Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Batman and Robin 13

The story in Batman and Robin #13-#15 is the sequel to 2008's Batman, R.I.P. Now as then, a chess match between Doctor Hurt and Batman has moved past the opening and the midgame and on to the endgame. But this isn't Bruce Wayne -- it's Dick Grayson. Bruce, we ultimately found out, was prepared for Hurt all along. He was playing a bigger game. Dick Grayson comes into this conflict at a disadvantage. He doesn't know what Hurt's scheme is. He's figuring it out in parts as the situation comes to a boil. Just as he figures out what danger Gotham City is in, he is personally overwhelmed by Doctor Hurt's forces and subdued. Then shot in the head. But that hasn't happened yet. It will happen three days from now.

Batman and Robin #13 is told in three different timeframes. The first to appear in the comic is the past, but it's a past that could not have been real. In two and a half of the most blood-curdling pages in Batman's history, we see Thomas Wayne gleefully celebrate the deaths of Martha and his son Bruce, contract killings that he had arranged. Then he goes on to a life of utter decadence, painted more than adequately in a single wordless panel -- in RIP's red and black -- showing an orgy, reminiscent of "Eyes Wide Shut", with "Wayne" in the bat-mask from Detective #235, and RIP, and all of Hurt's most recent appearances. Echoing a gesture from RIP, Wayne/Hurt pours champagne on one of several crazed participants in the throes of sexual depravity. The masks on the attendees depict various demons and animals, including the pig mask we have seen, and see again in this issue, on Professor Pyg. It should be noted that the direction of Thomas' parted hair reverses in precisely that panel. It switches to the part that Simon Hurt has always worn.

That past cannot be real because Bruce did not die and Thomas did not stand in public and attend a funeral after the shooting. In other respects, the story resembles the lie that Hurt told at the end of RIP to a disbelieving Bruce. Hurt's lie then, in Batman #681, was factually consistent with a cover-up, stating that Bruce was supposed to be shot, but that Chill had "lost his nerve" and that Thomas Wayne, surviving that night, went into hiding. Under the assumption that the actual mythology of the Waynes will not be altered (and we already know, even by Hurt's admission, that the dossier attesting to Thomas Wayne contracting Martha's death was faked), we actually have three stories concerning the Waynes' last night: The traditional account of the Waynes as victims; the dossier lie that Hurt repeated in #681; and, the opening of B&R #13, showing Thomas living on, openly, after that night.

Under the strong presumption that the Waynes were good people who were victimized (even Batman #673's story of Joe Chill reinforces the idea that Chill was supposed to kill Bruce and did kill Thomas: "Three for three."), what do we make of this dark fantasy? The newspaper clip seen in #678 tells us that Hurt was in Gotham before the Waynes died. He obviously wanted to be Thomas. But he wasn't -- it's just a fantasy. And if Hurt is really an evil spirit that inhabits the bodies of real men, then Thomas Wayne might have been his host if only he could have made it happen. He didn't -- he went on to order Thomas' death and to become Doctor Hurt -- but he still dreams about how it could have been.

This is another variant on "the couples plot" that has been turning up in Morrison's Black Glove stories since Batman #669. A man has his wife or lover killed. There is a lie, a frame-up, or a cover-up. John Mayhew, Mangrove Pierce, Dorothy Lamarr -- their reality and a frame -- and two different incriminating stories about the Waynes. And, as we learn later in this issue, the real Oberon Sexton has killed his wife, too, and it is covered up with a lie. Why does this plot keep repeating? It's not for lack of imagination on Grant Morrison's part -- it just gets more insidious with the suggestion that some dark force is making this play out over and over again. Without this context, it might seem like Oberon Sexton were just a bad man who happened to get into the Joker's path. But we've known that Doctor Hurt makes slaves of good men: Sexton is perhaps another one, whom the Joker found as he followed Hurt's path. Even in the "Darkest Knight" story, Dick Grayson kills a woman: Batman kills Batwoman, as part of a bigger plan to save her.

A detail in the art of the fantasy/flashback reveals a stylistic connection that has previously been elusive: The pips on the dominoes, when seen in reverse color (white on black) resemble the pearls that fell from Martha Wayne's necklace. We see this because the dominoes (figurative, presumably) are shown in line, standing, during the fantasy/flashback. Later in the issue, we see that they have begun to fall. In reverse color, we see them mirror the pearls shown in the issue's first panel. Recall, also, that pearls were the theme of Pearly Charlie English, who was the good version of a [more] evil double.

