Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Batman 702

It's hard to read Batman #702 and be aware that it is, on a factual level, a sort of "clip show", composed more than half of scenes, art, and almost-exact dialogue from previous issues. It shows things we've already seen tied together, mainly, with transitions that are not surprising given what we know. And yet, it raises an extraordinary number of extraordinary questions. Grant Morrison's intertwined "second season" of Batman has five issues to go in Return of Bruce Wayne and Batman & Robin, and this issue seems to hint at momentous reveals for the events in those stories. Though much of this issue sketches out an easy-to-understand pattern, one sees in more than one place a hole in things.

Batman, R.I.P.'s final issue, Batman #681, had a first person narration by Batman himself, illustrated in the style of notebook excerpts. As we read these, we knew that Batman at least survived the threat to his life which was still playing out in the graphical presentation of the story. But that narration left more than one enigma, including the terms under which Batman composed it. By the time Last Rites showed that Batman recovered from RIP at least momentarily, it offered a possible explanation for when Batman performed that narration -- he might have done it during the brief respite between RIP and Final Crisis. But for one anomaly: He says "And so I write this final entry in the Black Casebook". Accepting at that moment that he survived RIP, we don't know of any reason why he would believe in its aftermath that there would be no more for him to record in the Black Casebook. Because he was near death? Because he could no longer be Batman? Because after an encounter with Doctor Hurt there was nothing left to consider mysterious? We still don't know. But it is suggestive that the narration in Batman #681 and #701-702 is all part of one message that is recorded in audio format (and not written) and is composed in a cave at the beginning of time, where Darkseid's Omega trap first sends him. Certainly the narration in #701-702 comes about like that, spoken into a utility-belt recorder while the Omega amnesia rapidly spreads over Bruce, leaving him the nearly-mute cipher he is when ROBW begins. What we learn in this issue is what Bruce knows just before the amnesia kicks in. He's losing his brilliant mind just after appearing in the past. Like the protagonist of "Flowers for Algernon", he knows this, which is why the last line of #701 is "Think fast, Batman..."

An overarching idea in #702 is that the New Gods and their artifacts are platonic in nature -- the essence of things rather than things themselves. There is the idea of horseness and then there are particular horses. You could kill every horse that's alive but the idea of horses would still exist. Morrison portrays the New Gods not as superpowered aliens but as ideas that happen to interact with the real world. As Morrison said in an interview before Final Crisis began, "We discover that all the previous experiences of the New Gods have kind of been projections into the DC Universe, and we’ve never seen the real thing until now." Darkseid, the bullet that kills Orion, and other things are more the idea of stuff rather than stuff itself. The bullet is the archetype of all bullets. Darkseid is the archetype of all terrible beings that have plagued men. And as in Morrison's Superman Beyond and Final Crisis, he writes a story about story. Zillo Valla's line from Superman Beyond #2, "I found a better story; one created to be unstoppable, indestructible! The story of a child rocketed to Earth from a doomed planet..." is reprised when Batman says in #702 that he has "a New Myth of my own. A myth where Ultimate Evil turns its gaze on humanity and humanity gazes right back and says 'Gotcha'." Just as the first line is a synopsis of Superman's origin from Action #1, the second is a synopsis of Batman's; in particular the gazing right back speaks of the origin as told in Batman #47, when young Bruce's "accusing eyes" turn on Joe Chill and terrify Ultimate Evil itself. The Wayne murder, depicted on four different pages, is very much a topic of #702 when it says that the bullets that killed them are mere examples of the idea of bulletness. As Batman says in Final Crisis #6, "A gun and a bullet, Darkseid. It was your idea." At the time, it seemed that Batman was speaking only of Orion's death, but in #702, he's speaking of every such death -- Orion's, his parents, and all others. Granny Goodness' attack is "like Joker venom. Fear Gas. Doctor Hurt's smile. All at once." It is the prototype from which examples are made.

