batman-the-return-of-bruce-wayne-20100525104222576

PAGES 1, 2 & 3

One of the reasons Morrison loves working on Batman, even if he doesn’t know it himself, is because the character’s rapid response time, both intellectually and physically, suits his high velocity, compressed approach. Here, the guy, who I should probably add is experiencing catastrophic memory loss, has been booted thousands of years across time and half drowned, but does that slow him down? No, the fuck. He launches himself into the scrap with the uprooted sarlac pit (more on that guy later) without a second thought.

I’m fairly certain the idea that there’s a connection between Gaelic and Cthulhu-speak/fifth dimensionese isn’t an original one, and I wonder if Grant was thinking about the connection here. Annie is a first generation immigrant after all, and a pagan at that, so it would make sense that she’d speak some kind of aboriginal british tongue. Also, I’m choosing to believe she’s intoning a healing spell, which is interesting and a nice twist because lovecraftian magic is generally considered the blackest of the black. There’s the implicit suggestion that it was only later on, once the puritans were done with it, that the Cthulhu mythos gained the negative associations it has today.

The talismans represent the latest movement of Grant’s superheroes as gods theme, but because this is Batman there’s a hard(ish) sf explanation as opposed to the more fantastical noodlings of Flex Mentallo or ASS. They are pregnant with the idea, however, what with the DC pantheon zipping around the timestream like they’re popping down the shops or something, that should she clutch his sigil hard enough and whisper his name, even a slave in ancient Rome could summon Superman to her aid. Some future Superman I’m going to write in the future will definitely have this omni-hearing, that’s for sho’.

Annie is a refreshing love interest for Bruce because she’s not a glamour girl – although she is teh hot witch – and even though we only really get a quick character sketch really, she seems considerably more sympathetic and likable than these Jezebel Jet types, and she has a lot more in common with who Bruce is, at his core, than they do, being as she is an orphan and an outsider. But the most important thing, the fundamental thing, is that she’s good. She only summons Bruce because she’s afraid for her life, and while that results in the death of the real Mordecai, one could hardly accuse her of inhabiting a moral grey area – she’s easily the most decent member of the supporting cast inhabiting these pages.

PAGE 4

Until the end of time…..

Always making sure he keeps the atmosphere suitably grimy, Grant opts for a Vanishing Point on the verge of destruction, as gloomy and abandoned as any Gotham alleyway, the time sphere taking on the air of torchlight, and Superman and co., some of the brightest lights in the DCU, reduced to shadowy silhouette. This is cosmic drama Batman style. BTW, originally I was thinking Grant’s take on Batman had evolved well past his take in JLA, but then I realised that it’s all a matter of POV. His JLA book viewed the character from its own perspective, bringing out Batman’s superheroic elements, and what shadows there were were necessarily rather glossy, but the batbooks themselves allow for a fuller tonality, one that is much more moody, creepy and gritty. It’s not that you can’t have fantastical elements in Batman’s world, you just have to make sure you get the town planning right and Gothic everything up.

And that explains why Rip and the rest of them accidentally show up when the place is about to go tits up – because that’s what happens when you tangle with the batverse.

I don’t know if the archives storing every event ever conceit is one of Morrison’s, but it should be. He’s the writer capable of loving it the most.

Hey, aren’t I ‘biorganic’? Are organic beasties so rare by this time that carbon based beings are a novelty, only recently having come back in fashion?

Page 5

Mandelbrot Batman! Morrison is really good at this stuff, introducing the twistiest bat-variations in such a way that even the most seriously serious, furrowed browed fanman fails to notice the big grin and wink spread across it. I mean, I’m sure the internet has wanked on about how weird all the time stuff is later on and the rest of it, but I bet he hasn’t made the connection between mandelbrot bat and the throughline of sixties bat weirdness, from Zebra Batman to the Batman of Zur En Arrh. I have to say, I was as surprised as anyone by the reveal at the end, and it made me giggle when I noticed the little bat-horns. The cheek of it.

I like the fractal suit though, it’s a clever way of nodding to the idea of infinite information contained in finite space, which of course describes the archive of the Linear Authority perfectly.

I bet no other fucker’s got that one on their blog. That’s why we rule.

Anyway, even without the Bruce lonely AIs on doomed, abandoned space-stations are brilliant, aren’t they?

The stuff about Vanishing Point’s information being packed into a black hole is probably a nod to Lee Smolin’s theory that collapsing black holes create new universes. Afterall, there would be no reason to store the entire history and make-up of Universe Zero in one if it wasn’t going to be used at some point. Let’s see how this plays into Multiversity, eh? And of course Mandelbat’s little lecture begins with a lesson in basic sacred geometry, with the infinite point of possibility, the godhead, extended into the line of generation…..

PAGES 6 & 7

One of the most annoying things about the internets boring droning about this sort of thing, all the endless talk about the drugs Morrison must be on etc., apart from the fact that it shows an utter lack of imagination, is that, whether or not it’s a bit loose and slapdash, this sort of weirdness is inspired by real science theory. Hypertime isn’t Morrison’s idea, he’s just another comic creator doing what comic creator’s have done since year dot, utilising the latest science poetically for his stories. I do enjoy the damned quality of Hypertime however, that it’s been disavowed by the Didio – it makes me doubly certain that it’s true. It’s the secret reality occasionally rippling the curtain but then, because its implications are too vast, too mind-boggling, quickly hotly denied by everyone.

On the day of the hypercrisis, will they be prepared?

‘It’s fascinating. It certainly fits with what I’ve experienced.’

The hypertime deniers could learn a lot from Superman’s childlike, enquiring approach here. It’s probably a disguised appeal for them to actually read whats on the page instead of the script going on in their head about weird and drugs, whilst at the same time one of those throwaway Morrison lines that tells us so much about the character in question.

