Batman and Robin #14

September 14th, 2010

os1_4

PAGE 1: OPENING CREDITS

You can hear Afred’s footsteps echo off the marble walls. You can feel the midnight stillness, the sturdy vastness of the mansion around him. If this arc has been primarily about hellfire, then page one of The Triumph of Death serves as a welcome, cooling respite. What with the curatorial vibe wafting off Alfred and the half obscured painting of Thomas and Martha, this scene also functions as a gentle reminder of the force and weight of bat tradition and history, which of course ultimately spins out into the idea of bat-myth, a theme currently being mined behind the scenes of this story in the ROBW book, and which most of us can feel pushing at the borders of BARMD (awesome), ready to burst forth and hijack the narrative at any moment…or at least by the end of issue 15.

On a basic, less meta and intertextual level, this page sets up Alfred and Dick as sneaky bastards, and we’re left wondering about and, cleverly for morrison in that they’re at the front of the issue and the only other reference to Alfred’s preparations is an instantly forgettable line of dialogue halfway through, very nearly nearly forget about, what’s going on here.

I’m way past trying to second guess Morrison, though, I can tell you that.

Something that’ll make the baddies rue the day, basically. Rue the day – nay, the hour – BATMAN WAS CREATED!

geddit?

We’re going to the core.

One note about the Knight sculpture, and I’m sure I’m getting a bit too creative here, but I like the idea that Knight’s always move obliquely to the rest of the pieces. You never know what tricksy shit Batman will pull. Always thinking ’round corners.

PAGES 2 TO 5: DIFFERENTLY SANE

joker-batman-robin-131

From the eternal idea of BATMAN(R), to its latest iteration and what he’s been getting up to recently.

This is Damian’s final lesson, isn’t it? The last big mistake. You know, the one where he actually aids and abets the arch enemy’s escape and later his scheme to overthrow his only rival. That one. It’s certainly a climactic end to a very steep learning curve.

The dramatic reversal is something to behold. Issue two of this arc makes good on the first’s creepy promise (the Joker’s whispered ‘you’re just like him…’) and sees the Joker transition from helpless victim, through predator toying with his prey, to the moment of the pounce itself, all within three pages. The Joker’s made for these sorts of situations, the ones where even though you hope and pray for the best and on the surface of it everything looks okay, you just know everything’s gonna tumble. Because contrary to popular belief, it’s not the expression in the Joker’s eyes you should be watching, but his smile. That horrible, unchanging toothy trapdoor over the abyss. Marauder of Mirth, Clown at Midnight (Omega-Joker, lasting as long as it took Batman to be broken), Papa Gay Day (as seen this ish!) – the shaggy dog story around it may change, but the punchline always stays the same.

Ho! Irony! Robin bashing out the Joker’s brains?!? How do we cap that? The answer is gloomily obvious. But not gloomy in a boring way. In a stomach sinking way.

I mean, didn’t you start to get the fear by page three? That bit where the Joker gets to his feet and he’s about twohundredmillion times bigger than the little boy beating up on him. We’re in the upside down hell-world of farce, where everything’s a joke and contrary to Hurt’s pretensions there’s no-one more at home here than Mr. J. This is where he lives, and its time the darkness was made visible. Seriously, he’s not even trying to hide the fact that he’s playing with Damian as he gropes towards him, and it’s terrifying. The WooaOooOAAH! monster grasping for the child – nightmarish. I’m surprised nobody’s commented on this frankly.

I’m trying to figure out why the ‘a smiling Robin, a laughing young daredevil’ line is so wrong. There’s the fact that the Joker’s the ultimate perv and we never know how things are going to go, obvs, but I think it’s also got something to do with how far we’ve gone since that kind of robin made any sense, how far the Joker’s gone, and how Damian’s rictus grin here indirectly desecrates that space, his stilted HA-HA’s and malfunctioning A-HA replacing the natural, easy hysterics of his predecessor, of childhood. Is this how the Joker sees laughter? As a mechanical response to universal injustice? Uh, yeah, I guess it is.

Pretty joyless. Who was it posted here ages ago about how the Joker’s jokes shouldn’t be funny, who I argued with at the time but would now like to apologise to and agree with?

One of the reasons the Joker’s such a great foil for Batman is because he’s all devious schemes, he’s all mind, having none of the advantages (most of the time, depending on his mood), the vehicles and the gadgets, his enemy has. Here Morrison returns to a story idea he played with in JLA Classified, where the superhero is hijacked and used as a weapon, and it’s an elegant solution to the Joker’s predicament, very convincing, and serves as a really good example of the core Joker ingredient above. Joker, like Batman, must always have an escape route. He must always win, but never *win*.

Except maybe here, where Bruce Wayne’s temporarily been wiped off the board.

You have to marvel, don’t you, that the Joker’s still such an awesome villain? Even though it was cool of him to provide it, you can’t help feeling Morrison didn’t need to slather on the super MPD thing – that we always knew the Joker represents the primal force of chaos with which man contends and whose absolute relevancy doesn’t require explanation. Or maybe it did. Just to excavate further, make things explicit, retro-fit some nice drama (the chill we felt when Joker referred to playing ‘practical jokes’ back in Last Rites – the gloomy, doomy inevitability of Jason’s death juxtaposed with silly breath holding contests), create potential story engines and to be all post-modern like. Actuallu, shut it, me. It was a brilliant idea.

Whatever, I love the notion that the Joker is 100% aware of his condition, that it’s not strictly speaking psychosis at all (‘I’m not mad… I’m just differently sane.’), in that he’s aware of it. It’s like he’s in control of not being in control, or something…. or not in control of not being in control…. an evil zen master.

Anyway, that door going… The dragon breaths out. (actually, I’m sure many of you hated it, but I think there was something to the chinese dragon tatooed Joker of Miller’s ASBAR books. A No Mind-prize to the reader with the best tabloidesque title for *that* jokerific incarnation!)

PAGES 6 TO 7: PYG IN HIS STYEEEEEEEE

mandrake1

Pyg refers to the ‘multitudes of the mother goat’. This finds its cthuloid correlate in Shub Niggurath, the Black Goat of the woods with a thousand young, an occassionally female demon who may or may not have something to say about the meaningless and mechanically random awfulness of creation and generation – perfect mother for Pyg, then. Inspite of the aha-ing over at Comics Alliance none of the dialogue in this scene 100% confirms that Hurt created Pyg, but Hurt’s understanding of Pyg’s condition, his care (‘be sick in this bucket pyg…‘), his knowledge of his history and correspondingly his ability to push his buttons, his predeliction for monster-making and the mother metaphor which may serve as the overlap between both characters, strongly suggest that this is the case. Hurt’s ‘I challenged him to outline his personal vision for Gotham.’ line could be taken in a couple of ways, that Pyg’s Gotham’s new urban planner, his personal vision of Hell on Earth brought to life by Hurt, or as a coded metaphor for Hurt actualising Pyg’s latent madness, neither of which are mutually exclusive.