When the story cuts to the future (three days from now), we see Hurt arrive in Gotham as Thomas Wayne, under the pretense of having lost his memory for the intervening period. A short but highly meaningful quip tells us that the city is in chaos three days from now. Hurt takes control of Wayne Manor and the 99 Fiends (recognizable thanks to their hip party-goer attire) have captured Dick and Damian. Hurt insinuates -- again -- that he is a Wayne and thereby superior to Grayson. With the same bluntness that Boss Dark Side showed when he had Shiloh Norman as a captive, Hurt dispenses with the "Bond villain" theatrics and does the obvious. He shoots Dick Grayson in the head.

With astonishing density, the dialogue refers to the black sun / eclipse motif from Return of Bruce Wayne and to the devil-deal that Damian makes in Batman #666. A small but portentous detail is a portrait that shows what seems to be Thomas Wayne with a woman who seems -- a blonde or a redhead -- not to be Martha.

And so, having opened in medias res, the story flips back to the present, with the scene previewed on the Internet a couple of days earlier. In a brilliant departure from the usual uses of the Joker, this time the Clown Prince of Crime (who doesn't feel like he deserves that name recently) is in captivity, physically harmless (Dick fears that Damian will kill the clown) but dangerous because of what he knows. It seems clear that the Joker's investigations as Oberon Sexton have given him advance knowledge of Hurt's plan. He asks for Batman's confidence. But he wears a disguise to try to get that trust. Dick is so certain that anything the Joker says is a trick that the Joker can probably perpetrate a trick just by telling the truth. The role that the white-faced archnemesis plays here is like that which Qull plays in the life of Abin Sur in Alan Moore's classic story "Tygers". Dick may lose his battle with Hurt if he doesn't listen to the clues that the Joker is offering. But if he does listen, he gives the Joker an opening to betray him. No situation could strike the Joker as funnier.

The rest of the present-tense plot shows how things start to unravel on the path to that dark future awaiting three days out. With Bruce Wayne likely to return on the third day, the numerology is that of the Easter story. Dick Grayson and Commissioner Gordon are shot down in the flying Batmobile by bazooka-wielding thugs of the 99 Fiends. This is when the dominoes start falling figuratively. Dick is unconscious as Pyg is, across town, sprung from Blackgate Prison. We see in a preview for next time that Pyg is about to operate on Commissioner Gordon, a fate that would bring him to the opening of Morrison's entire run, when Gordon was laughing from Joker toxin exposure in the opening pages of Batman #655.

As for the main threat that Hurt constitutes, it is indeed, as postulated here earlier, the antidote from #3 that carries the threat that Dick thought he was alleviating. The poison has already been delivered (a Joker classic since Batman #1, and played out again with Toad's death in B&R #2) to a huge number of people and Jim Gordon's sneezes tell us that he's obviously going to be one of the first victims to succumb. The city faces, when or before the eclipse happens, a plague similar to that seen in "Gothic", matching the fear expressed by Phosphorus Rex in B&R #3 when he says "They'll kill all of us." The Joker refers to "all fall down" time, which plays on the same children's nursery rhyme that "Gothic" quotes.

Dick is doing his best as a detective. He sees a "Mexican Train" being drawn on Gotham's map by the location of the Joker's crimes. Moments later, he places the image of a virus on the same portion of the same computer monitor. Did the Joker draw a picture of the molecule that actually cures the disease that Hurt is spreading?

This issue is magnificent, giving us a taste of a new future for the Batman characters as well as a new history of the Waynes' past and a portentous story in the present tense. Frazer Irving's art earns very high marks. When the four-page preview was released to the web this week, some fans found fault with his style. But that was the least "creepy" portion of the story, plotwise, The creepier the story gets, the more his work approaches sheer perfection. As the Joker crumbles during Damian's interrogation; as Dick is brought down from the sky with explosives; and, in every satanically sinister depiction of Hurt's face, Irving's art makes a perfect nightmare of the predicament that Morrison has scripted.

Bruce Wayne would have been ready for this. Dick Grayson wasn't. The Joker's grin mocks Dick when he tells him that to stop everyone from dying, he'll have to be as good as Bruce was. He certainly doesn't plan as well. With him, it's all in the timing.


  1. Wonderful & thought-provoking post, as always, Rikdad.

    Just before he is shot, Dick Grayson tells Hurt: "You don't get it, do you? You're finished"

    Is this just a bluff/ploy to buy more time? Or does Dick have a plan after all?
    (I for one hope he does!)

