Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Batman and Robin 16

One has to give Doctor Hurt credit. While most villains over the years have gone down easily when opposed by Batman, Hurt stayed alive, uncaptured, and largely on the offense until he had to face the combined efforts of two Batmen, one Robin, and the Joker. He was formidable enough that he had, and passed on, opportunities to kill both Batmen in a failed effort to achieve an even larger victory. But his elaborate plans kept the heroes off-balance for years. What was puzzling them -- and us -- was the nature of his game.

For Hurt, this issue begins and ends underground, and he spends most of the middle underground. All three of these subterranean scenes are memorable. First, we see the ceremony which is not quite the origin of Doctor Hurt -- he is already devoted to evil and practiced in Satanic rites in 1765 when he manages to raise a bat apparition that he takes for a demon and which somehow, perhaps telepathically, utters cryptic messages totaling just 22 words that forge a deal with Thomas and drops clear references to Darkseid.

Key parts of Hurt's origin as Thomas Wayne -- not Bruce's father but a young man in the Wayne family looking a lot like Bruce in 1765 -- had been hinted at over the last several issues. The issue begins with a faithful retelling of the ritual from Peter Milligan's 1990 story "Dark Knight, Dark City" in Batman #452-455. Six men prepare to sacrifice a woman in order to raise a demon, Barbatos. Thomas -- Jefferson in Milligan's story, Jefferson or Wayne in Morrison's -- objects at a key moment and the men flee. But in Morrison's version, only five men flee while Thomas Wayne remains to face the demon. As much as we know of Hurt's story, this is when Old Thomas Wayne became something special. Did he receive supernatural powers? He received at least one, longevity, contingent upon various blood rituals, just like Manfred in his deal with Satan in Morrison's 1990 story "Gothic."

What this made of Thomas who, identifying with Simon Magus, called himself Simon and eventually Doctor Simon Hurt, is hinted at in sentence fragments uttered (telepathically?) by Barbatos, then later made absolutely clear when Hurt, looking in a mirror and seeing or imagining Barbatos, says "I live to be your weapon." This line is the absolute nail-in-the-coffin proof that Hurt does not imagine himself to be the ultimate evil, but rather the servant of a greater evil. If we find out more about this Barbatos, we may find out if it truly is what the issue's solicit calls "ultimate evil."

Barbatos is clearly associated with the Hyper Adapter that Darkseid set loose in Batman #702 (in a previously unrevealed detail from Bruce's showdown with Darkseid in Final Crisis #6), and is most likely exactly that. Despite Hurt's vision, we see that no actual giant bat is present, just a large one that Thomas bites into in; if the issue's title had been "Black Sabbath" instead of "Black Mass" the farcical aspects of this arc could have added a guest appearance by celebrity bat-biter Ozzy Osbourne.

Though we see Thomas and Barbatos in their deal, interesting details regarding each and their association itself remain unclear. Thomas is already in search of "the mystery box" which came into being probably some years earlier in time for Jack Valor to see it in ROBW #3. The excitement with which one of the fiends yells "Barbatos!" upon seeing the box in B&R #12 might make one think that the box was the key to Barbatos, but here and in ROBW #5, Thomas indicates that Barbatos is the key to the box. We know that something dreadful is in the box, but it has contained lately and perhaps for a long time a bat-tracer and a note. Why did Thomas want the box? Is Barbatos, in saying "Omega Adapter," identifying itself or is it a different thing, perhaps not Apokoliptan at all, speaking of the box? This remains unclear and may be part of the true finale to this story in ROBW #6. Another riddle is why this encounter took place at all -- Thomas thinks he brought it about, but was making Hurt part of the Omega plan? If so, pestering Batman seems like an irrelevant add-on to a plan to destroy the world, particularly odd in that Hurt's major blow already came before Bruce faced Darkseid. A smaller riddle is why Barbatos calls Thomas "dark twin." Maybe it is exercising its knowledge of dead languages -- "Thomas" means "twin." Maybe Thomas is the actual twin of an 18th century Wayne, Darius or another. Or if this really is all about Bruce, maybe Barbatos considers Thomas to be a twin to the object of its primary objective.