Regardless, Pyg is crucified upside down which is the best way to get around in this town.

Now, because I can’t seem to find David Uzemeri’s Funnybook Babylon annotations anywhere and I can’t remember if anyone’s mentioned this before, has anyone commented on the gun thing yet? I don’t mean the practising for Grayson’s head thing, not that. No, the more obvious thing. The thing about the Gun being the weapon of the bat-demon. The thing about it being Batman’s alpha and omega. Sacred Gun. Holy Gun. Our gun ascendent, in heaven, when heaven is below.

I told you. Upside down.

So we have Muller, Hurt and Darkseid, all with guns, all different iterations of the same principle. The principle of negation. Murder.

Quickly: the pumpkin isn’t just a head, though, it’s Halloween also. The night when the Devil and his minions come out play.

Upsdie wnD.

Let’s go there. Here’s a wild and wacky theory for you. The bat-coffin is an avatar for the ancestor box itself, the hyperdimensional cage within which Bruce and his entire timeline is trapped. The thing obviously has an infinitely recursive structure, which is why its contents are terrifying to behold and why its opening brings about the moment where you see the time solid itself, the All Over. It’s also why it’s full of bat-history, diaries and all the rest, the entire continuity. The suggestion so far is that this reality is in some way sick and that when it is freed it will subsume and replace its host, all in all leaving us very gloomy about Bruce’s eventual fate. Hurt with his publicity campaign and insistent bat-revisionism is softening reality up for the day when his lies become truth – Barbatos, the inverted bat-world, triumphant.

But…..

What if the demon was Bruce all along, like we said? That ‘It’s all theater, Senator’. Just a farce. A Joke. I love thinking of Doctor Hurt as just another of the Joker’s jokes. I wonder what the implications might be (the first, most amusing and most likely to be wrong idea that pops into my head is that the ‘demon’ Thomas and Jefferson summoned may in reality have been the Joker dressed up in one of Bruce’s more outlandish and disturbing bat-suits. You want Farce? How about if the cause of all this weirdness was the zebra-batman? I actually want this to be the case now, and will be significantly disappointed if it isn’t.)

Now that Batman’s contracted the nu-gods legendary disease and been converted to Myth, it becomes a question of whose myth is more enduring, his or Hurt’s. 702 confirmed BATMAN(R)’s awareness of itself….. and now it can fight back.

I’d like to see Christian Bale work that shit out.

That’s some Reed Richards shit.

PAGES 8 TO 11: ATTACK OF THE DOLLATRONS

br13shot

One of the guns Bruce will come in blazing has to be the Miagani, or as they’re currently called the 99 Fiends. The Bat-Myth, originating with him, spews out progeny and legacy in all directions across space-time, it’s a highly virile idea, tapping into the fundamental myth of Man against the Unknown. Hurt’s on the other hand is a sterile lie, flimsy and weak as his vanity. One is self-annhilating, the other hungry for replication. It’s the individual ego versus a timeless idea. I know who my money’s on. There’s a reason why all Hurt’s creations emerge stillborne. All he wants of the universe is for it to be a shiny, mindless mirror that he can prance about in front of in his special Batman suit. Petty little man.

(Morrison knows most villains are petty – see his treatment of Magneto, Doctor Doom and Lex Luthor – and could that be why he respects the Joker so much? Because in the end the Joker’s not? Because there’s something valid to the way he sees the world)

Anyway, a single Batman can handle a horde of Hurt’s abortions, as evidenced by this page.

Another note on the colours: we’re still at the circus, aren’t we? Direction? Not direction? Intentional at all? Who cares. And again with the put-on theme – it’s all a show….

PAGES 12 TO 13: DAY 2

I think it’s safe to assume that Dick successfully fought his was out of the batmobile’s burst radius and then staggered off to Wayne Tower, but who knows. Dave Uzumeri’s right, that DAY 2 obscures a lot.

But it’s also totally rad.

I like how Pyg’s bloated appearance is rationalised across his desire to perfect himself. That his version of perfection, the perfection of ‘handsome men on television’, the perfection of the abyss, is achieved via botox, and is as hollow as the space behind a TV screen. I also like the continuation of the show theme – check the illuminated make-up mirror and Pyg’s hunched lovey pose. Is that a syringe or a cigarette in a holder? Marlena Dietrich in the underworld.

I’m just taking a moment here to gawp with doleful happiness at the procession of Baddies marching towards the camera at the bottom of page 13. For me they almost sum up Grant’s run, the big bad, Dr. Hurt, who (give a fuck if it predates him because it adds depth if you know and just looks cool if you don’t) owns every scene his special batsuit features in, Pyg, the more garden variety villain excavating a latent bat-aesthetic, carnivalesque, which should really get a look in much more than it has in the past, and finally the henchmen, the dollatrons, about a primal as a bat-henchman can be, invoking the Joker, all of whom feel as though they could’ve been batvillains from way back, but are entirely original. This stuff isn’t easy at all. Well done Grant.

PAGES 14 TO 15: BEST. GAG. EVER.

500full-mary-elizabeth-winstead

It’s cool how Dick deals instantly when he realizes its the Joker on the phone, launching straight into spare, command speech (‘Where is he? …I know it’s the Black Glove you want..’ – building boxes) But the thing is it’s not Dick’s story, it’s the Joker’s. We thought it was one way, but….

Or maybe it is.

‘I prepared the mansion and the cave as you requested, sir.’

PAGE 16 TO 22: YOUR KNIGHTS HAVE FALLEN AND THE BOARD IS MINE!

I’m not really sure what it is I’m looking at here. Is Gordon supposed to be raised above his – impressionistic to the point of being confusing – audience? And this is Crime Alley? This is where you get naughty, Irving! No screwing with the clarity of scenes!

It’s not such a big thing, though.

I totally agree about Hurt linking in with the Crime Bible people, and now all that ‘Capital City of Crime!’ stuff. Let’s see what comes of it.

So, we’re on a stage, Hurt whispering at Pyg from the wings… More of this stuff. It’s everywhere. Really.

Another grumble, actually: Irving! I know it’s difficult to pull off, but the audience succumbing to the airborne Joker venom should be clearer! Golden dominoes of death are cool, however – the last to go before we get to all the domino rally style stunts. Just the big domino set pieces to go now lads, Pyg and Hurt.

