Jan
3

Bruce Wayne: A Man of Wealth and Taste (Batmannotations Gaiden)

Posted by David Uzumeri on Sunday, January 3rd, 2010 at 08:25:42 PM

What if there were an ultimate villain out there, unseen? An absolute mastermind, closing in for the kill? What if there existed an invisible, implacable foe who’d calculated my every weakness? Who had access to allies, weapons and tactics I couldn’t imagine. An adversary whose plots and grand designs were so vast, so elaborate, that they went unnoticed… until it was too late. How could I prepare for a challenge like that? Would I have the resources to deal with it? I’ve often wondered. If my hypothetical ultimate enemy can be imagined, I can’t help considering the possibility that he actually exists. Breathing… feels like drowning. And if he exists… if the king of crime is real… is he telling me his name?

- Bruce Wayne, Batman #674

From Batman #666
From Batman #666

By the time we were about halfway through Batman R.I.P., and our esteemed British colleagues the Mindless Ones were divining hints from ancient Chinese wisdom, and I was still rambling on and on and on about goddammit no seriously they WILL reveal Alfred as the villain, there’s one thing we all agreed on: whether or not Simon Hurt was actually supposed to be the literal Devil, he certainly was a metaphorical one.

The question is – what’s the significance of that? If Simon Hurt is the Devil – or, as our li’l buddy Damian states there to the left, “may as well be” the Devil – then what does that mean? What, for all practical purposes, is the Devil?

Let’s talk it through. The Devil is a mythological creature, around since the dawn of human civilization, that serves as a cautionary example and inspires humans to do good through fear. He has pointy ears, and wings like a bat, and lives on through our culture as an eternal deterrent against crime – if you fuck up, you’re going to go to Hell where the Devil will tear the flesh from your bones and you will be in eternal torment. Nobody’s sure if he really exists – probably not, in our enlightened, post-religious, rational age, but you might even say he’s a sort of urban legend.

In short: Batman is, and always has been, the Devil. He inspires fear, he only punishes the wicked, he’s the Lord of the Underworld in Gotham City. So, who’s Simon Hurt? How can both he and Batman be the Devil? Certainly they both represent different aspects of the popular devil archetype – Batman is the deterrent Devil, while Hurt is the tempting one, the snake in the Garden of Eden.

Simon Hurt's temptation, from #681
Simon Hurt's temptation, from #681

So – who is Simon Hurt? He’s seemingly not supernatural, other than an apparent long life span; his methods are purely grounded and rational, employing a great deal of trickery and illusion, setting up massive games with innocent people based on Job-like bets. Comparisons to Fowles’s The Magus or the movie that kind of ripped it off, The Game, wouldn’t be at all inaccurate. And even when he tempts, he still punishes them eventually – he leaves the other fingers of the Black Glove to die at the end of “R.I.P.”, and when he calls Oberon Sexton at the end of Batman and Robin #6, he repeats the same thing he told them: “your sins have found you out.” It’s implied more than a little that even if Hurt isn’t Thomas Wayne or Mangrove Pierce, he still did know Bruce’s parents, and he seems awfully young for someone of that age. So: to Hell with it, let’s ascribe immortality, it’s a concept that’s certainly on the table ever since Nanda Parbat and the Lazarus Pits back in “Resurrection of Ra’s al Ghul.”

Batman and Ra's al Ghul discuss immortality, from #671
Batman and Ra's al Ghul discuss immortality, from #671

So we have an immortal, unhinged devil figure, playing games with peoples’ lives (where he takes the pessimistic stance) and testing people by continuing to both tempt and punish. One who, according to the dialogue if not art of Batman #681, looks exactly like both Bruce and Thomas Wayne.

Gordon contemplates the enormity of Batman's mission, from #665
Gordon contemplates the enormity of Batman's mission, from #665

And now, we will also have Bruce Wayne running around 40,000 years ago, in a devil outfit, scaring the shit out of primitive man when they get out of line. For the next forty thousand years, operating as a primitive urban legend, becoming permanently entrenched in mythology and religion as an adversarial, frightening figure used to warn children and cowardly, superstitious adults against taking actions deemed inappropriate in society – crime, or sin. Not just metaphorical: Forty-thousand-year-old Bruce Wayne both inspires, and becomes, the Devil.

