Retcon or Rebirth?
In my last profile I concentrated on the reigning Batman, Dick Grayson. Dick is seemingly at his high water mark as he has successfully solved such mysteries as the identity of the Black Mask and the enigmatic Oberon Sexton. He did so in the best tradition of the master detective, Bruce Wayne.
So what of Bruce Wayne?
As many of comic book fans know, Bruce is now tumbling through time headlong towards what might be an apocalyptic end. It is Grant Morrison that has been given the keys to this storyline that is driving us towards the return of the Bruce Wayne Batman. As with anything that Morrison writes, it is complicated, mysterious and a bit byzantine in nature.
If anything, Morrison does challenge the intellect. Sometimes he succeeds as in the current “Batman and Robin” books and sometimes he leaves us with a version of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” as in Batman #700. (Yes, I didn’t think it was all that great.)
So what is Morrison doing with Bruce Wayne now? Are we witnessing a whole new formulation to the Wayne Batman mythos?
We are all familiar with the traditional birth of the Batman. Wayne’s parents were brutally murdered in front of young Bruce’s eyes and he dedicated the rest of his life to fighting crime to avenge his parents. His inspiration was a bat that flew into his study.
Ah, but now there is more. After being sent back through time by Darkseid not only is Bruce Wayne coming into close contact with his own ancestors and the earliest environs of Gotham City, he is being totally immersed in a new Bat mythology. This immersion includes the formation of a clan of “Bat-people”, Wayne being dubbed the “Man of Bats” and an early religious like totem the “Bat Beast”.
As Morrison would have it, a whole new reality is being formed surrounding the introduction of Wayne into the past. This also includes a curse on the Wayne family and by the third “Return” issue another religious totem worshiped by the Bat People in the form of the cape and cowl that Bruce himself brought back.
The Batman mythos is no longer inspired by the surprise visit of a solitary bat it now includes a whole new storyline based on Bruce Wayne himself!
So I ask you, ret-con or rebirth? Can we accept a mythos where Bruce Wayne is actually the inspiration for Batman? There are three more issues to go in the series. Morrison may have built himself an out as hinted in the second “Return” issue where Wayne speaks to Dr. Hunter and says, “So you’ll just have to trust me.”
I guess we’ll have to trust Morrison also.
Posted by Dark Knight Dave