Oh yeah, and I’ve just noticed that Mandelbat has Barbelith for an eye.

Morrison hasn’t been near cube time since, when? Zatanna? To quickly detour back to that, via King Ra Man:

‘Call it not a hexagon, call it a cube star from the Bright-World and Ra-Realm one of the calculations it performs. Call your home reality another?’

Higher realities scaling down into our own. Our universe nestled within higher dimensional intersections, the product of geometry. It’s pretty isn’t it? I bet this is neo-platonism via New Scientist too.

Rip Hunter is probably the billionth character to figure out he lives in a comic book. Are the hyperfauna he’s talking about micro-organisms in our reality? Bugs, dragged down into the paperverse (I particularly like this idea)? Or is it an infestation inhabiting the space between worlds. Is Starro a direct descendant? Whatever, I like the outer gods being reduced to the status of a pest.

Also, I refuse to vacate these pages without marvelling at the alien beauty going on. This is what cosmic looks and sounds like. Nuff said. I accidentally left a copy of this comic in the casualty ward earlier today, and I love the idea of some poor, unsuspecting parent picking this up and giving it to their child. I hope it found the right home.

PAGES 8 & 9

I’m not clear on exactly why Bruce hands Mrs Tyler the bat here. Is it just his way of letting her know he’s onto her? Aaah, superstitious, cowardly criminal, quake before the Batman.

‘I’m less inclined to lay the blame at the Devil’s door when an earthly explanation is more forthcoming.’

Here Bruce is restating the entire tone of the batbooks, their privileging of the rational over the supernatural, the earthly over the mystical. With or without his memories, this is still Batman. Jamming on this a bit, I’m beginning to think the supervillains who refer to him as a flying rat are completely off track. He’s not a rat ascended, but an eagle descended, casting his high altitude eye across the Gotham landscape, making sense of all the weirdness, seeing how it works, how it all fits together – defining and mapping the territory.

Hasn’t Bruce learned to talk ye oldey pretty fast? Well, if Morrison can do it….

PAGES 10 & 11

The Mordecai/Malleus war has an obvious real world correlate. Hello, the religious right. I’m rather fed up that Bruce doesn’t bosh the bloke at some point. Guess Annie does though.

PAGES 12 & 13

These are immensely beautiful pages. Gorgeous. Say what you like about the clarity of the storytelling in this issue, but the atmospheres Irving conjures are crystal clear. The way he moves effortlessly from the hot claustrophobia of the Vanishing Point sequences, the golden forests outside Gotham and the deep aquatics of the hyperfauna fights is simply amazing. The energy of each environment, each scene, summed up so perfectly – good boy.

It’s never made clear whether or not Annie and Bruce have a sexual relationship, and to be honest she’s not typical of the girls who get him hot. I think the emphasis here, are they snogging or hugging?, is on companionship really, and the solace they give one another. It’s sweet and kind of chaste. I get the feeling that sex is a big part of Bruce’s love life and he could probably do with a relationship that doesn’t put this first, if only because his s&mey desires often lead to a bad place.

Not that I have anything against s&m and its practitioners mind.

PAGES 14 & 15

Malleus is a penis. Van Rijn is Rembrandt.

I wish we’d got a couple of panels of the ‘dragon’ making its way through the forest. That would be really creepy and gross. Like my recurring nightmare about waking up to find an octopus nestled next door to me in bed. I can imagine it, crawling across the forest floor. The rustling of the leaves. Urrgh.

PAGES 16 & 17

Nice gloom in these panels. Irving is another artist who doesn’t so much colour his comics as light them.

So here we have confirmation that Bruce quantum leaps when an eclipse occurs. There’s something weird and cool about Darkseid being associated with this kind of hammer horror stuff. It creates novel tensions in the brain, this sci-fi, supervillain devilgod who inspires crime bibles and whose techno-magic relies on an eclipse as a trigger. I’m wondering if Grant’s riffing on the idea he introduced in the Invisibles, that given the right circumstances, the eclipse can act as a door to the fifth dimension, one which in this case opens directly under Bruce Wayne’s feet. I imagine the vast, celestial time machine Bruce is trapped in whirring away like clockwork, which, when the moon slots over the sun, clicks into action. Scary, and so biiiiig.

PAGES 18, 19 & 20

Look at her with those bloody animals! Annie is so obviously a witch, right from the start. I guess maybe it’s not so much that she’s denying this fact, it’s just that she doesn’t identify with or want to do justice to this christian term.

So the Miagani are still around somewhere, but hidden? That’s cool. We’ll be seeing them again then. It’s been a little while since we’ve seen Grant get worked up about the trees and flowers, but the character of Annie suggests he still cares, even if his wilder cosmological ramblings seem a bit pro fossil fuels and deforestation. Personally I *hope* we’re consuming all this stuff to fuel our imminent metamorphosis, but it seems a bit of a gamble to me. Don’t get angry with me, Grant. There are little children I love in my life – I’m sure you understand.

‘…bright gods…’

‘..bright world…’

Is the link intentional? Are we – are Grant and Irving – her bright gods, here in bright world? There’s more light here that’s for sure. Actual sunlight, not paint on a page. Hmm. She’s probably just referring to the new gods.

On first glance Annie seems to contradict herself. Does she want an avenging angel or a man to end her loneliness? Well, she wants both. She’s summoning her ideal man, and fuck me if he isn’t a lover and a fighter, just like I hope YOU all are.

If you’re all (he)man that is. Otherwise we know what you want.

The track record for people (read: women – and take from that what you will!) performing love magic in Grant Morrison’s comics isn’t that great. In fact it’s downright disastrous. Both Zatanna’s and Annie’s attempts to summon their perfect men have ended in total disaster. In the former’s case resulting in her friends’ immolation, and in Annie’s…. Everyone disapproves of this love magic stuff, even chaos magicians it seems. Don’t do it kids!

