batman-the-return-of-bruce-wayne-5-of-6-page-312

Right, so, Barbatos, the demon that’s been haunting the fringes of the batbooks since Hurt’s first appearance, the ultimate source of bat-evil and by inference the cause of everything bad that’s ever happened to the Waynes…. Yes, we originally thought Hurt might be this Devil, but regardless of how right or wrong we were – we WERE wrong – we knew there was something prowling around out there around the grounds of Wayne Manor. And now, I think, we know, but to begin with here’s some speculation.

It all starts with Annie. Annie, Bruce’s doomed lover, before she’s burnt at the stake calls down a curse on the Wayne family, damning them to destruction, a curse whose sigil takes the form of a bat. Why a bat? Because the cave represents the unconscious of Gotham and the Bat is its totem animal (it’s even engraved on the wall for Satan’s sake!) and the cave being Annie’s home, her sanctuary, the bat is also her guardian spirit. She calls the demon out from beneath the ‘ground’, the flock of Bats who Morrison identified as early on as Joe Chill in Hell with death and existential darkness, to plague the Wayne’s – and by extension Bruce – forever.

But, and this is a big BUT, Bruce learnt to outdo death and darkness a long time ago, not by fighting it. By making friends with it, taming it and riding it.

He uses the enemy by integrating it into himself. A common solution in pacifist Grant Morrison’s comics.

And speaking of common themes….

At the end of Morrison’s heroes’ quests there’s usually some form of revelation that occurs involving jumping off the gameboard of creation, something we at MO central historically refer to as ‘meeting the Squids’ (the ‘squids’ being TIME squids, not entities separate from the characters but their true selves viewed from outside time in all their many headed, many limbed glory) and that’s exactly what we’re seeing now in Return of Bruce Wayne. Batman meeting the Squids.

So this (from David Uzumeri referring to the events at the end of ROBW 5 when Bruce hijacks Prof Nichol’s time box)

‘Note how the spirit of Barbatos they summoned seems to follow Bruce through to, presumably, the End of Time, where he releases the Omega Energy, blows up Vanishing Point and then ganks Rip’s time sphere back to the present.’

is slightly misleading. There is no separate Bat spirit or Demon, there’s just Bruce Wayne and his superbody (‘What I became there, in the end…’) in all its 5D glory and the moment when the two intersect, like the Sun and the Moon. That’s what the cultists are seeing, and they’re as confused as most readers. Way back in the Invisibles, Sir Miles and the Outer Church were so confused and frightened by these superentities that they formed a whole religion about how the universe was governed by monsters beyond, so you can see how it goes and why rabid, egotistical monomaniacs like Doctor Hurt might get it all a bit wrong.

Let’s look at the weird comicbook physics of this, so we can unpack and understand it better. A realm outside of time is necessarily where one has to go when one bounces around time, yes? But what are its properties? Well, for one thing we know it’s eternal and Myth is the obvious real world correlate for this kind of thing, but for Bruce it has to embody his ur-myth, the ultimate aggregate of all things Batman, and so of course we end up with a giant, platonic Man Bat. So, via Annie, we have the instory explanation for why Bruce is saddled with this particular symbology (which of course gets all wonky when you consider that his adventures in some way brought about her situation, her death and her curse – curse you bonkers 5th dimensional geometry magic stuff!), and also a more meta interpretation of events that sees Bruce and the cultists coming into contact with the way his own franchising and comicbook looks interpreted through his readers’ collective unconscious.

Batman meets Carl Jung, basically.

And then there’s Darkseid.

‘Everything they touch turns to Myth, understand that much.’

The Nu Gods are always operating in the upper atmosphere of the DCU, they literally ARE what they symbolise, and they know it. That’s why they can do incredible things and fuck with time and space like nobody else – they can see the physics, the gears and levers of the DCU, grinding away – and why they are primal baddies and goodies portrayed with little to no motivation. They don’t need motivation precisley because they ARE the goodies and they ARE the baddies – the comicbook schematic reduced/ascended to its purest form. The meeting of Batman and Darkseid was fascinating because they really do represent the two fundamental polarities in a superhero book, the earthy, ‘realistic’, base level optimum man, the perfect bridge between reader and universe because appears to obey many of the same rules we do, and the most comicbooky, crazy ass sci fi supervillain ever – a meeting of Heaven and Earth, the Final Crisis, Darkseid ‘falling’ down to Batman’s level and Batman ‘ascending’ to his, both collapsing into each other.