Bruce discusses the Second Batman's resemblance to Bane, from #665
Bruce discusses the Second Batman's resemblance to Bane, from #665

And if Simon Hurt were 40,03X-year-old Bruce Wayne, it would explain a lot, wouldn’t it? His obsession with the Wayne line, the vast amounts of wealth, the knowledge of Bruce’s future… how else would he have known to create a faux Batman that resembles Bane years before “Knightfall” even occurred? Or that the next time Bruce wore the cape and cowl after “R.I.P.”, in Final Crisis, it would be his last (at least, from Hurt’s personal timeline). Morrison says that the title of this summer’s Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne will become “increasingly ominous as the story progresses,” and that the story will have an “apocalyptic countdown” – is Bruce Wayne going to go even more nuts over the coming 40,000 years, changed by so much death that he transforms into Hurt? Or is Hurt a new personality, implanted by the Omega Effect and the Life Trap? Hell, we don’t even know for sure how this version of the Omega Trap is going to operate.

What DO we know? We know that Bruce is apparently going to be various Waynes throughout history, including Puritan-era Gotham Village, something that this below panel certainly seems to be alluding to:

Gordon looks at Wayne family portraits, from #680
Gordon looks at Wayne family portraits, from #680

What we don’t know is how. Is Bruce going to be born into a different body for each life, or is he going to be effectively immortal and keep living new lives? If he is immortal, how? Is it a side effect of the Omega Trap, or is it the time he bathed in the Waters of Life in Nanda Parbat back in “Resurrection”? Or is he just hopping from location to location bathing in Lazarus Pits, and that’s what drives him, pun completely intended, batty?

Bruce contemplates Gotham's construction, from #679
Bruce contemplates Gotham's construction, from #679

At this point I’m off even speculation and just into randomly throwing questions into the ether, so: Robin and Batman, Cupid and the Devil, the Joke and the Punchline. It’s a role Batman’s always played, so it’s only natural that as he goes back to the dawn of time to play a part in shaping the evolution of humanity, he fill that societal role for the whole world rather than just his beloved Gotham – and God only knows what he had to do with that city’s development.

It also fits in with a lot of the hints given throughout the book. The quote I opened on, from right before the onset of “R.I.P.”, posits that this hypothetical ultimate enemy is basically… Batman Plus. Jezebel Jet exhaustively discusses the possibility in Batman #677, pointing out that the Black Glove shares Bruce’s obsessions with games and riddles and etc. – just on a larger scale. So if Batman is the Optimum Man, as Morrison keeps selling him to be – the absolute peak of humanity – then who could possibly best Batman but an older, more experienced Batman?

The Sensei informs Bruce about his shortcomings, from #671
The Sensei informs Bruce about his shortcomings, from #671

“The victory is in the preparation,” Batman says – it’s what he taught Wingman (as revealed in #669) as well as Damian (#666). To become the pinnacle of human progress, Batman prepared – he prepared himself physically through martial arts, he prepared himself mentally through study and mastering the process of deduction, and after his incident in Infinite Crisis, he prepared himself emotionally by undergoing Thogal and “erasing the last traces of doubt and fear in [his] mind” (#681). By being Bruce Wayne, prodigal scion of Gotham’s reigning family, he prepared his surroundings with safehouses and hidden corporate holdings, an approach future-Damian takes to a hilarious but brilliantly lateral extreme by boobytrapping everywhere in Gotham with bombs. By raising Dick, and Tim, and inspiring Barbara, he prepares the future to continue his mission. Batman is nothing but preparation. So, a Batman with forty thousand more years of that? Well, that’d basically be the Devil.

Posted in Annotations · Read more by David Uzumeri

57 Responses

  1. Brilliant. One of those speculative essays which makes me feel like I’ve been spoiled. Of course there have been a number of those over the years which have turned out to be bollocks, but beautiful bollocks nonetheless.