One other thing. For those of you who aren’t familiar with how we deal with this sort of thing already, the answer to the question ‘Was it the omega effect that time-teleported Bruce to the seventeenth century, or was it Annie’s magic?’ is both. A synchrocity magnet was activated. That is all. You know, I have a theory about synchronicity magnets. Perhaps it’s not the magician creating them, perhaps the events are simply drawn to them. Are we feeding them? Wha..? Huh? Yeah, that’s right…

Shut your mouth, hippy buddy! We all know this is a Batman comic, so its none of the above. It’s a coincidence that Annie had just cast her spell when Darkseid’s really real, rock hard science-tech dumped Bruce at her feet. Statistically speaking these sorts of coincidences happen all the time. Hippy.

PAGES 21, 22 & 23

Frazer Irving’s good with monsters. The lumbering rubbery liferaftness of Fearnaught, the quick feral lines of Leviathan, the I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK of Horigal, and now this, this lurching, curling sea thing festooned with star barnacles.

Here ‘Lords and Ladies’ refers to the fair folk, not ‘our saviour’, Malleus, you weirdo.

I’d really like to see a DCU profile of a christian, or anyone from one of the major theistic religions for that matter. Judeo-christian religion is a subject that seems to be avoided in most comics, except where vampires are concerned, and then it’s only the trappings on show really. Sure, Jesus gets a bit part in Secret Wars 2, but are there any popular explicitly religious (and by that I mean that its something more than just built in and taken for granted, like the fact Captain America is probably a christian) supers out there? I suspect that even the believers reading these books inhabit these universes as atheists. After all, it’s quite plain to see these places are pantheistic isn’t it? Hmmm. Perhaps this is why Malleus comes across as especially ignorant and brutal. Stupid bastard couldn’t be more wrong about the sci-fi story he’s living in, particularly because this is a Batman comic where everything is sci-fi, or has a scientific basis – even ghosts and sociology. This is actually why Batman’s best baddies, the Joker, and for a few minutes here, Dr. Hurt, are so good: their irreducibility.

Poor Peck!

PAGES 24 & 25

This isn’t the clearest fight in the world, but it is a murky, writhing tidepool of a thing in a good way.

‘Something terrible is happening.’

Cryptic line that. Does it mean Bruce knows, via psychic witch powers, that something’s up with Annie? Or is it that the fight with the starfish has jogged some of his memories? It’s a good creepy moment whatever it means. Heck, it probably means both things. The uncertainty makes it scarier too.

PAGES 26 & 27

Is Bruce just supremely confident that his mates will get out of the death trap he’s left them in? Will his future actions somehow free them? Or does Grant even care about plot points like this when he’s possessed by the idiot glee (not an insult – a Brian Enoism describing what happens when the creative process takes one over)? Who knows.

What we do know that MandelBRUCE techno-cracking his eggshell…errr ….helmet is very cool.

Take a look at that fracture on the first panel of his transformation again, and then marvel! The way the fissure explodes into light and then the way the thing depixellates….awesome. Whoever came up with the exact ins and outs of that sequence, Morrison or Irving, is a total dude. BTW, Bobsy’s theory that Bruce is downloading into the archivist doesn’t hold water now that I’ve figured out what ‘biorganic’ means. That BIorganic! ‘Bi’ meaning ‘two’. Two organisms combining to make one.

Win.

Also, truly this is the hairiest love Bruce we have ever seen. If only Annie could see him now too.

PAGE 29

Another clue. So now we know the Wayne line is cursed. Aaah, Annie, you know not what you have done! Irony!

It’s important that there are villains in the Wayne line. Most of them should be goodies, but mixed in with a bit of baddieness. All Superman’s ancestors should be goodies though, maybe with one exception, just for drama and nice tensions.

Finally for this page, I assume this is the bat-waterfall we all know and love from the comics. You’d get to her much faster Bruce if you had your batmobile. Aww.

PAGE 30

I also assume that’s Malleus hanging from the tree there. Fuck YOU Malleus.

What I can’t presume to know is how on Earth the painting of Mordecai ends up on the walls of Wayne Manor. Perhaps he does it himself when he’s a cowboy. I bet web forums are buzzing angrily about this one as we speak.

PAGE 32

So how long is Bruce spending in each time zone? I reckon roughly two weeks. I suppose Grant can get around this by saying that because he’s Batman he can just pick stuff up – ye olde talk, seamanship, whatevs. That’s probably enough for me.

It’s funny about Bruce Wayne. He seems to conjure these convulsive, feverish narratives. Maybe that’s because the madness is more starkly framed and perhaps encouraged by his cold rationality. Maybe it’s that he’s unwell. Bruce arrived at the madhouse when he was ten or something, but Grayson was born to it. He got to play awhile before it got serious…

And, no, I can’t fanwank a connection between Mordecai Wayne and Klarion’s Dad. I nearly got there but then I realised what century we were in and I realised my wank would have to include time travel, and that was a wank too far.

63 Responses to “Return of Bruce Wayne #2, the amycommentations”

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  2. Lanmao, the Blue Cat Says:

    “Are there any popular explicitly religious (and by that I mean that its something more than just built in and taken for granted, like the fact Captain America is probably a christian) supers out there?”

    Daredevil’s a practicing Catholic. I think Frank Miller introduced it during Born Again. If I remember correctly, I read somewhere that Miller once said that for anyone to be both a lawyer and a vigilante, he would have to be Catholic.

    While these amycommentations will send me back to the issue, on my first pass through I thought that except for the parts at Vanishing Point, this issue was something of a disappointment. The benevolent, child-of-nature witch vs. the awful, bigoted puritans bit seemed to me disappointingly cliched for a Morrison comic.

  3. SuperHeroes Costume - What is your biggest fear? That's your Super Hero costume.? Says:

    [...] Mindless Ones » Blog Archive » Return of Bruce Wayne #2, the amycommentations [...]