And now we’re about to see the final outcome for both of them, Batman learning what it is to be his superposition, the bat god with Barbatos its shadow in comicbook reality, and Darkseid learning what it is to be a ma…..

Hole in things.

By Lightray! Is he unconsciously trying to ressurect himself?!?

I always dreaded the amnesiac martians in Morrison’s JLA figuring out who and what they were. This would be so much worse.

I was wondering why someone who to all intents and purposes appeared to be immortal would be seeking a casket of immortality and now I understand. Not immortal like a Dracula, but immortal like a GOD.

Mate, If I and the other ranting interheads are right Batman’s about to hand Darkseid his ass on a plate a second time. And I’m sold – I can’t believe I’m sold!

Hunter of evil gods made of superstition and cowardice!

000

P.S. As I said at the beginning this is all probably terribly obvious to most readers, but I think there needed to be a space where we got it all down, and where better than Mindless Ones, eh? We live for this weird shit.

63 Responses to “Return of Bruce Wayne PLUS: Barbatos!”

  1. amypoodle Says:

    I should also point out that Hurt’s spell DOES succeed, just not the way he expected it to, just as Barbatos isn’t what he expects generally.

    So is Batman culpable for the deaths that fed the spell that drew him there to that place and that time and to the box….

    Also, is he literally dying there on that slab? That would be another route out of time, wouldn’t it, in a box?

  2. Zom Says:

    So Barbatos is the ur-batmyth incarnate, and therefore much like Darkseid, and Hurt is Darkseid fallen?

    I think you should spell this stuff out in-post

  3. Rick Says:

    I think Hurt is a bit bigger of a player in this game, either he is the Hyper Adapter from the Ancestor Box or he is the shell it is currently inhabiting to shit on Bruce in the present. Time and History as weapons Space Medicine and Black Casebook files.

    The question I am left with is that the Omega Sanction has a built in retcon into it, and Morrison has said recently that Batman will have reached his ultimate Science Fiction point in RoBW #6, how much of the Science Fiction will be left within the story after that point? Will Morrison self retcon parts of the story out. I could see Dr. Hurt being one of these things, being the only villain Morrison has introduced who only really works for one large story and nothing else after. The hole in all things falls into the hole of Comic Limbo.

  4. amypoodle Says:

    hurt being darkseid sans memory makes him just about the biggest player there is, but maaaaaybe…. i don’t dislike it as an idea, and the thing *is* called a ‘hyper adapter’ and it could’ve adapted to look like its prey…

    but why would it chase after immortality?

    and why is the hole in things ‘darkseid shaped’, the hole in things being hurt?

    ooooh, the speculACTION!

    another thing I forgot to include -

    re batrob: isn’t it great that the ultimate joke, the epitome of farce, would be for the biggest big bad of all to be batman himself and not really a baddy at all, and that’s exactly what’s happening? The villains are running the asylum, yes, but the worst of them’s a goody.

    zom, i understand why you felt the need to do that, but considering you read all the bat-myth stuff before i posted it and had the chance to discuss it via email, maybe you could tone the grumpy head down a few notches and, also, you know, add something positive to the discussion.

  5. Tweets that mention Mindless Ones » Blog Archive » Return of Bruce Wayne PLUS: Barbatos! -- Topsy.com Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by David Al and David Al, Mindless Ones. Mindless Ones said: Meet Barbatos. He's not so bad when you get to know him – honest! http://mindlessones.com/2010/10/21/return-of-bruce-wayne-plus-barbatos/ [...]

  6. Rick Says:

    Is Hurt really seeking Immortality or are the people that are getting mixed up with him thinking that is what they are getting out of participation?

  7. amypoodle Says:

    well he’s definitely after that box for something, he’s absolutely into the occult and i see no reason why we can’t trust what he says

    ‘…the key to eternity, you little slut, is that too much to ask?’

    ‘the secret of life eternal is here, in a box only you know how to open….’

    and of course we know from other sources that the opening of the box heralds the all over.

    so, yeah, it does look like he’s after some kind of black grail.

