Jun 24, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 486: Batman and Robin #5, December 2009


Can I make a confession?

This particular story arc is not my favourite of the Morrison-era Batman. As I noted yesterday, it's calling back to the Grim'n'Gritty(TM) era of the DCU, and it's an era that I really don't have a lot of patience for. I give the same look to people who try to put some reality into superheroes as I do to people who try to put reality in Shakespeare's plays, or into Biblical narratives. The point of the characters is not reality - at least, not our lived reality. They belong to the Platonic world of forms, the archetypal reality, the place where everything is bigger and louder and better and faster. They need to function in a place of myth.

I know. I'm starting to sound like a broken record. But if there's one thing that Morrison accomplishes in this run, a thing that sadly seems to have been forgotten after his run, it's that Batman deserves his place in the DCU trinity precisely because he is this kind of archetypal character.

Anyway, Batman and Robin have fights with Red Hood and Scarlet. At one point Batman accuses Red Hood of speaking in catchphrases, as good a description of Miller's Dark Knight dialogue as I've ever heard. And The Flamingo, an assassin with a penchant for skinning and eating his victims' faces comes to town. Perhaps the best way for me to think through this series, at least right now, is that it's Dick Grayson's movement through all of the eras of the Bruce Wayne Batman, that he needs to move through the history before he can fully take on the role himself. It's interesting looked at from this perspective, especially in light of the Return of Bruce Wayne series, which envisions a series of Batmen throughout the history of the United States. Movements through histories. Maybe that'll be the subtitle of my eventual book on Morrison's Batman.


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