Wednesday, October 01, 2008

"Batman R.I.P." Part V: Batman #680 Annotations

I've been annotating "Batman R.I.P." and discussing Morrison's Batman run nearly issue-by-issue since his "Clown at Midnight" story. Click HERE for all my relevant Morrison Batman posts, and comment below to tell me everything I missed. (Also, this issue seemed so straightforward, I almost thought about skipping the annotations on #680, but maybe I'll have enough to talk about once I get started...)

Batman #680: The Annotations

Cover: Alex Ross continues his metaphorical approach to covering "Batman R.I.P." as Batman wears a completely different costume here than he does in the issue. Also, he doesn't fight the Club of Villains. Also, also, he doesn't breakdance inside, either. I hereby label this cover, "go, Batman, go, Batman, go!"

Page 1: Bossu's minions lurk on the rooftops while Charlie Caligula's centurions provide valet service, apparently.

Pages 2-3: Dr. Hurt in the Thomas Wayne proto-Batman costume describes the "Danse Macabre" which is all about gambling with human lives. The red and black motif, so prominent in this arc -- and in Batman #663 -- continues with the table setting and the roulette wheel.

Page 4: This is a pretty straightforward Dr. Guy Dax-turns-into-Le Bossu sequence (and, honestly, I assumed the two characters were the same guy because they looked similar facially -- that's a knock against Tony Daniel's art, I guess, since his ugly faced guys look like ugly-face-with-mask guys). But, Dax/Bossu does have a line that links thematically to the notion of Batman's duality: "In order to give expression to the honest beast within," he says, "I am compelled to an elaborate process of disguise."

Page 5: Nurse Scorpiana stands over the body of Dick Grayson, who was institutionalized mistakenly a few issues ago.

Pages 6-7: Batman, still wearing the Zur-En-Arrh costume cobbled together on the streets, talks with Bat-Mite, and has two great lines about superhero fashion: "The colors demonstrate total confidence. Robin dressed this way for years and survived."

El Sombrero, master of death traps, has prepared Wayne Manor for Batman's imminent arrival, and tells the minions to assume their positions for the Danse Macbre, but the Joker, a force of chaos, has other plans as he butchers his way to El Sombrero. [Edited to add: this scene takes place at Arkham, apparently.]

Page 8: As he did in the previous issue, Batman calls Bat-Mite, "might," which seems to imply the possibilities inherent in the character, or possibly the concept of strength. Either way, Bat-Mite is part of Batman's psychic reboot, offering some guidance on his journey. "Who is the Black Glove?" is, of course, the big question for Morrison's Batman run, and this issue maybe answers it at the end.

Page 9: Batman refers to Bat-Mite as "soldier" here, which is what Frank Miller's Batman calls Robin. Perhaps it's a sign that he's regaining his sanity or at least his "normal" mental state, because all of a sudden Bat-Mite withdraws. I've proposed that Bat-Mite is just a figment of Batman's imagination -- part of his psychic reboot -- but I didn't expect Batman to come out and ask the question directly. Bat-Mite's response is typical Morrison: "Imagination is the 5th dimension." Oh, yeah. Why didn't I think of that?

Pages 10-11: Is there a precedent for all of these rich guys wearing masks as they attend the Danse Macabre? I don't know of one, but it's a pretty funny image, I think. And I love when the generalissimo whines, "Batman is cool! Batman wears black!" in protest for this weird Zur-En-Arrh Batman on the monitors. I don't know if this is exactly Geoff Johns-channeling-fanboy-rage like Superboy-Prime, but it's close enough to make me laugh.

"I own the keys to Batman's mind" seems to imply a hubris on Dr. Hurt's part, but maybe he has even more tricks up his sleeve still.

El Sobrero flies through the window, courtesy of the crazed Clown at Midnight Joker. Hurt seems to misunderstand everything about the Joker when he says, "you'll be disappointed by the way it messes with your pattern..." The Joker doesn't have a pattern. That's the opposite of the Joker aesthetic.