  8. Shiny Jim Says:

    Hurt wants to replace Thomas Wayne, but he’s already managed to replace the Bat-god of the Miagani with his Barbatos – the one who’s summoned when the moon meets the supermassive hole in Sagitarry. Will Batman be a Caped Crusader or prey on the weak? Is Barbatos the Beast or the Hunter? If Hurt managed to complete the ritual to summon Barbatos, where would it appear except for the vessel that the crime cult carefully prepared, and the League so graciously took into the Hall of Justice?

    Next up in Return of Bruce Wayne: Bat-rion vs. Bat-seid!

  9. amypoodle Says:

    that would be cool. i don’t have the issue to hand, though, so, tell me, do with have any reason to believe the 99 fiends (nee the miagani) black magicked up the suit beneath wayne manor?

  10. amypoodle Says:

    tbh, i was expecting cosmic mentalness in ROBW 6 not a fight, but perhaps we’ll get cosmic mentalness plus a cosmic fight.

    win all round.

  11. Zom Says:

    I was asking a genuine question. I’m not entirely sure what you’re saying

  12. linus Says:

    I took this from the first website i found by googling “bat constellation”
    i apologize if this has already been brought up but its interesting.

    “The Milky Way, as a Creator of all things and the path of the dead, divided the Zodiac belt (made up of 13 constellations) into two to not very exact halves. The constellation of the Bat, the most mystical for the Mayas, corresponded to Ophiuchus, also considered an esoteric sign in the Old World. This represented the entrance to the underworld, and for that reason, experienced astrologers always tried to hide its existence from the profane. The bat was located in the mouth of the Heavenly Reptile, which coincides with the center of our galaxy. According to the hieroglyphic texts, the bat watched over the dead in the caves of the ancestors.”

  13. Graham Says:

    So, if Dr. Hurt wins, and replaces Batman, he’d end up as the Owlman of Earth 1? The Earth 2 Thomas Wayne already did this back in Morrison’s Earth 2.

    Or would he just become Mark Millar’s Nemesis? Is Morrison’s evil other half already writing the comic where the bad guy has already won?

  14. amypoodle Says:

    shut up, graham. stop ruining the drama. i loved that stuff about the big black car and preying on the innocent.

    linus: awesome.

  15. Graham Says:

    Yeah, is was pretty sweet when his car split in two and turned into a motorycle… Morrison he’s not, but Millar can choreograph a pretty cool action scene. And the mindgames are reaching some Death Note level “does he know that I know that he knows that I planned for him to do that because he thinks that I know that he knows what I think he knows?” stuff.

  16. Shiny Jim Says:

    Bug Black Car.

  17. RetroWarbird Says:

    I rather like to think that the Hyper-Adapter is hollowing out a hole in Hurt’s brain for Darkseid to occupy. It seems clear enough now that Hurt is who he is … the Black Sheep of the Wayne Family from way back … probably the son or grandson of Nathaniel for maximum “CURSE YOU AND YOUR’N” impact. (A “Hex”, if you will …)

    I still want to know the role of the Bat-Beast slain by Vandal Savage. Is it just a DCU cryptozoological specimen, or is it some kind of time-displaced omni-bat residual? It’s the stuff of myth, that’s for sure … and one can imagine one of the Mandelbrot-barbatlith’s fractal bats skewing off and invading the timeline as some kind of hyperfauna myth-beast.

  18. RetroWarbird Says:

    And who’s the City’s Big Black Voice? (Gordon gave us the best clue – my telling Dick he’s filling some “Big Black Boots”) If Barbatos is the Bruce-Batman-mythos … then who told who that the only way to make the gunshots stop is with the death of the son? Or was it sun?

  19. amypoodle Says:

    that could’ve been a whole bunch of stuff that wouldn’t necessarily have to fold back into this story arc. some things are best left open to interpretation (see batmite in rip, for example).

    hurt can easily be both thomas wayne and a fallen new god. this doesn’t have to make conventional sense. and also…. we know absolutely nothing of thomas’s origins…do we? maybe someone just appears on the scene who looks like a wayne and adopts the family name…

    whatever. i can’t wait to find out.

  20. RetroWarbird Says:

    True enough. Darkseid’s revenge did after all include a decoy from an army of Bruce Wayne clones.