And what is Batman going to do about them? Another moment from the past is when Jim Gordon says to him, "Look at you, all beat up to hell. Why did you have to choose an enemy that's as old as time and bigger than all of us, Batman?" And he answers, "Same reason you did, Jim. I figured I could take him." Like the platonic essence of bullet, this line simultaneously applies to many situations at once. Jim Gordon is referring to the sort of corruption he can see between the mayor and the police in Batman #665. But he sees it as something bigger than one mayor or a handful of conspirators. In time, the line took on a meaning regarding Doctor Hurt, and in its superlatives and the use of "hell", his identity as the Devil.

#702 seems to suggest that Darkseid is the bigger villain than Doctor Hurt, that Darkseid had a causal role in creating Hurt. Bruce, knowing that Hurt has called himself "the hole in things" (the title of #701), decides that Darkseid's fall "made the hole in things". This suggests a literal cause-and-effect relationship, and that Hurt is therefore secondary to Darkseid. I'm not sure that this suggestion is going to prove important to the larger story. The hierarchy of ultimate evils is tangled. In Final Crisis, Darkseid's crimes precipitate the arrival of Mandrakk, but the Monitors had been planning an evil coup when Darkseid's plan was at its inception.

And the "hole in things" seems to have the Evil Gods' number. Batman remarks, of his escape from the Evil Factory, that the Evil Gods hadn't prepared for any of what was then happening, that the best laid plan of Darkseid was also prone to the Hole in Things. Nothing's perfect. Batman finds gods and aliens hard to prepare for. And they, him.

And so, his counterattack becomes an archetype, too. Humanity (not superheroes, a point of contrast all throughout #701-702) gazes back at Ultimate Evil and says "gotcha". Bruce swinging his black-gloved fist at Doctor Hurt in the helicopter. Cowboy Bruce doing the same to Doctor Thomas Wayne in ROBW #4. A new story, a better story. Or, if you'd like, a very old one, Beowulf. Humanity has a representative who will stare down evil gods and strike fear into devils and never give up and never, ultimately, lose. By giving him Ultimate Evil to face on a platonic battlefield, Darkseid makes a colossal error, allowing Batman into a world of "ultimate stakes" where he can alter the myth of evil and give birth to himself. As Morrison said in an interview, "Batman himself is finally standing there to complete that big mythical circle and to have the image of Batman up against the actual personification of evil." The showdown in FC #6 creates what Batman #679 calls "a miracle in Crime Alley". Retroactively, of course.

The time travel itself is not such a complex part of the story. Darkseid sends Bruce back to 9,000 B.C., with regular jumps to other times (circa 1645, 1718, 1880, and 1980, respectively), but always near the vicinity of the cave. Bruce records his message in a brief interlude before ROBW #1 and this message is found by Rip Hunter and brought to the JLA. This takes place at some point in time after the events of Batman and Robin #12, sending Rip, Booster Gold, Hal Jordan, and Superman on a rescue mission that begins before Batman and Robin #13. Bruce's path goes on as illustrated in ROBW.

But this wonderfully ornate story has two other levels of complexity. One, in known references to earlier stories in the Morrison Batman era. We see his memory of the discovery of the well that connects to the Batcave and his imagined funeral from Batman #673 as well as the funeral from Neil Gaiman's Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader? There are logical and thematic connections from Final Crisis, ROBW, Last Rites, and Batman #665.

But the more intriguing references are those which are left dangling without clear resolution. The missing portrait is a clear reference to the Old Thomas Wayne character mentioned in B&R #10 and seen in ROBW #4, and if we merely find out that he is the basis of Doctor Hurt, then it only confirms what has been coming into focus in recent issues. But the issue also has a stunning visual pointer in the depiction of the gates of a "Willowwood Asylum" which is a very obscure pointer to World's Finest #223 and the 1974 story of a pre-Crisis "lost brother" of Bruce's named Thomas Wayne, Jr. This brother was the subject of a brain trauma during childhood that left him mentally unstable, so he was therefore incarcerated in Willowwood Sanitarium. Why is Morrison showing us a pointer to that story?