  4. RetroWarbird Says:

    I was hoping for more insight on the fractal Archivist. Fractals come too dangerously close to “math” to fall into my sphere of interests. Thanks, chaps.

    If Annie’s a proper non-Christian, then sex isn’t something she’d be ashamed or afraid of. She summoned someone to love … chastity is the bag of those uptight Puritan chicks down the hill. That being said, the panel of Bruce comforting Annie in the woods didn’t need to be sexually charged. It looked very … nice and good. The sort of thing a chap like Bruce defends from uptight pricks like Malleus. A nice, simple display of affection.

    “I believe in coincidences. Coincidences happen every day. But I don’t trust coincidences.”

    Explicitly Judeo-Christian super-heroes? The Spectre (Corrigan, Jordan and Allen). Huntress. Phantom Stranger (Well, maybe …). Zauriel. Rucka deals with Catholic stuff a fair bit, in fact … and manages to dodge it every seeming preachy or heavy-handed.

    Bi-Organic … like an amalgam of Bruce Wayne and Matthew Tyler, perhaps …

  5. Neon Snake Says:

    On that level, lanmao, I wouldn’t disagree, but my own reading of it hinged more on Bruce solving crimes through detective work – it *wasn’t* a witch, it was a woman who caved her husband’s head in with a soup ladle, Malleus you silly twat, stop trying to see the Devil in everything bad that happens. That part of it seemed more upfront than Annie’s genuine Wicca-y witch-hood later on.

    Having spent a long time gleefully sticking the actualrealgenuine Devil into his Batman comics (and most people still denying it), the sudden reversal into earthly explanations is, clearly, funnier than fuck.

  6. RetroWarbird Says:

    The Devil is, after all, in the details.

  7. amypoodle Says:

    just to restate, i meant popular superheroes. ones that shift books. and phantom stranger definitely does not count, warbird, for so many reasons. hmmm, i also meant superheroes where their religion is actually discussed in text – where we get to see it in action. i’m not sure if daredevil’s supposed catholicism doesn’t just serve to add a bit of colour.

    i’m happy to be proven wrong though.

  8. Zom Says:

    Retro, fractals were precisely what got me to thinking that numbers are very interesting indeed. Not that I’m much good at maths, mind, but I really wish I was.

    I thought this issue was very beautiful and atmospheric but occasionally unnecessarily confusing. Bruce and Malleus look too similar for a start, and a number of sequences were poorly articulated, and left me slightly uncertain about what was going on from a visual if not intellectual point of view. I could usually guess what was supposed to be happening, the problem being that I had to.

  9. Jason Says:

    This comic was so fucking handsome.

    “Bruce and Malleus look too similar” – yeah, you have to work for it at places but Bruce has got his utility-belt slung one way over him and Malleus has a black sash hanging the other way, plus their dialogue is a give-away every time.

    Page 1 – Vagina dentata, much? I like that the sword has testicles. Annie’s fingers = “W”

    Page 4 – Did anyone else find themselves laughing uncontrollably through all the future-stuff pages?

    Page 5 – “We traced omega energy here.” Did anyone pick up on that? Not me.

    Page 6 – Wonderful. The four fundamental forces, the Jungian elementals, at the end of everything. And the black egg!

    “Also, I refuse to vacate these pages without marvelling at the alien beauty going on.” Deffo.

    Page 8 – Wasn’t sure at first whether or not this was Bruce, then I noticed: the kids! Look at ‘em! Kiddies love Batman!

    Page 10 – And here’s this issue’s Robin! The painter/scribe…

    Page 12-13 – Gorgeous. “Because he’s afraid the witches will discover his true name and use it against him.” Didn’t begin to see where that was going…

    Page 15 – “If there is a dragon, I owe it an apology.” Class.

    Page 27 – Amazing. Didn’t see it coming for a second. I love these GM switches, Robin/Fanny at the end of “Black Science II,” Xorn/Magneto of course, the recent Oberon Sexton reveal. Has Bruce been the archivist the whole time i.e. has he just learnt EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING? Stunningly powerful: “You have *no idea* what I’ve just been through to get here.”

    “And it’s not over yet.”

    “So you’ll all just have to trust me.”

    Indestructible Man! I trust you, Bruce!!!!!

    Page 28 – Love that Superman *doesn’t* trust Bats here, he’s panicking; JLA man down before he even knows he’s up and Bruce is out of there.

    THE LOCAL TIMELINE TERMINATES IN 2 MINUTES 3 SECONDS OH NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Page 30 – “I also assume that’s Malleus hanging from the tree there.” You reckon?

    Page 32 – And here’s Bruce registering the words being spoken plus the tone and threat-level and he’s assessing the numbers and the climate and atmosphere looking for clues as to his location and period as with the other 99% of him he concentrates on the important matter at hand, opening some sort of bridge between his Vishuddha and Ajna chakras wherein he might store “man of bats.”

    Next issue: NINJAS & PIRATES!

  10. Andrew Hickey Says:

    I’m pretty sure the storing of information relates to the Omega Point ideas of nutty physicist Frank Tipler, who claims that at the very last instant of the universe’s existence, an infinitely powerful computer containing all the information from every possible universe in the multiverse will exist, and that this computer will be God and resurrect us all in heaven. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega_Point_(Tipler)

    Not only does the name sort of resonate with Darkseid’s Omega Beam having caused all this, but Tipler’s idea effectively assumes Hypertime as one of its bases.

    (It’s actually reasonably good science, and non-nutty scientists like David Deutsch have said that if you take out the speculative stuff, the actual Omega Point hypothesis itself is a likely one).

    I’m absolutely certain Morrison has come across this idea, and would be very surprised if that wasn’t the idea here.