  21. hilker Says:

    Seeing Pyg quote Dr. Octagon to Gordon in B&R #15, I realized that if they ever adapt this run in animation or videogame form, the perfect voice actor for Pyg would be Kool Keith.

    And from what we’ve heard about the structure of Batman Inc, it sounds like a natural for adaptation as a BioWare-style squad-based RPG – a series of ally-recruitment quests in various areas of the map, followed by the main questline.

    Hurt’s big black car reminds me of Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle.

  22. amypoodle Says:

    i haven’t listened to octagon since the late nineties. what was the quote?

  23. hilker Says:

    “You need a bad operation.”

  24. It Burns Says:

    Amy, you tricky bitch. What a wonderful breakdown of Mozzy themes and patterns.

    On topic, though…I think you’re definitely on to something with Darkseid unconsciously trying to resurrect himself, only I think (and maybe this is what you said) the whole reason for zapping Bruce with Omega was so that Bruce would “meet the squids” and in so doing–because that would be the ultimate point in the journey of Batman, where else could the myth go but into itself–create a nu-New God that is perhaps similar to Darkseid. Similarity does not exist in 5D, as you point out, because in the realm of myth similar to Darkseid IS Darkseid.

    That said I think there’s an equally valid case for Hurt being the hyper-adapter, if only because the face-hugger-meets-ciphilitic-wang beast has been mysteriously absent since the end of ROBW #2.

    Both do leave a great deal of unanswered questions though…More reading for me.

  25. amypoodle Says:

    yeah, i really want to make it clear that i like that idea also, and won’t be at all disappointed if it turns out to be the case.

  26. Zom Says:

    Re the absence of the weirdy-beast, that’s what I was thinking, Burns.

  27. Rick Says:

    I love how there is always something else to see going back and reading it again. Like this I completely didn’t notice until now from the second issue of RIP

    http://i54.tinypic.com/11kxpgg.jpg

  28. amypoodle Says:

    that is totally LOVE.

    but i thought so at ut time.

  29. Matches Malone Says:

    Clearly, I’ve tuned in late. Thanks for the analysis, Amy. Clearly you’ve put a lot of time and thought into it, and it follows that your interpretation of 5D is radically different from Grant’s Cubetime.

    The best of all possible worlds is, Bruce Wayne becomes immortal, as it looks like you’re stating in this commentary, and ages at a very slow rate.

    I believe those elements will continue after the end of ROBW #6.

  30. Bucky Sinister Says:

    amypoodle said: “we know absolutely nothing of thomas’s origins…do we? maybe someone just appears on the scene who looks like a wayne and adopts the family name…”

    In much the way Bruce did when he became “Mordecai Wayne.” So… Thomas Wayne’s picture is removed from the family gallery, but Mordecai’s is added. Bruce replacing Thomas, in a way. The hole left by Thomas is still there, of course, but still. Appropriate, considering what Thomas is up to. And the ten millionth example of doubling going on in this run.

  31. amypoodle Says:

    matches: wrt the 5d thing – no, not at all. the model grant’s employing describes the structure of multiverse within paperspace, elseworlds, what ifs, etc., and cubetime (in rip hunter’s words – ‘where we look flat’)is where you and i live, our universe.

    all grant’s been doing recently is refining a model he’s been working with since Zoids. robw’s been a fun update, basically.

    tbh, i haven’t put that much work into this analysis, i’ve just been reading grant morrison’s comics (along with much of his preferred reading list) for over 20 years – i’m just following a throughline.

  32. Tim Says:

    This is just some thoughts I had kicking around in my head, as I stumbled upon this site and not been keeping up with your particular analysis. I have been reading Morrison analysis in general, but also just simply too busy to be keeping up with the comics, so I may be pointing out something altogether too obvious or previously stated.

