Group B in this draw is made up of mythic, godly or otherwise pre-existing fictionistic baddy types. Some good, and not so good candidios in this round, so lets crack on…

Suspect 1: SATAN!

Thanks to the comments on the last post, most of the explainful bits of this one are done already – thanks folks. As a possible, Satan, or ‘Stan’ as my keyboard keeps calling him, lines up quite nicely with the extra-textual stuff Morrison’s been dropping in interviews and stuff lately, as well as with his past form in the Batlands, so I reckon it’s not a bad bet. You know who we’re talking about here, right? We’re talking about Satan, The Devil, Old Nick, Abaddon, The Accuser, The God of This World, The Father of Lies, The Great Dragon, The Enemy, The Evil One, The Old One, The Prince That Shall Come, Lucifer, Beelzebub, The Tempter, The Proud One, The Son of Perdition. You know – this guy:

Don’t laugh! He’ll stick a toasting fork in your bum forever if you laugh! He will!

One of the better things about the DCUniverse is the fact that the First Sinner is just mad keen on green boots and gauntlets. Another amazing fact is that Mark ‘Gots ta get Paid’ Waid is so DCU that he actually thinks that’s what the Devil will look like, when the guy at the pearly gates pulls the ‘No Chance, Sucker’ lever and he takes a trip downtown.

Oh wise and mighty Yijing – is Satan The Black Glove?

Hexagram 53. Chien. Development.

DEVELOPMENT. The maiden
Is given in marriage.
Good fortune.
Perseverance furthers.

Well, that sounds quite positive, don’t you think? Couls be the Batman’s ultimate baddie is basically everyone’s ultimate baddie, which would sort of make sense. The Development theme works too, I think – Satan is just a good mainstream entertainment gloss for the demiurgic-forces-existing-somewhere-outside-reality thing that Morrison always, from Zoids to Seven Soldiers uses as the big baddies (and usually goodies too.) Satan is the perfect finishing and starting point, in this most final (honest) of Batman stories, for one of the dominant themes of his career to find its Omega and Alpha.

But let’s read on. I also got an Old Yin in the fourth line, which initially gives this:

Six in the fourth place means:
The wild goose goes gradually draws near the tree.
Perhaps it will find a flat branch. No blame.

That seems to muddy things a bit, and hints quite strongly that this whole oracular mission of mine may be a bit of a futile enterprise (surely not!) It also turns the whole Hexagram into this one:

Hexagram 33. Tun. Retreat.

Retreat. Success. In what is small, perseverance furthers.

and:

Mountain under heaven: the image of RETREAT.
Thus the superior man keeps the inferior man at a distance,
Not angrily but with reserve.

So let’s work this out – Satan is currenbtly NOT looking like TBG. But there is a further mystery here – just as I’m about to doubt the sense in this enterprise, the book clears its throat and rings out true again. It sayeth: ‘Don’t give up bobsy! It’s not Satan (probably, you never know, you could always find that flat branch), but keep looking. Back off on this one a bit, keep it in the back of your mind for later, and consider the other options first.’ That sounds like very sensible advice.

So that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Satan gets a wild card in this round. He’s basically not a front runner at this stage, but until another clear candidate comes along, he’s well worth considering. If necessary, if he’s not been eliminated by events in the next issue (680) and we still don’t know who TBG is, let’s come back to him later and throw another Hexagram for him then.

There’s also a hint in all this that Satan of course IS TBG, in so far as any act of evil is performed in his honour or by his leave, him being the embodiment of badness and thing. There’s so much going on in these readings – this really is the Good Book, you know, never mind that spare loo roll that they always leave in the drawer in hotel rooms…

Suspect 2: Darkseid.

If ever there was a good suspect for TBG, Darkseid Is. I mean look, he even wears black gloves, which is more than any of the rest of this motley bunch of so-called suspects can do:

Okay, blue gloves. Shut Up!

Really, I’ll be very surprised if Darkseid turns out to be our guy. He’s not really on the radar in the Batbook at all. There is the news that some kind of BatRip/Final Crisis artful tying-in is on the cards, and it would be way too neat and easy for it to tie together like that, although that said, I’ve got a funny feeling that Darkseid is involved with the whole RIP thing somehow. That’s what I think, but I am a mere and mortal man, whose wisdom and insight is embarrasing compared to theat of the great and ancient Book of Changes. O Book, is Darkseid The Black Glove?