Pages 12-13: Wayne manor has been booby trapped by El Sombrero, but since he's clearly out of comission, I'm not sure who's talking to Gordon here, but I assume it's Dr. Hurt. The red phone hotline is an allusion to the Adam West Batman television show.

Damian, Talia, and a few of her League of Assassins peeps show up just in time. (And since Damian is surely to be the new Robin by next year, it's important to get him back into the action ASAP.)

Page 14-15: Batman's cat and mouse game with the Joker. His reference to the "Dead Man's Hand" is an allusion to the scene in DC Universe #0 in which Joker showed four of the five Aces and Eights. In their scene from that one issue special, red and black was the major motif, and since it's so pivotal to the climax in this issue, I really don't understand why it wasn't in the main Batman title.

Okay, so, Batman here is all about logic, and the Joker laughs at such notions. But when Batman says, "Cupid and the Devil" in connection with the red and the black, he's not wrong.

Page 16-17: "Love really is blind," says the Joker, giving Batman yet another (quite obvious) clue as to what's going to happen at the end of the issue, but Batman is too stubborn to pick up on it. And, let's be honest, it's tough to really take the Joker at face value. The red and black tiles are a callback to the floor pattern in Batman #663.

Joker even goes so far to say "jet-black irony" to clue everyone in that the word "jet" does indeed mean "black" just in case we didn't make the connection yet.

Oh, yeah, also the Joker slices his tongue because (a) he's crazy, and (b) it's the whole "forked-tongue" thing of the serpent who tempts humanity. It's a biblical allusion and all that. (Keep it in mind for later.)

Pages 18-19: "You think it all breaks down into symbolism and structure..." says the Joker. "No, Batman, that's just Wikipedia." Ha. My Morrison book is all about the symbolism and structure of Morrison's work, so the Joker must not be a fan. The Joker does get off a few more zingers here, dismissing everything Batman tried to do -- like the Dr. Hurt sensory deprivation experiment -- to get inside the mind of the Joker. Batman's "fatal" flaw was in trying to approach the chaotic and insane with a logical, reasonable plan.

The Joker's lines about "it's so simple," "it's all a big joke" reflect the specific situation Batman finds himself in, and the Joker's general worldview. As you'll note, if you've read Grant Morrison: The Early Years (a.k.a. the Joker's least favorite book), when I asked Morrison about his absurdist approach to comics, he said, "you should be able to make people cry and you should be able to make people feel emotions, but underneath it all, it's all bloody ridiculous."

Pages 20-21: The red and black poison petals (as seen in the previous issue) fall as Bruce Wayne struggles with his identity. Is he Batman? Bruce Wayne? The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh?

Page 22: Batman holds the Bat-Radia (which is just a plain old junky radio, actually), ineffective and useless. Clearly the red and black has overtaken the entire color scheme inside Jezebel Jet's chamber.

Pages 23-24: Jezebel Jet is revealed as the Black Glove. Well, she pulls on a literal black glove, and she's clearly working for the bad guys. I suspect, just as I proposed in my annotations for issue #679, that this is the devil incarnate. Although I didn't think Jezebel Jet was the Black Glove herself, it makes sense that the Devil would take the form of a temptress -- "Cupid and the Devil" as Batman said himself earlier in the issue.

"Now do you get it?" the Joker yells at Batman, and it's clearly a message from Morrison to the reader, too. Do you get it? The red and the black? The clues and hints? The devil is in the details.

59 comments:

McK said...

Well done! But on page 6-7, isn't El Sombrero at Arkham, not Wayne Manor?

Interesting to note that Jezebel (and if you think the "Jett" is a clue, do a search on the meaning of her first name) calls Batman "Bruce" in front of the Joker... and considering Jim Gordon sees the Batphone, it shouldn't be hard for him to put two and two together, either.

Not that I figured that those two characters didn't already know who Batman was, but it's never been stated so outright before (especially in the Joker's case).