Irving is very good at action scenes, and this bendy Gordon’s eye view one is especially skill, the drug effects transforming everything into a funhouse mirror reality (I won’t pretend that’s another example of the farce/show theme – that’d be reaching. I know the difference. Do you?).

Of course Batman makes short work of Pyg. Shut up, pervert.

This really is the mother of all indignities to be heaped on Gordon, isn’t it? An old man on a heroin analog. Grim. You wouldn’t get that in a Superman book.

4314655371_c796d6f979

And finally Hurt confirms what we always knew and he first expressed very clearly in Batman and Robin 12 via that line about ‘coming at us out the east’, that the fight as far as he’s concerned is between him and the Joker, Gotham’s second most powerful guardian spirit after Bruce Wayne. No one seems to’ve mentioned he’s talking to us also. The reader really does feel helpless at this point. And… could Hurt’s reach extend as far as…. HERE.

PAGE 23: WAY TOO SERIOUS.

untitled2

But one thing has reinforced the idea of this whole run as performance, a show, more than any other: the NEXT IN pages, and especially the lead-in to this one with Hurt and the Joker speaking directly to camera. It’s like the cliffhanger ending of a particularly terrifying saturday night adventure serial, with both archfiends gloating over their victories, the heroes at their mercy. I feel as though I’ve seen something like this before, and regardless of whether or not I can confirm it, that’s a good thing. I feel like it gave me nightmares. Irving’s Joker should give you nightmares. Page twenty three is just a balls out triumph. Amazing.

Joker can creep through any window anywhere. How many times has he covorted about the batcave right under Bruce’s nose, making waggly antennae fingers behind his bat-ears?

And now for some speculation.

At first glance one would assume the serious person referred to by the Joker is Damian, but some other ideas have flitted about in the emails. Jason for one, and the other… Perhaps this is a rescue mission.

Maybe the gravedigger intends to dig up Bruce

You know, it really is a very good idea, this whole Joker vs Hurt thing. Joker is probably as offended as Bruce with this upstart usurper playing fast and loose with bat-history. It affects him just as powerfully. This is the only possible scenario where I would buy Batman and Robin working for the Joker, but I buy it completely, which just goes to show how topsy turvy everything’s got.

Zom: Cavorting about the Batcave under Bruce’s nose making finger antennae? Creepy as fuck. Someone take heed.

79 Responses to “Batman and Robin #14”

  1. Botswana Beast Says:

    there was something to the chinese dragon tatooed Joker of Miller’s ASBAR books. A No Mind-prize to the reader with the best tabloidesque title for *that* jokerific incarnation!

    Jokuza, shoorly?

    Spot on, re: there’s a bullet in the gun, obviously the RIP Missing Chapter made all that pretty overt, and that’s why I’m predicting the triumphal Return of Bruce Wayne to be filmed in glorious Reverse Bullet-Time, managing what three generations of the Flash couldn’t to save his one-time ward.

    Pyg, Pyg, Pyg. I’m at the point of dangerous, twattish post-Ledger obsession with the porcine Peppa – here’s his theme song, btw, mainstream but switched enuff – gonna ruin Hallowe’en for everyone, including – especially – myself, this year with some method acting. My weight problem isn’t funnyyeeeeee.

  2. amypoodle Says:

    the trouble with most batman comics, i’ve decided, the fundamental problem, is that they AREN’T SCARY. trawling through the images in my post, i think i can safely say every one of them is scary. this book is a ghost train.

    and that was some total mulholland drive shit in 702.

  3. jamie jamie Says:

    Excellent piece.
    Reading this issue I felt like I was present at the dinner table in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. That horrible, gleefully wrong, fucked up carnival air. ‘Funnily enough’, I experienced the same shivery sensation a day later, whilst stupidly watching the Ultimate Big Brother Finale.
    All the best!

  4. Shiny Jim Says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed the Ancestor Box – Mulholland Drive connection.

  5. Zom Says:

    Bots, I reckon Pyg goes in for the original mix.

  6. Matthew Craig Says:

    Hey, this is irrelevant, and I’m sorry, but I have to write it down before I forget:

    JLA 7 – The Key – Batman’s Inception-like lucid dream. Married to Catwoman, Tim Drake Batman and Bruce jr. Robin. Bruce’s line as he follows Selina out of the Batcave on his boy’s first night on the streets:

    “BATMAN AND ROBIN CAN NEVER DIE.”

    Good oul’ Grant.

    Sorry.

    //\oo/\\

  7. RetroWarbird Says:

    The Gagster of Gangsters! The Trickster with the Tiamat Tattoo!

    Hurt is certainly talking to us – I mean, the black and red checkerboard pattern permeates throughout the book but who in-story can read their 3D like 2D because they exist on a higher plane? Us, that’s who. If it’s got any literal value, than Hurt (by which I mean the demon possessing Thomas Wayne of 1765) is more likely to be the Hyper-Adapter … born of “elsewhere” … born literally from the mind of say, the writer of the story to be the perfect embodiment of The Devil for Bruce Wayne.

    But more importantly than that meta bullshit … you’ve seen that before … at the end of EVERY 1960′s Batman “part 1″.

    WILL this be the end of the Caped Crusaders? CAN the Joker really steal the ruby? HOW will Batman and Robin get out of this one. FIND OUT NEXT TIME … same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel.

    We’re watching the Bat-Channel … and something is seriously fucked with Bat-Time.

    Fuck me … now whenever I hear Hurt’s voice it’s going to be the voice of the announcer from that show.

  8. Rick Says:

    There is also something to be said about the name of the painting and the title to the next issue

    The Knight, Death and the Devil.

    “Riding steadfastly through a dark Nordic gorge, Dürer’s knight rides past Death on a Pale Horse, who holds out an hourglass as a reminder of life’s brevity, and is followed closely behind by a pig-snouted Devil. As the embodiment of moral virtue, the rider—modeled on the tradition of heroic equestrian portraits with which Dürer was familiar from Italy—is undistracted and true to his mission. A haunting expression of the vita activa, or active life, the print is a testament to the way in which Dürer’s thought and technique coalesced brilliantly in the “master engravings.”

  9. The Satrap Says:

    has anyone commented on the gun thing yet? …about the Gun being the weapon of the bat-demon…
    So we have Muller, Hurt and Darkseid, all with guns, all different iterations of the same principle. The principle of negation. Murder.

    I may have blabbered in a manner germane to the topic in this thread.