The battle in Wayne Manor features Bruce Wayne, in a surprising reemergence that seems to be factually contradicted by last month's Road Home story. And so, in his great return, Bruce is a man who surprisingly comes back from a long torturous journey to stand beside his son (and closest friend) and fight against a large number of enemies who have taken his home -- this is the plot of Book XXII of The Odyssey, a chapter commonly called "Death in the Great Hall." This is Batman's version of that story, right down to the bow and arrow that Damian uses.

The Dynamic Trio, each of them taking on 33 Fiends, is easily able to overwhelm the muscle in Hurt's plan, and the story thereafter refers much more to Morrison's Batman story of 2008 than to Greek classics. Just as Bruce descended into Arkham in RIP he descends into the Batcave. Just as the Joker taunted him by loudspeaker then, Hurt does so now. Just as Jezebel called out for help then, Alfred does so now. And just as the Joker then shouted in triumph that Bruce was finally finding out what it was like to be him (the clown at midnight), Hurt shouts now, as he locks Batman in a vault, that Bruce is finally finding out what it is like to be "second best," "the Devil in Hell." That is a reference not only to Hurt's role as an outcast but to the "fallen angel" brand of Devil who regrets having been cast into Hell, second best to the king of Heaven whom he could not overthrow. Rolling on with references to the earlier story, Hurt quotes one of the lines that the Army doctor who inspired Hurt had in Batman #156, "One of man's most primitive fears is loneliness," which was also cited by Morrison in Batman #673. And then, in a moment that fandom has been waiting for, the story offers the real meaning (Hurt's meaning, anyway) of RIP as he curses Bruce to "Rot in purgatory."

Above ground, Dick and Damian take down Professor Pyg who identifies himself as the pig named Napoleon (who was himself an allusion to Stalin) from George Orwell's Animal Farm. With a burning "Mommy Made of Nails" and one lie, they neutralize Pyg by turning his own victims upon him.

Below ground, Bruce, probably having cracked his grandmother Betsy's story from ROBW #5, tells us that Hurt was the one who had been kept in the secret room, undoubtedly the criminal whose activities brought drug and rape allegations down around Bruce's father. And when Hurt claims to be Bruce's father we can see that he's no longer just flailing for a way to get a psychological edge -- he actually cannot stop speaking and possibly believing delusions about his identity, putting the lie retroactively to his implication a few pages earlier of knowing what the Devil feels like. He exults in being for Bruce what he has so long been for the readers, an endless puzzle, a case we can never close.

The Joker leads Hurt via a trail of 1-and-8 dominoes to a Clint Eastwood showdown with Hurt that leads him to the banana peel we saw prominently last time. A look at the line of Poe scrawled on the door of Alan Wayne's tomb reminds us once more of the dark, flapping things that visited the protagonist of The Raven, Bruce in his study as shown back in Detective #33 (Morrison, in Batman #682, has the bat land on a bust to copy The Raven more closely), and Old Thomas himself in this issue's first scene.

And so, mirroring the final events setting up Bruce's worst moments going into RIP's final issue, this story's final issue has Hurt's face smashed into glass before he is set laughing by Joker venom and buried alive in a coffin. This is also how the Joker disposed of the real Oberon Sexton, but Hurt, being immortal (why he has aged enough to play Bruce's father is not addressed), just may get out of this trap at his leisure, if his inability to perform blood rituals and "space voodoo" doesn't do him in down there.

Both the Joker and Hurt are hit by Bruce at comical punch line moments, Hurt asking Barbatos for a sign and the Joker asking what could be funnier than his stint as a crimefighter. He ends, though, as a gravedigging clown, taking us back to the prose issue of Batman #663, not to mention Hamlet.