    I also hope, that it doesn't require the return of Bruce Wayne to come as cavalry and save the day. It would, IMHO, sort of negate the work Morrison has already put in, in establishing Dick as a formidable Batman on his own terms.

    Your thoughts?

  2. Just wanted to comment on that last panel you link to. While it may make sense inside the Morrison saga (and GM is explicitly using it for that), it's woefully out of character for Dick. He did learn to plan from Bruce, and he's always done it in the Titans and in his own book. That's part of what makes him stand out as a leader, after all.

    I believe this bit of dialogue from Nightwing #142 (written by Tomasi, widely acknowledged as a fan favorite) seems a lot more like him:

    Bruce and Dick are different, just not because of that.

  3. Damn. Your post was as good as actually reading the issue. I don't have the issue yet, but I've nearly constructed it from scans on various websites. Seriously, all comics seem noticably inferior to Morrison's Batman comics now.

  4. Dispatch, the quotations you mention are reminiscent of ZEA Batman saying, near the end of #680 "Maybe I'm playing with you. Maybe I worked everything out." It sounded delusional, but it ended up being true. Same thing with Dick?

    If he's got an ace card, what is it? One thing that could go his way, and his being tied up or even shot wouldn't stop: The eclipse.

  5. Emejota, thanks for the "vintage" Dick Grayson. Morrison is crafting his own take on Dick -- maybe an original one, but definitely a respectful and loving one.

    I think it makes more sense to show Dick as someone who learned from Batman in, e.g., Titans. It is what makes him most distinctive in comparison with, say, Wally West. But in this title, the contrasts with Bruce are being played up. Yet without being negatives -- Dick just has a different defining positive. More than one -- the cops like him better, too!

  6. darkside -- thanks, but this comic is something really fantastic to read on its own. Seeing Thomas Wayne on his knees in the place that Bruce normally occupies in the death scene... the first page was already incredible.

    I can't think of a series where four consecutive issues have been as good as the last four of this one have been.

  7. I can see that follow-up posts will be warrented before #14.

    One more observation: Dick and Damian are in Wayne Manor's library when Hurt shoots Dick. This is the place where Solomon Wayne is seated in his portrait. Dick and Damian stand there in #10, but it's night. Given the large windows, the glare in the scene is the direct sunlight. I think that's where they will be when the eclipse happens.

    In Morrison's 1990 Batman story "Gothic", the very thing that would trigger the doom of Gotham would have been the light of the full moon coming in through a window and activating a mechanism that would release a plague.

    An eclipse of the Sun is the opposite of a full moon. Hurt wants to be in a room with a view of the eclipse when it begins. "Soon", he says.

  8. Did anyone noticed the similarities between many scenes of this issues and Nolan's Batman Movies. The last scene with Pyg is reminiscent of a scene in Batman Begins
    where Ghul's goons give the scarecrow mask to Dr. Crane. And the two goons launching a bazooka on Batmobile is mixture of some scens from the underground chase sequence in TDK. Spreading of Viral toxin is similar to Ghul's plan of spreading the fear toxin and creating chaos in Gotham. And finally the interrogation scene between Damian and Joker is similar to the one b/w Bruce and Joker in TDK.

    Also if you have noticed that both Jason and Damian thinks that Joker is not as loony as everyone thinks to be.

    And this plan could be accounted by Pyg's last comment in #3 when he says something about his pieces being in right places like Dominoes.






  10. Gautam, I also thought of Nolan's movies, especially when Damian points out that the Joker is not really chaotic, but continuously executes plans. This is something that Morrison said explicitly in an interview, explicitly commenting on TDK. So, yes, this is definitely a direct comment on the movies.

  11. I can't wait to see this. I'm picking it up today!

    I think Morrison is doing a good job of portraying Dick Grayson as a nimble acrobat who thinks better on his feet. I find that's more realistic than the "I plan for everything' Batman/Wayne. That's impossible...

  12. Rikdad

    I do believe you are Batman

  13. ...and thanks for the AWESOME work you're doing.

  14. Anyone else think Richu's post is very interesting?

  15. I don't think the theory that Jason being Oberon/Joker is plausible given that during the second arc both characters were operating as separate entities which conflicts with them being the same person.

  16. Really quite tired of "Dick Grayson, the Dim Knight" portrayal. If he really just isn't 'as good as Bruce would have been', this story is going to have been a massive waste of my time and goodwill.