Hexagram 33. Tun. Retreat

Retreat. Success. In what is small, perseverance furthers.

and:

Mountain under heaven: the image of RETREAT.
Thus the superior man keeps the inferior man at a distance,
Not angrily but with reserve.

It’s this one again. That’s okay – the similarities between these two suspects are ridiculous. Especially in this game of 52 earth pickup we call DCU, Darkseid and Satan are about as equivalent as it’s possible to have two characters be. The fourth line is the prime mover here though, so we also get:

Nine in the fourth place means:
Voluntary retreat brings good fortune to the superior man
And downfall to the inferior man.

So to paraphrase – ‘Let this idea go, it’s daft.’ That’s fine, but in this case this Tun ‘un also does the switcheroo into:


Hexagram 22. Pi. Grace.

GRACE has success.
In small matters

It is favorable to undertake something.
Fire at the foot of the mountain:
The image of GRACE.
Thus does the superior man proceed
When clearing up current affairs.
But he dare not decide controversial issues in this way.

Ye book is practically bellowing at this point: ‘Leave it be! Darkseid is not the Black Glove!’ Ok, I believe you. There’s that funny thing about Grace in the Yijing sense – the kind of balanced internal and external stability it represents is subjective and transitory to the point of non-existence in this muddled universe of ours, an effect which is surely multiplied when we apply it to the DCU. This confirms my initial suspicion: Darkseid is really too clean and easy a candidate for it to be him, whatever colour his gloves are. This is Morrison – we’re sure to get in more of a tangle than that before we find out who TBG is and fix the Final Crisis. He’s devoting the next two issues of Batman, after RIP, to that very issue, and I’m exepcting, as usual, to be mildly baffled and hotly thrilled in equal measure.

Suspect 3. Prometheus.

I’ve only come across Prometheus once or twice since the end of Morrison’s big old JLA run about a million years ago. There was a cool-ish, if villain-diminishing, bit where he got pincushioned by Green Arrow, and that’s all that really sticks in the mind. (Why do they reduce villains? Don’t they realise a good villain is like gold dust? And the whole point is that they are scary, not that they can be totally Stalloned by a member of Chumbawumba with a bow and arrow*. Remember comics-types: Enlarge Vilains! Never Diminish!) According to this he’s a bit of a background filler these days, but being able to beat down Lady Shiva shows he’s still got some pain to give.

In TBG suspec terms, he’s again a second stringer, best will in the world. There’s no real feeling that he ought to be anywhere near this Batman story, except for this couple of very vague scraps: 1 – He’s one of Morrison’s pet creations, and a Baddy-Bats type as well, fitting well with the overall Hegelian dialectic/annihilation-through-confronting-opposites scheme Morrison’s been using in both Bats and All Star Superman, of putting our heroes up against slightly twisted versions of themselves (so Prismatic Age); 2 – This:

which looked like Prometheus’ Crooked House the first time I saw it and still does. So tell me Omniscient One – is Prometheus the Black Glove?


Hexagram 26. Ta Ch’u. The Taming Power of the Great.

THE TAMING POWER OF THE GREAT.
Perseverance furthers.
Not eating at home brings good fortune.
It furthers one to cross the great water.

Heaven within the mountain:
The image of THE TAMING POWER OF THE GREAT.
Thus the superior man acquaints himself with many sayings of antiquity
And many deeds of the past,
In order to strengthen his character thereby.

Wow. Put previous pooh-poohs aside becasue that’s actually the most positive endorsement of a suspect we’ve had in this round. The Taming Power of the Great is definitely how Prometheus would see himself.;there’s the reference to the houseand the whole final three lines there is essentially an explicit reference to Prometheus (the proper Greek Hesiod one, not the Moz one, admittedly).

But I’ve got a funny first line, which gives us this to chew on:

Nine at the beginning means:
Danger is at hand. It furthers one to desist.

Which stops me from getting too carried away… But it also turns the Hexagram into:


Hexagram 18. Ku. Work on what has been spoiled.

WORK ON WHAT HAS BEEN SPOILED
Has supreme success.
It furthers one to cross the great water.
Before the starting point, three days.
After the starting point, three days.

The wind blows low on the mountain:
The image of DECAY.
Thus the superior man stirs up the people
And strengthens their spirit.