    (Though also, it’s a bit Jor-El, isn’t it? Our universe is ending, so we pack up the most precious thing in it and try to send it out of the universe…)

    This is the kind of thing I love in Morrison’s work – he can take actually-existing science and *use it for thematic resonance*. Rather than as say Warren Ellis does, just using it for cool plot ideas, it ties in with the themes of the story and the characters’ emotions. It’s a kind of SF writing that mixes the best of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ SF, and other than Morrison the only time I’ve seen it done well is in the Faction Paradox novels, which are *clearly* inspired by him…

  11. Zom Says:

    I didn’t know that there was some techno-utopianism attached to the notion of a collapsing universe. Cheers, Andrew.

    Very good point about the resonance.

  12. Andy G Says:

    Presumably the Bruce and Malleus visual similarities are deliberate. Any thoughts?

    Regards the peril Bruce leaves Supes in, is he aware that they’re mates at this point? Isn’t this still memory wiped Bruce?

    I recall a similar end of time archive outpost in the Gaiman Books Of Magic from years back, and I presume he lifted them from older comics. It’s a standard sci-fi staple, after all. I did like the way it visually echoed the JLA watchtower in the last issue of Final Crisis.

  13. amypoodle Says:

    Andy: hmmm. i *think* he knows who they are. he refers to rip as ‘doctor hunter’, and then there’s that line about trusting him… it sort of suggests they have a relationship, one where they all know they can depend on each other.

    Jason: yeah, i do – tentatively – reckon. i see very little point in it as a panel other than to demonstrate the effects of annie’s curse. might’ve been a good idea to show the guy’s face though. i accept that it’s all a bit confusing.

    also, that four fundamental forces stuff – what’s your thinking there? electromagnetism, gravity, strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force…. i’m having difficulty matching them up with the superheroes in question, if that’s what i’m supposed to be doing. is superman supposed to be gravity?

    Andrew: awesome sauce!

  14. Zom Says:

    Presumably the Bruce and Malleus visual similarities are deliberate. Any thoughts?

    Lots of thoughts expressed in our email exchanges to one another.

    Yeah, I think it possibly was deliberate, but I’m not sure some way of distinguishing them, perhaps some non-physiognomological (is that even a word?) way, couldn’t have been implemented so as to avoid pointless confusion. If such confusion has a role to play in the story, well, then I have to question how its been introduced. You can demonstrate that sort of thing without damaging the reading experience, it just takes a bit of work.

    On the question of mates, it’s probably worth noting that Bruce seems to be very much in control of the situation, what with having made his way to end of time, dressed up as a bi-organic being and planned a way to remove the curse, travel anywhere in history and trap Superman and co. Obviously a return of memory isn’t necessitated by any of that, but it seems likely. That sequence read like full on Morrisonian uber-bats.

  15. Zom Says:

    Ah, I see Jason touched on some non-physiognomological distinguising features. Still say I had to work too hard, though

  16. amypoodle Says:

    me on the painting of mordecai wayne during the rip arc:

    ‘Mordecai Wayne’s all witch-finder general, isn’t he? But in his case I bet he was dealing with the real thing, and ranged against the misogynistic superstition and hysteria that surrounded the vast majority of real life witch-trials.’

    between this and the batcave stuff, morrison needs to sort me and zom out with some props and money!

  17. Zom Says:

    Annie’s fingers = “W”

    I’m going to have to go and have a look to be sure, but methinks that’s reaching waaaay too far. Also not really feeling the sword has testicles thing.

    I do not like Xornento. Xornento was fucking rubbish. One of the worst things Morrison has ever written by a longshot.

  18. amypoodle Says:

    yeah, whilst it was in keeping with the x-men’s stupid soap-opera plotline thing, it was utter shit, for so many reasons. to begin with, xorn was much more interesting as xorn, and secondly, it just stretched credulity too far. we’d even seen the guy’s blazing skull head!

    fanwank that!

    on second thoughts, don’t.

  19. Zom Says:

    Everything about the way Magneto was handled was rubbish. Sure he represented an outdated paradigm, but to build him up as a threat, and in doing so negate the existence of a perfectly enjoyable and interesting character, and deflate him quite so brutally could only serve as an anti-climax, and a frustrating one at that.

    Morrison should have found another way of handling Magento as anachronism.

  20. The Satrap Says:

    Excellent. You’ve said all that needs to be said about this, really. However, that’s never stopped this overly solicitous poster in the past, now has it.

    Jason: “We traced omega energy here.” Did anyone pick up on that? Not me.

    I’d say the idea is that Bruce has arrived to Vanishing Point before the other JLAers, and he’s saturated with omega energy, an energy which is contaminating the timeline as Batman jumps around.

    The meta-textual reading of this is quite obvious. The timeline of Earth-zero, this thing with a definite beginning and an end and an anally retentive “continuity” which can be compressed into a “complete record” and where women like Annie die a lot, is to a great extent the result of the Batman franchise’s grim & gritty & serious influence on comics.

    Now, in the hands of a lesser writer this would be the kind of comics-about-comics stuff which, in 2010 Anno Domini, tends to be tedious as all fuck. The Morrisonian twist is to imbue the meta-textual antics with psychological resonance. The fact that the Batman persona re-asserts itself in recognizable form in different eras, in spite of the title character’s bouts of amnesia, is a way to riff on Bruce’s own brand of “abnormality”, i.e. the fact that he’s a fucking obsessive. Repetition is a key theme of this comic. Note for instance how this issue finishes with Annie’s curse, much as #1 ended with Savage’s. Repetitive curses, the curse of repetitiveness. The parting words of the denizens of any given era are always spoken in anger. No wonder that the negative energy of Darkseid — the other big control freak of the DCU– rides on his back, as a snowball of diminishing returns (here’s a fun game: count all the mixed metaphors in this sentence).