  2. I hope but doubt that Morrison’s overarching story will be as brilliant as the idea behind this essay. I would very much loved to be proven wrong.

  3. Surely it’s occasional poor execution (whether it be story-craft or art related) that Morrison suffers from, not a lack of good ideas. Case in point, Superman Beyond. Packed fulla interesting ideas, not so good to read.

    Go read this if you don’t believe me.

  4. i think you’re probably right.

    the FUCK!

    also, the whole bat-novel thing; although Grant’s said he’ll probably be continuing on the book when Return wraps, he did say it was the logical place to end, his run’s denoument, and hurt=bats is a fantastic closer.

    also, you really don’t need to point to one article to illustrate the power of the ideas and high concepts informing grant’s work. that should just be plain obvious by now.

    it’s ‘we were, are, and always shall be the lloigor’ all over again…. (another brilliant idea as it happens)

  5. Zorn, you’re right that Morrison tends to suffer more from story execution than the big ideas behind it, so that even if Morrison goes precisely in this direction with Return of Bruce Wayne, it’s probably not going to be half as enjoyable (or perhaps even comprehensible) as it could be.

    Still, I’m not sure that whatever big idea Morrison has will be as good as this one, even aside from questions of execution. Like it or hate it — and I should be clear that this is the sort of idea that I actually don’t like for Batman, that Batman becomes the devil; not all brilliant ideas are agreeable — it fits so well and so perfectly with Morrison’s run up to R.I.P. that I’m not sure any other idea would be nearly as dazzling.

  6. I see no reason why Morrison won’t match or trump David’s speculative thinking. He’s certainly come up with much more dazzling ideas in the past, and he’s certainly capable of executing them when he has the right creative team behind him – which in this instance I believe he does given the talent lined up to man the art pump. Talent which has, with few exceptions, proven itself to be a match for his scripts. That said, I’ll grant you that Morrison is capable of undermining his own best efforts even in those rare instances where a Morrison-appropriate art team is attached (see the end of Seven Soldiers).

    Incomprehensibility? Nah, I’ve yet to read an incomprehensible Morrison story. Some take a little work, sure, maybe even some extra-curricular reading, and, yeah, some are tough to decipher because of art or story-craft problems, but none are incomprehensible.

  7. (I take your point about this not being your cup of tea! Batman is/vs the Devil isn’t gonna please everyone, that’s for sure)

  8. [...] David Uzumeri has some Batman: RIP related speculation. [...]

  9. Talking of predictions coming true, check out this doozy in our annocommentations for Batman & Robin #3.

    Crazy times

  10. Holy moly, this is one great theory.

    “One who, according to the dialogue if not art of Batman #681, looks exactly like both Bruce and Thomas Wayne.” Can anyone furnish me with a quote for that? Because I do not remember that AT ALL. And I only read it a couple of weeks ago. Duhh…

  11. James, here’s the page:

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

  12. Ah, you’re a gent.

    Okay, so now I remember “my father’s double, and mine” – I think at the time I took it for a reference to a plot point I missed. Rich people having stand-ins, etc.

    “And if not dad, have you considered the only alternative?”
    If you’re not right about this I’ll eat my leg. Legs.

  13. The implications this theory has for #666 is currently melting my brainium.

  14. It’s an intricate and fascinating theory, but the idea of Bruce Wayne turning evil of his own accord doesn’t sit right with me. Fortunately, I have already fanwanked my way out of it.

    Consider this: Why did Darkseid, another Satan analogue, let Bruce get so close to him? Why did he let himself get shot, waiting until the last moment to use Omega? Darkseid must have known he was dying. What if Bruce was his failsafe, his safety net, all along?

    What if Bruce has a little bit of Dark Side in him? A seed of new evil?

    What if Hurt is the result of Bruce’s indomitable spirit still struggling against Darkseid’s influence after tens of thousands of years, hence his obsession with Batman, and with making a new Batman? What if Hurt’s curse was a warning?

    The story would still work, and effectively absolve Bruce of all blame for his actions as Hurt. Even making his eventual return a triumph.