    It seems to me that Morrison is basically updating the idea of Batman in a couple of ways. But first, I’ll frame this idea by a quote that is prominent in 4chan’s Hypercrisis (something I’ve been doing a lot of work with on my own):

    ” Now this is meta, so I can’t find quotes to back it up…but I think Morrison is trying to fold the New Gods and the demons of Earth into a single “thing.” Final Crisis killed the concept of death, and Darksied may have pulled the non-Apocalips demons into the Forever Pit with him – the Forever Pit either replacing or becoming one with Hell. If the Forever Pit merged with Hell….becoming the physical underpinning for the metaphor (so to speak) or one of the associated realms (DC Hell has multiple dub-annexes…almost dimensions unto themselves) I could buy that passing unnoticed. Given that Darksied was in the process of being transformed into an IDEA when he fell, you could argue that any aspect of supreme evil in the DCU could be called an aspect of Darksied – it is entirely fair to call him “The Devil.” ”

    It appears we all kind of picked up on that idea (even though this was posted sometime last year), and since Morrison is doing this with “Evil” he seems to also be doing it with “Fighter of Evil.” Morrison seems to be implying heavily that Batman is becoming a construct of Orion. And, thematically speaking, this makes perfect sense. Thomas Wayne is representative of the Father (Darksied) and Bruce is the son (Orion). Morrison has also been dropping in visual clues about Bat-rion throughout some books. Not to mention that there is already analytical connections between Batman, the “Devil”, Thomas Wayne/Hurt, and Darksied.

    So, indeed, if Darksied has become a representation of the Idea of Evil, this also seems to make sense, since Batman is simply the idea of Fighting Evil. Bruce Wayne is a man, while Batman is an idea. Morrison also seems to be playing with this with his setup of Batman INC., where an Idea of Fighting Evil can be shared, localized, and embodied by many.

    Note that I’m sort of differentiating between Fighting Evil and Good, since Morrison also seems to suggest that Superman is the literal embodiment of the Idea of Good in the DCU.

    I haven’t been reading comics like I should be, but hopefully I can fix that soon. So, sorry if any of this is redundant or whatevs.

  33. octo7 Says:

    Grant Morrison sucks. Sorry if that’s cheap but it’s my genuine reaction to everything he has done to Batman and the DC Universe as a whole in the last few years. All style and no substance. I don’t think Batman will ever recover from the stuff that Morrison has written over the Final Crisis and RIP runs. I guess in a way it’s a monumental achievement to be able to make Batman seem too far-fetched and nonsensical, even mor eos to f%ck up a comic that’s been around for 70 odd years.

    What next; Batmite is really a transexual leprechaun? Alfred Penniworth is actually the Batmobile with the personality of a Sardonic Englishmen projected onto it by Bruce’s grief-addled mind? Anything goes with Morrison these days. Even the Disc World series seems grounded in staunch realism compared to this stuff.

    Not that Batman needs to be realistic, it just needs to make sense.

  34. Zom Says:

    If you don’t like Morrison’s work then you’re probably on the wrong site, Octo. We’re all enormous fans, and all of our regular commenters almost certainly fall into that category too. We, as a group, hold diametrically opposed opinions to the ones you’ve expressed above.

    Not trying to be mean, just giving you a heads up.

  35. Zom Says:

    (GM is probably the only reason I’m still reading superhero comics on a regular basis)

  36. Duncan Says:

    Given your propensity to be i. thought-averse and, therefore, ii. a terrible bore, it really would be to everyone’s awesome benefit if you didn’t come back, 8-o-sebum.

  37. It Burns Says:

    rofl to the max, Duncan.

  38. Zom Says:

    It’s that Barbelith spirit

  39. amypoodle Says:

    hmmm, yeah, i’d be more bothered by the instant dismissal, dunc, if i didn’t get the feeling octo was a little thought averse and dismissive in the first place.

    octo, if you’re still reading this, we’re not that big into fighting around here but weighing in on mo and laying into something people self evidently enjoy without providing any instances of its rubbishness, just a bunch of drive-by broadsides at stuff morrison hasn’t written (the transexual leprachaun…blah), will almost certainly get hackles up.

    and that’s before we get onto the weird, slightly hysterical fan stuff about ‘batman never recovering..’, etc. mate, it’s a comic, it’s supposed to be fun. we’ve put up with decades of post-dkr grim-warble and now those of us with a slightly more expansive take on the character are getting the book we’d like – just deal.

    (what is with morrison naysayers and this annoying entitled idea they have that there’s is the one, true take on the character?)

    boring arse flailmemotherfather! will resume shortly i’m sure.