Timothy Callahan said...

That is Arkham, you're right.

Well, since the entire Club of Villains has invaded Wayne Manor, I figured his identity wasn't so much a secret anymore.

Ryan said...

There's an interesting similarity between the death of El Sombrero in this issue and a famous sequence in Dario Argento's film Suspiria- I've written it up here.

Timothy Callahan said...

I read your piece already, and it is good! (Although my exposure to Argento is nil, so I'll have to take your word on all the connections.)

Pallas said...

I doubt that Jet is literally the devil. Just like Mite symbolically represents Batman's subconscious but isn't literally shown to be present, Jezebel might symbolically represent the devil but will not be shown to be literally the devil.

Besides, Hurt himself has been symbolically represented as a devil figure but this issue indicated he has a personal beef with Batman per the off panel revelation to the Joker.

Going back, Commissioner Gordon made an allusion to the devil right after the Bane story (he says something like, "Why did we decide to fight an enemy as old as time?") but has no reason to actually believe that the devil is literally running around making fake Batmen. It's a symbolic thread throughout the story, not a literal one.

The third man refers to the devil as having created him, but he's mad, and its really Dr. Hurt who made him (I believe the third man calls Dr. hurt the devil, if I'm remembering correctly). Just as Batman is crazy and sees Mite and talking Gargoyles that aren't literally there, the third man says that Dr. Hurt is the devil but it isn't literally true. He's some sort of evil psychologist figure, manipulating minds.

Timothy Callahan said...

Maybe. Or it could actually be the Devil.

Morrison has certainly gone that route before, sort of, in "Batman: Gothic."

Mathew New said...

So... is Batman's secret identity blown now? I mean, I know the Black Glove gang knows already, but Batman takes his mask off and Jet calls him Bruce several times all the while a group of rich aristocrats are gathered watching the showdown.

Not to mention the Joker being present to Batman pulling off his mask and Gordon meeting Talia and Damian in a Wayne Manor swarming with ninjas. Is there any way that Bruce could salvage his identity from that mess?

Mathew New said...

And I know it's been hinted at that Gordon probably knows already by now, but still. :/

Mathew New said...

Ack, looks like you and mck already touched on this issue, sorry. Now I'm just cluttering up your comments!

KMC said...

It's the Book of Job, right? The devil, tempting a man to turn away from all that is right, by stripping him of all that he has and values. The devil wagers on evil triumphing over good within man.

Doc Sachiel said...

RIP = Revealed in Public?

Thiago F. said...

Jezebel Jet must be just a minion. It would really be disappointing for her to be the vilain.

The satan theory would suck even more.

Joker hints Black Glove is someone he knows. Does he know Alfred?

My current guess is: Black Glove is Robin. That would be a nice ignoble betrayal. I just don't which Robin yet.

Though there's no symbolism to Joker's mind, the black and red pattern might still be a clue for the reader. red=robin / black=nightwing? That would make Dick the Black Glove. He was Robin by the isolation chamber experiment time. And he's already inside Arkham.

On the other hand, Tim dons a black and red costume. And he hasn't been delivered to the Joker at midnight.

If i'm right, i hope it's not Jason.

Anyway, none of this fits with Final Crisis (unless Damian becomes Robin), but i felt like making a new theory.

Chad Nevett said...

I have nothing to add yet... Except that I noticed Zur-En-Arr graffiti all over the place in Morrison's first issue on the book. Don't recall anyone else ever mentioning that before.

Chad Nevett said...

And I, of course, meant Zur-En-Arrh.

David Uzumeri said...

Chad, I mentioned it in my annotations on FBB; the graffiti shows up whenever one of the Three Batmen is near.

Chad Nevett said...

Ah, apologies. I knew it was too obvious for all of us to have missed it.

Judd said...

Hi Tim, I’m a big fan of your annotations and your R.I.P. coverage. Your posting of the original “Robin Dies at Dawn” and “Zur-En-Arrh” stuff has been hugely beneficial.