‘Stirs up the people and strengthens their spirit’? What’s that if not a ref. to the whole stealing fire myth? This talk of spoiling, spolied, spoilers has got to make you think, no? And, pace my quick summary of the character’s recent history, what is Prometheus (Moz version) if not a thing that has ben spoiled, requiring work to fix it? It’s looking more and more clear cut, but goes way against my preconceptions. There is the general ‘great water’ thing that makes me think this could all be too much of a stretch, and the whole Decay thing making me think that entropy and desparation is setting in on my list of suspects if I’m considering Prometheus, but those cautionary notes aside it seems It could well be, gentle reader, that PROMETHEUS IS THE BLACK GLOVE!!!

I’m a little shocked. Okay, let’s rethink how this whole thng is going to go. Next week we’ll throw Oracles for the goody suspects – Bruce, Tim, Alfred, Jezebel Jet etc. Then the following week we’ll have an ‘Any Other Business’ slot where any other suggestions or last minute guesses will be given their throw too. By then we’ll be getting close to #680, which ought to shed a bit more light, and no doubt muddy the waters as well, hopefully will at least eliminate one or two people. Then, in the pause between that and the big reveal issue #681, we can give Prometheus and any other good-looking suspects a second throw and see if proximity and the weridness has changed things any, and try to get a final straightforward answer out of the lovely clever book of multiversal brain. And then #681 will come out, and I will have wasted my life. Sounds like should be good times, right?

So Prometheus eh? What do we think of that? I can hear the bookies dashing to change the boards now – bet you wish you’d put your shekels down when the odds were huge…

*Apologies to any Emerald Arrowheads out there. I love Ollie too y’know.

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24 Responses to “Yijing v The Black Glove round 2”

  1. Lactus Says:

    I love you Bobsy but am also a little scared and in awe of your powers.

  2. Dave Says:

    While I’d hardly call myself a master diviner, I’m going to disagree with your interpretation of the hexagrams for Prometheus.

    The starting hexagram acknowledges that he’d be a good candidate, but the ending hexagram pretty much comes out and says “nope, he’s been ruined”. Then there’s the two inner hexagrams, both of which map to “54 – The Marrying Maiden”(a/k/a my love life in a nutshell), which can be interpreted as trying to bang a square peg into a round hole — in other words, he’d need to be fixed up and changed into a viable villain again before before he could be the right bad guy for the job.

    Of course, this is just my €0.02…

  3. bobsy Says:

    Dave, I think you might well be right there. It was getting late last night when I put the final bits of this together, and I think I missed out the overall implications of the second hexy in favour of the more suggestive details. I think I wanted to have a good hook to end the post with, and that and the hour coloured my judgement. I really should have allowed my actual knowledge of the current situation – i.e. the evidence for Prometheus being involvedin this arc at all is very slim – to weight my interpretations a little more.

    So, I’m going to put Satan in my back pocket as the wild card winner of this round, and only keep Prometheus as a back up should things get seriously muddied later on, or new textual evidence come to light in #680.

  4. The Beast Must Die! Says:

    Neron isn’t Satan though is he? He’s Neron. There are loads of interpretations of Satan in the DCU, but Neron’s his own (ridiculous) thing.

    Nitpickery aside, I love this approach you’re taking. I think Uncle Grant would approve.

  5. bobsy Says:

    Well, I dunno about that really. The Gaimanverse Lucifer is kind of off in his own little thing, and I can’t really think of any other DCUers who have much claim to the Devil title. Who’re these ‘loads of interpretations’?

    Recent developments aside, since his intro Neron has basically been le grand fromage downstairs, and his dialogue has often made reference to his lead role in the war in heaven/original fall etc.

    Even his wikipedia says he’s basically the DCU Devil. You couldn’t possibly ever ever disagree with wikipedia, would you? The internet might die if you disagree with wikipedia…

  6. The Beast Must Die! Says:

    But I don’t think that Neron is who Grant’ll be using if ‘Satan’ is the designated big bad. Seems a bit cheesy. I may be wrong.

    Isn’t Keith Giffen currently doing some mini-series about the battle for control of Hell?