Many fan-detectives have guessed that Doctor Hurt might be Thomas Wayne, Jr. The Bronze Age stories of Bob Haney have not been acknowledged by Morrison until this time (nor indeed, were much acknowledged by other DC writers at the time). Hurt has already declared himself to be a "dark twin". Could Morrison be opening the door to Thomas Wayne, Jr. being in continuity again, and if so, could he, rather than Old Thomas Wayne, be the body of Doctor Hurt? The answer to the second question is almost certainly "no." Thomas Wayne, Jr. was only three years older than Bruce, whereas Doctor Hurt was an adult in 1978, clearly too old to be the son of Thomas and Martha. The Devil in this story goes far back into the past, and if Morrison were to bring back Thomas Wayne, Jr., this would be quite separate from the origins of Doctor Hurt. The pages showing Willowwood remark on time being pliable, so this may be from a timeline that did stay with us, but only winked in and out of existence as Darkseid turned the Ancestor Box to craft a trap for Batman.

And that brings us to the issue's final chain of suggestive associations. The Ancestor Box (like "Rock of Ages'" Grandmother Box, taken to the platonic, inductive step of generality) has a many-tentacled thing creeping from and about it. Perhaps the hyper-adapter creates the hyperfauna seen in ROBW #2. It is likely that of which Jack Valor cannot speak and that which Alan Wayne calls "sickening." But almost certainly, a box with bells is the same one that is associated with the casket that has become the McGuffin of ROBW and B&R. This is not a great surprise. Somehow, Bruce gets to the end of time, and somehow he stops Green Lantern and Superman in their tracks; a Mother Box is a likely tool for accomplishing these things. It is interesting, though, that something pertaining to the New Gods would also supply "The bells of Barbatos". Whatever blocked the radio transmissions of Dick and uses eclipses as portals for Bruce's jumps, it seems to tie all of the larger story's demons and devils together into one myth, one mythology, and one central hero. Batman #702 is a grand telling of that myth.


  1. I'd be suprised if the Hyper-adapter isn't both the Hyper-fauna and Dr. Hurt. The hyper-fauna was referred to as The Dragon, and the stuff leaking out of the ancestor-box is definitely some sort of starry venom.

    I do think Bruce is wrong about it this being a new myth - he even says that Darkseid could be "a wolf once, a dragon". Who defeats them? The Hunter.

  2. I loved how simple and cosmic Batman is with Morrison. Dr. Hurt seems to me, the creation of Darkseid. He possibly was this normal Thomas Wayne in the wild wild west, but Darkseid wanting to torture Batman decided to make Thomas into a satanist. All these un-connected mystery dots that Bruce couldn't figure out, finally made sense before he got shot to the past. I also loved that Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader was made canon.

    I also really loved Tony Daniel's Frank Miller meets Jim Lee art style. I wonder what truly is inside the casket now.

  3. Shiny Jim, I think the "starry venom" is related to the box, but I doubt if it's Hurt.

    Bruce says that the Hyper-Fauna beast ("fauna" is plural) is no god or devil. I think he's laying down the word of truth there.

    The locals call the beast a dragon, knowing nothing of science fiction, fantasy, or Lovecraft. They name it appropriately in their own terms. But that's not what it is.

  4. Drazar, agreed. The frame from WHTTCC reminded me that RIP may have had a funeral-like scene, too. Morrison commented that WHTTCC was not planned to relate to RIP, but it happened to have an open-endedness to it that could mean it was part of RIP/FC.

  5. The new pieces of info that were introduced in this issue which stood out to me was how Darkseid created the Omega Sanction trap with the Ancestor Box. In particular that he altered time around Batman while Batman stood still, and that the Box used history to create the trap.

    What implications does Darkseid changing time around Bruce have on the ROBW, where we have assumed that Bruce travelled backwards through time?
    Does this change his mission and what he needs to do?

    It does explain his sudden changes in periods of time which do appear to change around him while he is in the water or when he had crossed water, opposed to him actually going through the time stream.