    First, Anthro didn’t quite summon whom he wanted (Metron), then Annie uses Anthro’s old magicks to conjure up Mr. Right, but with a Lovecraftian beastie in tow. Next, Bruce re-surfaces in the Golden Age of Piracy while a ship burns in the background and god knows what else. It would not surprise me if it were the folks from the “lineal authority” who summon Bruce to Vanishing Point. I’m further willing to bet that the very act of summoning him will be the event that brings about the termination of the timeline. You heard it here first, folks!

    Of course, this comic is using this psychic shite as manure, and out of the repetitiousness an infinity of flowers (nicely represented by this issue’s fractals) are blooming. Which is to say, Batman is still his hard-assed, dour self even though he’s in the middle of a grand adventure, jumping from one unusual situation into the next, tangling with cavemen and pirates and revisiting the haunts of all his pulpy ancestors. This is all a re-working of the Filth as a two-fisted event comic, really.

    On the issue of spreading shit on the flowers and making lemonade out of lemmons: a black hole is literally what Darkseid was turning into in Final Crisis. What was doom there is hope here (the master of the omega beams is re-imagined as an omega point, in a way) . Even when DC does eventually go tits up (i.e. “collapses”) the stories will live on in “bottled” form, as influences on other forms of popular culture (AKA the things which we can assume lie beyond the black hole’s “singularity”).

    The hanged person at the end is deffo Annie, BTW. Note how the corpse’s barefoot (she touches the earth when she walks, et cetera. She probably has no calluses, though).

    “Having spent a long time gleefully sticking the actualrealgenuine Devil into his Batman comics (and most people still denying it), the sudden reversal into earthly explanations is, clearly, funnier than fuck.”

    Yes, indeed. Appropriately enough, this happens immediately after the comics segues from a grand metaphor (“needles in cosmic haystacks”) into lowly, actual knitting needles. This panel transition is a honest-to-goodness tip of the hat to old skool Moore, incidentally. And yet we have the appearance of a beardy villain scheduled for next ish. Baldy just can’t help himself.

    I bet this is neo-platonism via New Scientist too.

    You’d win that bet, handily. Andrew does his usual great job of explaining the issue in terms of the latest speculation, but to Baldy this is all a kewl springboard to push the neo-platonic envelope (aahh, the joys of mixing metaphors).

    Of course, that’s another reason why Morrison loves the Batman. Bats is the ultimate pragmatist, who frees himself from a curse by sticking to its letter rather than its spirit (that’s the business of a bastard lawyer, or the devil). And yet it’s that very same pragmatism that takes him to the end of time and allows him a glimpse of infinity. Morrison himself is fond of saying that his worldview is not mystical, but hard-nosed and empirical.

    ” Also, truly this is the hairiest love Bruce we have ever seen.”

    Irving is a dab hand at spreading the hairy-chested love, indeed. Page 1 is my personal favourite.

    Morrison should have found another way of handling Magento as anachronism.

    “Magneto does Auschwitz” was indeed shit.

  21. Zom Says:

    I can’t believe that none of us picked up on the relationship between fractal-bats and the batman iterations that make up this mini-series. Of course, the equation of fractal-bats with Bruce nicely illustrates Bruce’s ownership of the Bat – all bats are one within Bruce. Slike self actualization, innit.

  22. amypoodle Says:

    i like this:

    ‘Even when DC does eventually go tits up (i.e. “collapses”) the stories will live on in “bottled” form, as influences on other forms of popular culture (AKA the things which we can assume lie beyond the black hole’s “singularity”).’

    yes, i was being silly wrt the hanging thing. yeah, it’s clearly annie. doh.

  23. RetroWarbird Says:

    I just remembered the scene where Bruce steals a Time Sphere, and once I factored in Bruce’s meditation and the fact that a 1600′s woman factored into his decision to wait it out until the end of time … and I couldn’t help but get a strict “The Fountain” vibe. Tthe Time Sphere even looks like the spherical “tree of life” Zen spaceship of that film.

    In fact, reliving repetitive scenarios through past, present and future was that film’s bread and butter … although I can’t say it was my favorite or anything (Ex made me watch it, I slept through most of it.)

    There’s no doubt at 10 seconds to Universal Detonation, Batman will return and save the four time heroes.

  24. Shiny Jim Says:

    I’d actually say that’s Annie hanging at the end there. vanDerm looks sad while the other villagers seem smug – if it was Malleus, it’d probably be the other way round. Plus, they’d probably hang him in his boots.

  25. Zom Says:

    I slept through most of it

    Is not grounds to judge anything! Naughty

  26. Zom Says:

    Jim, that discussion’s been had, mate

  27. RetroWarbird Says:

    “Is not grounds to judge anything! Naughty”

    It felt weird watching a story of that type without it being sequential art, to be honest. Stop … rewind … re-watch … fast-forward back to where you left off just doesn’t have the same elegance as flipping through a comic book. I didn’t even make it halfway.

    Clint Mansell’s sounds were lovely enough, though.

  28. Jason Says:

    I loved Xorneto. It’s such a betrayal, the X-Men have been played for chumps, the readers have been played for chumps too, it’s so rare to feel betrayed by anything let alone a comicbook, I think that’s well worth any amount of blazing-skull-head art slip-ups or so-so denouement.

    “also, that four fundamental forces stuff… is superman supposed to be gravity?”

    Fuck knows, mate. I just figured GM probably had a few things circling in his head when he decided that there had to be four superheroes chasing Bruce/getting stuck at the end of everything (and that they had to be those particular four).

  29. Neon Snake Says:

    “Presumably the Bruce and Malleus visual similarities are deliberate. Any thoughts?”

    I don’t think it’s anything more clever than making sense of the Nathaniel Wayne reveal later on – “Ah, so that’s why they look so similar…”

    The clothes and hat are presumably a uniform of sorts.