  7. bobsy Says:

    Oh right, I see what you’re getting at. Yeah sure, if Satan does crop up in Batrip then he won’t be Neron, he’ll appear as some proper hellnun a la Gothic, or some otherwise creepy-medical-torture-fetish-pentagrams-brimstone sort. I’m not expecting the green cape to appear, that’d hardly be inkeeping with the atmosphere. We’ll get some variation of your proper horny everlovin SATAN! I’m sure

    But it’ll still be Neron. (I just wanted an excuse to put the picture in…)

  8. The Beast Must Die! Says:

    No, no absolutely. I love the way that by making all the fire green DC make it look less hellacious, and presumably spare themselves the wrath of a load of Bible Belt parents angrily storming their offices.

    I’ve gotta say, Morrison’s doing a grand job of keeping everyone guessing. It’s one of the most compelling mysteries of recent times, and I hope he pulls it off.

  9. Thrilltone Says:

    I think that towards the end of RIP, BatBruce will point his finger out at the reader,(who will be equipped with the free black-lensed 3D glasses or “Fourth Wall-D Clue Findifiers”), and exclaim “IT’S YOU! YOU’RE THE BLACK GLOVE!” then he’ll pretend to ‘rip’ the comic, thus freeing/killing himself.

    The rest of the comic will just be adverts.

  10. The Beast Must Die! Says:

    Maybe Batman will travel through Limbo (which is now actually empty, as DC have revamped and reused all their once-moribund character properties to service the baby-man fanboy hordes) before arriving at a swanky LA summerhouse, and having a protracted conversation with a smilingly benevolent Morrison, wherein he anounces he’s finished writing Batman now, so thanks for reading.

    There will also be talk of cats.

  11. Paul Says:

    The Black Glove is Alfred. ALFRED.

  12. Zom Says:

    …possessed by Satan

  13. Thrilltone Says:

    I was pretty sure it was Alfred, but now I am not so sure. In fact, I am anticipating the ‘big reveal’ so much that almost anything will be a sort of letdown (“Oh. It’s just Alfred”).

    But then, I knew there’d be a rainbow Batman and Bat-Mite in this arc, and the actual implementation of them still made me almost puke with delight (lots of drunken talking to uninterested friends down t’pub, trying to explain the concept of Batman’s backup personality), so I’m thinking the reveal will be total excellent regardless of who it is, as long as it’s told in an interesting way. And I have absolute faith it will be.

    Maybe it is Alfred, Damien-Bats’ cat from the future? Or the secret shadow-fox that shines lights only for Morrison?

  14. The Beast Must Die! Says:

    “The Black Glove is Alfred. ALFRED”

    I have to say i’d really be dissapointed if this was the case (I know, it’s nothing a bit of retconning couldn’t undo, but still..)
    The Alfred/Bats relationship is literally a cornerstone of my understandings of superheroes. It’s a foundation of my affection of the genre and part of my jaded soul would still die if sudenly he was the Big Bad.

    I don’t think it’s Alfred.

  15. Zom Says:

    I’m still wondering whether it’s possible to have Alfred be the Black Glove and be a goodie. Would seem like a big ask, but maybe there’s an angle I haven’t thought of.

    If Alfred’s just turned into a baddie, well, that would be shit (probably). Don’t expect that to happen, though

  16. The Satrap Says:

    I think that towards the end of RIP, BatBruce will point his finger out at the reader,(who will be equipped with the free black-lensed 3D glasses or “Fourth Wall-D Clue Findifiers”), and exclaim “IT’S YOU! YOU’RE THE BLACK GLOVE!” then he’ll pretend to ‘rip’ the comic, thus freeing/killing himself.

    The rest of the comic will just be adverts.

    Alternatively, after a Big Fight during #680, the Joker and Batman will expend the last issue playing poker at Arkham, cooing “darling” and “good soldier” at each other. On the last page, Batman will point out that he´s been dealt a Dead Man´s Hand, and Nigthwing, wiping off his Pierrot Lunaire makeup, will enter their cell, saying: “Yeah, who cares about the Black Glove?”. Then Batman will raise an eyebrow, quizzically, almost imperceptibly. Unseen by all, wearing El Sombrero´s sombrero, the Bat-Mite will then dance the Batusi.

    Of course.

  17. Zom Says:

    Hnh

  18. sleeplessknight Says:

    Do we know what is attached to the back of Batmite? It looks like some sort of demon or insect. Maybe the Sheeda?

  19. Zom Says:

    There’s some great speculation on Barbelith about this. I’ll try and dig it up.

    Definitely not the Sheeda. There’s nothing to suggest their involvement.