    Is this the reason that Bruce can't return to the present without destroying everything?
    If he returns to the present then Darkseid's manipulation of time will impact upon the present even more than it has already. Or will it create a paradox, with Darkseid's "Ancestor Box" being able to manipulate the past (it uses "history" to tailor make an unbeatable life trap) but not the present. So with its target being in the present with the Ancestor Box ( or the future) then either the Box become ineffective (doesnt destroy everything) or it still attempts to manipulate its target but it doesnt have any history to do it will, then with the arrogance of Darkseid not including a "If..." command in the Box in case the target escapes the trap, results in a brain explosion with the Ancestor Box and a cataclysmic outcome.

    Bit of a ramble, but I think I got my points across.

    This changing of time also explains why Morrison's run felt like all the threads were leading to RIP, with B&R/ROBW and the FC link seeming more like after thoughts. Prior to RIP all the hints and threads pretty much concluded in RIP, its only been from RIP onwards that any of this time travel stuff or Dick becoming Batman have been suggested.
    As though he made it up as he was going along, which he has admitted to.
    But cleverly he has given himself a literal, mid story, "Dues Ex Machina", creating new scenarios and plot threads.

  6. One thing I found interesting was the statement that "Darkseid only wanted a dead one". Now they could have been speaking about Batman, but it is a strange statement if they weren't meaning a clone and not Batman. If they meant a clone, why would Darkseid want a dead one? They were trying to build an army.

    Was Darkseid really asking them to create one clone which they would kill and not build an army? That was their idea? Or, did Darkseid know or predict a failure and asked for a dead body if it did fail?

    Either way, why not ask for Batman's body? Did he know ahead of time that Batman would escape and that he would be using the Omega Sanction on him, so he needed the clone's body to fool the world?

    If he knew this ahead of time, was the whole sending Bruce back in time an escape hatch for Darkseid himself? Maybe he knew he was going to fail so sending Bruce back allows him to succeed somehow and that is what the JLA is concerned about or possibly that Batman has figured out and the JLA would actually make matters worse?

    Make me wonder how much Darkseid had planned out ahead of time.

  7. Bravo! You must publish a book on Morrison's run. It is worthless without your great insights. Please publish the book. I'll love it. Hats off to you, Rikdad.

  8. Brilliant post! I'm looking forward breathlessly to your concluding remarks and summary once the entire Morrison Batman "Season 2" wraps up (and of course all the issue-wise posts along the way).

    Now a question. Did you notice that in the internal monologue speech boxes for Batman 702, the "notebook lines" are missing. Does this mean that only this issue's monologue was narrated and not written (in the Black Casebook)? Or are the notebook lines in the previous issue an artistic over-sight?

    Also, wasn't the Black Casebook with Tim at the end of R.I.P? Or maybe there are several volumes of the B.C.?

    Also, I love the analogy to 'Flowers for Algernon' that you use. Its one of my all-time favorite stories!

  9. Oh and Thank you for making the Morrison run on Batman twice as enjoyable for all of us :)!

  10. Gutter, great questions. It was a big moment introducing the folding time. Necessary in a way, if things in history are to include Bruce. But history must have included Bruce all along for him to have gotten to this point. [Lots of philosophy of time travel topics for another day.]

    It remains unclear why Bruce's return would end the world, or why the JLA thinks so. Wonder Woman calls him "rogue". Clearly the final historical chapter of ROBW has to wrap up to leave time to spare for the "trap" plot to take over.

  11. Steve, I also found the "dead one" line potentially very interesting. But the timing, given B&R #9, was that Mokkari and Simyan reported to Darkseid after their failure, and THEN he wanted a dead one. He first wanted the clone army, no surprises or subtlety about it. The dead one was a backup plan. I'm not sure if Morrison will address this seeming awareness on Darkseid's part that he would lose.

  12. Dispatch, thanks!

    The Black Casebook has many volumes. Early in Batman #677, Bruce notices that "one of the Black Casebooks" is missing. (The one Tim has.)