The main story at an end (give or take ROBW #6), the issue confirms Damian's emergence as a thermonuclear-bomb-defusing superhero and then gives us the set up for Batman, Inc. With Bruce Wayne deciding to make public his role in funding Batman's war on crime, we are launched into a new era that puts aside for now the dark, twisted ambiguous mysteries that have haunted Batman since he walked past unnoticed "Zur En Arrh" graffiti in Batman #655. As Lois Lane was long fooled by glasses, the audience will likely fail to notice that the athletic man whose former ward is about the right age to be the first Robin and whose son is the right age to be the current Robin might actually be Batman. And so begins a new era for Batman.


  1. I for one am just happy to know that R.I.P. never stood for Rest In Peace with being a Morrison fan we know it's always more complicated/bigger than that.

  2. What happened to the resurrected imperfect clone? I cannot recall. Maybe, through some bizarre set of events, that clone became Hurt?

  3. That would lend more credence to the prophetic warnings of the crime bible

  4. Great post. What am wondering is this "The world's top brain surgeon" that dick mention could this lead to the return of hurt somehow or introduction of "hush" into grant story since he would fit into the whole Dr.\twin\stolen identity am just throwing my two cents.

  5. Great post Rikdad! Was waiting for it as much as the comic itself!

    First up, I just want to say that reading Grant Morrison on Batman, wouldn't have been nearly as much fun without your excellent analysis and theories to fall back on time and again. Speaking for myself, I don't care in the least if some of your theories were on or off the mark. The important thing is through your dedicated effort and considerable research & time, you gave other readers myself included, an intelligent erudite platform to theorize, discuss and share our excitement for the ongoing Batman saga. I remember the hype behind Batman 'Hush' all those years ago, where the whole story & the related discussion was hinged on the identity of that one mystery villain. While Dr. Hurt was an intriguing villain in his own right, this saga/epic was so much richer having so many more layers & patterns & backstories attached to it. So thank you for making this ride so much more enjoyable and accessible :)!

    Now questions:

    1. Artwork shifts: The ending of B&R #15 was Irving's work, bathed in shadow and mystery as the mysterious 'Bat God' emerges. The beginning of B&R #16, set in the same library, though expertly drawn, loses out on 'atmosphere'. Gone is the muted pallette and the shadows. Everything is so well-lit and sharply rendered. Plus, Hurt who looked so rattled at the end of the last issue, looks his smug self again, faced with Bruce/Batman. Shouldn't he look a little flummoxed at least?

    2. Someone had mentioned this on the DC boards. When Bruce smashes Hurt's face into glass, does he start aging rapidly? For the last sequence with the Joker which is drawn by Irving, he's back to normal again. Just an artistic decision/inconsistency or something more?

    3. So what was the giant bat that dick saw underground? Another manifestation of the Hyper adapter? Didn't Hurt destroy it when he killed and ate that bat? Will this be explained in ROBW#6?

    4. This issue pretty much destroys the notion behind "The Road Home". Bruce is back in a public press conference and already focussed on "Batman Inc". It seems most unlikely, from a story p.o.v. that he would choose this moment to go out cavorting in his 'Insider' suit! Plus, Vicky Vale (the only coherent but stretched thin plot point behind the Road home) being a member of the press, would no doubt have chosen this moment to confront Bruce!

    But I really enjoyed the issue, especially the revelation of what R.I.P. really meant! Bruce approving of Damian and entrusting him the bomb/Dick's health was another added bonus.

  6. Bravo Rikdad.
    Brilliant exploration of what's been going on, and intimating on what could be a grand future for the franchise.

  7. Thank you for everything you have done Rikdad, you have made Grant's run that much more fun. Will you be continueing to post about Batman Inc. once that starts to come out? Who knows, maybe Hurt will return in Inc's "Second Season".

