Tuesday, October 12, 2010
What makes ROBW #5 central is that we are going to revisit the general timeframe of the Wayne murders. To be specific, Bruce is revisiting that era in person, having arrived not too long after the murders have taken place. The time travel journey of the Omega Sanction is going to give him an opportunity to interact with his own personal past, putting the adult Bruce in a world (of about 1980) where the child Bruce is just beginning a life mission. That Morrison would revisit this time frame had been promised by the flashbacks to the Wayne murders in his 2006-2008 run in Batman. My take, from over a year ago, on how inevitable this chapter of the story was can be seen here. Now that chapter is upon us.
The key story from the past is Detective #235. Morrison has been teasing a return to that story from the time he showed the Thomas Wayne batsuit from that 1956 comic in the first issues of his own run. Now, the preview for ROBW #5 shows that batsuit as the actress Marsha Lamarr asks Bruce to wear it. Very likely, he will wear it for the same reason he wore it in 1956 -- to intimidate the people responsible for the Waynes' deaths into thinking that Thomas has returned, supernaturally, to haunt them.
The 1956 story was itself a retcon of the 1948 story in Batman #47 that showed Batman confronting Joe Chill, the mugger whose unplanned killing of the Waynes set the course of Bruce's life. Detective #235 added the significant detail that a mobster named Lew Moxon hired Chill to settle a score. In both of these stories, Batman confronts the person behind his parents' deaths and the encounter results in the death of the malefactor. Morrison has revisited the first of those stories, that of the gunman Chill, in Batman #673. The last page of RIP hinted that the new Lew Moxon is actually the Black Glove, probably Doctor Hurt himself, who has intriguingly chosen to wear the Thomas Wayne batsuit. Why? As part of demonic worship? Does the cowl have some power? Did it affect Thomas when he wore it, and will it try to do so when Bruce wears it?
The answers, and another step closer to the shadowy backstory of Doctor Hurt himself, may come tomorrow.