    I’M SURE.

    if you want to politely kick around the stuff that bugs you about morrison’s work, fine, i’m into that, so long as we are talking about specific *things*, not the cartoonish straw man non-examples clogging up the second paragraph of your post.

  40. Zom Says:

    what is with morrison naysayers and this annoying entitled idea they have that there’s is the one, true take on the character?

    To be fair I don’t think that was said or implied.

  41. amypoodle Says:

    i know, i was venting.

    still, i just can’t understand why, with superhero comics as linear and turgid as they are right now, anyone would want to pick a fight with morrison…

  42. RetroWarbird Says:

    This whole new train reminds me of the art critique I underwent yesterday. It occurs that I’ll typically immediately dismiss anything that starts with a personal “I like this” or “I don’t like this”. (“Morrison sucks” is really no more than the latter category).

    Those who consistently lead their criticisms with personal, relative, emotional responses are immediately panned and criticized by various professors and sundry.

    Find a point of interest, one of a myriad of different choices in writing style, something within the work to point out, and explain what you believe that element lacks or is deficient in. And god damn, never criticize a writer and his art team for taking risks. Applaud it, whether you like it or not (and maybe bemoan the fact that it wasn’t on a more obscure character that needed the new focus more).

    And there are dozens of upcoming “less far out” (and considerably less laden with contrast between hopeful and bleak thought-provoking extremes). Azzarello has something coming out with Jim Lee art in the near future. Should be predictable, but extremely competent and edgy.

  43. The Beast Must Die Says:

    Batman is le sexy. Fact.

  44. RetroWarbird Says:

    Beast, I just saw your film namesake recently on AMC. It’s the Werewolf Break … you have 30 seconds … can you guess who is the werewolf? Is it the old professor who knows all about werewolves? The writer? The pianist? The filthy hippie with no shoes?

  45. It Burns Says:

    Anyone who says Grant Morrison sucks…SUCKS! Like whan they smell like shit and have bad feet and look like a dead dog vagina.

  46. Zom Says:

    Tasteful

  47. amypoodle Says:

    i was about to say that i feel guilty for writing a geoff johns post in a similar ‘HE SUCKS!’ vein, but then i realised my nicest rant was FULL of examples of things i disliked. and, by god, i would never criticise anyone’s work for being wilfully strange the way octo has here, just so long as i felt there was some point to it – whatever that means.

    but that brings me to a question. outside of morrison’s desire to justify batman inc as a concept, are there good thematic reasons for recent bat-events? is there something about batman’s character that specifically lends itself to storylines like robw? or is it just that morrison finds it hard to work on a character for any length of time without shoe-horning in some freakiness, regardless of whether it’s appropriate to said character or not?

    discuss.

  48. The Beast Must Die Says:

    Shan’t.

    ‘The Beast Must Die’ is basically ‘The Black Glove’ with more 70′s drapery.

    Discuss.

  49. Zom Says:

    It’s not that there’s something about the character so much as there’s something about the property. Batman has been thrown into all kinds of stories over the years, were used to seeing him thrown into all kinds of stories, hence the fact that Morrison feels able to do so, and we’re willing to eat it up.

    Discus

  50. amypoodle Says:

    the reason i put the question out there was because i knwo this is one area where morrison is arguably open to criticism. i mean, is there anything about animal man that demands his writer should go meet him, especially when it was the final issue of the final arc of the writer’s run? wouldn’t one normally expect something more in keeping with a character’s themes, some kind of summing up and playing out of animal man’s core ingredients, not grant morrison in a black trenchcoat wanking on about meta-textuality and foxes?

    isn’t it more satisfying if it makes sense for the character to find themself in these kinds of comics?

    okay, granted, i don’t think there are many examples of this jarring inrtusion of the writer’s interests upon an unsuspecting narrative in grant morrison’s output post animal man, but i think there might be an argument for this being the case with his batman books.

    thing is, i know we at mindless ones don’t really feel the need to justify these things or to bother kicking the argument about the way they might at, say, funnybook babylon, but i think the answer to the question ‘does bruce wayne work in cosmic scenarios? – in this PARTICULAR cosmic scenario?’ and the conversation one could have around it is probably an interesting one.

    for geeks.