    Now, since I don’t have #14 yet, and since you owe us a review of #702 that in all likelihood shall never come, I hope you boys won’t mind if I spam the thread with tidbits, snippets, driblets and even choice morsels of dubious insight concerning the aforementioned #702.

    Tomorrow, though. After hitting the sack for a while.

  10. Marc Says:

    Ah, been waiting for these comments.

    On the first read this issue seemed like a bit of a disappointment, just a middle chapter that moves the pieces around the board into a marginally different configuration, with nothing approaching the perverse heights of the last issue’s opening but also nothing as tender or carefully observed as the Grayson/Gordon scene.

    The second time around, though, the details come into focus. That throwaway line of Alfred’s implies that Dick might not be quite as reckless as the last few arcs have made him out to be, and that line “You’ll make a wonderful lawyer” on page 13–is that an indication that Pyg is playing Thomas Wayne’s lawyer in issue 13? (Or that said scene is yet to happen? …although it’s hard to imagine anyone holding a press conference amidst the general chaos that breaks out this issue.) Not even sure what that would imply, except that the whole Thomas Wayne act is a posture, a performance–as it would almost have to be.

    Still just an issue that moves the pieces around, but who cares when it moves them this well? And it sets up the possibility for some timely reversals in the issues to come.

  11. Zom Says:

    And there was the energy of it too. Unlike Amy I don’t think Irving is particularly good at action – as ever with Irving it’s predominantly a clarity issue – but what he lacks there he makes up with his impressively strong atmospherics.

    That cut to the final Joker panel was the biggest visceral shock I’ve received from a comic in a very, very long time.

  12. Stefan Yong Says:

    The Painted Clown.

  13. Zom Says:

    I’m still with Jokuza

  14. Stefan Yong Says:

    Holy shit – didn’t notice BBeast’s comment the first time round. That’s a grand name.

  15. bobsy Says:

    Come on guys, try to be a bit more rubbish with your suggestions please.

    If it’s not as ungood as The Manic Mafio-ho-ho-so then don’t even bother trying.

  16. amypoodle Says:

    marc, i try very hard when writing these things not to repeat stuff that other bloggers or reviews have already mentioned, esp david uzumeri in his brilliant, always insightful, annotations. so some of the stuff brought up here – pyg being hurt’s lawyer for example – i deliberately left out for fear of boring people.

    not that i’m sayin’ you’re boring, obvs.

    as for this being an issue concerned with moving pieces around, yes, true, but the real focus of course is who’s doing the moving. and that’s just great. there’s whole bat-essays there.

    and i couldn’t disagree with zom more about irving’s action scenes. i think he does a grand job.

  17. Zom Says:

    Not at action he doesn’t, but what he does manage to do is transform the action scenes in this issue into something else entirely.

  18. amypoodle Says:

    i think there’s plenty of movement in his action scenes, they make sense and possess drama – what more could you ask for?

    he may be all painterly, but he isn’t a bisley.

  19. Zom Says:

    I’m not saying he’s awful, just that he’s strengths lie elsewhere

  20. the Beast Must Die Says:

    Aside from that opne panel with Gordon that the Poodle mentioned, I thought that this was a bautiful, sumtuous comic. Now we’re in Joker-world there’s a stylistic link from Irving’s queasy/beautiful palette to Van Fleet’s vivid cyber-guignol renderings from the ‘Clown at Midnight’.

  21. Smitty Says:

    Who’s in the coffin that Joker is sitting on?

    Whoever was buried in Thomas Wayne’s grave?

    Whoever “Sexton” was digging up when the 99 fiends jumped Robin in the Wayne family graveyard?

  22. exsanguinatrix Says:

    “Multitudes of the mother goat?” hey, this is actually familiar. Read it in the intro of the collected Gotham Central.

    Whoever the writer of that intro was pointed out the similarity of Batman’s Gotham city to the English Nottinghamshire town of Gotham (pronounced ‘goat-ham,’ apparently by the brits). And this works somehow because of… well, wikipedia says:

    “The village is most famed for the stories of the “Wise Men of Gotham”. These depict the people of the village as being stupid. However, the reason for the behaviour is believed to be that the villagers wished to feign madness in order to avoid a Royal Highway being built through the village, as they would then be expected to build and maintain this route. Madness was believed at the time to be highly contagious, and when King John’s knights saw the villagers behaving as if insane, the knights swiftly withdrew and the King’s road was re-routed to avoid the village.

    …Reminded of the foolish ingenuity of Gotham’s residents, Washington Irving gave the name “Gotham” to New York City in his Salmagundi Papers (1807). In turn, Bob Kane named the pastiche New York City home of Batman Gotham City.”

  23. exsanguinatrix Says:

    ^The point I was trying to drive at– when Pyg says “the multitudes of mother goat,” he’s just talking about Gotham’s populace, driven mad by his drugs.

  24. Marc Says:

    Haven’t read Uzumeri’s annotations yet–somehow I never quite followed him over from Funnybook Babylon, which now looks as desolate and abandoned as certain other blogs of my acquaintance.

    But on a quick skim, I don’t see any mention of the lawyer angle in his new annotations. Did that discussion happen somewhere else?

  25. amypoodle Says:

    i’m sure he mentioned it. oh well. maybe it was someone else.

    i’ve read a lot of commentary on this issue. i even enjoy t6he rubbish stuff – so long as i think the author had a good time.

    smitty: yeah, what *is* in there?

  26. amypoodle Says:

    i imagine pyg dancing to either dj food’s remix of david byrne’s fuzzy freaky (can’t find a link to it, except for the purchasing of…), or….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztkQ5S1sAJw&feature=related

    spooky disco all the way.

  27. RetroWarbird Says:

    “Gotham (pronounced ‘goat-ham,’ apparently by the brits).”

    Oh names … If Hurt’s the “Goat” than Pyg’s the “Ham”!

    “The village is famed for …”

    Surely a town with three Robins and a Red Hood and Scarlet defending the common man doesn’t need much more to be associated with Nottingham. Next up … Batman visits Green Arrow and the analogues get even more obvious!

    “Washington Irving gave the name “Gotham” to New York City”

    New York’s own Washington Irving? In a book presently drawn and colored by a Frazer Irving? In a story reminiscent of the old 50′s “Rip Van Batman” wherein Bruce “wakes up” from being missing to find that Dick Grayson is Batman and his SON is Robin?

    Christ this is all appropriate. Didn’t Doctor Hurt just shoot a Jack O’Lantern? Coming soon! We find out that THOMAS WAYNE 1765 was the Headless Horseman!