  8. There might be an art mistake or a mistake on your part but...Who is that punches Joker? It should be Bruce, for poetry's sake since Joker is saying how batman is gone. And it makes most sense since Dick should be on his way to intensive care. But check out the buckle, technically that is Dick ounching out the Joker

  9. @Will88

    I believe it's just an art thing on Frazier Irving's part. If you look at the panel where Bruce surfaces with Alfred, he's wearing the Dickbats belt buckle.

  10. I don't know if anybody has noticed this yet but before Joker gets punched in the face, he makes a whistle. The same whistle back in B&R15 that opens up the box. Of course, this can also be just an artist's choice and have no connection at all but it would be something to think about o_o
    I say it is Bruce that punches out Joker because Dick is wearing a completely different type belt throughout Irvings's take. Why the sudden switch?

  11. And note, John, that purgatory is a place one gets out of. Hurt should have chosen his words more carefully.

  12. gibsons, at the end of #9, Dick says "I'm handing this over to the Justice League." He may mean the body of the clone as well as the case of finding Bruce.

  13. Thanks for pointing that out Rikdad. If you mentioned this already, and I missed it, I do apologize, but can you speculate as to why Hurt's vision of the Bat-god has the New God's protective talisman marking on its face? It looks like the symbol that Kamandi passed on to the first super-hero (his name eludes me at the moment) in Final Crisis 1 (he dies with it on his face as Old-Man in FC 7). I think the marking appeared on the time capsule that was sent out in FC 7 as well

  14. Here is a post about the history of the interrogation room on Comics Alliance

  15. I was so surprised that it was Batman that actually showed up at the end of B&R 15!! I still don't feel a sense of closure. I am hoping Return of Bruce Wayne will deliver on that. Reading your blog made this journey twice as fun, Rikdad.

  16. What I found interesting was where the Joker said to Hurt that "the new kid and me are too much alike."

    It makes a very interesting counterpoint to Dick's earlier statement that he had the Joker figured out when he was twelve.

  17. Joker's comment there solidified a lot of my views about how Dick Grayson was his greatest playmate of all time. I mean, that's what they did ... games, gags, improv routines. And both of them used Bruce as the "straight man".

    Claiming that Dick Grayson is the reason why Joker stopped murdering for a few years really goes full circle to Grayson being the one narrating "Dark Knight Down" ("The Joker stopped killing people and there was this brilliant clown running around ...")

  18. Absolutely loved your conjecture on what's been one of the best series in comics for ages.

    Not sure if it's been mentioned elsewhere but something was bugging me since my first read of #16 and the penny has just dropped,

    The trail of 1/8 dominoes. or rather 8/1. The 8th letter of the alphabet being H, the 1st A = HAHAHAHAHA....

    God I love GM so much sometimes.

  19. Erstlaub -- Fantastic! Same sequence from the cards in DC Universe #0: 8A8A. Wonderful observation!

    The dominoes that came up previously were:

    Toad: 12-12 = LL
    Pyg: 12 - 11 = KL, LK
    Santo: 12-10? = LJ, JL
    Naberius: 4-1 =AD/DA

    Probably no meaning there. But "HAHA"... we have a winner. Great observation! I squinted at the dominoes looking for something, but there it is.

  20. RetroWarbird- I really like your take one the Joker / Dick Grayson. That makes a lot of sense to me.
    Erstlaub- Nice catch on the Dominos! I hadn't noticed that, and thats really cool touch.
    That whole sequence with Joker burying Hurt was really dark and unsettling.

    Has anyone been reading Azreal? I was wondering about Michael Lane.

  21. There seem to be too many lose ends,What of the confrontation with the Time Masters? Thar seems completely forgotten.

  22. Am sure they fix that with comic

  23. Will, it has to be Bruce who punches the Joker. It's funnier than if Dick does (the Joker just told Hurt that Bruce is gone). And, Dick was already incapacitated and on the way to the hospital. It'd be crazy for him to go to Wayne Manor, throw one punch, and then go back to the city.

