafter we see Batman arrive just in time to save a Puritan woman from a monster. “Summon a savior.” – perhaps she prayed, and her prayers were answered … ironically by Batman (by way of Darkseid).

    And considering the build-up in the Bat-books toward summoning Barbatos?

    It’ll require further thought. But it certainly fits Morrison’s Pop Magick “Gods and Symbols” thesis.

  14. It Burns Says:

    As always, Amyand bobsy, you deserve some doggy treats. Zom: bad dog. Bad, bad dog!

    “In answer to Dave U’s question as to how/why Bruce remembers these symbols, it’s because they’re the primal stuff, the totems. This ish is all about the preverbal fundamentals of the DCU and the batverse. The core.”

    One of the joys of this issue was how fundamentals manifested in speech. Instead of using the word ‘places,’ the Deer Peeps use ‘wheres,’ “what’s it of?” instead of ‘What’s it made of?’ It’s not necessarily anything profound, but it made me think, ‘hmmm how would thinking of places as ‘wheres’ affect how I view my surroundings? Would where’s more accurately describe what I see at a time when my world-view is decidedly smaller? What’s the difference between thinking a rocket is of something, in other words, constituted solely by an element, and thinking that it is made of something? Has human artifice not affected the lexicon yet?’

    “We now know, having read Return, that the raggedy bat sculpture in the secret Batcave isn’t infernal at all, but a totem revering the mighty ancestor, Man of Bats. See how the bat emerges from the remains of the deer, symbolising the day the bat tribe were born from the ashes of the deer people and the blood mob were vanquished, and all of this presided over by a black sun!”

    This made so much sense it hurt.

  15. plok Says:

    Burns, sounds like you should get yourself a copy of Voice Of The Fire — the first seventy-five pages are all that sort of head-trip.

    OH MY GOODNESS! Morrison’s done it again, hasn’t he? My God but his agonistic relationship with Moore is bloody fascinating. Without it, would Zatanna have been so damn cool?

    I’d love it if somebody got real in-depth on that relationship — I’ve never yet seen it tracked minutely. At times it seems almost like a collaboration, don’t you think?

    Mindless, are there any real in-depth Moore/Morrison analyses out there?

  16. RetroWarbird Says:

    It’s not exactly an in-depth all-encompassing Moore vs. Morrison compare/contraster … by I blogged (I think it’s called “Joker: My Replacements are Circling Too something something”) back in the Spring that at least chronicled every thing I could find in The Killing Joke that Grant has referenced in his Batman run. There’s a lot, and there’s probably even more now, post Blackest Knight.

    Speaking of Moore … did he ever answer exactly what the “killing joke” was? (Besides a grungy punk band?) Is it irony? The Grim Reaper? A riff on the line “this one will kill you …”?

  17. RetroWarbird Says:

    (Forgot to say – I reckon we could drudge up some serious Morrison to Moore comparisons, particularly in and around Seven Soldiers and Final Crisis. With a bit of Miller on the side.)

  18. plok Says:

    On top of it! Thanks!

    You know lately I find myself really annoyed by the idea that Morrison and Moore somehow form “camps”, or something…such a fruitless way of looking at something that’s generated such wonderful comics. So I’m finding myself eager to encounter more fruitful ways of looking at it! The idea, for example, that Seven Soldiers could be looked at as young comic reader Grant Morrison’s ultimate response to Alan Moore is…well, it’s pretty cool, I think.

    Good God, that sounded gushy. Clearly I need more protein in my diet.

  19. Zom Says:

    That’s the kind of hard work I like to shirk. Why do you think we blog about how things feel all the time? It’s because we’re lazy!

  20. Linkblogging for 20/05/10 « Sci-Ence! Justice Leak! Says:

    [...] David Uzumeri annotates Return Of Bruce Wayne #1, which I’ll be looking at myself this weekend, as do the Mindless Ones. [...]