    Good catch about the lines being missing. They're there in #701. I guess it was an artists' oversight, but given that the whole thing was recorded, maybe it was an oversight that there were lines in #701.

  13. Long time reader, first time poster. The “holes in things” is a play on bullet holes. Batman says throughout 701 and 702 that he sees these holes all around him. Much like the god killing bullet, Dr. Hurt, is another type of bullet, who has been working throughout the ages to corrupt or destroy Batman. Dr. Hurt is a weapon specifically created to attack Bruce, but not just physically. Remember Darkseid could have killed Batman instantly when they faced off. However, he chose to destroy the myth of Batman.
    The “holes in things” is Batman’s first big clue that he is fighting some devil like being, something bigger than he has had faced before. In the end, Morrison’s arch in Batman is a love story about Batman/Bruce Wayne. His story will ultimately be about how Batman beat a god like being. How the archetype of humanity beat the archetype of evil.

  14. @Elton: Yeah Dr. Hurt is the evil Wayne to corrupt and destroy the Batman myth. Hence why Hurt's motivation is about ruining Gotham and the Waynes. It's a really cool AND simple origin, i love it! Sure we can still debate is THomas Wayne the son of Nathaniel Wayne, or are we truly seeing Thomas Wayne junior, the big brother of Bruce in continuety?

    @Everyone: So what do you guys think is in the casket? I'm out of ideas. :(

  15. Rikdad: Sure, we have no reason to believe the locals are correct, but one of Morrison's most common tricks is to put the truth in the mouth in the mouth of someone we have no reason to believe.

    And yes, Bruce says it isn't a god or devil. But then if Hurt is the Hyper-adapter, then he isn't a god or devil, is he?

    And as Elton says, it seems pretty clear that Hurt was specifically designed to threaten Bruce as much as possible. He fits Darkseid's description of the Hyper-adapter perfectly.

    The starry venom clue seems fairly cut and dry, to me. The Hyper-adapter looks like a starry liquid. OTW drank a starry liquid. Now he's possessed.

  16. Have you read the latest Time Masters: Vanishing Point? Hunter is pulled under water by a many tentacled beast. When he is pulled through, he can see different times in different parts of the water. Like they are different time portals. Probably the same ones he's going through in ROBW Like how at the end of ROBW 1, he jumps off a cliff, into water. Comes out of water and leaves through it again (where the tentacled beast shows up again. Even kind of looks like the one in TM:VP.) in part 2, arrives in water in part 3.
    I also am beginning to be of the sound mind that Batman was prepared for this. Like he said during RIP, about having to always being prepared for any instance. I think he knew the Omega Sanction was going to send him to the past. That he would have to fight his way through time. In his current state, he just doesn't really remember that.

  17. Elton, Drazar: Bullet holes are undoubtedly one type of hole that is indicated here, but not the only one. There are holes in Bruce's memory, and holes in the Evil Gods' plan. A "hole" is generally any deficit or gap.

    I think the casket contains quite simply the various papers that Bruce has put into it plus the Ancestor Box. There are interesting stories yet to be told about how this got into the physical grasp of the characters who acquire it. It seems like at the end of Bruce's 1980 adventure, he somehow grabs ahold of it, and uses it to his own purpose. Which raises the question of how/if it is also part of the B&R story in 2010. And if it's following Bruce through time, then why is it in Gotham for interactions with Jack Valor and Old Thomas Wayne when Bruce isn't around? There's an analytical problem there of how to piece the Ancestor Box's likely appearances together, given the time travel backdrop.

  18. Hm, I just had a random thought.

    Perhaps what the JLA need to stop is not Batman but the hyper-adapter thing. Perhaps in its way of making Bruce trapped, it'll kill all when he finally reaches his goal of returning to his time.

    Perhaps when Bruce steals the time sphere, he is outrunning the hyperfauna/adapter so he can beat the trap. It could be that we were seeing the end of Bruce's adventure through time and he was returning to the present at that moment but he had to leave Superman and gang there for them to do their parts still.