I have to respectfully disagree with you as to the Black Glove’s true identity. While I’ve long suspected that Jet was a part of the Black Glove, I don’t think she’s the actual Black Glove. Aside from her name, the biggest clue to her involvement came when she gave Bruce that invitation in the first part of R.I.P. The purse she pulled the invite out of was called “Hermes.” I think that this pretty much sums up her role in the Black Glove. She’s the messenger, the go-between. Her job has been to deliver Batman and to ensure that he’s muy loco. With her final big reveal, she’s done just that; Batman’s lost it.

No, I think Dr. Hurt is the actual Black Glove. The mystery in my mind is who Dr. Hurt actually is. I’m not sure yet, but the answer revolves around three key bits: The file sent to the Mayor about the dark Wayne secrets (specifically the bit about Alfred and “Beagle”), the missing Black Casebook, and Dr. Hurt’s emphasis on “my” when he said he might someday allow Batman to return to Wayne Manor “and be my butler.” (Sorry, I can’t remember what part it was in at the moment, and my comics are still at home). I think there’s been a switcharoo, but I don’t think it has to do with Thomas Wayne. I think it’s all about Alfred. What if our Alfred wasn’t the first “Alfred?”

In the second part of R.I.P. (I think), Batman’s talking about the “Black Glove” movie, and how he suspects the mystery may have first started with his parents. Alfred is more interested in Batman’s wound, and is almost insisting that he treat it to prevent, as he puts it, “infection.” (Later we find that the blade was indeed laced with some chemical that would indeed further deteriorate his mental condition.) But the key scene here is when Alfred dons his surgical glove. The main focal point of the panel is his hand, fitting into the white glove. Behind Alfred’s hand, the image of the Black Glove is apparent on the Bat-computer screen. This is a huge tip-off to both the connection and the opposition between Alfred and the Black Glove.

One more thing and I’ll shut up. When Gordon first arrives at Wayne Manor, who’s he talking to on the intercom? Gordon thinks it’s Alfred, and even goes so far as to comment that he sounds uncharacteristically hoarse. This implies that the accent is still there, but the tone has changed. So who is it? I really don’t think Alfred could be made to trick Gordon into stepping inside. I think it was Hurt, reprising his role as Alfred/Beagle.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. Keep up the great work, Tim, your blog and insights on Morrison’s writing are greatly appreciated.

Andres said...

If Batman's identity has been revealed how can Tim still go to school in the current Robin comics? Wouldn't everyone make the connection?

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Joe Vince said...

To add fuel to Judd's speculation, technically the Alfred everyone's familiar with isn't the first Alfred. When the character was first introduced (Batman #16), he looked nothing like the common portrayal of the character.

According to Wikipedia, Alfred went to a health spa (Detective Comics #83) where he slimmed down and grew a mustache. But did the real Alfred come back?

If Morrison is really trying to tie together all of Batman's stories throughout the years, it's not inconceivable that he'd fiddle with this one.

Tyler B. said...

Tim, I left you an e-mail but then realized that this would be faster. I'll just sum it up cuz it was kind of long. "Jet black" was a clue to Jez Jet being the Black Glove. Although I think the Black Glove will be someone like the devil or Ra's Al'Ghul or someone like that. Possibly inhabiting Jez's body. Although that'd be gross cuz her and Bruce have been doing it. And could the red and black theme running through this story be yet another clue to Jezebel: her red hair and black (dark) skin? Just a thought. And what's with Joker trying to strangle himself with the curtain for no reason?

Hagadorn said...

I made this point on another board in regards to Jett. But in the Hebrew scripture, Jezebel means a queen who lead the Hebrews into idolatry, sexual immorality and subject them to tyranny.

Just found that interesting given the path the character has taken since her introduction.

I also think that the Black Glove is something (someone) larger than her. My fanboy dream has always been to bring Azrael back into the picture, but that would make zero sense at this point.

