Batman #681 – “Batman R.I.P. Part 6: Hearts in Darkness”

Posted by on Wednesday, November 26th, 2008 at 04:47:41 PM
Batman #681

Batman #681

Yeah, yeah, I know I have shitty reactions sometimes. Full-on notes below the jump, although this issue is way more straightforward than normal.

Page 1: Batman wakes up in the cave. If this is supposed to be, like later in the book, Batman’s final entry in the Black Casebook, the narration in third-person is kind of bizarre.

Pages 2 & 3: The Book of Changes is the I-Ching, and that line was spoken by the character of that name back in Batman #670, the first part of “Resurrection of Ra’s al Ghul.”

Page 4: Flashback. The gargoyle in the first panel heavily resembles the Joker, with the third eye and forked tongue; I’m not sure who the second and third are supposed to be.

Page 5: I have no idea who the dark master is supposed to be; assumedly the Black Glove. I’m not sure why Zur En Arrh is backwards, but it definitely signifies the hole in Bruce’s mind. The last page seems to provide a clearer clue as to its origin.

Page 6: I love the blank word balloons for Pierrot Lunaire, the mime. I’m not sure what the billboard of the which with wires in her head is referring to, if anything?

Page 7: Dark Ranger’s replacement with his successor parallels the feel with Batman near the end of the story, obviously.

Page 8: The Club of Heroes from the, well, Club of Heroes arc (667-669). Beryl Hutchinson/Squire, Cyril Sheldrake/The Knight, Red Raven, Chief Man-of-Bats, Gaucho, Musketeer.

Page 11: Well, this is the Joker’s revenge I was hoping for.

Page 12: The art suggests that this Batcomputer is located in Wayne Tower rather than the Batcave (which got compromised), again reinforcing how prepared Batman was for this.

Page 17: The time he beat Robin’s brains with a crowbar that Joker’s referring to was the death of Jason Todd back in Batman #427. Joker again equates Simon Hurt with the devil. Apophenia is the experience of seeing patterns that don’t exist in random things, which I guess Joker is accusing Batman of either having or causing him to have.

Page 22: Again with the devil references, implying Hurt was responsible for the deaths of the people involved in the movie.

Page 23: I’m not sure what Damian just indiscriminately ramming an ambulance off a bridge signifies here, other than maybe the new guard replacing the old? Still, it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that’d kill Joker.

Page 23: It seems Batman used the trigger phrase to create the alternate persona while in Thogal, reducing the Black Glove’s ability to control him?

Page 24: The page where Simon Hurt’s identity is left up in the air. At first he claims to be Thomas Wayne, but Bruce shuts him down; still, the comment about Chill losing his nerve is accurate back from #673. Bruce points out that he’s Mangrove Pierce, who was seen in photographs with Bruce’s father discussed in #677 (although they may have been faked). Hurt claims he wore Mangrove Pierce’s skin, a claim the Black Glove made about Mayhew back in #667 as well. Hurt’s final clue is that he is the “HOLE in things, Bruce, the ENEMY, the piece that can NEVER FIT, there since the beginning.” Is that a statement that Hurt is the Devil for sure? Was this arc really Batman versus the Devil?

Page 25: I assume the “next time you wear it will be your LAST!” comment is referring to Final Crisis. Obviously Batman survives this experience tow rite this final entry.

Page 26: That’s the Third Batman with Hurt in the helicopter, who starts repeating to himself that the house always wins. (Definitely not a third guy in the helicopter, as Tony Daniel confirms). Again with the mentions of the devil, this time as the Nietzschean abyss Batman faced down in Thogal. It’s interesting that the mystery man says “The Black Glove always wins” as Batman punches in the window with his, well, black-gloved fist.

Page 27: “And was that FEAR in his eyes?” is a pretty badass line. I guess it could double for whatever Batman saw in the mystery man’s face between punching the glass and the helicopter exploding (I’m really still not clear on *why* it exploded, since it didn’t seem to hit anything).

Page 28: The way Nightwing’s standing and holding the cowl is very reminiscent of Batman’s pose when Damian “blew up” on the last page of Batman #658.

Page 29: The Man-Bats attacking Jet’s, well, jet were almost definitely sent by Talia, as commenter Madkal points out, so I assume she’s dead.

Page 30: This is clearly the scene referred to on the first page, where the mysterious new Batman and Robin declare “BATMAN AND ROBIN CAN NEVER DIE!” in Crisis weather (or maybe after, really). Someone’s killed Cardinal Maggi; maybe the same person who went after Jezebel Jet’s plane with the bats? It seems weird this would drive Bruce Wayne to murder, so…?

Page 31: I really love this page, it’s practically a pitch-perfect ending, and kind of a great statement on Batman. It also fairly definitively links the “Zur En Arrh” phraseword to the experience as a child of seeing Zorro, since the word does kind of sound like a bastardized/slowed-down version of “Zorro.”

UPDATE: Commenters Amadeo and Super-Dad very correctly point out it actually sounds like a bastardization of “Zorro in Arkham,” which are Thomas Wayne’s last words.

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