    “I can see him now, in the grip of implacable forces, innumerable foes. Somewhere without hope. In a place where all seems lost. And I know this… The enemy will look away, for just a moment, underestimating him for that single fraction of a second too long. And no matter how dark the night… there will be no hiding place for evil.”

  15. It makes David’s theory a little less elegant but it works, Pepsi.

    Personally I’m happy with the idea that Bruce turns evil as long as he turns good in the end (which of course he would), i.e. defeats evil in the long run. Centuries of battling nasties and simply *living* (even Batman’s morality would take a beating at the hands of the aeons, and meaning crushing fists) could crush even Batman… temporarily. What’s particularly nice is that it’s a novel way of imperiling the character that doesn’t involve a physical threat.

  16. Messy comment above but I think sense can be gleaned from it

  17. WARNING, THIS COMMENT POTENTIALLY SPOILS DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN AND OLD MAN LOGAN OH THE HUMANITY
    “Personally I’m happy with the idea that Bruce turns evil as long as he turns good in the end (which of course he would), i.e. defeats evil in the long run.”
    Agreed. There’s a lovely neatness in that you can get away with making Bruce Wayne The Devil because a prerequisite of GoodBruce’s victory is that he lives beyond the causal loop that turned him bad in the first place. It sidesteps the nastiness of Maestro/Old Man Logan Hulk/DK2 Robin because you don’t have the future heel-turn forever hanging over the character’s monthly, serialised “present”.

  18. that page up there practically spells it out doesn’t it?

    although i can understand why some people wouldn’t like a batdevil story – and, let’s face it, a time travelling batman at all – you can’t say the story hasn’t earnt it. morrison’s been years on the book without going cosmic, the build’s been forever, and i hope he goes bonkers with this arc.

  19. Hmmm, perhaps Batman vs Robin is a foreshadowing

  20. [...] Mindless reader, probably do too; in lieu of any actual Bat-content here, please do have a look at someone else’s - it’s d00gz, he won’t let you [...]

  21. From the scan that David posted…

    Is it just me, or is there a deliberate similarity between the two profile shots?

  22. That’s an interesting point

  23. Great observations. Best theory I’ve heard.

  24. .. interesting theory. My initial reaction would be to say BS, but with Morrison you can never rule ANYTHING out.

  25. I liked the Theory that Hurt was Dessad or another of the Apokolipian gods, because until Final Crisis itself the ohers and who they were possessing wasn’t really made clear

    And Everything Hurt did was was a first trial run of preparing Bruce to become the host of Darkseid, and the 3 Cops were trial runs on that and the Army they eventually decided to make

    When Whoever Hurt was realized that Bruce would not be broken Easily so instead they went for the Lump plan in Last Rites and picked someone else suitable for the Host of Darkseid

    This is all theory but the 3rd Cop/ Antichrist Batman and Manheim(52 if you don’t remember) both talk of the evil that visited them in the same kind of talk

    oh and the Batman Body that Supes pulls out of the Rubble is missing his eyes and near the end of Last Rites the Clones start tearing at their eyes

    but Great post and I can’t wait to see How Grant brings it all together in Return of Bruce, Batman and Robin and later Multiversity

  26. Rick, it seems to me that David has a much stronger textual basis for his speculations, but more importantly his idea packs a huge dramatic punch.

    Back when we were all trying to suss the identity of the Black Glove some of us thought that Batman’s foe could turn out, somehow, to be himself, with Alfred as an accomplice. The Black Glove as an attempt to break down the old Batman and build a better one. As time went on I went off the idea when it turned out that the Black Glove’s plans were leading to death and mayhem – which Morrison’s Batman wouldn’t even consider – but David has managed to find an interesting way of revitalising those old thoughts, so I have to own up to being a little biased in my view that this is the single best fan-theory I’m likely to read.

  27. Not denying at all that it is a fantastic Theory (it is) and as I said I can’t wait for where Morrison goes with this

  28. I would add to Zom’s latest comment that, not only does this theory bring back the idea that Batman’s nemesis is Batman, it *would* be the sort of shocking reveal that Morrison hinted about — and that we didn’t get — in the conclusion to R.I.P.