    By the way, if this story eats itself, the doctor who operated on Dick will turn out to be evil and to have implanted a chip in his head.

  24. Dispatch, great comments all around. I don't think Hurt was disintegrating, but being drawn that way.

    Everything about the Hyper Adapter remains curious. Was it ever in the casket? If so, how did it get there? When did the switcheroo happen?

    It remains possible that "Barbatos" is *not* the Hyper-Adapter, although the mutual purple speech balloons in Batman #702 and B&R #16 argue that it is. The oddity is why Hurt would ask Barbatos three times to lead him to the box. And the lingering evidence that Bruce inspired it.

  25. Dave, Retro,

    Dick's persona and effect on the Joker is of course metatextual: Batman comics got lighter when Robin came onboard. But not totally; Dick actually kills one of Zucco's men in his first story as Robin.

    The other metatextual moment in #16 that I loved was Damian asking if Bruce was a clone or a robot. It's like he's read lots of comics.

  26. Rikdad said:
    "Everything about the Hyper Adapter remains curious. Was it ever in the casket? If so, how did it get there? When did the switcheroo happen?

    It remains possible that "Barbatos" is *not* the Hyper-Adapter, although the mutual purple speech balloons in Batman #702 and B&R #16 argue that it is. The oddity is why Hurt would ask Barbatos three times to lead him to the box. And the lingering evidence that Bruce inspired it."

    Yes! This is why I love and am infuriated by Morrison! Another Dark twin reference? Triplets with Bruce, Hurt and the adaptor? Return of BW #6 better answer some of these questions. He really knows how to keep us guessing. Question: at the end of RoBW#5, what does Bruce Wayne mean about what he "became"?

  27. Rikdad,

    First off big fan of the blog and the comments during RIP on the DCU boards.

    Just wanted to help clear up the confusion regarding Dick punching out the Joker. I believe there is a line between Bruce and Alfred stating that Dick had unfinished business to take care of (i.e. not letting the Joker get away).

  28. Great post. One thing BUGS me, however:

    Clearly, "Hurt" has blue/black hair and blue eyes in 1765 (pp. 1-7)

    Flash to the present, Hurt has brown hair and brown eyes (p. 8)

    So - is that actually Hurt depicted in 1765? Or the modern Hurt rocking coloured contact lenses and hair dye to better match father Thomas?

    I am not wholly convinced, I must say. There might be a couple more twists to come in ROTBW...

  29. So how do we reconcile ANY of this with The Road Home? Or are we just simply to ignore it? That's fine with me - it was terribly written anyway. But I find it sad the DC undermined some great work by Morrison with another book that completely contradicts everything about Batman and Robin.

  30. Anthony: the line about unfinished business seems to come from Robin, as reported by Alfred. We don't yet find out what that refers to...

    Dick collapses while helping Robin handle Pyg, so I assume he's on the operating table from the until the coda and it's Bruce who thumps the Joker.

  31. I enjoy the ambiguity that remains with Hurt, even though I know at least the root of the problem - the worm, the dragon, the snail - Hyper-Adapter - will be further explained next week.

    But the question is: How much of Tom Wayne is still Tom Wayne? The various mentions of duality we've covered - the dissections of his phrases that seem like they're coming from two different voices - and Bruce's semi-final statement to him "But you're not even totally human, are you?" or whatever ... really seems to frame that mystery nicely.

    So it's ambiguous. Darkseid's revenge turned a Wayne into a demon - a Wayne ended up being Bruce's worst enemy. The snail in the spiral shell. A "space demon worm" using a human's "empty black hole of a soul" as its house.

    And there's still 100% ambiguity about the likes of Pyg, Santo, Flamingo ... the 99 Fiends ... the Nine-Eyed Man ... if they have association to any of the R.I.P.-era Black Glove members (It seems logical to me, I've been plugging that concept for a few weeks now).