    Dang time travel. You just don't know when things are actually happening ;)

  19. It's interesting how this bullet-theme resonates with GM's 'The Invisibles' where King Mob - a sort of Morrison's porte parole - had an idea that "(one) bullet in the right place can change the world". King Mob was a free-thinking buddhist-anarchist, who, during his mission to change the world for good, started to lean towards violent means of fighting evil. In other words - he had shot many (bad) people to death, and, because of his beliefs, had a hard time accepting so much blood on his hands. Not unlike Bruce Wayne, who, given a one-in-a-million chance of getting rid of an ultimate evil, chose to shoot despite of his no-gun policy.

    Also worth noticing is the fact that, despite being a force of good, Batman disguises as a creature of the night. There's some interesting good/bad dialectics in Batman's figure.

  20. Great post like aways rikdad. I was looking back at Batman: the black glove in page 10 you can clearly see a horse logo on the side of the plane am sure its the Knight's but its a recurring theme with the horse statue you can see in batman & robin 10 and 13 that you pointed out.

  21. I assume that only the narration in #702 is part of the recording made for Superman's ears. The narration in #701 (with lines like "I've worked so hard to gain their respect", or "In Superman's world, everything is mythology") seems to be part of a written, private journal.

    Also, at the end of #702, is that a pearl necklace that Anthro's holding in his right hand? Like Martha Wayne's necklace?

  22. Shiny ... I'd theorize that the Hyper-Adapter is the Demon that's "occupying" Thomas Wayne's mind. Not that it didn't adapt history so that Thomas Wayne was the perfect vessel - but I think the guy has talked enough about demonic possession and being of "two minds" and duality and such to imply that poor old Thomas is sharing his head with something else.

    And the Hunter kills the Wolf, but it's the KNIGHT that kills the Dragon.

    I was excited at how well the Hyper-Adapter jives with Professor Pyg's psychotic rant

    "The box, the box ... the despair pit." he said. That sounds a hell of a lot like Ancestor-Box.

    "Mondays she's Mormo, formless chaos" - the Hyper-Adapter after using that squid-form would theoretically shift into some sort of formless, bodiless spirit that could possess like a demon.

    "Tuesdays it's Tiamat this and Tiamat that". Tiamat was a Dragon, specifically one slain by MARDUK - who is the namesake of MORDECAI.

    "Wednesdays it's the gorgon queen with flickering tongues for hair" (paraphrased). The hideous Hyperfauna squid-form is very much like some sort of Gorgon or Medusa in appearance.

    Not to mention that Professor Pyg employs incantation-speak, or almost Cthulhuese speech with his "too-loo-loo-rah" words or whatever. And Annie, too, who inadvertently invited the Hyper-Adapter monster into the Timestream with her summoning spell, used Cthulhuese.

    Extra-Dimensional Elder Gods would be one and the same as Hyper-Adaptive Hyperfauna Squid-Demons, wouldn't they? And something like Darkseid would be able to pluck them from 4D space like an owner plucks a fish from a fishbowl and sets it loose after somebody, right?

  23. Again brilliant analysis by rikdad. ROBW and B&R are much more enjoyble with your articles. we should petetion dc to include these articles when trades of these stories come out. what do you think guys ?

  24. Rodrigo, it's probably not a pearl necklace, but it has been a consistent plot item in ROBW. It's mentioned quite a bit in #1, and Bruce shows it in #4 as proof that he's The One that Catherine's family is saving the box for.

  25. Shiny, Retro --
    I would (and did!) posit a distinction between what happens to OTW before the events of ROBW #4 and what happens to him between then and the "modern" Doctor Hurt (who goes back at least about 30 years... maybe much longer). I suspect, based on both his specific goals and the more intangible aspects of his demeanor, that he's got a substantially distinct mind in RIP than OTW has in ROBW. He may be switching personalities from moment to moment, like Leland in Twin Peaks and Two Face Two in Batman #700. For example, in ROBW, the line "Are you one of them? I'll get you all in the end." could be the Devil speaking, with OTW (the body and mind in the rest of the issue) being one of the Waynes whom he'd already gotten. That could be the curse of Annie in action: the Devil's out to get them all.