  30. The Satrap Says:

    “Of course, the equation of fractal-bats with Bruce nicely illustrates Bruce’s ownership of the Bat – all bats are one within Bruce. Slike self actualization, innit.”

    Exactly. Future Bats is disguised as the definitive “man of bats”, containing all possible iterations of the totem.

    The similarity between the two Waynes may be some sort of commentary, of the clumsier sort (here’s the grim, gritty Wayne, who hunts women who do magic and talk to animals). I’d rather chalk it up to Irving’s style. Although he’s an accomplished draughtsman, he clearly regards his line-work as the least important element of his art (some of the digital inking he does is deliberately crude, I’d wager). The focus is on the rich, moody colouring. He does a bang-up job with it this issue.

  31. Zom Says:

    Snake, yup, which made the problem more acute. I agree about the reason behind the similarity too – at this point we have no good reason to believe it’s anything more complicated than that.

    On Xorneto, I didn’t feel betrayed, although I appreciate that’s probably what Morrison was gunning for, I felt like I was reading a bad verging on unethical story. To begin with it was a completely closed mystery, almost entirely untelegraphed, in fact it wasn’t even a mystery at all, which meant that the big reveal felt insubstantial and completely arbitrary. I don’t like my stories to feel arbitrary unless there’s a very good reason. Going further I felt as if I had been misled in a way that went beyond what was appropriate. Xorn’s diary wasn’t simply misleading, it was an artefact that had no purpose other than to mislead the reader and consequently in retrospect felt very contrived. Also, as I remember it, the addition of imagery to the written text of the diary, worked to further mislead the reader because much of what we saw wasn’t justified by said text, further adding to the feeling of contrivance. The excuse, I would imagine, was that this represented our imagination at work, which is of course arse. That the whole thing was wrapped up in an arc with damp squib ending didn’t help either.

    I wonder when it was that Morrison started not having fun on that book.

    Traps, when it comes to Irving’s art on this issue I think it’s a question of your mileage. I agree that it’s often beautiful and that he’s wonderful at capturing an atmosphere. The end of time stuff is magnificent, although I could probably do without Superman looking quite so gangly. Where it falls down for me is in terms of clarity, in that there were too many instances in the book where I felt slightly confused or unsure what was going on, and not in a good way, in an entirely to be avoided, this stuff should be clear as day, basic storytelling way.

  32. James W Says:

    Aaaargh waiting for trades is killing

  33. Zom Says:

    You’re reading our Amyos. Bad man! Stay unspoiled otherwise why wait?

  34. amypoodle Says:

    yeah, new x-men started out so well, but became so slapdash by the end that i really fell out of love with it. here comes tomorrow wasn’t bad, but it needed to be brilliant if it was going to rescue the book for me. on the xorneto thing – betrayal, sure, but not in the good way. it was more in the ‘this is just a bit rubbish, and i didn’t expect this book to be this rubbish’ way.

    but back to happier things, because we don’t wanna be haterrrrzszh: i would like to know what the method is to the time-team we’ve ended up with. let’s have a go. rip hunter’s a time master, booster gold would know about the future, green lantern’s the kind of guy you need around when things go cosmic, and superman, he’s batman’s best chum and, well, he’s superman. whether or not it’s any more meaningful than that i don’t know. maybe it is.

    (i should add as an aside that i like your black egg stuff, jason.)

    i wonder how jurgens is rationalising it. is that thing out yet? can someone read it for me?

  35. amypoodle Says:

    yeah, i second that james. reading the annotations for a comic you haven’t read is weird. go away and read the actual comic.

    zom – in what way was the xorneto thing unethical?

  36. Zom Says:

    No… no I can’t read it for you

  37. amypoodle Says:

    answer the other question. the one directed at you.

  38. James W Says:

    Oh no, not reading. Just scanning keywords in the preview and getting unbearably excited. Sorry, shall leave you to your amynomcoms.

  39. amypoodle Says:

    good to hear. the only person i know who’d read the annos before the book is bobsy, and just look how he turned out!

  40. bobsy Says:

    I don’t now where you get some of your ideas from… reading annotations before the book itself is pure hoedown on the funnyfarm, I would do no such thing.

    I think Jordan is there cos it’s like missing persons isnit? He’s the superhero cop and this is a red ball case that he needs to be in on for the sake of his own ego. Plus he hates Batman really, everyone knows that, but this way he gets to look like the big man to everyone, like, he hates him but still went looking for him at great personal risk as that’s just how he do roll. Everything Hal Jordan does is motivated either by malice or self-regard. He is your least favourite superhero.

    While we are being insane, lets line up the time travellers through the centre of the tree of life: Hunter is Malkuth, the basic man-with-the physical gear to do it, the one for whom time travel is as normal as walking down the street. Up a bit on Netzach is Jordan, he has a ring powered by imagination, and is most clearly associated with ‘space’. Up at Tiphereth is Booster GOLD. He’s a time traveller, and a nice caring guy, and he’s got Skeets who knows everything. At the top is Superman, he knows everything too, and is, y’know, like, the original point of the superhero process? (Bruce is lost in the abyss, the other central sphere btw.)

    Youms is mad.

  41. Zom Says:

    I think perhaps I went a little too far with “verging on unethical”, but I’ll have a think about it.

    Note I meant unethical in terms of practice, rather than immoral. Unethical practice can be more or less worrying depending on what the practice is being applied to. In this instance, if the story was indeed an example of unethical practice, it was a trivial one.

  42. Jason Says:

    “Xorn’s diary wasn’t simply misleading, it was an artefact that had no purpose other than to mislead the reader” and to mislead Professor X too, wasn’t it? Seems so long ago now. I thought Xorneto was a real bad joke until someone – Matthew Fluxington I think – wrote a load of brilliantly enthusiastic Barb-posts which totally won me over. The betrayal thing worked for me at least, and I remember it all seeming so meaningful at the time to a Quentin Quire kid like me, plus it works so well within the larger context of the story, the Sublime entity fostering endless useless dreary conflict.