  28. ATOM HOTEP Says:

    i’m sure it’s been pointed out but part of the reason the dollotrons feel like they’ve always been there is because they recall the killer doll in Dark Knight Returns, just like the 99 fiends recall the mutants

  29. Zom Says:

    Indeed

  30. Jon Says:

    I may get shit on here for this comment, but here goes:

    I think Morisson is at his weakest when he resorts to gore tactics (though it wasn’t much of a problem in THIS issue.)

    And though the “gimp” S&M themes involving Mr. Pyg are, I think, just stupid, they are at least a psychological touchstone and reference point for the general themes of Morisson’s whole Batman project (i.e. Myth, psychology, trauma, healing.)

    But I recently re-read the arc with Flamingo, the Face Eater, and it was so needless, so lazy and banal that it felt like an adults only version of Family Guy, which is most certainly NOT a compliment.

    Look back at Batman & Son for some great story-telling, some wonderful uses of meta-referencing and genuine suspense. I just think the effort that went into that story has been replaced by too much masturbatory, lazy writing.

    Another unfavorable comparison would be to NIN and Marilyn Manson, whereas I would prefer Aphex Twin and Autechre. You can be dark and still be smart.

  31. Zom Says:

    Gore tactics?

  32. amypoodle Says:

    yeah, i think that egg needs a bit more salt, jon. you have but one example, mr….

    i mean, i know morrison’s work ocassionally veers off into the barkeresque (the corinthian), but there’s not that much evidence of scene stealing grisliness in his batman books, at least not in any way that matters – the drama rarely depends on it basically.

    also, i think you need to qualify exactly what you’re referring to when you describe b&r as ‘masturbatory…etc’, because if you mean the current arc i’m really not feeling you.

    anyway:

    the flamingo is wild at heart downloaded into a supervillain. think of him in those terms and he makes loads of sense.

    (and, yes, autechre and aphex are fun, but frankly manson gives good carnivalesque, and while more obvious is less furrow-browed than the latter.)

  33. bobsy Says:

    the corinthian?

  34. amypoodle Says:

    whatever. that other guy. orlando.

    same vertigo diff.

    btw, i meant less furrow-browed than autechre, not aphex – he seems like fun. or at least he did in the nineties. he doesn’t seem much of anything at the moment. (yes, yes, i know he’s been gigging and may have some new material coming out, but i won’t be sold on it being good till i hear it. enjoying ‘techre’s ‘move of ten’ though.)

  35. The Satrap Says:

    Gore tactics?

    Issuing stern warnings about anthropogenic global warming, in easily accessible documentary form.

    Only a denialist would argue that things aren’t getting hotter in Gotham.

  36. RetroWarbird Says:

    I felt pretty strongly that that specific set of gore tactics – Flamingo being the Eater of Faces – resonated pretty strongly with some sort of contextual “mask/face” allegory.

    That being said, I’ve yet to actually put my finger quite on the point of it, or how, if any, there is a difference between the theme of “masks/faces” and the theme of “hoods”.

    It’s cheesily gristly, the face-eating thing. Corny like the 60′s TV show … filtered briefly through the 90′s.

    But it speaks to a man who had his identity for all intents and purposes stolen from him … erased. All he can do now is steal your identity and eat it, perhaps trying to “absorb” your identity the way uncouth types in the really-real world believe that eating the hearts of their enemies will give them “powers”.

    He has been reduced to something even more primitive than the cavemen from Return of Bruce # 1 …

  37. RetroWarbird Says:

    (Actually come to think of it, that compares quite nicely to the “alternate” way that Joker had his identity stripped. Flamingo is quite obviously another analogue of Joker (playing on the inhuman “force of nature” theme, also the flamboyance). Therein lies the difference.

    Joker’s identity was stripped from him by chemicals. His whole chaos-clown criminal career since has been entirely chemical-induced. He is poison, all glass bottle with skull and crossbones on the side. The whole entity of Joker is chemical, and mildly hallucinogenic.

    Flamingo’s identity was stripped from him by surgical means. His admittedly less well-known career (with a name like that, I sincerely hope we see him opposite El Gaucho some day) was created by surgical instruments, which turned him into a surgical instrument (even his filed down teeth are serrated like a saw-blade).

    The two beings very much depict the 1800′s war between psychologists over how to treat insane patients – do you go the lobotomy route (the old standard) or the psychopharmacological route (the new, Freud-praised hippie liberal method).

    Neither are very optimistic views of the treatment of the insane, although Joker’s “origin” as well as his current anti-psychosis is a lot easier to find common ground with in an increasingly Jokerly world.

    I’d like to see what would happen if you through an Alpha-male type with father issues into the mix, like Bane (or Bruce, for that matter, but I’m thinking more lupine … a scenario like The Wolfman).

  38. RetroWarbird Says:

    (Just to further that while I’m on some sort of streak … Professor Pyg, the “other” Joker analogue or “Three Ghosts of Joker” (Pyg, Flamingo, Jason … right?) would be the result of … that weird TV shock treatment at the end of A Clockwork Orange. Gone wrong, of course. These are all “gone wrong” scenarios.)

  39. The Satrap Says:

    That’s a very strong reading of Flamingo, Retro. The view of Pyg’s “erasure” as a result of traumatic information overload is tempting…if it weren’t for the next-generation drugs with their virally activated addictions and whatnot.

    Of course, it feels almost stupid to mention it, what unifies all these origin stories, including those of the fake Batmen, Scarlet and Brucie himself, is great personal loss. Baldie’s run is extremely disciplined in the observance of that key convention of the genre, nobody dons the tights for the heck of it.

    Which brings us to the question of Morrison’s respect for the Joker, raised by Amy. More on all that when I finally find the time to drown the thread under a stream of wordy idiocy. Not long now.

  40. The Satrap Says:

    Before I unleash the silly, a thought on Scarlet. The last we see of her has a distinctly Joker-esque flavour, she’s both “laughing and crying”, a “crawling itch” spreading across her grinning face. Notice also the bad hair.

    Previously, the Red Hood has tried to help her cope with her misfortunes by talking up her “nu-freak chic” charm. Surely, the Joker must be the king of nu-freak chic. At any rate, that’s intellectualised bullshit, of the kind that most of the players in the story engage in (Bruce’s first and foremost among the wordy host, of course, Alfred has called him a mystic and philosopher and he’s putting all his purple prose in a casket which he’ll throw into a black hole at the end of time to save the universe or something). Now, Scarlet finds release in the end simply by feeling the sunlight on her face (seeing the fight with Flamingo go pear-shaped probably helped a bit, too). No fancy bullshit, just one of the simple good things in life. In a world where the sun shines one must find the strength to get over the death of one’s Papa.