  32. I think stories like the "Road Home" are ment as an alternative for fans who like their Batman comics played safe, dull, and unremarkable.

  33. "stories like the "Road Home" are ment as an alternative for fans who like their Batman comics played safe, dull, and unremarkable."

    Exactly Jonny — much like "Death of the New Gods" contradicted and undermined the events in "Final Crisis." It's best to recognize comics like "Road Home" for what they are: ancillary mini-series that DC is producing as moderate cash-cows because they tie into something much bigger and wilder of Morrison's. Of course, these tie-ins are typically poorly written and even contradictory. The best response is to simply ignore them — ideally by not buying them in the first place.

  34. Well, Hurt's eyes were blue in the first issue of Batman R.I.P.

  35. Anthony,

    Alfred tells Damian that Bruce had unfinished business. And Bruce ran to get there, because he is already out of the room by the time Damian tries to address Bruce. What Bruce ran out of the room to do was go after the Hurt/Joker situation, whereupon he finds the Joker and throws a punch.

  36. On the matter of Hurt's coloration:

    In ROBW #4, he is shown with brown hair and a brown jacket when he rises from his seat on the wagon to confront Bruce. Seconds later, when he is hit from behind by Savage, he has black hair and a black jacket.

    In a nutshell, the coloring changes on a whim. I'm not sure why. But I tried to use such things as eye color to work on the mystery in Identity Crisis and it proved utterly useless: Jean Loring and Hal Jordan both had discrepant eye colors in that story, and it turned out not to be a clue, just the whim of the artist.

    I originally wondered if there were actually an additional person in the gathering of villains in #676. The more I looked at the run, the more I found small inconsistencies not only in coloring but in art. For example, the establishing shot for the mayor-Gordon conversation in #677 shows speech balloons coming from a glass skyscraper, but the speech balloons later come from a stone building with gargoyles. I also noticed that the layout of the restaurant where Bruce and Jezebel dine changes from one panel to another in Batman #665.

    It's just not the kind of detail that can deliver useful clues because there isn't enough consistency to distinguish between intentional changes and accidental changes.

  37. Ah yes, you're clearly right about that radio conversation. Anthony and I both got confused in separate ways.

    A slight problem with Hurt/Thomas is that he doesn't have distinguishing characteristics like Gordon's mustache. He's "Like Bruce Wayne, but older" in the contemporary stuff, and in earlier stories he's younger, but there's no obvious distinguishing mark or feature in his face to tell us it's the same guy. This would be fine if it were always the same artist interpreting him...

    I do think it's poor work by the artist that in the confrontation by the fireplace here, Hurt shows no signs of middle age whatsoever. He's very blandly drawn in these pages.

  38. Very true Rikdad, spotting plot points on colouring errors in works by different artists and different colourists over a long period of time is a mug's game - occam's razor suggests that mistakes were involved.

    The matter of hair/eye colour in #16 is rather more interesting, however, as it is clearly deliberate - the same colourist and the same artist colour Hurt in two distinctly different ways with perfect consistency; the blue eyed /haired version in 1765, and the Brown eyed/haired version in the present.

    The Devil has many faces, it seems...

  39. I enjoyed the run tremendously, as I did your close textural analysis, Rikdad. But I feel either terribly slow or picky about the resolution. What was all of that stuff about Bruce's return setting off a time-rendering explosion? (In actuality, as part of his return,a nuclear bomb was diffused; no explosion.) I feel that the Domino Killer plot wasn't well resolved. Did the Joker kill Mr. Toad? How? Whither Batwoman? How did the craving toxin antidote reach the populace? Why would Joker hang around well within the range of a nuclear explosion (OK, I guess you can say because he's insane, but he's never shown a tendency toward self-annihilation previously.) In short, I pity the ordinary fan just trying to follow B&R #1-16 without aids such as this blog provides. I have those annotations, and I'm still quite confused. Here's one: what the heck is a Hyper-Adapter and when did it appear? I presume it's in some other GM-penned book, but I really just got on board for B&R.