  20. grant Says:

    1. I’m not actually reading these Batman comics, though I know I should be. Especially after all this fevered speculation. But…

    2. There’s probably something significant about the repetition of the Mountain trigram in your drawings here. Every one of them.

    2a. I think there’s an indication that the character you’re after is a KIND of Satan-figure, and definitely one with a fiery aspect. Or even a volcanic one. But not necessarily Satan or Prometheus in a literal sense. “Heaven with the Mountain” literally means something more like “Ultimate Yang (expansive power) within Immovable Rock.” It’s not a stable arrangement – Heaven belongs over the Rock.

    2b. The Mountain is the trigram of steadfastness. It’s the EARTH (yin) at its most oppositional, most obstructionist, most immovable. Instead of Earth itself (which is yielding and nurturing, in a secretive sort of way) or the Abyss (which is a watery chasm, full of danger/sexuality/opportunity/travel), it’s Earth-as-stronghold. Martial artists see the Mountain as two legs, firmly rooted to the ground.

    3. So, based on that, I’d guess it might be a character literally imprisoned somewhere underground (like Loki under the Midgard Serpent, or someone stuck in the Batcave), or possibly a kind of “brick” character – someone tough, durable and shady. I don’t know if Arkham would be a Mountain place but I suspect not, so your Black Glove is probably someone more on the criminal side and less on the crazy. Someone less supernatural than Satan. Your first hexagram, seen as trigrams, is “Wind over the Mountain,” so I think that’s an indication you’re aiming too (metaphysically) high – it’ll be someone more mundane than that.

    3a. And since Satan and Prometheus are both bad guys because they’re traitors and rebels (the Christian Satan, at least – the Jewish version in the Book of Job is more like a prosecuting attorney), you might be getting closer to paydirt by investigating those closer to Batman (if not some part of Batman’s psyche).

    3b. Again, I haven’t read any of these, but don’t understand why someone like Ras al Ghul (or Azrael) has been eliminated. Steadfast, bricky fighter-types, close to Batman but capable of great betrayal. Unless Alfred has been linked to Wayne Manor & the Batcave in some explicit way through this story….

    Looking forward to the next interrogation.

  21. bobsy Says:

    Oh thank heavens, someone who actually knows what they’re talking about.

    Thanks for the help there grant, much appreciated.

    1. Yes, you probably should, but, obviously, wait until all the collections are out. It’s not saying much but this, the regular batbook, is currently as good as it has been in sixty years. Perhaps that’s an exaggeration – it’s probably as interesting now as it has been since Steve Englehart was writing in the seventies, so about thirty years or so. It’s top good bat-service, anyway.

    2. See, I hadn’t even noticed that, the constant reaappearance of Mountain. Maybe I should try blogging when it’s not just the last thing I do before bed.

    2a. Right, so maybe Damian (Son-of-Bats, and in some way Satanic, obvs.), or Robin, who I’m liking as a candidate more and more.

    2b/3a. So maybe Alfred, Batman’s rock… During this plotline he’s been seen in the Cave more than the Mansion, frequently on the stairs joining the two actually, if memory serves. There are lots of in-text reasons why I don’t think it’s Alfred – briefly, because all the obvious clues the reader is getting is saying it IS Alfred, so, I assumed, red-herrings. It would also be fitting in the traitor sense, and the fact tht Alfred’s past treading the boards as an actor is currently being played up – I guess ‘acting’ would fit the associations of fiery/rebel quite well…?

    3b. See Alfred/stairs bit above… Azrael is dead in current continuity I think, and though that’s not any guarantee, he’d be a straight-out-of-left-field culprit. Ras al Ghul has had his moment in the sun in Morrison’s Bat-run already, so I’m doubtful about him, but he has the subterranean thing going on, so maybe he shouldn’t be discounted.

    Loads of excellent food-for-thought, so cheers muchly. I’ll be doing Alfred and Robin later this week, and Damian plus others next. Based on what you’ve just said, Alfred looks good, but I think there’s something more there, such as Alfred under Bruce’s instructions, which is a theory people were excited about months ago…

  22. amypoodle Says:

    You know, looking at Hurt’s handsome face and quiff and and all his guff about ‘usurping’ and general hatred and anger, I think it’s fair to say that he’s DEFINITELY bruce’s brother.

    As for the BG hirself….

    ?

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