I have to saw though, that I love how the book ended with Morrison basically yelling at all of us "DO YOU GET IT YET?" Well, I sure don't....or maybe I'm just thinking too much.

Maybe it is just Jett and we are all looking for something that's not there. Then again, she did say she was finishing her father's work at some point I believe. Hopefully she's not ANOTHER daughter of Ra's...

pinotblogger said...

I took the "do you get it yet?" text as a nod to readers as well, but not in the "now do you see how all the pieces fit?" kind of way.

Instead I read it as: "Now do you see that not all the clues make sense? Do you see that a quick wikipedia search won't illuminate all the answers for you?"

Nothing is clear, and there a numerous of red herrings still out there. I think more than anything GM is celebrating the fact that he has been able to obscure the identity of a villain that, to him at least, is pretty obvious.

He's simply rubbing it in those last few panels.

Dais said...

Just wondering - what is everyone's take on Batman carrying around Charlie Caligula's wreath in his belt? It's very apparent on the last page of #679, and you can see he still has it several times through this issue.

Just the Zur-en-Arrh Batman taking trophies, or some deeper meaning?

John Pontoon said...

In the film "Jezebel," a major plot point has Bette Davis' character wearing a red dress to a ball as Henry Fonda's date. This is scandalous in the film, as only a whore would wear a red dress in the film's setting (uh, Antebellum Southern U.S., I think).

Anyone else know a connect with "Jezebelle" and red?

Henshaw Hasselpuffs said...

Judd-

Sound theories, the only thing is the missing Black Casebook is in Robin(Tim Drake)'s hands

Templar said...

Just looking at #656 again and noticed something I hadn't noticed before. Bruce first meets Jez at the Comic art exhibition. Bruce remarks, "I collect tribal art, schizophrenic painters. "outsider" work, I believe they call it". In the next panel he's looking at a sculpture and says, " There's a message here somewhere. I know if I just stare hard enough..." The set up of the gallery of comic art, the "outsider" comment and the "message" comment is certainly a clue of some sort. The obvious one being the "Outsider/Alfred" connection. I think there's a lot more than that going on here too. Anybody want to jump in here?

irv said...

ok, on page ten, dr. hurt refers to Batman. but on page 11, while speaking to joker, he refers to "Batman" (with the quotation marks). this is obviously purposeful, but to what end?

but i still think the only revelation that's going to big enough to be the biggest in 70 years and the only one that everyone in the world would know is alfred. i see a lot of clues leading to him, not the least of which is him resuming his bruce wayne identity at alfred's urging which led directly to him meeting jet, in gm's first issue, i believe.yj

Timothy Callahan said...

I like the Alfred theories a lot. They make some serious sense. And if you recall, I originally assumed it was Alfred, way back when Chad and I spent a Splash Page column talking about it.

But I don't see how the red and the black motif relates to Alfred at all. How would that fit in?

Ron Burgundy said...

The Alfred theories sound cool at first but if it actually ends up being him it would ruthlessly shit on 70 years of established continuity. Like a big, wet, stinking pile of shit all over the Batman mythos. Same goes for the Thomas Wayne theories. That could turn out to be the worst retcon in comics history. I don't think Morrison would go that route even if he were allowed to (which he probably isn't). This whole run has been built up to this one big moment next month. Even if it turns out to be a letdown, I had a good time reading it all. I mean look at all of us: we can't stop guessing and speculating. That's what good media does- stimulates the mind and emotions.

Timothy Callahan said...

True. And, as always, classy.

cath said...

The bit where Joker slits his tongue: might it be the Joker's way of saying he's about to lie? The speech that follows is the one where the Joker says things don't have extra meaning.

Anonymous said...

A bit on the theory about Jet being the Black Glove.

Remember Batman #665? The last page of that issue had Batman and Jet kissing, and an inset panel of a hand, wearing a black glove, holding a pair of binoculars.