    But it's safe to say that OTW speaks as a man, with a man's goals. Hurt frequently speaks as a being of pure evil, with utter assurance. Either the change happens between 1880 and 1980 or whether it already happened in 1765 and he was already flipping back and forth in ROBW.

    Retro, the line to which I think you're referring in B&R #2 is Hebrew:

  26. "Darksied fall create hole in things" this could be more clear if we know more about the nature of Darksied fall. story of Darksied fall was supposed to be published in final crisis secret files, due to some reason it didnt publish, if it was I am sure morrison would drop more hints regarding the hole in things. Any way I have faith in morrison that every thing would be revealed in due time.

  27. I absolutely love the last page.

    In keeping with the Platonic references, we see Bruce Wayne fulfilling the allegory of the cave, where Plato articulated the world of forms. It's complete with the fire and projections on the wall. I can't believe I didn't realize that Morrison was pulling directly from the allegory of the cave in this scene until now.

    And what does Bruce do when he steps out of that cave? He becomes the archetypal Barbatos.

    Awesome stuff.

  28. Mike, interesting point about Vanishing Point. The tentacles don't quite match, but Jurgens may know something we don't and be putting it into the story. I've mentioned before that most of Bruce's jumps involve water (but when he vanishes at the end of #3, he's near water but not in it).

  29. D, interesting conjecture about the threat. But Wonder Woman calls Bruce "rogue". And I'd expect the JLA to face a mere monster with total assurance of winning. So even if the monster is the problem, it's got to be packing more ammunition than just tentacles.

  30. Navras, that's a novel observation, the link to The Invisibles. Definitely the kind of pattern that GM recycles.

    The devil/bat thing has been an idea that's surfaced before, in #665, #666, and even other writers' work.

  31. Oddball, true! I noticed the Knight's plane before. During RIP, I thought we might find out that Hurt caused the Knight's downfall (drug addiction, loss of fortune) as practice for Batman. I think we still might. GM plays a very deep game.

  32. R, thanks for the suggestion. Maybe someone at DC is reading?

    We see Darkseid's fall in DC Universe #0, but there's not much information to be had there.

  33. Kris, that's an important observation that I missed. "The Cave" is pointed to by this story with big red flashing arrows. A cave, essences standing in for the whole. A great connection between Platonic idealism and comics is the assertion that what's ethereal is primary to what is material. Although in #666, Morrison asserts that dualism -- and the star with two upright points -- is a devil meme.

  34. "But Wonder Woman calls Bruce "rogue". And I'd expect the JLA to face a mere monster with total assurance of winning. So even if the monster is the problem, it's got to be packing more ammunition than just tentacles. "

    True but I wouldn't take those tentacles as just that. Maybe this thing uses its tentacles to wrap itself around time/space as to manipulate it in ways to keep its subject trapped. Bruce possibly could have seen what we see on the page and thought it was just only that.

    The JLA may not even know about that thing and we may be seeing them after-fact of Bruce's return with the hyper-adapter. All they may have saw was Bruce returning but not the creature destroying everything to keep him trapped.

    What Bruce attacked in the cave could have been a physical manifestation of the hyper-adapter and possibly he did injury it enough to where he could start out-running it as we haven't seen it since except when he is at Vanishing Point and it shows up detected.

    Who knows though really lol. It seemed at that point Bruce had some sort of motherbox or something and created that field to keep the other heroes away from the time sphere.