  51. It Burns Says:

    I’ve always been excited about Morrison’s comics because he infuses them with his own life which, on the whole, is something that most mainstream writers are either unable or unwilling to do. I think that this is where Octo’s “property will never recover” line stems from: the idea that a writer should focus on the reality of the character rather than a nice mix of the character and the life of the writer. I think that’s really ideal, otherwise the story will become too insular, as you pointed out, Amy, in your Blackest Night post.

    In Animal Man, I agree we saw that idea taken to the extreme, but in that case it also blended the medium of comics, the limitations and possibilities on a 2-D plane, with story. I think it really worked.

    Zom, if at any time I cross a “gross” line undesirable at Mindless HQ, please tell me and I will tone it down. I can get a tad carried away.

  52. Rick Says:

    I like the simple answer about Morrison’s Batman taken from Batman: The Brave and the Bold

    “Batman’s rich history allows him to be interpreted in a multitude of ways. To be sure, this is a lighter incarnation, but it’s certainly no less valid and true to the character’s roots as the tortured avenger crying out for mommy and daddy.”

  53. Zom Says:

    Kinda what I was saying

  54. RetroWarbird Says:

    I like to pretend like Grant is the only one with balls brazen enough to tackle these elements of Bat-History with any kind of seriousness. But it’s not entirely accurate (It’s true that he does has those brazen balls, just not true that “he’s the only writer to do such a thing”)

    Every modern spandex writer has become something of a diamond miner, and the mine is “continuity”. Everyone is hoping to dig a gem out of the back-issues and polish it up and have it be a total critical hit. A one-note character with potential, typically, but sometimes it’s themes and ideas as well.

    It always strikes me as curious why so many people bow down at the altar of specific moments in Batman history. Bob Kane’s first handful of stories before shit got weird … (weirder?). O’Neil and Rogers. Frank Miller’s Year One and DKR. The Killing Joke. Basic origins of the “same old, same old” rogues (the irony being that as often as those villains are used, barely any of them have ever had career defining moments or iconic stories … looking at you, Riddler …).

    Those iconic runs weren’t SOLELY about the “grim avenger”. Pick up a handful of them, kiddies. In Englehart’s AMAZING run Batman fights Dr. Phosphorus for the first time. A freaking glow-in-the-dark radioactive skeleton Halloween costume man. And Hugo Strange returns … AS A GHOST.

    Look at Denny O’Neil’s early stuff. It wasn’t just seventeen shades of Ra’s al Ghul’s assassins and Joker killing henchmen … he introduced Man-Bat and Anthony Lupus and a myriad of serum-induced truly alpha-male enemies to counter or contrast against Bruce’s “hairy chested love god” alpha male phase. (Bane is part of that trend as well, but definitely something of an outlier, and definitely thanks to Denny being Bat-Editor for so long).

    (On that note … Greg Rucka has definitely become something of an heir apparent to Denny O’Neil, particularly considering their passing-of-the-torch of The Question, but also in the Bat-Books. Rucka did some great things with the League of Assassins … brought in even more “were-animals” like Whisper and Abbot. More Lady Shiva. More of all that good shit. So why should Morrison rehash his probably best colleague’s stuff?)

    And like Grant has said numerous times himself … at first he wrote off those 50′s issues as well. His Batman was the O’Neil/Englehart Batman, too. But he’s OCD like us Mindlesses & Co., and took it upon himself to read every back-issue of Batman or Detective Comics EVER … and lo and behold, he found some crazy shit.

  55. The Beast Must Die Says:

    True indeed.

  56. Zom Says:

    (I’m not OCD, retro)

  57. Duncan Says:

    No. Having a son with an actual mental condition, I’d kind of like to impress on people not to use that sort of terminology, or at least use it to mean, you know, what it means; I think I understand what you’re conveying, RW, I do aspyish and OCD-ey things sometimes, these are spectrums of behaviour but, still.

    Anyway, I’m pretty certain Morrison hasn’t read every back-issue of Bat/’tec because he’s specifically talked about using things like the Bat-encyclopaedia (to some extent, possibly as a referral guide to specific back-issues,) the Batman in the 40s/50s/60s collections and the Best Batman Stories (and likesay Bat-Manga coming up, in Inc.) as the basis for his interpolation.

  58. Shiny Jim Says:

    I think Animal Man has a pretty clear segue into the metatextualism – Buddy’s concern for animal rights goes right into the discussion of his own treatment as fiction.