    But yeah, happier things: we’re on “one GM comic a week” for a while to come, aren’t we? For a long time I felt his Batman run was by far the weakest thing he’s ever done, with its occasional soars mostly fizzling out and nothing much being said, but it’s really fucking zooming now.

  43. Zom Says:

    Maybe if I went back and read those issues and Matt’s posts I’d be more sanguine. If the diary was designed to fool Prof X then I’m a bit happier with it – makes more sense of the imagery too.

  44. amypoodle Says:

    right from the ‘alarming twist’ line i knew grant’s bats was good.

    it’s funny, i’ve never had a problem with it, but i know others have…. and i certainly never had any problem with rip – apart from the final crisis stuff bleeding into it and later issues (although the lump issues were excellent – some of the best) – even though i know others did. it was so feverish and wrong! actually, jason, i reread the entire run a few months ago (including the batman and robin stuff) and i loved it all the more. in terms of reread goodness i think it’s up there with the best stuff grant’s done.

  45. Andy G Says:

    Even better if you start with “Gothic”.

  46. Jason Says:

    “right from the ‘alarming twist’ line i knew grant’s bats was good.” Oh fuck, yeah, I mean I’m a slobbering GM fanboy, I’d bite the ankles of anyone who said his run on “Vampirella” wasn’t up there with Shakespeare, I just mean that relative to some of his stuff that has out and out changed my life, “Batman” has mostly felt a bit so-so. I think part of it is that I kept expecting a splurgey climax that still hasn’t arrived; every story-arc seemed to be building up to something strong and conclusive but in the end it was always “To be continued!”

    I loved RIP though, “feverish and wrong,” too right! and it got me painting my fingernails again and all the Zurr-En-Arrh/Zorro in Arkham stuff was amazing, red and black, red and black, “You’re wrong! Batman and Robin will never die!!” To be continued…

  47. amypoodle Says:

    yeah, that’s one thing, grant, if you’re listening: before you bow out of the bat books, give us a fuckyeah finale.

  48. RetroWarbird Says:

    I thought Superman and Hal Jordan were appropriate adds to the time-team, just on account of their importance to Final Crisis – granted, with help … but they’re the two guys who aced Mandrakk – Superman with his solar-powered heat vision, and Hal Jordan with a Van Helsing stake made of green willpower energy.

    They were the heroes at the end of Final Crisis who won it. And they also, fittingly enough, are the two OG Justice Leaguers with opposing viewpoints about Bats. Supes is his best buddy, and Lantern and Batman butt heads about just about everything.

    Since both Superman and Lantern are “Day” to Batman’s “Night”, it’s a neat riff. Superman/Batman “Night & Day” is the missing half of the other and they go together in the wheel of life. Green Lantern/Batman “Night & Day” is just plain “Light doesn’t like dark and vice versa”.

    The only way it would be better is if it was all Justice League International, with Guy Gardner as Lantern since he can’t stand Bruce … and Captain Atom in place of Superman because those Doctor Manhattan power levels make him an ideal choice for Multiversal or Time Travel.

  49. It Burns Says:

    Speaking of happier things, who else is getting hard nipples anticipating 18 Days?

  50. amypoodle Says:

    hmmm. not really. don’t know why. maybe it’s because i thought vinanarama was so poo.

  51. It Burns Says:

    Well I agree with you there. Vimanarama is my least favorite Mozz comic. But I really didn’t associate it with how I anticipate 18 Days will read until you mentioned it.

    Could you elaborate?

    And also, the art for Days (at least the concept art for the animated film, I don’t know if any comic art has been released) is pure wonder.

  52. Zom Says:

    Half the time I think it’ll all be a bit too rossian-lush, the other half I’m quite keen. Not sure what I’ll think of the finished product.

  53. amypoodle Says:

    i don’t think morrison’s at his best when he’s taking on other cultures. he feels like a tourist. yantras aren’t ufos, etc.

    that said, i’m happy to be surprised. i’d prefer to enjoy 18 days, and i’m certainly going to try to ignore my prejudices when i watch/read it. i’ll be on its side.

  54. amypoodle Says:

    what does ‘rossian-lush’ mean?

  55. Zom Says:

    It means this

  56. amypoodle Says:

    so now i know what it looks like.

    tried googling it. can’t find it.

  57. Zom Says:

    Lol.

    I think you’re working far too hard.

  58. amypoodle Says:

    is it just a word you made up?

  59. Zom Says:

    It’s a term I made up, but part of it (the part referenced by the picture) is a known quantity.

    You’ll get there!

  60. amypoodle Says:

    yes, i get that anyway – over lushness. ah, not rossian as in russian, but ROSS-ian.

  61. It Burns Says:

    That makes sense. Hopefully, since Mahabharata is more of a cultural artifact, although I know it has a profound significance in many people’s lives, the end result will be a reimagined story rather than a reinterpreted story. The latter I felt was the case with Vimanarama.

  62. Funnybook Babylon · Archives · Avenging the Week pt. 6 – Standing on Men’s Shoulders, or Locking Them in a Studio with a Mic Says:

    [...] <li> <div>Mindless One amypoodle entertainingly <a href=”http://mindlessones.com/2010/06/06/return-of-bruce-wayne-2-the-amycommentations/”>annotates…> the second issue of the Return of Bruce Wayne miniseries. A representative quote: “The [...]

  63. Funnybook Babylon · Archives · Avenging the Week, pt. 7 – Standing on Men’s Shoulders, or Locking Them in a Studio with a Mic Says:

    [...] One amypoodle entertainingly annotates the second issue of the Return of Bruce Wayne miniseries. A representative quote: “The [...]

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