If Jet's the Black Glove, who was the person with the binoculars? It's there to make us think the Black Glove is watching, but clearly, if Jet's the Black Glove it's not the Black Glove watching, since Jezebel's currently kissing Bruce on the bridge.

I think Jet's part of the Black Glove's scheme, but I'm fairly sure she's not the Black Glove.

Judd said...

Henshaw — yeah, good point. But keep in mind that it was unaccounted for for a while. And also, why would Tim be browsing through the now-upturned physical casebook (and why would Bruce be looking for them, for that matter) if Alfred had indeed loaded them to the Bat-Computer. I mean, I assume they have a Bat-Scanner in there somewhere to make sure they get all the cool pictures.

Ron — I agree with you. If the Alfred we know and love turns out to be a bad guy, I’d be horribly disappointed. That’s why I think something must have occurred to somehow switch Alfreds. Joe Vince had a great point about Alfred and the health spa. What if that happened around the same time as the isolation chamber? What if Bruce entered the isolation chamber with Alfred A/Beagle/Dr. Hurt dusting the Bat-Cave, and came out on the other side with our current butler waiting for him? Dr. Hurt obviously mucked around in Bruce’s mind quite a bit, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch for him to blur the lines regarding Alfred, maybe even blocking stuff out.

Although I’m not sure where that would leave the current Alfred. Maybe he really is Beagle. Maybe he was meant to be an agent of the Black Glove long ago, but double-crossed them. I dunno.

I’m still struggling to fit in the whole “red/black” motif into the theory though. My best guess at this point (and I openly admit that it’s a pretty weak one) is that they simply symbolize smoke and fire. Smoke begets fire, fire begets smoke, and so on. You can’t have one without the other, and one invariably leads to the other. In Alfred’s case it means that one led to the next. For Bruce it’s symbolic of his transformation. Like fire and smoke, crazy begets sane begets crazy. They’re all the same thing, just in a different state. That could be why there was that huge build-up in the last issue but nothing actually happened when the petals collided. Bruce seems to now be completely unhinged, but it could be that the Joker was trying to tell him that he’s always been unhinged, that it was simply a different level of crazy. Now he’s the Joker’s level. That smile he had at the end and that stifled laugh seem to signify it.

The Jer said...

I'm still hanging on to the "it's all in Bruce's head" theory, but someone definitely is pulling the strings. We know that for a fact. Who it is remains to be seen. What I mean by this, is that all the clues may lead to nothing and just be clues for us/Bruce to try to wrap our/his brain(s) around until we/Bruce are broken and tired.

What we see in the end is a broken man in a hand-made costume trying to save a woman he thinks he loves with a broken am/fm radio. He's trying to make heads or tails out of all of these "clues," the numbers, the movies, the red and black. To look at this in kind of a literary way, Bruce is our guide, at least in terms of answers, and we have to wrap our heads around what he uncovers. (Most of the time, not always.) What is that? Some sort of unreliable narrator?

Morrison may be leading us all down a path to nowhere, which he admittedly does, from time to time. I hope this isn't the case. But as readers, I think he wants us to be as clueless as Bruce.
We also have to look to the source in the "now do you get it?" question. The joker. Utter chaos and completely unpredictable and unreliable. I don't think we have anything to get by the end of this issue.

I think we'll get a big reveal next issue which will tie everything together. Do we trust Robin? Why does he have the case book, and why is he calling the Club of Heroes? I hope he's still good. I trust him. We still have Talia, Damian, Gordon, Nightwing. There's a lot left.

All that said. I have no clue.

irv said...

one thing i don't understand is in the club of heroes storyline, we see someone (dr. hurt? the black glove?) "wearing" john mayhew, but then we see mayhew alive, so what's the deal there? also, i think the knight is key to this whole deal, as we still don't know what the original knight, cyril's father was so pissed at mayhew about and who the girl he was talking about when he attacked him. all that stuff wasn't in there for no reason and i do think it will be explained next issue, at least i hope so.

COse said...

As usual, I love your annotations and keep up the good work!