    As in the “Killing Joke”, the persona of the Red Hood presides over a transition. In Scarlet’s case, it is a healthy one. The mask peels away and she runs away from the capes business, while the Joker’s remains stuck. But both characters have in common that the cerebral stuff will not do it for them. The Joker’s role, on a very basic level, is to have a good laugh at the expense of the certainties articulated by the other main antagonists.

    (Of course, one may say that Scarlet’s last-page redemption is an act of unjustified authorial fiat, but it doesn’t really need dwelling on, it’s a minimalistic, understated counterpoint to the main thrust of this sprawling comic yarn.)

  41. Anton Binder Says:

    If it’s all theatre then is Hurt the manifestation of ‘Doctor Theatre’? (The partially adrenaline induced ability experienced by actors and performers to carry on despite illness or injury on stage.) Which kinda makes more sense of Pyg as ‘Ham’ So Joker is the Hamlet Gravedigger which makes Wayne…erm oh I’ve lost it…Anyone?

  42. Shiny Jim Says:

    Anti-life!

  43. Jon Says:

    I really appreciate all of the thoughtful responses.
    I think you all have mounted a pretty strong defense of the “gore tactics,” Flamingo and the psychological underpinnings of Morisson’s run.

    Flamingo still bugs me, but I see the correlation to the Joker (along with Pyg and Red Hood), and I also think Flamingo the name is as justifiable as a name like Penguin.

    I appreciate everyone recognizes the “Barker-esque” and “carnival-esque” aspects to Morisson’s work, and I doubt he’d deny it himself. I still don’t prefer it but I’m willing to accept it in order to get access to all of the other enjoyment I get from his writing.

    Also, I am definitely not complaining about the current arc, I think it’s one of the best so far. I’ve really enjoyed all of B&R (except the Red Hood/Flamingo and The Dark Knight arcs) and I’ve REALLY enjoyed every page of ROBW.

  44. Zom Says:

    Just want to say that the Barkeresque aspects of Morrison’s writing aren’t my faves either

  45. The Satrap Says:

    No need to worry, Jon, it’s easy to dislike the Red Hood/Flamingo arc. The art is not stellar and, on a level, it’s the umpteenth re-enactment of the Morrisonian critique of grim & gritty, the voyeuristic enjoyment of violence on the part of desensitised audiences, yadda yadda. “Batman and Robin say…Get a life!”, it does not get much clumsier than that. Smart folk like Jog (of “the Blog” fame) have called the story “awful” and I wouldn’t call that a low point of their critical careers.

    Since Morrison is or affects to be a trendy guy who drops the word “zeitgeist” with some regularity, it’s hard not to suspect that he deems this critique of grim & gritty to be useful to understand many of the pathologies of the contemporary condition. That may well be the case, but the critique is too narrow in scope, methinks. These days I find myself agreeing more and more with countercultural, grumpy, will-you-kids-get-off-my-lawn Moore. Almost all of the media landscape is pretty much rotten, really.

    This is not the proper venue for a reasoned rant, though.

    Be that as it may, it is fair to say that, as a group, we are so taken with the bald-pated one’s blandishments that we’ll try to jerk the deep hidden meaning off of even the least appealing of storylines. The various parabolic arcs of hermeneutic jizz strive for the reader’s attention by attaining the most unlikely heights. At points they may intersect, but they never merge. They never merge.

  46. amypoodle Says:

    man, i DO NOT GET why some people didn’t enjoy blackest knight. i’d be really interested why you weren’t feeling it, jon. i loved that arc. all the mindless’s loved that arc, i think.

  47. Jon Says:

    RE: Blackest Knight.

    A lot of the problem with the story was that I’m American, so I totally didn’t get the Pearly King/Queen things until I read the Uzumeri annotations. There were a lot of other British references I didn’t get, so that’s my bad.

    All in all the story felt pointless: they started with a corpse and ended up with a corpse. Also, if Batwoman was resurrected by the Lazarus pit, why didn’t she go even a little bit crazy? Is that just an extended use side-effect, or an immediate one?

    Finally, there were a couple of glaring errors with dialog attributed to the wrong character and while I know that’s someone else’s fault (not grant’s) it just makes me feel ripped off, money-wise. It makes me think the people behind the issue don’t even care about it themselves.

    Mainly it was the British stuff, so for that reason I understand our divide on this arc.

  48. amypoodle Says:

    it wasn’t pointless from a mega arc point of view though, was it? it was the adventure that confirmed dick’s suspicions that bruce wasn’t dead. and it has to be an adventure that confirms these things. very definitely.

    and if said adventure contains some genuinely fantastic insights into bat-psychoses/neuroses, and it did, and if it has lovely artwork, a riproaring pace, batman on holiday, and, yes, sketches out a whole world of british superheroics, and a whole tonality basically, then i say ‘JOB WELL DONE.’

    the metaleks were worth the price of entry alone.

    we’ll have to agree to disagree about this one, sir.

  49. Jon Says:

    Agreed.

  50. RetroWarbird Says:

    I’m American myself and admittedly needed a little help with at least half of the Brit references. That being said, they didn’t deter my enjoyment one bit – the pure and simple fact that the story felt like “Guy Ritchie does super-criminals” more than made me feel at home.

    Revenge of the Red Hood is the red-headed stepchild of the Morrison arcs so-far, much like its primary antagonist. But it’s dripping with Milton references, right down to the final showdown at a Rock Quarry (a “Pit” with many levels if I’ve ever seen one).

    That arc would have been ten times the comic with better art. Because when Grant foregos nuance and subtext to make some brazen points … it really becomes more important for an artist to have nuance (not to mention clear storytelling) to add to that.

    Missed opportunity, there. My sort-of “dream project” is to get my hands on Grant’s script for that and to draw it myself.

    It’s also key to the red/black theme.

    Batman Reborn: Black.
    Revenge of the RED Hood: Red, k-duh.
    BLACKest Knight: Black.
    Batman vs. ROBIN: Red.
    Batman and Robin Must DIE: Black … or is it a wild card? The Dead Man’s hand with a twist yet again shows up somewhere, somehow. It’s no coincidence at all that Grant planned for 5 arcs.

  51. RetroWarbird Says:

    (Why am I just now seeing that the “Red Right Hand” of the Red Hood cast Flamingo into The Pit?!)