    It's been a fun ride and you do a great job of making at least some or most of it make sense Rikdad :)

  35. Yes Rikdad darkseid fall shown in dc universe#0 but the solicitation of of final crisis secret files have is that it will be story on darksied fall but we dont get it and in batman #702 it stated his fall create hole in things now darkeid gone only hole remains this disrgard the theory that darksied plan is to return in any form in robw only what the aftereffects of what he do to batman in FC#6 will be dealt with and yes hurt is connected to darksied but not in a way we think, may be hurt and hyper adapter maybe darkseid contingency plan in case he was defeated and regarding hole other cryptic statements thorough out morrison batman run and rip and final crisis like bruce says there is hole where my heart should be dont remember the issue # and in final crisis #7 darksied says more or less the same thing sun is set forever there is blackhole where my heart should be finally moniter Nix Uotan says that black hole in the base of creation where darkeid fell through and of course Dr hurt famous statement at conclusion of rip. I am thinking may be morrison purpose fully not wrote that fall story just to wait for ROBW and batman #702 it will be cleared with release of ROBW #6 cant wait for 6th oct the awesome batman and Dc week, right now it seems so far away :)

  36. Great posts from everyone.

    I really enjoyed this issue, especially for its mythic resonances.

    The "Plato's cave" stuff is an excellent touch. We've all heard about how the first "comics" were the picture stories dawn on cave walls. Morrison referenced that concept in Final Crisis, where the last thing we see is the shadowy form of Batman drawing comic-character symbols on the cave wall. Now Morrison brings in the reference to "shadows on Plato's cave" as well. When you leave Plato's cave, you're reborn, seeing reality for the first time; and that's sort of what happens to amnesiac Bruce Wayne at the beginning of RoBW #1.

    I'm not sure if the "dualism" aspects really work in regard to the cave-drawing as Morrison uses it, though. (Certainly in other parts of his recent work, we clearly see Platonic idealism in relation to the New Gods.) And frankly, what Morrison (through Damian) seemed to imply in #666 about devilish dualism really stood out to me as a low point of the entire run. It seemed like a throwback to aspects of the exaggerated "We are all One" New Age bullsh*t that he and so many other thinkers fell for a few decades ago. In some sense, opposites exist as opposites; in other senses, opposites are part of larger wholes; and in most cases there're more than two sides to every issue anyway. To take such a strident side on any of this stuff, to make sweeping demonizations (literally!) of duality or unity, is poor form, imo.

    Personally, I enjoy a lot of the Invisibles, but it's pleased me to see GMo grow out of some predictable New Age-y forms of thought. Even the very notion that The Devil can exist as a bad guy--that's a step in the right direction for Morrison. It's not that he's retreated into a Manichean form of thought; but rather he's pushed through the New Age bullsh*t where "Nothing's really bad or good--we're all the same" and come to realize, yeah, some forces just want to do evil for evil's sake. But, long story short, I think the two upward points signifying the devilish fallacy of dualism was probably just an old throwback idea he thought to reference again. Or maybe we're to infer that young adult Damian in #666 still falls for New Age modes of thinking that GMo has discarded. (FWIW, Damian in #666 isn't quite sure that the Devil even exists, remember ("I know the Devil exists--or something exists that may as well be the Devil") And Morrison seems to be telling us that, in Damian's world at least, yes, boy, demons do exist).

  37. I sent the webmaster of Grant's official website a link to this blog asking if he could pass it along to Grant.

    I would love to read Rikdad's interview with Grant Morrison. So here's hoping we can make that happen!

  38. it may have been already mentioned, but first time I saw the tentacle from the hyper-adapter box I immediately thought of that thing that was on the back of bat-mite. and even if it isn't I have a feeling that will play a larger part...

  39. Kevin ... if the Hyper-Adapter Hurt is wearing Thomas Wayne like a black glove ... it stands to reason that the 5th Dimensional gremlin latched to Bat-Mite's back (with five finger-like claws) is wearing "the implanted psychological codes" like a black glove as well.

    I always thought Bat-Mite, who seemed to be helping Bruce with cold logic ... actually sounded more like he was purposely trying to hold Bruce back and lead him to his doom.

    If the Hyper-Adapter can possess 5th Dimensional imaginary friends as well as 3rd Dimension wicked ancestors, than being a hyper-demon is pretty terrifying.