The Chapter's title and the Joker telling Batman "Love is Blind" reminded me of the song "Station to Station" by David Bowie and the lyric:

"The return of the thin white duke, throwing darts in lovers eyes"

There's so much allusions/symbolism in these issues to figure out!

Mxy said...

The first thing I thought when I read Morrison's comment about the villain being obvious, was "Joe Chill".

Anonymous said...

The CBR review reads thus (in part): "And, I may be wrong but I think this issue’s events mean that at one point he may have totally banged Harley Quinn (again, not 100% sure), but as far as where the next issue will start? I haven’t the slightest idea. But that’s the end. I’m getting ahead of myself here."

Did anyone else pick up on this? I totally missed it, and so I'm not sure if it's because I'm a moron or if wasn't there.

Timothy Callahan said...

That's assuming Jezebel Jet is Harley Quinn in disguise.

David Uzumeri said...

I really don't see Harley being Jezebel at all. If nothing else, Jet was introduced prior to the prose issue, and really looked absolutely nothing like Harley in those initial appearances. I'm pretty confident she's both a new character and not the main Black Glove (since whoever that is was watching Bruce and Jet in Europe at the end of #665).

Jay W said...

Something to add to the Alfred theory - don't forget that Alfred became the Outsider in Detective 356, which completely altered him. He latered returned to normal and resumed his place at Batman's side. One could definitely see Morrison using this to explain either Alfred's turn against Batman (e.g. the Outsider returns) or possibly even a designation point for the replacement of the original Alfred.

Such an idea would be hell on the Batman mythos, as it could be that the Alfred that has existed all of this time is not the "real" Alfred.

As for the identity issue - it does seem that Morrison is stripping Batman of everything that he holds dear, so that might include his ability to be Bruce Wayne. The future stories may feature a new Batman, meaning Bruce under a new identity, fighting crime without all of his "Wayne" toys.

By the way - thanks to Tim for this site. It really makes reading this book a lot more fun.

Roberto said...

I like the idea of Revealed in Public. I mean, there is no surprise faces in Jim Gordon and Joker about Talia, Wayne Manor as a booby trap, etc.; Joker takes it naturally when Batman takes off his mask.

Maybe that's the whole story: Batman without his Bruce Wayne character, rebuilding his alter-ego and answering the big question... is Batman the alter-ego or is it Bruce Wayne? What happens if everyone knows that Wayne is Batman or vice-versa?

Maybe Batman will "kill" Wayne and start to create a new alter-ego.

Chad Nevett said...

The Joker doesn't care who Batman really is--at least Morrison's Joker doesn't. All he cares about is Batman. The relationship is between Batman and the Joker, not Bruce Wayne and the Joker. That's why the Joker doesn't differentiate between the "real" Batman and the "fake" Batman who shot him--the fact is that Batman shot him in the face. The Batman is just an abstract idea that various personalities/personas live inside much like the Joker. Because the Joker shifts personas to match his context, he naturally sees his opposite as the same (which Batman is).

Besides, the Joker has known about the Bruce Wayne identity for a while. It's heavily implied in Broken City (so heavily as to fall about two lines short of just saying it).

irv said...

hey tim, could you expound on "cupid and the devil"? you seem to have some ideas left unsaid.

I happen to think it fits in nicely with the alfred theories myself, as he was the one who "forced" bruce to go to the event where he met jet, making him "cupid", while if he's the black glove, he's also the devil.

Anonymous said...

Red Robin has the Black casebook through the whole arc. this must be significant, but how? Did he discover something in it that has caused him to desire taking action against Batman? The major plot thread left unresolved is that Bruce took a patternity test and won't tell Robin the results. Also, morrison's whole run started with Damian, a Robin replacement. Is robin trying to take over for bruce and get him out of the way? Robin Is Batman? Red Is Black? What else would fit with robin being the R in RIP?

KMC said...

Robin Is Promoted.

I can't stomach the thought of Batman with Harley Quinn. Ewl. Even Morrison won't go there.

mindlessones.com said...