  52. It Burns Says:

    I have to say, in defence of Blackest Knight, we were treated to a genuine CARTOONIST in Cameron Stewart, which not all artists are in Supecomics. Beside any points already made about the merrits of the story, the clarity and momentum of the first chase scene alone makes it, for me, the best issue of the series so far. I just can’t get over how well done it is. When Batman lands with the girl in his arms, Stewart has his cape curl upwards so subtely…it’s a image of motion we don’t always get. And when Bat-Corpse is flying the Bat-Gyro (not issue 1, or course), screaming angrily…the transition from the previous panel to that makes me laugh every time because it’s just so absurd.

    In reference to B&R #14, I enjoy how Morrison has changed the voice of the Joker for the Gravedigger incarnation. In R.I.P. it seemed like Joker’s every word was spoken from the bottom of hell. Everything serious and with abandon. Need I quote the Mindless’ favorite line of Joker dialogue from R.I.P.? In B&R he is very…composed. Frighteningly so. Like a ringmaster/CIA operative in complete control and preparing an assasination.

  53. It Burns Says:

    Seriousnes is incorrect. Every word had weight, let’s say, whether it was a lie or not.

  54. It Burns Says:

    Jesus Christ I can’t spell.

  55. amypoodle Says:

    it doesn’t work for zom, but i always enjoy the tension between really good cartooning and horror. the way the imagery belies the nastiness underneath. some of that zombie stuff was genuinely horrible – the smell of rotting brain between the ears, the idea of babies born in broken glass, the creature’s revoltingly pathetic mimicry of its source material (‘old chum..’, etc) – and this is before we get on to the tryptych panels – and it’s all set off really nicely by the cutesy visuals, somehow exacerbated.

    i think this finds it’s best expression in the metaleks. their toyetic appearance, their friendly camouflage, masking the xenoforming virus bug things we know they really are. or i know they are. give a shit about the rest of you.

  56. amypoodle Says:

    god, i want cornell to leave them alone. i’m certain he won’t get it right.

    i think cornell’s knight and squire stuff will be a real case of a nearly there but not quite, and it’s a shame because it looks to me like he’ll be stamping his mark across almost the entire k&s universe mapped out so far.

  57. It Burns Says:

    Have you seen the preview? It really looks ham-handed. I’m American, so I don’t know if this is accurate, but it seems like all the “culture” in the bar scene is geared towards a foreign audience. A very dumb foreign audience. The counter-argument I suppose is, “Well, a large part of the audience IS foreign.” Statistically I don’t know if that’s true, but even if it is, Fuck YOU STRAW MAN!

  58. It Burns Says:

    Oh and I agree with your point about cartooning. One of the differences between the two top cartoonists of the series, Stewart (duh) and Quitely (super-duh), is the disconnect between the subject and the imagery portraying the subject in Stewart’s art. I think it makes his work take on its own voice possibly even more than Quitely’s, which may be why so many were turned off by the Blackest Knight arc.

  59. Alphonse Says:

    Amy,

    I fear you might be hitting the old head right on the noggin there, mate, about ‘Knight And Squire’. While I’m up for a comic that portrays UK society as a class-ridden disaster, staffed on every level by half-crazed alcoholics, in denial, I’m not sure Cornell’s got the chops to pull it off.

    He gets the wacky side of Grant Mitchell’s work, I suppose; he seems to feel Alan Moore, but I don’t know if he really understands about the horror, the psychedelia, etc. Certainly, his take on Captain Britain seemed to miss the point by a country mile.

    He’s just a guy who dreamed about writing Doctor Who, I guess. And then he woke up one day, and it was him!

    It’s a reasonable enough basis to churn out okay comics on for the forseeable future. But, if I met him, in a quiet country lane, at night, under a full, silver moon, if Paul was wheeling his bicycle towards me, and if I knew I could get away with it, I think I’d probably clip him.

  60. amypoodle Says:

    friends had been nagging at me to for years and the other week i finally got round to watching this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-M3G2aITbs

    i think this episode nails a kind of creepy, a bleakly british kind of terrifying, like nothing else – the creepy of ghost box records (http://ghostbox.greedbag.com/), found objects (http://found0bjects.blogspot.com/), volume one of the invisibles, dennis wheatley, blue meanies, theatre of blood, and, of course, doctor who… and we haven’t even got onto ballard or pinter yet…

    i’m not sure whether cornell has really got this stuff down. he might do, his superhero comics are better than most, but i really don’t need armistice pubs, thanks.

    shit, i don’t know. i want to enjoy k&s, so i think i’ll be giving it a lot of leeway, but i’ve got very strong ideas about how to approach this kind of thing and i’m not confident cornell’s will match up with them.

  61. RetroWarbird Says:

    Perhaps if Cornell featured the Mindless’ Knight & Squire British rogues contest finalists it’d oil the wheels a little bit.

    I’m going to just chime in after-the-fact with agreement about cartoonists. Maybe it’s the result of being a 90′s kid who broke into actual Batman comic reading during KnightFall (Joe Quesada’s Az-Bats … really?) but I really, really, really have just transitioned into having an eye for minimalist, clear-cut storytelling that’s highly expressive and completely efficient.

    It was no secret to me, but a recent reading of some Bat-Manga really hammered the point home – I was startled by how fantastically well that classic manga style suits Batman and how very much it was still our rich, handsome Bruce Wayne and cheeky, wisecracking Dick Grayson.

    I’m not exactly torn between “cartoonists” and “super-hero artists”. I think that first batch of “new look Batman” artists – Adams, and especially Aparo (Newton, Rogers, probably some Grell) really struck a balance. They might have pioneered the more realistic look, but they walked the tightrope and had storytelling chops.

    And some (but too few) current artists can find the balance. Some are pretty obvious.

    Cornell’s England seems pretty cheeky … and only cheeky. I’m hoping there’s hidden gems in there. It’s hard to read the stuff Morrison has left open and just think “superficial silly England” … if it was me, there’d be conspiracies brewing in every corner and high concepts that could be hidden in plain sight.

  62. amypoodle Says:

    yeah, that’s it. only cheeky. we need MOAR.

  63. It Burns Says:

    I should’ve been clearer; I’m not saying that there is a difference between “super-hero artists” and cartoonists. The former are cartoonists, but a lot of them nowdays can’t cartoon worth a damn. And the word cartoon or cartoonist, doesn’t mean that an artist is cartoony, a-la Cam Stewart. Basically my definition of cartoonist is an artist who understands the medium of comics, can utilize the medium in a way that says “This is a comic, not a series of illustrations with words written on them.”

  64. amypoodle Says:

    don’t worry, i think we all assumed the above.

  65. RetroWarbird Says:

    Yes, assumed right away.

    “Cartoonist” is almost an unspoken dirty word in the comics-biz, and it shouldn’t be. When I was a kid all I ever wanted to be was a cartoonist.