  21. The Satrap Says:

    To be honest, I’ve never been too impressed by the apparent strain in the relationship between two authors like Moor and Morr, whose worldviews are ultimately so very similar. It’s always come across, to this reductionistic reader, like a dispute of doctrine between two devoted Trotskos, a generational clash in some posh occultist club, a rockist vs. poppy thing.

    Beardy and Baldy may have slightly different opinions on whether superhero yarns can be counted among those stories that are “too true and too dangerous to ever die…(and) crackl(e) with Promethean fire” (this is Morrison’s on Petey Milligan’s “Greek Street”). At the end of the day, it’s all “blazing world” Tweedledum versus “the fire burns forever” Tweedledee, however.

  22. The Satrap Says:

    “this is Morrison on…”

  23. The Satrap Says:

    Of course, the respective authorial voices of both auteurs are highly individual.

    I’m talking about the differences in outlook that are supposed to undergird this alleged agonistic relationship.

  24. It Burns Says:

    In his TCJ interview from around ’90 (was that when The Invisibles was released? I was only 3 then, Jesus), Morrison says that early in his career he felt it was important to ditance himself from Moore as much as possible, and so he was hyper-critical of Moore’s work around that time. He then says that, after a while, Moore decided to stop speaking to him.

    So, if that’s true, there was some actual bad blood at the inception of this whole thing. And, again, if that’s true, in my opinion Moore acted like a prima donna.

    And Moore’s done it at least one other, too. TCJ very recently, actually.

  25. The Satrap Says:

    That’s all, as they say in Vienna, Bassenatratsch.

    (A “bassena” was some sort of communal water tap in low- and working class areas, where gossip was rife and tempers occasionally ran high).

    It does have its place, but it’s hardly something worth poring over. I mean, it’s not like Morrison has much to object to Moore’s actual writing. He may have poked fun at Beardy’s worst purple excesses, but “American Gothic” was written a while ago. It’s all, “what did you do to my precious Orrery”, basically.

    Squabbling Trotskos, the lot of them.

  26. blind marvin Says:

    In his most recent interview (AV Club I think) Morrison said he’s still friendly with Moore, which I found rather surprising.

  27. Zom Says:

    He did? That’s interesting.

  28. Zom Says:

    From the AV Club interview:

    “…I’m not a big comic reader, so I tend to read people like Warren Ellis or Alan Moore. People I’m familiar with, or that I’ve met, or that I’m friendly with. Like Mark Millar or whoever. It’s more on the basis of who I know rather than who I like.”

    I don’t think there’s grounds in that statement to infer that Morrison and Moore have become pals.

    Christ, what the fuck am I doing? I hate this sort of fannish, soap opera shit… must purge brain!

  29. amypoodle Says:

    i think that was more to do with your general impulse to make sure people have their facts right than it was genuine curiosity as to the state of al and grant’s kissytime.

  30. Zom Says:

    Yep, you’re right it was. Thanks for paying more attention to my brain than I was.

  31. blind marvin Says:

    Thanks Zom. That could have easily fed into the pointless “rivalry” that’s been perceived by fans for some time now, none of which seems to have much basis in reality.

    Like my post for instance.

    think before you type…

  32. Zom Says:

    Well, you know, they might hate each other, they might spend their entire lives thinking about how they can get one up on each other, they might even be waging magical war, I’m just not sure that I should care beyond the fact that I’d rather people were happy like Care Bears and didn’t carry around grudges.

  33. It Burns Says:

    Uhhhh Magical Warfare plz…That could be a comic all its own. Wait…Subway Pirates, must read again.

  34. RetroWarbird Says:

    So Nix Uotan wasn’t Grant banishing all of Mandrakk (Moore’s) absurd grim & gritty life draining darkness away from the DCU? (And Rox Ogama wasn’t Frank Miller, suckling from the grim & gritty teat like a ravenous, cackling zealot?).

  35. The Satrap Says:

    It was, apparently (altough the tribute to Dr. Manhattan in “Superman Beyond 3D” makes the Moore hate look somewhat less one-sided). But if that had been all the story had going for it (I’m referring in particular to SB3D, which was the good bit of Final Crisis as far as I’m concerned), then it would have been very, very dull comics indeed.