Apologies for the spammage, Tim, but our annotations are now up

Grimmbear said...

I must be the only person who thinks the "black glove" is the Psycho Pirate.
Red and Black theme? check!
Manipulate perceptions/emotional states? Check!
Knows of the OLD (pre-crisis) DC universe and many secrets from it (like bat-mite)? Check!

Anonymous said...

I've just finished reading the whole page (including comments), and there's a little something that strikes me as odd: Le Bossu. Timothy, you say you knew Dax was Le Bossu from the very first moments you saw him... Well, he actually says he is Le Bossu:

"My nom-de-crime is Le Bossu. I am here on behalf of the Black Glove, to invite you, the master, to the Batman's dance of death."

As you can see, "nom-de-crime" means in French, literally, "crime name" as in an alter ego used to commit crimes. I don't think Morrison wanted us to think Guy Dax and Le Bossu were different characters :P

Elias Nebula said...

Regarding Alfred:-- that dependable authority John Byrne has noted (in Generations III #1) that Alfred's father, Jarvis Pennyworth, was the original Wayne retainer and "would have been the butler and general factotum when Bruce's parents were killed."
Could Grant Morrison have dredged this guy up for some grisly purpose inconceivable to mortal minds?
Probably not.
I merely make the remark.

CDA said...

I thought that this issue was trying to make us think that Bruce was finally going crazy enough to become a new Joker.

But now, I see Batman "killing" Bruce and keeping the cowl as a real possibility.

I'm going to start re-reading Morrison's run tonight.

Luis Henao said...

I'm rereading the whole run and just found something that could work for the Alfred angle:

In Batman #664, Bruce gave Jezebel and blue rose and said: "My butler breeds them."

Anonymous said...

What if it is not Bruce Wayne the man we saw being the target of the BG? in tha last issue of Hush he took Bruce identity... My hope is to see the real Bruce coming out form the dark as the winner over the BG, who missed the target.
On another hand, how could be so stupid to got in love with Jez, we're talking about the greates detective of all times, looking for clues all around, all the time, being ready to face supes and all the ohter heroes... so may he's the one who was using the binoculars...??? do not understimate Bruce Wayne

Henshaw Hasselpuffs said...

To comment on why Tim Drake has the Black Casebook, I think he snatched it because he was worried about Batman and was concerned about his behavior regarding Damien, the Black Glove, and Jezebel Jet. He mentions all of this during his conversation with Alfred. He also expressed shock and dismay at recently learning that Bruce underwent the isolation test and disturbed that it was in an effort to learn how the Joker's mind worked.

I think we can remove Tim as a suspect and take the missing Black Casebook out of play as an integral piece to this game.

I agree that Jet likely won't be the mastermind of the Black Glove, the real Mystery, as Joker explained to us when he says "I know who Dr Hurt is and why he hates you", is Dr Hurt.

I don wonder what Jet's motivation for joining Dr Hurt and the Black Glove are. I think it has something to do with the Third Batman personally. He is still out there and needs to be accounted for.

SalieriTheFish said...

I should mention that "I hold the winning card!" is a direct quote from the Joker's first appearance - (Batman #1?) - and was also quoted during his 'metamorphosis' in "The Clown At Midnight".

As it originally referred to Joker's first persona already knowing that he could escape from jail, perhaps the re-quoting of it by the Joker of today is indicative of something deeper - like, perhaps, how Joker is more 'free' than Batman because his insanity means he doesn't have any limits?

Anonymous said...

First page of batman RIP is batman throwing a rope around robin. Look close.

Anonymous said...

First page of batman RIP is batman throwing a rope around robin. Look close.

Anonymous said...

Potential Spoiler Alert!!!!

From USA Today, Nov. 17 edition.

"Batman #681, due Nov. 26, wraps up writer Grant Morrison's Batman R.I.P. story line, in which the crimefighter is so shaken by a secret from his past that a new Batman must be found."