  40. Penman, good point about it being the same artist and colorist. Clearly, Hurt's appearance has changed during the life of (the younger) Thomas Wayne so as to age about as much as Thomas Wayne did. But if there are any details as to why he would be aging, they have been left out.

  41. Mr. Mike,
    The details of Bruce's return and the apocalyptic threat of his return have "already happened" but we haven't seen it. It should be explained in ROBW #6. The Joker killed Toad (as said in #13), and it must have been poison (although the teaser at the end of #1 shows blood). The virus was spread around Gotham in B&R #2, so the antidote would have been administered to those people.

    The Hyper-Adapter, introduced in Batman #702, is the intelligent machine that follows Bruce and creates a trap just for him. (Of course, Darkseid was lying, to some extent, but that much is probably true.)

    Good point on the Joker and the nuke. One might also say that Bruce's pursuit of Hurt, and Dick and Damian's of Pyg, were highly misplaced with the prospect that everyone could die. Of course, pragmatically, one would expect for them to call the JLA and have someone super-powered to take care of it with assuredness. But it's a Batman book, so his allies had to save the day.

  42. As always rikdad your blog make morrison run alot more fun thanks for that. There is lot of discussion going on regarding barbatos it seems that this issue almost clear the matter of barbatos. What is implied so far is that Barbatos is the legend inspired by bruce wayne time among the miagni tribe at the time of robw #2 and #3 this legend of either bat god or bat demon take it firm root in gotham. All the time old thomas think that barbatos provide him with prolong life it was actually hyper adapter. This was also implied in b&r #16 when bruce said to hurt that you were exposed to the weapon from another world. There was no barbatos what occultists were seeing is in their heightened senses by drug induced state as shown in Peter Milligan Dark Knight Dark City or maybe hyper adapter showing occultists what they want to saw. This also fit with all the talk about darkseid fall create hole in things now only hole remain so indirectly darkseid was responsible for the transformation of OTW into dr hurt. Hurt was the fool who trying to raise the same demon inspired by bruce and what ever the original contents of casket were already taken out before hurt open it in b&r #15 perhaps by bruce himself. Two things that still doesn't make sense what was that giant bat dick saw in bat cave in either b& 11 or 12? and what to make of it the bat shown with bruce in ceremony when he was in flames in robw#5? To me that theory seems to fit to me until robw#6 says other wise.

  43. A cursory re-read of R.I.P. indicates that even with the same artist and colorist, Doctor Hurt's eyes change from brown to blue all the time, and it has nothing to do with "what era" he's depicted in. In R.I.P. # 1 he has blue eyes. In R.I.P. # 2 he has brown.

    Just to quickly throw a possible explanation besides "color error" out there (and I'd still bet it's that) ... the Hyper-Adapter featured glowing blue orbs for eyes.

  44. I am excited for ROBW #6 tomorrow- Can't believe this terrific run is finally coming to an end. At least we have INC to look foward to.
    I am going to get the Batman and Robin Vol. 2 HC tomorrow too, I am looking foward to re-reading everything again.

  45. I think The Road Home happens (at least partly) before this issue b/c Bruce did not reveal himself to Dick and Damien in the Batman and Robin Road Home issue. Like the other people who commented, I agree that it doesn't matter either way b/c the Road Home is just filler and a way to suck more dough out of fans following this storyline.

    Also, when we see Hurt follow the trail of dominoes, who opened the doors to the Manor (Alfred says it was locked down)? Was it Damien working with the Joker or the Joker? Initially I thought it was Damien. I also thought that the Joker's comment about the new one being more like him referred to Damien ... but Dick works too.

  46. in RIP batman, drugged and wearing the tatters of a harlequin suit, experienced what it was like to be the clown at midnight.
    trapped in his own batcave, listening to alfred die, batman learned what it's like being the devil in hell.
    he's experienced EVERY eventuality at this point