  17. As I was reading this issue today, one of my first thoughts was, "Ma, I bet rikdad really enjoyed this one."

    I take back anything bad I've ever said about Irving's art. His Joker got better as the issue progressed, and his Hurt was almost as good as Tony Daniel's. The scene at the orgy with the people wearing animal masks reminded me of a similar scene from "The Invisibles," actually.

  18. Another hugely insightful article Rikdad!

    I was hoping to get your thoughts on one detail in particular: Joker's comment to Damien of "I WAS A LITTLE BOY WONDER ONCE, TOO. I DIDN'T SET OUT TO BE THIS." My presumption is that this may end up having some significance near the end of "The Return of Bruce Wayne." For example, one of Bruce's versions of Batman in the past somehow manipulates history in a fashion that contributes to the Joker's actual (and I use that term loosely) origin. But that's really a stretch on my part, and I'm not entirely confident about it.

    I also couldn't help but think of DeMatteis' "Going Sane" when the Joker tried to explain his new mental state: "MY BATMAN WAS...GONE IT WAS AS IF SOMETHING JUST WENT OUT IN MY HEAD."

    That's all I got. Thank again Rikdad!

  19. Lichu, interesting image. The panel of Jason Todd is definitely intended to reproduce the panel where the Joker turns his face from Batman near the end of The Killing Joke.

    For the parallel between the Joker and Robin, remember also a panel showing the Evil Clone's twisted worldview in B&R #9 that showed the Joker's face on Robin's body (or in his costume).

    The Dark Knight Strikes Again also drew a parallel between Robin and the Joker.

  20. Great post, Rikdad! I liked especially the end of your article, keep up the good work. Kudos to you.

  21. Did anyone else feel as if Joker found some kind of "reason to live" when he realized how much Damien was like Batman? He says something to the effect of "Your so much like him", and it almost feels like the Joker will become obsessed with Damien the way he was with Batman.

    Of course that line could have been used to contrast with the next scene, in which Damien hits Joker with a pipe, showing how unlike Batman he is.

  22. Sypha -- thanks for thinking about me.

    I was pretty giddy with reading the issue before I could sit down and do so. (It was in my possession for hours, but I just could not break away from work, etc. to read it.) Then the first six pages were sheer delight (in the way that really awful things being portrayed can be a delight).

    We knew from the solicit that Hurt would pose as Thomas. Right before reading the issue, I thought about that, and it sounded like an OK idea. Morrison and Irving made it great in just a few panels. Amazing issue.

    Funny you mention TD's Hurt. That was great, too. But the facial expressions that Irving conveys are priceless.

  23. Another miscellaneous observation:

    The comic is told out of sequence: Past, Future, Present.

    But the first scene itself is also told out of sequence: Middle, Beginning, End. That may just be to have opened with the huge, sledgehammer impact of Thomas rejoicing over the deaths of Martha and Bruce.

    But all of this out-of-sequence narration may be priming us for a bigger pattern. As Bruce's career itself bends through time in ROBW.

  24. Hi Rikdad,

    I just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading your comic thoughts!



  25. Well, I was really looking forward to this arc, ever since the preview at the end of Batman and Robin #1 that showed Hurt holding up the keys to Wayne Manor.

    Batman and Robin seems to be in that stretch where Morrison starts building things up to an incredible climax, something he always seems to do so well. You mentioned on the DC messageboard how you thought the final two issues of "R.I.P." were two of the greatest Batman issues ever. I agree (esp. in regards to #680), though I also liked the two "Last Rites" issues that came after it quite a bit. It'll be interesting to see if any of the Club of Villains makes an appearance... I'm still wondering what became of King Kraken, who seemed curiously missing in action during the final two issues of "R.I.P."

  26. Can Be The joker Kill to Mangrove Pierce, The "Thomas Wayne", dondt Believe in Jason like The Joker,but are one interestign theory

  27. Somehow Joker calling it karma when he kills Sexton, who killed his own wife, struck me as appropriate from a man who, prior to his turn as a career criminal clown, was a dutiful husband before his own wife was killed.

    I'd like to see Jason Todd return as the Red Hood in this arc, and I think there's a good chance it'll happen - the action has already returned to Blackgate. And if anyone could take advantage of a security failure at Blackgate, it's Jason Todd. (Should we expect Flamingo, too?)

    Hurt's "Flashback" to what might have been seems like a direct pick-up from the end of R.I.P.