    David was on to something in his annotations of SB3D, when he said that it admitted a more general reading, as a denunciation of lovelessness as a specific form of badness (I’m paraphrasing him very, very badly). I favour a related reading, according to which Mandrakk would be a specific kind of mystic, the kind that tries to achieve unity with the Absolute (identified with a void/ the blank page by virtue of being qualitiless) by cursing the world as fallen (while still living in/off it). In other words, SB3D / the end of FC would thus be a critique of the “Gnostic impulse” to turn one’s back on the world. This has its precedents in Baldy’s work, see e.g. Sublime’s minions in their ridiculous rubber suits.

    And, coinkidink of coinkidinks, that’s precisely the same point Moore makes repeatedly, for example in Promethea when Sophie returns from her trip to the topmost Sephira (I think it’s called Kether, innit) and still gets to say, wow, the material world is also fucking awesome. Tweedledum, meet Tweedledee.

    Back on topic: “the fire burns forever” from my above post is the last line of Final Crisis (whaaaat? You didn’t know that already?), which you all should check out, because it totally shows Anthro engaged in a summoning ritual, painting Metron’s graffito on the cave walls…and he does it in his final moments, instead of bidding farewell to the younglings and the padawans !!

    I’m so on the money on this…forehead vein throbbing…argh…amazing predictive powers kicking into overdrive…again…what are the sweepstakes… this time, Grant? An all-expenses-paid trip to the…argh…secret skull island…OK

    I’ll send you all a postcard!

  36. Zom Says:


    Good call

  37. The Satrap Says:

    Incidentally, for whatever it’s worth, the second-to-last page of FC shows that the Daily Planet rocket’s crash-landing took place before Anthro kicks the bucket. So may there is in fact some synchronicity going on on the “holy grounds”, and my more prosaic explanation is not entirely correct.

  38. The Satrap Says:

    “So maybe there is in fact…”

  39. Jason Says:

    “Joe the Barbarian” is totally “Promethea,” innit. Didn’t click until last issue (4), but Inventoria = Hod, then you get The Tower before the watery plunge into Netzach. Latest iss was the trip up to Tiphareth by way of a bit of the old Death.

  40. amypoodle Says:

    aaah, yes. we’ll end on kether. makes sense to me.

  41. Jason Says:

    Kether in Malkuth, all that jazz.

  42. It Burns Says:

    I always thought the rocket was more of a life raft for Bruce’s whatever-got-sent-through-time. As all time became one time and the superheroes shot their rocket, whatever was left of Bruce clung onto that last little bit of heroism in the singularity.

  43. It Burns Says:

    Someone on this site has probably already said that.

  44. colin smith Says:

    Oh MindlessOnes, according to the traditions of the Kreativ Blogger Award, I’m leaving this message here, despite it not belonging in this thread, for I’m obliged to.

    And similarly according to said traditions, “I just wanted to let you know that I’ve nominated you for a Kreativ Blogger award”:

    I’ve written in the linked piece above why I’ve nominated you. I hope this message, for whatever it may be worth, finds you hale and hearty. And do feel 100% free – as of course a Mindless One would – to return the space this comment is taking up for more appropriate discussion!

    My respectful best to your august Mindless selves



    Colin Smith

  45. James W Says:

    Catching up on my Batreading, I have, of course, followed the omega trail back here. All is glory (of course x 2), and I just wanted to highlight bobsy’s:

    “Note that the present day Man-of-Bats’ sidekick is a) similarly defined by his ‘son’ role; and b) known as Raven Red. ‘Robin’ is a latterday prettification of the original myth. The archetype comes from a carrion bird, like the ones who would have been looking forward to their share of the Bruce feast, beaks stained red.”

    The nerd whistle-slot in my neck shrieks up a gale the instant I see Robin aligned with the bird and not the Hood, but this is really brilliant and puts my indignation right on its arse.

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