  29. Yeah, that’s exactly what I was thinking. It would reframe it as a major beat in an ongoing story rather than a straightforward climax, thereby making it more acceptable to those who weren’t so keen.

  30. There is something else to consider something that Grant said in a recent interview

    I don’t know how to use quotes or italics on this blog so here we go

    *****
    CBR: So will Bruce Wayne eventually be returning to “Batman” and “Detective Comics” or “Batman and Robin,” or another new title?

    Grant: There is a plan, but I can’t talk about it yet. I was always going to move on after 12 issues of “Batman and Robin,” then it went to 16 and I figured that was it, I’d told my story. I figured once Bruce came back, it would go back to the traditional Batman status quo, which is kind of where I came in. But then I had an idea that seemed to me a really exciting way to continue the story in a new direction, so I’m going to stay on for that. It’s a different take on Batman and Robin, but I don’t want to say too much until nearer the time. We still have all kinds of twists and turns and shocks to get through before any of that.

    ****

  31. Great theory. Damien of course is famously the son of the devil in the film the omen. Is it too much of a stretch to imagine morrison named damien wayne in reference to this?

  32. No, I’d say not

  33. Right, and if RIP is about Batman vs. The Devil Who Is Batman, then #666 is about Son of Batman vs. Son of Devil Who Is Batman. “We’re both sons of the Batman in our way, let’s face it.”

    And: not just the shocking reveal that was promised, Bubba and Zom, but also the “fate worse than death”, which just getting sent back in time isn’t really, on the face of it.

  34. It is if it makes Batman into eveel Batman.

  35. Dass wot I meant, yo

  36. Beautiful David.

    I love the quote you opened with. It’s the best piece of prose from Morrison’s run to date. I can remember posting the entire thing online in the comments section of a CSBG blog entry right before #681 came out to illustrate my theory that the Black Glove would turn out to be Morrison (or, if you prefer, “that author”) himself!

    This is part of what’s been so great about Morrison’s run: even if your theory never plays out I’ve gotten miles more entertainment simply from CONSIDERING it than I do from almost all the rest of the comics I read.

    Anyone else out there going into Morrison Bat-withdrawl these days? It feels like it’s been forever since BatRob #6 came out and I think I’m starting to see spiders climbing the walls! Thanks for giving me at least a short term fix until the 27th.

  37. Ack! The bit in parenthesis at the end of my first paragraph above should have read “THE author” rather than “THAT author”. Oops!

  38. [...] Uzumeri’s latest theory on Morrison’s Batman run is as exciting as his “Alfred is the Black Glove” theory, even if it ends up being as [...]

  39. I’d rather not have Morrison revisit Animal Man, Mike, and I suspect he wouldn’t want to either. Although the author would be a good foil for Morrison’s ultra-bats, who, as Jamaal has pointed out on more than occasion, does sometimes seem less like a problem solver and more like someone with direct access to the text.

    As evidenced by my overcommitment to this thread, I’m suffering from severe morri-bats withdrawal.

  40. the bruce wayne mini’s called ‘the return of bruce wayne, isn’t it? it’s a title that gives away the end of the story, it’s spoilerfific, but bruce becoming hurt lends it a really nice twist.

    i’d suggest anyone suffering with bat-withdrawal go reread RIP. i read it all over last night, starting with the demonbats story arc, and, shit, i really enjoyed it. it’s got loads of reread potential. there’s tons of stuff going on there…. and the jezebel and bruce issue, fantastic!, especially given what we now know*.

    on the life trap thing: it’s basically a sci-fi version of the wheel of samsara, so it would seem one of bruce’s incarnations becomes aware of his condition, who he *is*, and goes bonkers and then rogue. that much i think we can say for certain.

    *basically i’ve decided we’ve got the answer now.