    And as for Hurt v. Joker ... Hurt's goals are to make Gotham sick - to turn it into a cesspool. I think it's Joker who reverse-engineered the designer drug's "antidote" so that it'll actually kill everybody instead of turning them into addicted slaves. Is that homicidal mercy from the Joker, or is his "new persona" more suited to higher-stakes? He's been channeling "Death" for a while now, and is cultivating ... well, "brief blooms", here and there as if in a garden. (Garden of Death). The voodoo Baron Samedi/Ghede costume is certainly a big indicator of that, as well as Grant's own reference to Joker claiming to be Baron Ghede's reincarnation waaaaay back in Arkham Asylum: A Serious House ... and it seems directly clear from # 15's title "The Knight, Death and the Devil".

    God, what else?

  28. Ah ... if Bruce Wayne was Christ during his downfall, then surely Dick Grayson is John the Baptist here ...

    I'd noted that connection all the way back to R.I.P., but it seems especially noteworthy now. Put to death by Herod himself ...

  29. First of all, Rikdad, I enjoy this blog immensely.

    It's a little thing, but it kind of bugged me in this issue, that when The Joker speaks, his dialogue wasn't in all lowercase, as it was earlier in Morrison's run. I wonder if there's any significance to that?

  30. Rikdad,

    "we already know, even by Hurt's admission, that the dossier attesting to Thomas Wayne contracting Martha's death was faked"

    Where did Hurt admit this? I don't have my copy of RIP with me these days. I seem to remember that it might have been during one of the exchanges between Hurt and Alfred, but what did he say exactly?

    Don't have much more time to type now. Great, great issue, though, and great blog post as well.

  31. Jaybird - Joker's mouth has healed. The lower-case creepy speech he had during Batman R.I.P. was, I suppose, supposed to be slurred and with a lisp from the corners of his cheeks being wide open and the stitches ripping.

    Back in "The Clown at Midnight", his words were barely comprehensible, murmuring with a swollen mouth, recently repaired.

  32. Ric,

    Read some of your posts on dc forums, saw you referenced allegheny co a Pitt native? You don't have to respond to that question, I'd like to think of you tucked away in some dark damp cave digging through B&R comics looking for clues while pounding out your enlighening theories rather than from the balcony of the ppg building (aka lex's tower)

  33. Jones "
    And as for Hurt v. Joker ... Hurt's goals are to make Gotham sick - to turn it into a cesspool. I think it's Joker who reverse-engineered the designer drug's "antidote" so that it'll actually kill everybody instead of turning them into addicted slaves."

    thats an interesting idea... it ties into Batman #700 a bit, where future Batman is fighting a similar thing.

  34. DAL, when Hurt tells Bruce about the documents he says that the Black Glove "at great expense" has made them available to the media. There could be an alternate interpretation there, but since postage and photocopying are cheap, I think that's an admission of faking the documents. He could also mean that the documents "out" someone important to the BG, even Hurt's upcoming turn as the very man the documents incriminate. But certainly reading that in the original context, it sounds like he means actors were photographed in sets resembling the original settings.

  35. Daniel,

    No, I'm not from Pittsburgh. I have been right outside that building, though, and thought it looked oddly not like a building. When the prison came up in B&R #3 and #13, that was the closest example I could think of (and it's even a prison).

  36. What's the significance of the person with the white glove near where the Batmobile has crashed? Could that be Bruce? Someone else who might be a counter to the Black Glove?

  37. Second thought: We know from Batman #666 and Batman #700 that Damian could be fated to become a quite-brutal Batman. Here, we see him start to go gonzo on the Joker just as the dominos are set to start falling.

    I'm thinking Grant Morrison is creating an Anakin Skywalker-type moment here, foreshadowing that Damian could well go over to the Dark Side. Or maybe even a Luke Skywalker moment from "Return of the Jedi," when a black-clad Luke is being sorely tempted by the Emperor to lose it and kill his dad.

    In 'Return,' Luke stopped short of that and stayed the hero. Here, given the hellish future vision from #666 and #700, we're meant to be left uncertain which way Damian might go.

  38. JaybirdW - I've wondered whether the green, lowercase Joker dialogue is meant to indicate a particular personality (or type of personality). Note that in "Last Rites," some of his dialogue is green lowercase, but in later instances it's standard lettering. Could be a simple lettering error, or could be an indication that the Joker in B&R #13 is substantially different, personality-wise, from the Joker in "R.I.P." I'd be curious if anyone has examined or speculated on this; I might be late to the game.