  66. It Burns Says:

    Ah, I suppose that description was pretty didactic.

    BTW. I just saw the cover for Batman Inc. #2, which I’m sure most of you have already. My god I am excited. I looked through all of the issues of Morrison’s Bat-story, and am actually more excited for the finale than I am disapointed that he’ll be off the book. I know it’s like two years away, but to finally look at the entire structure and have this complete thing…it will be pretty special.

  67. Alphonse Says:

    Most of this is going to be dealt with by the end of the next episode, presumably?

    Though I don’t see how.

    I’ll be genuinely amazed if Morrissey manages to get everything together – there’s been a certain amount of dicking about in B&R (Jason, for example, could have been locked up in the space of an issue) and I don’t know if the last 23 pages will be enough.

  68. amypoodle Says:

    well, i think it’s kind of obvious now that all the praise b&r’s garnered for being self contained might be a little bit…um… well… wrong. we’ve already seen a good deal of crossover between the main title and other books, so i kind of expect certain threads to spin out into robw, tbh. and, remember, there’s issue 16 to go after the next one.

    also, i really don’t think morrison is a big dick-arounder – his arcs are gernerally limited to three issues, which makes them pretty compressed.

  69. Jon Says:

    I’m probably pushing the statute of limitations on this comment thread (is anybody still reading it?) but I kind of just want to get my thoughts on paper or, as it were, the web.

    Morrison has called B&R “RIP as farce” and I think we finally see why in this issue. The simplest example of farce I can think of is “Trapped In A Closet” by R. Kelly. But, being high-minded, let’s look at The Marriage of Figaro. Susanna sings in the garden, trying to simultaneously trick Almaviva, to call out Bartolo, AND to let Figaro know it’s him she really loves. So her love song is meant to be taken three ways by us, the canny audience.

    This would be the Joker. He is tricking Hurt, using Dick/Damian, and professing his love for Bruce, setting up a situation that will “call him back.” His line “Now who do I know that does serious,” is definitely referencing Bruce, not Damian.

    Now, I’m not sure how/if Joker is at all aware of what is happening in ROBW. Most likely he has no idea, thinks Batman is just in hiding, and is trying to call him out as only he knows how: by creating chaos.

  70. RetroWarbird Says:

    It’s fair to say that Joker is not privy to the current Hush-masquerading-as-Bruce dilemma. Although it’s impossible to know what he is or isn’t privy to … he made a pretty big point of asking Grayson “How Wayne is doing?” and commenting that Wayne had been acting strangely lately.

    “Wayne acting strangely” for Joker would literally be “Not dressing up like a bat and kicking my ass on a monthly basis”.

    Hard to say, though. Clearly if there’s some sort of cyclical prophetic reason why Joker is such a major player … whether he’s aware of it or not is unimportant. (In fact, better still if he’s not aware of it … and the clues he has picked up on are clues Bruce has left for HIM to find … apophenia rears its ugly head again. If Bruce’s latest trials against madness and time itself have FINALLY given him the insight into the Joker’s head he searched for all those years ago … he would be prepared to use Joker’s apophenia against him.)

  71. RetroWarbird Says:

    (In fact, if Bruce is trapped in a box of some variety … what better way to destroy or at least keep that hyper-adapting box occupied than to sick Joker on it … Joker is a logarithmic spiral … a personal singularity radiating outward. Every time he swings around on another curve, he’s boxed in again. (http://fridaysunset.net/creation/log-spiral.gif))

    He’s a natural weapon to sic on the Ancestor-Box. Endless, creative wild card beats stuffy old box-building Devils.

    (Of course, the legend of Batman is a self-constructing mythology and fits the mold of an outward radiating spiral as well.)

  72. bobsy Says:

    Isn’t it at least semi-canonical that the Joker knows he is a character in a comic? He also knows, therefore, as Joe suggests, that create chaos=Bruce appears, more surely than night follows day.

  73. plok Says:

    Me, I’m loving the treatment of the Joker as the reader of Batman…the only one who isn’t interested in destroying him, replacing him, etc. etc. Batman’s his…of course every act of reading’s an act of “writing” too, but then if you go too far with it you don’t end up reading or writing, but stalking

    Not that you all didn’t think of that already a long time ago, but what I love about it here is that it’s just so clean. I don’t need the Joker to look through the fourth wall at me to get the point, I just need him to look at Robin, talk to Batman. The point is right there, and as with every time Morrison touches the Joker, he makes it seem like it was there the whole time and we always knew it.

    As for Irving…there’s two things here that dazzle me most of all, one is The Joker leering over the falling crowbar (what an image!) and the other is those upside-down gangster hats, my God how beautiful is that?

  74. Jbird Says:

    ASBAR Joker?

    The Man Who Never Laughs.

  75. P.B. Says:

    Honestly, good catch on the gun thing.

    It’s a UK groove. Morrison goes there in every book he can. He wrung it out in The Invisibles.

    The US is a lot like the UK but one big difference: gun culture off the screen, off the page, on the ground.

    The UK has Bond and plenty of others, it knows how fucking rad it is to hold your gun and shoot your gun. But in the US, we have a big old written document saying, in maddeningly ambiguous but tempting terms, you can have a gun too. You can be that guy. You better be that guy before someone stops you.

    And so Batman, I think, really rings true to UK writers. A guy whose life began at the end of a gun, who will never use a gun, who spends every damn day of his life staring down the barrel of a gun because it happened one time and now it’s what he does. An American icon who says, you know what, fuck that shit, I’m too good for it.

    Final Crisis crashed. It’s hard to really justify a lot of it. But really, Morrison gave us back a Silver Age Batman – and then a Golden Age one. We could believe, yeah, Batman would use a gun, Just This Once. And not sarcastically. Just This Once, because Batman will kill evil if he can. Not men, but evil.

    But Morrison is letting us know it didn’t cure Bruce Wayne of Batman. I was really enthralled by the same thing in this issue: bullets into watermelons. Bullets into pumpkins. The gun and old, bad, weird Tom Wayne. And the Joker? Bombs.

    More and more, I’m convinced that Morrison is going to kill Damian, and that it’s maybe even the right thing for him to do.

  76. plok Says:

    NOOOOOO…!

    I need Damian, now. Can’t get along without the little bastard!

  77. Zom Says:

    It’s possible that DC wouldn’t let him kill Damian, given his burgeoning popularity.

    Also, fuck that!

  78. plok Says:

    FUCK THAT!

  79. plok Says:

    NOT HAVING THAT!

Leave a Reply