  41. Great article! Now I’m wondering if when Morrison spoke of assuming all published Batman comics were “cannon” for his run, he was refering to elseworlds books as well. This whole Batman through time reliving different lives could certainly put all those stories into play. I don’t know if that’s the greatest thing ever as there weren’t a lot of great stories there, but it’s an interesting idea. Batman was a vampire in some of those, so it’s not a huge leap to devil.
    …. The devil thing also seems to have some support from all the talk of Bruce finding something dark within himself during thogal in 52, that he was trying to remove. It’s been a while since I’ve read that and the later references Morrison made to that in his run. I might have to go back and look at them again and see how those statements read in the context of Bruce becoming the devil.

  42. Another interesting note after reading the pic posted by David in the comments. Mangrove Pierce being Thomas’s and Bruce’s double. Hurt says he skinned Mangrove and wore him to Mayhew’s party. Could Pierce just be another one of the many lives Bruce was forced to live through due to the Omega Sanction? Now I gotta go look at that story to see if Pierce says anything more telling as well.

    … another random idea here. Maybe Bruce as Simon Hurt doing all this stuff to the Bruce we know was not so much to negatively affect his younger self as it was to get his younger self to figure out what’s happening to him in the future (being forced to live various lives, which I guess is techinically the past, but it’s his future self *whew*) and somehow help him get out of it. That may not fit as well with the idea of the city being a machine designed to create Batman(the city being created by Bruce’s “ancestors”), or the “ultimate villian there from the begining” but it just kinda popped into my head there as another interesting possibility.

  43. In #666 it is stated that Damian sells his soul to the Devil & this Devil is still a present entity. So, if Bruce is the Devil does that means the evil-Bruce would out live the good-Bruce?

  44. i was under the impression that the thing buried in bruce’s mind was the zur en arrh ultra-hypnotic code word, but, yes, in the light of this piece, i think it could be the black seed that grows to fruition in hurt. or both.

  45. I like the thought put into this, but I don’t think it will play out this way.

    The Devil as a univerally-known source of fear that makes people do good is how he’s described in Catholic school, but in RIP, that’s the opposite: He’s a shadowy, secretive force that makes people do bad!

    Morrison’s run made frequent assertions of a connection between Bruce and the Black Glove, from the close-ups of Bruce’s fist with artwork of a Black-Gloved fist on the wall back in #656 to close-ups of his black-gloved fist in DC #0 and before the helicopter crash when the phrase “Black Glove” was being spoken in the same panels. And the fact that in the old Detective Comics story, the batsuit (which Hurt has gone on to wear) inspired Bruce’s. Thus suggesting that the arrow of causality goes the other way: The the Black Glove, perhaps the murderers of the Waynes, created the symbol that Bruce has unwittingly adopted. Almost as if the NAACP had unwittingly adopted the Confederate Flag.

    I think this is the kind of theory that falls into the category of being well thought out, and *could* be the basis of a good story, but isn’t particularly likely to be the same idea the writer happened to have in mind.

    http://rikdad.blogspot.com/2010/01/batman-666-back-to-future.html#comments

  46. Love this piece. Brilliant work. As another commenter said, half the fun of this run has been the speculation & theories, especially from you and those wacky Mindless Ones. Great reading all round.

  47. [...] a great article on Morrison’s Batman run up on Funnybook Babylon. A blog you should be following anyway. Spoilers, [...]

  48. I buy this theory. It’s very well put together. I’d already been processing “Hurt is the Devil” and “Bruce Wayne throughout history leaves clues for himself in the form of the portraits”. I’d never thought to combine both theories into the same entity. But it works for me.

    For instance – everyone speculated on who the “onlooker” was in that final scene in Batman R.I.P., when we got the replay of Joe Chill killing the Waynes. People said “my god! The Devil WAS there!” I didn’t buy it. But later, when I heard about Return of Bruce Wayne, it dawned on me that it was Bruce, playing witness to the very thing that made him Batman. Combine the two, and the theory holds up.

    I’ll laugh my ass off if “ZUR EN ARRH” is what snaps Bruce out of being Lazarus Pit/Urban Legend/10,000 Year Old/Madman status and returns him to sanity. If the special backup personality that Hurt was partially responsible for creating in Bruce in a total predestination paradox cures him of his Devilishness.