  39. Great blog, Rikdad. I found the art in this issue to be absolutely amazing. I've heard some criticize it, but I can't stop looking at the frame of Batman walking next to Gordon with his cape billowing behind him. It was that single frame where it really hit me: Dick is the Batman. It's amazing how art, and not dialogue, can affect perceptions. Keep the reviews and commentary coming, sir.

  40. Hi, Rik. I also posted this on DC Boards, but I'm thinkng it may prove more useful to do it here, where the level of discussion is definitely much higher:

    Dick Grayson's been shot. In the back of the head. Point Blank. He's dead.
    But we know he won't stay dead. So what will change that?

    It's been thorised Damian's pact with the Devil may save Dick Grayson. But what we saw on Batman 666 is that Damian sold his soul to the devil to ensure Gotham's survival on the night the Batman died. That means the pact is to save Gotham, not Dick Grayson, who would already be dead and remain so (otherwise Damian wouldn't assume the mantle and Barbara wouldn't blame him of causing the death of a dear friend). Incidently, I know 666 mentions Damian to be 14 then, but I'm sure that'll be corrected on future reprints.

    666 shows a future with no Bruce, no Dick and the Devil still lurking around Gotham. That's very similar to Morrison's New X-Men (as good as his Batman run), where the future of Here Comes Tomorrow has very few mutants and X-Men alive and the main villain of the whole run, the gene/meme Sublime is still on top.
    That future is erased by Jean Grey, the White Phoenix of the White Hot Room, a "place" beyond time and space, a concept not very unlike the vanishing Point in the DC Universe. That future is erased through Phoenix influencing the change of a single moment in time (for the record, "making" Cycplops accept Emma Frost's challenge to resume Xavier's dream, after the events of Planet X).

    Thus said, there's a single moment in time that'll have to be changed now: the death of Dick Grayson. On issue 9, the Bat-clone says "What does it take to stop the gunshots? The sacrifice of a son!". On a first reading, we tend to think of the deaths of Martha and Thomas. Looking ahead, what if this is pointing towards the gunshot that kills Dick Grayson? What if, while in Vanishing Point, Bruce will have the chance to change one single moment in time and he'll have to chose between two? Saving his parents or saving Dick Grayson. And in saving Dick Grayson, he'll probably have to sacrifice Damian, his son. And in chosing so, he'll have to do the supreme personal sacrifice of not saving his parents

    (and I acknowledge Morrison's interpretation is that the past has already happened and cannot be changed, but something will have to change Grayson's death; since that's occurring 3 days from "now", it means it still didn't happened and can still be changed)

    Bruce will be back, Dick will live, Hurt/The devil will be defeated, so the 666 future can never happen. What does that make of Damian (and don't forget he has a clone who can always be a Batman ina future...)

  41. Mario,
    Saving Dick Grayson doesn't necessarily mean changing the past, even when that moment does arrive. Some sort of resurrection can also bring it about.

    "Sacrifice of a son" has been a pregnant clue since we got it, but it may be too ambiguous to be useful. Every male is a son. Bruce, Damian, Dick... Julius Caesar... everyone.

    I don't think they'll have Damian as a character with superhuman powers in current-time continuity. Can a deal with the Devil now be the one that #666 refers to if he doesn't get powers? Does he meet the Devil twice -- once now and once in 4 years?

  42. Hi,
    Great thread.

    What struck me as odd was the effects of the (presumably) bullet shot to the back of Dick Grayson's head.

    Obviously it could be just artistic interpretation, but at that range the bullet should have come clean straight out of the other side of Dick's head, which is making me wonder if we are only meant to presume that Dick Grayson has been shot, and that it is in fact a tazer or a blank. The yellow lighting also made me think that at first, especially with the kind of pained look on Dick's face.

    We already know that Dick will live on past this story, and I am more inclined to think it may be some sort of trick on Hurt's part to convince Damian to forfeit his morales.

  43. Something occurred to me while reading this issue, and I'd love to know everyone's thoughts on it: Joker explicitly talks about something changing when "his" Batman disappeared, indicating he can tell Bruce-as-Batman from Dick-as-Batman, or anyone else for that matter. That could have serious implications for Morrison's "Batman" run and Joker being shot by the impostor Batman, along with his reaction to it. Joker says "I've finally killed Batman!" in the beginning and later in the series states he could never kill Batman. This all indicates Joker never thought "his" Batman shot him, despite his reaction to the event.

  44. Dick basically admitted that he wasn't Bruce to the Joker when he said to him in B&R #13 that; "I've been doing this a long time. I had you figured out when I was twelve."