    As for ROBW, the gist of it has been part of the Bat-catalogue since Carter Nichols. The over-arching theme isn’t quite clear yet, but speculating, it’s about using your trauma constructively (ala Bruce and Orion) instead of succumbing to it (ala most Bat-villains), which is both at the heart of Batman and part of the Morrison oeuvre.

  59. amypoodle Says:

    i think you have to work quite hard for that segue, actually, given that the comic has veered a long, long way from the animal rights stuff by the time the curtain closes. if it’s satisfying for you though, jim, that’s all that matters.

    and that wasn’t snarky.

  60. amypoodle Says:

    robw: well, that may prove to be a theme, but i’d say the primary theme concerns the intersection of man and myth.

    this is where bruce learns that Batman is bigger than him.

  61. Shiny Jim Says:

    Animal Man: You could be right, it’s been quite a while since I’ve read it.

    Robw: Well, that’s the myth that Bruce/Orion created/is created by, innit.

  62. RetroWarbird Says:

    Ah, no offense to any or all who are developmentally disabled (or enabled, depending on the situation) meant at all. It’s a catch-all that probably does get bandied about too often, but it has both of the terms I was looking for couched into its very meaning (it’s the “disorder” bit that becomes a bit less than courteous).

    A fairly well-known painter once told me that “All artists are obsessive, in one way or another, otherwise they wouldn’t be artists.” Obviously that’s a painter, but the axiom certainly stands for writers (maybe more, in a way). Grant’s writing (admittedly, saying he read “every back-issue ever” was hyperbole) really rewards that in readers – rather than giving us a sort of “a little hint, nod, or bit of trivia goes a long way” he’s set out to make that itself be part of the story – the fact that hints can be found in the past, bits of trivia consistently keep popping up to bite Batman in the ass and how that might be an indicator or symptom of a greater threat to the Dark Knight (and his fans). (Denial? As in, “denial of the 50′s comics”? Represented by Bruce himself as all those 50′s psychedelic experiences coming back as repressed memories … conspiracies … paradoxes … journal entries that doubt their own eyes and ears.)

    As for compulsion … I’d say that comes primarily in the willingness to use something wild. Other writers feel compelled to bring back old concepts, but Grant seems to have a compulsion to really reintegrating them as they were, with minimal “edgy modern updates” (and then to stack them one after the other, cumulative crazy). Oh, they’re modernized in as much as Batman exists in a modern world … but that’s the end of it.

    And that bit about constructive use of trauma certainly fits well with what I’ve seen recently … (Re: Parallels between Joker, Pyg and Flamingo in being failed psychiatric experiments rooted in different kinds of treatments. Ex: Chemical, Behavioral, and Surgical)

  63. rev'D Says:

    The only problem I have with Wayne’s meeting the squids? That the conversation in #6 between Wayne, Metron & the reader should’ve been a bit more dense and/or headpopping– Dave Sim channeling Norman Mailer metafictional, a palpable sense of our man’s psyche Digging In (devil’s rope lining the trenches & all), of Bruce trying to cope with an otherworldly perspective, all the while asking questions that’d make a young Woody Allen blush. The world’s greatest detective meets the authorial overmind and doesn’t ask questions? Come, now. Can’t we take a brief, truly religious time-out to subvert the genre (&, for that matter, many of the conventions Morrison has helped entrench in mainstream comix, such as the superdense narrative syncope)? The results mights be obscure but they’d be, at least, -truly- controversial.

    And I’m not talking about something that can be dismissed as an ‘experiment’, such as #663, but an outright weird & uncomfortable digression that stops the show. That’s what a sit-down with god does, dunnit?

    I’m expecting overmuch from a Warner book, I know. But Morrison has Moorcock aplenty in his fictive DNA: I only wish I could SEE it more, that puckish, punkish tendency to say fuggit, let’s have John Bull chin-wagging with Hitler over steins dripping with infernal ochre. Hallucinatory, ur-religious, -rare,- as opposed to his now almost run’a'mill Animal Man / Zantanna epiphany…

    But I’ma shush my killjoy vibe. Otherwise, yes, magnificent goddamn comics. Which is a terrifically backhanded to say in this, the age of Linear Authority. Color me ashamed.

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