May 26, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 457: Batman #679, September 2008

http://www.comics.org/issue/527237/

"I'm what you get when you take Bruce out of the equation."

A chilling statement, but perhaps exactly what's needed to combat (ha!) the Black Glove and the Joker. Yet in the same panel, as the Batman of Zurr-En-Arrh advances on cowering Charlie Caligula, the cringing crime boss asks "What's that thing behind you?" but there's nothing there. And when "Might" appears in the issue, he's got those weird insect legs crawling across his body. Is it simply that Batman and Charlie are in a similar headspace, or is the legend we're told of the creation of the Batman, the Miracle on Crime Alley from which the story takes its title, something more than just the ravings of a Bruce-less mind? I think, and talk, a lot about the implications of the mythic structures of the superhero, and it's certainly something Morrison brings to his writing. And, as I've noted in some of my earlier Bat-posts, Batman occupies this interestingly liminal space in superhero fiction, as he's not really a superhero. He has the costume, he has the mission, but he's lacking the powers. Morrison's take in this story asks if that's actually true? Batman's superpower? He's able to prepare for anything. Doctor Hurt has, quite literally, destroyed his mind, erased his personality (or the Bruce side, anyway), sullied the name of his parents and his most trusted ally, yet still, even seemingly unconsciously, he has a plan to deal with this. And perhaps that's why The Joker remains his greatest foe, because he's the one creature that the Batman faces (including, as we'll see soon, a God of Evil) whose actions he can't predict.

I'm still not sure what to make of Bat-Mite, though. And, for the life of me, I can't remember is his presence gets addressed or not. Knowing Morrison, it won't, and that's just fine.

Onward.

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