    And I can’t help but agree that the “Doomsday Clock” in Return of Bruce Wayne seems like it’ll be counting down to the reveal where Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne learn that Hurt was Bruce all along. Is that where the history for #666 will come into play? Will Dick die to bring Bruce back to the light, and will that be when Damian meets the Devil?

  49. And just an aside – this theory is summed up nicely by Tim Drake in one sentence in Batman R.I.P. # 1. “The son of Satan is my brother.”

  50. [...] 22: Oh hey, El Penitente is Simon Hurt! I jotted down a bunch of thoughts about that a while ago, and what the “W” scar on his back (and his predilection towards [...]

  51. “how else would he have known to create a faux Batman that resembles Bane years before “Knightfall” even occurred?”

    He didn’t have to. The three Batmen were supposed to have been trained when Gordon was retired, which was post-Knightfall.

    Other than that nitpick, this is a fantastic little bit of speculation.

    To further it, what if Bruce started going insane due to the time jumping, recognized that fact, and set into motion his transformation into Hurt as a way of pitting himself against his family, the only ones he’d trust to stop him?

    That would gain extra weight if you considered the Robin #175-176 RIP tie-in.

  52. quote from comic con, morrison talking about rip: ‘when we find out the identity of the villain, it’s the most shocking revelation in a batcomic for the last 70 years’.

  53. It was NYCC, I’m almost sure – I was there – and he said, “When we BEGIN TO SUSPECT the identity.” It’s a big difference, and was the cause behind my dumb rant (I’m sure you can find it somewhere) about Batman #681 the first time I read it. But yeah, BEGIN TO SUSPECT was part of it, and he was referring to the Thomas Wayne thing, I’m fairly sure.

  54. yes, I completely agree with this theory. I always felt that the whole Dr.Hurt/black glove thing is connected with Final crisis, and Batman getting zapped by Darkseid. hurt’s line about “the piece that can never fit, and there since the BEGINNING” is a strong allusion towards Bruce being stuck in time and has to make his way back from the beginning. I think hurt being the devil or some evil spirit is stupid and childish. and the point remains (no matter what the naysayers say), it was NEVER REVEALED who Dr. Hurt was at the end of RIP. I agree with David’s theory, and I think it will play out this way, or pretty similar to this way. Hurt being the literal devil/satan is not a shocking revelation

  55. I know I’m late to the party but what if the El Penitente, is in fact Bruce Wayne?

    The reasoning behind this is similar to to that posed in the article but with a touch of Morrison’s own outlook as to time paradoxes. In his IGN interview dated January 26th 2010 Grant states:

    “There are no paradoxes. If you go back in time and do something then all it does is contribute to the world in which you already lived where you became a time traveler.”

    This to me leads me to think that Bruce/Batz can’t save anyone who shouldn’t have been saved in his prior realities history. He can’t save his parents anymore than he can kill James Gordon before he was born. It all has to make sense regardless.

    Taking this thinking I reckon Bruce would accept that perception of ‘evil’ or ‘murdering’ due to his inability to stop it and become the most evil man on the planet – only to reveal his dupe once he is able to have a positive impact on the world again and is well aware of where everyone who is doing evil is.

    He can do greater good by being the evilest of people up until his release from fate.

    Just a thought which semi-mirrors your David. I hope you like it :)

  56. I’ll be back again, thanks for the info.

  57. Spoilers from the future!

    Darksied unleashed the Hyper-Addapter after he was hit with the Omega Beam in FC. The Hyper-Addapter is a sentient “curse”, a weapon designed to haunt Bruce throughout time. Ultimately this weapon turns out to be the Bat that Savage kills and Bruce wears in ROBW#1, the Bat that inspires Bruce to become Batman (notice he rings a bell to signal Alfred), and is interpreted to be the demon Barbatos by devil worshipers. These worshipers appeared 250 years ago in the storyline “Batman Dark Knight Dark City”.
    Thomas Wayne from the 1700′s encounters the Hyper-Adapter, it contanimates him effectivly making him the incarnation of Darksied. This Thomas Wayne goes on to become the infamous Doctor Hurt.

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